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Ways You Can Pay for a Vet Bill

8 Ways to Pay for Vet Bills
Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated August 17, 2022
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Pets bring joy to your life, but getting veterinary care for them can be expensive. And as your dog or cat gets older, their vet bills can become more and more costly. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting your pet the veterinary care it deserves because you don’t have enough money in your budget. Read on to learn how to pay vet bills without draining your savings. 

What Is the Average Vet Bill? 

Veterinary costs vary from one vet to another and depend on your pet’s needs, but these ranges are what you can expect to pay.
  • Wellness care: $20-400
  • Vaccines: $29-46
  • Dental: $55-240
  • Diagnostics: $45-310
  • Accidents and illness: $45-600
  • Cancer: $100-1,250
As you can see, the costs can add up quickly. The good news is, there are options to help you pay vet bill expenses.

Do You Have to Pay Vet Bills Up Front? 

Typically, you will be required to pay for services with a veterinarian at the time of the appointment. If you are unable to pay the full amount, discuss this with your vet beforehand. He or she may have a payment plan.

Reducing Your Vet Bill

There are several ways to lower vet costs that could save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Try one, or all, of these:

1. Comparing Services

Not all vets have the same pricing. You may find a different veterinary office in the area that offers the same services at a reduced cost. Your vet may also suggest a generic medication for your pet or a different procedure that could save you money.

2. Utilizing a Variety of Clinics 

Your veterinary services do not all have to come from the same provider. Your preferred vet may charge a lot for teeth cleaning, and you might be able to find another practice that does it for less. Choose a clinic that provides the service you need at a price you can afford. 

3. Considering Pet Insurance

As your pets get older, they will likely need more veterinary care. Consider buying pet insurance, which covers the cost of things like diagnostics, surgery, and cancer treatment. You pay a monthly fee for the insurance, and when you need a service that’s covered, you file a claim with the insurance company, which will pay it directly or reimburse you for the cost.

4. Asking for Prescriptions 

Instead of getting your pet’s prescriptions filled by your vet, which is typically more expensive, you can ask for a written prescription for the medication and get it filled elsewhere. One good option: Online pharmacies that charge a lot less.

How to Pay For Vet Bills

If you need help with your vet bill, there are a number of different payment options that can help. Choose the one that works best for you.

1. Negotiating Payment Plans

Vets know that pet care is expensive, and many will work with you to set up a payment plan. They may spread the cost of your appointment over several months so that you can pay it in increments. Some might even deduct the cost automatically from your bank account or credit card (they may charge a fee or interest for this service, so be sure to check).

2. Utilizing Credit Cards 

If you have a credit card, consider charging the vet bill to it. Just be mindful of the interest rate on the card, and pay off what you charge as soon as possible, so you don’t rack up too much in interest expenses. If you’re able to get a new card with a 0% promotional APR (annual percentage rate), you can charge your vet bill without paying any interest.

3. Utilizing Personal Savings

If you have a major vet bill, you may want to use your personal savings to cover it. To make sure you’ll always have enough in your account, set aside a certain amount of money each month that’s designated for vet bills.

4. Utilizing Organizations & Charities

There are organizations and charities that help with pet care costs. Some may require that you have a specific income limit in order to qualify. Others cover cancer treatments or are for certain breeds of animals. Here are some of the organizations to look into:

5. Utilizing Veterinary Students

If there is a veterinary college near you, it may offer discounted services. Your pet gets treated for less, and a veterinary student gains valuable experience in their field of study. 

6. Taking Out Family Loans

Depending on your family’s financial situation, you might be able to get a loan from a relative to help with vet bill expenses. If you pursue this option, it’s smart to create a loan agreement that outlines how much you will pay the person each month, and how much in interest they may charge you until the loan is fully reimbursed.

7. Fundraising

Fundraising websites like GoFundMe allow you to set up campaigns to raise money for a variety of causes, including vet bills. There are also pet-specific fundraising sites like The Magic Bullet Fund that allow you to share your pet’s story and photos to raise money from fellow pet lovers.

8. Utilizing Personal Loans

Another option that can help you pay your vet bills is a personal loan. There are many ways to use a personal loan, including for your pet’s care.Even if you have a low credit score, there are vet bill financing options with lenders specializing in personal loans for low-income individuals.Be sure to review the personal loan fundamentals and the requirements for personal loans as you consider this option. Also, before applying for a personal loan, check the terms and interest you may pay. Be sure to have a plan in place for how you’ll pay back the loan.

Exploring Personal Loan Options

If you’re considering taking out a personal loan to cover vet bills, Lantern by SoFi can help. With our simple loan origination process, you can view multiple offers from different lenders to find the best loan option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you pay for vet bills?
What happens if you do not pay your vet bills?
Can you use a personal loan to pay your vet bills?
Photo credit: iStock/Liudmila Chernetska

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Su Guillory is a freelance business writer and expat coach. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.
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