Pet Debt Disaster: What to Do When a Sick Pet Blows Your Budget

By: Contributor | July 24, 2014 (Edited July 7, 2017)

pet debt

Unexpected expenses happen. If your emergency fund is not prepared to come to the rescue, you could find yourself in a debt disaster. Having a sick pet can be an emotional time, and can also prove to be financially trying. If big vet bills are blowing your budget, there are some strategies to help salvage the situation.

Possible Payment Plans and Creative Options

Many veterinarians will work with pet owners, and will allow bills to be paid in installments. If you've established a good relationship with your pet's care provider, they should be understanding of your limitations and accept manageable payments. Be honest about the circumstances, or offer a trade for the veterinarian's services. If you don't have professional services or goods that can be bartered, you could offer to clean cages. There are compassionate animal doctors out there who want nothing more than to help animals and their owners in need.

A Second Opinion Could Open up Savings

If you're still unable to swallow the cost of expensive treatments, you may want to seek other treatment options and facilities. A second opinion may present different solutions, or offer procedures at a lower cost. Statistics show that veterinarians in small towns tend to charge less than those in large cities. You may also want to look for veterinarian schools in your area, as some of them run low-cost clinics.

Seek Shelter with Animal Wellness Organizations

Local animal shelters may be able to help you cover unexpected pet expenses. Some shelters work with local veterinarians, and are able to negotiate a lower rate for service. There are also some veterinary loans and grant programs available that you can apply for. Contact the Humane Society and other animal wellness organizations to find out more about available resources.

Finding Financing for Your Furry Friend

If you need some fast cash to cover a lump sum, find the most debt friendly solution. Don't rack up a credit with a high interest rate if there are more practical solutions. Explore your resources, and use your best option possible. If family or friends can fund a no interest loan, you can avoid incurring interest charges entirely. If you can't come up with the funds, seek out a small personal loan or credit card from your financial institution. You could also apply for credit from CareCredit, a leading credit card company for people seeking funds for health care. The company includes veterinarian care in their policy.

A Policy to Protect Your Pet and Your Pocket Book

Prevent future pet related debt disasters by investing in pet insurance. These insurance plans don't cost much monthly, but will cover your pet for a variety of accidental injuries, treatments and procedures. Insurance is one of the best ways you can avoid struggling with future unexpected vet bills. There are many providers that offer veterinary care, and plans that include routine check-ups and procedures.

When pets are sick the main concern should not be whether or not you can afford to help them get better. Keep your focus positive, and find a way to work unnecessary expenses into your budget. Prevent future pet debt disasters by protecting your pet with proper insurance.

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