When you share your life with an animal, you are responsible for that animal. Average annual pet care costs range from $1,1314 – $1,843 for dogs and $1,035 for cats (ASPCA). Pet health care is very important to pet parents, but as technology is advancing so are costs. It takes a lot of resources to run a 24/7/365 animal hospital. Although we would love to save all animals, we unfortunately cannot do it for free. That is why pet parents should plan for unexpected events in their pet’s lives. We offer several tips so if your pet becomes unexpectedly ill, you can afford the healthcare he needs.
1. Be Proactive
The best way to plan for unexpected vet bills is to prevent them in the first place by seeing your routine veterinarian once a year. This enables your veterinarian to detect a problem and fix it before emergency care is needed. That is the reason we developed our Protected For Life Program. Pets that are members of our Protected for Life program receive FREE vaccinations for the rest of their life! In years gone by, pets went to the veterinarian every year for their annual vaccinations. The vaccines are very important, but the true reason that pets needed to come in every year was for their annual examination by their doctor. Many vaccines are effective for several years-the unwanted side effect of this discovery is that now many pets are missing out on their annual wellness checkup and on professional veterinary advice. By becoming a member of the Protected for Life, we feel we have solved the problem of how to offer the best value on vaccines and still have your pet see the veterinarian for their annual wellness exam. However, we understand that some conditions cannot be prevented so we’ve outlined the following tips to help you plan for your pet’s veterinary emergency.
2. Seek Help Early
If your pet is showing unusual symptoms, you should take her to the vet as soon as possible. Don’t assume your pet will get better or you can’t afford the treatment because it will be much cheaper and easier to fix early on. If you procrastinate, your pet will likely get worse and treatment will be more complicated and expensive. It will be more beneficial to both you and your pet if you get him treated early.
Your pets are family. And to help make sure you’re able to do what’s best – without having to worry about what you can afford – there’s Trupanion. Trupanion’s one simple plan with comprehensive coverage can help you be there for your pets when they need you the most. There are many health concerns that can impact every stage of your pet’s life, and many of these health conditions cannot be predicted. This is where medical insurance for your pet can help. Pet insurance helps provide peace of mind in case the unfortunate should happen. Its purpose is to help cover the costs of unexpected accidents and illnesses that may occur in the future. Unfortunately, it will not cover any current conditions your pet may have. This means that the ideal time to insure your pet is as early as possible so that anything that happens in the future will be covered. Trupanion pays 90% coverage, so you are only responsible to pay 10% of your pet’s medical bills. All cats and dogs over 8 weeks and under 14 years old can be enrolled for lifelong coverage from Trupanion.
4. Start Saving
We understand that pet insurance can be expensive, so an alternative is to simply create your own “pet insurance” by putting money aside to save in case your pet needs emergency medical care. Just skip a few coffees a week or the pizza you normally order, and put that money aside for your pet. Even just a few dollars a week will add up over time and could get your pet the emergency surgery he may need one day. Never assume your pet will not need emergency care. An estimated 92% of all pets will experience some type of severe emergency situation over the course of their lifetime (www.petplace.com<http://www.petplace.com>). It is better to have the money and not need it than to need it and not have it.
5. Credit Cards
If your pet is already facing an emergency before you started saving or got Trupanion and you don’t have the money to pay upfront, then put her medical bills on a credit card if at all possible. This will allow you to get the surgery immediately and pay it off later. You can even divide the cost among multiple credit cards if you have to. If you don’t have a personal credit card you can put it on, try CareCredit, which lets you finance veterinary services. Once approved, you will receive a line of credit similar to a credit card. You can use the card for multiple services as long as you stay under your limit, and you will pay the financing back in monthly installments.
6. Friends and Family
If you cannot use a credit card, ask friends and family to help you with your pet’s vet bills. We know it can be challenging to ask for money, but when your pet’s life is on the line many people are willing to help out. You can even use sites like ChipIn or Fundable to post your story to social media and ask friends to donate money via PayPal.
7. Charities and Grants
As another option, you could contact various organizations to try to get financial assistance with your emergency vet bills. We have just listed a few organizations that help financially with unexpected veterinary costs, but there are many other organizations like those listed below.
* American Animal Hospital Association Helping Pets Fund
* Angels 4 Animals
* Cats in Crisis
* Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance (FVEAP)
* Handicapped Pets
* Pet Fund
* Red Rover
* Tails of Hope
We hope you will put these tips into practice so that you never have to make the decision between costly procedures or cost-effective euthanasia. There are many financial options to help pet owners cover their unexpected vet bills. We strongly recommend planning accordingly and scheduling routine wellness visits in order to help prevent a veterinary emergency. However, if you are facing an emergency with your pet, remember that we are open 24/7/365 and are always here to help.