Paying for Fido's medical care
15 Ways to Make Veterinary Bills More Affordable
by Gary Foreman
Comparing the Top 5 Pet Loyalty Programs
3 Ways to Lower Vet Bills
Natural Pet Odor Control
According to the Humane Society, there are approximately 160 million dogs and cats in the U.S. Over one third of all households include a furry family member.
Given the tough economy of the last five years, many of those families are struggling with bills, including veterinary bills for their pets. If you're one of those families, consider these 15 ways to make your vet's bill more affordable.
Contact local animal shelters. Most shelters are run on a tight budget, so they know who the low cost vets are. Most are happy to pass along the names of vets they use.
Ask a rescue shelter if they can help with medications or treatments. Some shelters will offer help if they know that the alternative is for you to leave your beloved pet with them. Others will spread the word among their members asking if anyone can help.
Check with local pet stores. People owning and working at pet stores love animals. If they know that you're struggling to pay vet bills, they may have a suggestion that could be helpful. They might also be willing to provide medications at a discount.
Look for a rural veterinarian. Not only do country vets have lower business overhead, but they know that the families that they help can't afford big bills for farm animals. And their prices reflect that.
Find a college of veterinary medicine. Just like other medical schools future vets need to be taught. And many teaching schools offer low cost care if you allow students to treat your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a listing of veterinary schools.
Don't be proud. Let your Facebook and Twitter friends know that you're having trouble with vet bills. Post pictures of your pet on Pinterest. You might be surprised at the help that other animal lovers offer.
Look for online discounts. Use the power of the internet to search for low medication pricing.
Administer medications yourself. Many pet meds don't require a vet. Even shots can be administered by a family member.
Check the Humane Society's site. They have assembled a listing of private and state agencies that could offer help.
Check with any groups for your pet's breed. Some breeds have assistance programs that can provide financial aid. The best way to find them is to ask your vet or do a search for your breed.
Negotiate a payment plan with your vet. Many vets will work with you if you explain your situation. They don't want you to give up your pet for financial reasons.
Barter with your vet. Do you have a skill? Perhaps your vet needs some work done that you could do in return for his services.
Offer to work for your vet. She might be willing to trade some of your time for her services. You don't need special skills to clean kennels, wash dogs, or answer phones.
Look for ways to reduce the cost of other pet supplies. Don't limit your search to vet bills. If you can reduce the cost of pet food and other supplies, that money can be used to pay the vet. Look for pet food coupons or learn to make your own pet food.
Avoid big vet bills. A healthy lifestyle isn't just good for you. It's good for your pet, too. A balanced diet and reasonable exercise can help prevent expensive health problems. Don't forget vitamins.
Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.
Take the Next Step:
- Stop overpaying for your pet's medications. See how much 1-800-PetMeds can help you save.
- Don't stop at vet bills when it comes to saving on your pet. For hundreds of money-saving pet ownership tips, please visit the frugal pet care section of the TDS library.
- Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
Money-Saving Tools for Families
Trending This Week
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Ways to reduce the financial and emotional costs of a divorce
- Surprising reasons to have family meal time
- Will your family be taken care of if something happens to you?
- How to teach kids about compound interest
- This week's Readers' Tips