Pets can be a part of the family and looking after their health can be important. But a trip to the vets isn’t cheap. Vaccinations and check-ups can start to add up, whilst surgery can cost hundreds – sometimes even thousands – of dollars. Fortunately, you don’t have to forgo a trip to the vets and there are plenty of measures out there that can make veterinary bills more affordable. Here are just a few.
Don’t feel that you have to stay loyal to one vet. When it comes to big costs like surgery, it can often be worth shopping around for prices as treatment costs will differ from clinic to clinic. You may find a specialist veterinary centre which can carry out treatment for less.
You can also often shop around for pet medication. This can useful with prescriptions. That said, you should be wary of buying online as there are lots of fake drugs out there. Always buy from an established seller and read reviews from fellow pet owners to ensure that it’s not a scam.
Ask about instalment payments
Many vets will offer the opportunity to pay for treatment in instalments. This may allow you to afford expensive treatment by spreading the total cost out over several months. Just be sure to pay off these instalments on time as it could damage your reputation with the vet and possibly prevent you from paying in instalments in the future.
Take out a loan
Another option could be to take out a loan. For emergencies, sites like Really Bad Credit Offers may come in use, allowing you to take out a loan even with a bad credit score. If your score is clean and you have the time to shop around, you may be able to get a low-interest loan instead. Also consider borrowing money from friends and family as this could be interest free.
Of course you can pay for treatment on credit card too. However, it may be more beneficial to take out a specialist card as provided by CareCredit, which is interest free. Such cards can only be used on medical costs – which includes veterinary bills. You usually have to spend a minimum amount on them per year, but considering that they can be used for all medical costs, you’re likely to get your use out of this card.
Is pet insurance worthwhile?
Pet insurance can be handy for covering all veterinary costs, but you have to make sure that the fees are worth it. The older the animal is, the higher the rates are likely to be. It’s rarely worth taking out insurance with these older animals, however you may be able to save a lot of money by finding a fixed rate insurance scheme for a young pet such as a puppy or a kitten. These schemes aren’t easy to find and breeds that are prone to common problems may be more expensive to insure.
As pet insurance rates can vary widely, it’s worth using sites like Go Compare to get the best deal. Look out for catches such as treatments that aren’t covered or penalties for making a claim. Also make sure to read reviews from users.
Like any other insurance scheme, you can also raise your deductible to lower rates. You will have to pay this deductible amount each time before making a claim, but this could still help to make treatment more payable.
Get help from a charity
If none of the options above work for you, don’t despair as you may still be able to seek help from a charity to cover the costs. There are lots of animal charities out there such as Blue Cross that specialise in negotiating treatment costs. In other cases, a charity may be able to pay some of the treatment’s cost. Ask around local charities and tell them about your circumstances and whether you’re eligible for help.
Have you tried your local veterinary college?
This one’s a bit of a long-shot but you could get lucky. Veterinary colleges need animals to train on and regularly reach out for volunteer owners and their pets. You usually won’t have to pay anything for treatment. Keep an eye out for ads that are looking for animals to train on.