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Home DOG GROOMING Help With Vet Bills | PetMD

Help With Vet Bills | PetMD

by Bella Woof

If you’ve visited a veterinarian recently, you know that veterinary care can be expensive. Most pet owners are surprised when presented with a comma estimate of veterinary costs.

Pet dental care can be especially expensive – the cost of dental work can easily exceed a thousand dollars. Another area where veterinary costs can be a barrier is with long-term medications for chronic diseases such as Cushing’s disease or arthritis.

It’s difficult when you want to provide the best care for your pet but have to make decisions based on what you can afford. Here are several ways to get help with vet bills so your pet can receive the care he or she needs.

Specific credit cards for health

If you find yourself in a bind with vet bills, one option is CareCredit is a healthcare financing credit card that can be used for personal and veterinary payments.

They usually have interest-free promotions if you qualify. If you make minimum monthly payments and pay off your balance within the promotional period (between 6 and 24 months), the loan is interest-free. However, if you don’t pay it within the specified period, there is a hefty penalty in deferred interest charges, so read the fine print.

CareCredit approval depends on your credit score, so you may not be approved if you have bad credit or may only qualify for an amount that doesn’t cover the entire bill. However, you can be creative and arrange for multiple people to apply for multiple lines of CareCredit and combine the amounts to pay for needed care.

Wells Fargo also has a healthcare financing credit card that covers veterinary costs. Either way, you can apply for the line of credit even if you don’t currently need it, so it will be available to you if you ever need it.

scratch and win

Scratchpay is an online payment plan for veterinary costs that can be used for any species. It’s not a credit card or line of credit, so it doesn’t depend on or affect your credit score, and more pet owners are approved.

Scratchpay has a higher approval rate, no hidden fees or deferred interest; however, the veterinary clinic must be registered with Scratchpay. Like CareCredit, Scratchpay pays the vet upfront and then you make payments to Scratchpay.

You have several payment options. If you pay 20% immediately and pay the balance in full within 60 days, you won’t pay any interest. Or you can choose to pay monthly over a period of 12 or 24 months, with interest already included in the payments.


If you can qualify for a personal loan, it may be less expensive than putting the expense on a credit card and paying it off over time. You can apply for personal loans online and you may be approved the same day, which is very helpful for emergency medical needs.

The money can be used to pay the veterinary bill and any other needs your pet has (for example: an orthopedic bed, prescription medications, rehabilitation therapy at another hospital, etc.).

Check with local credit unions to find out their criteria for obtaining a personal loan.


While everyone knows about GoFundMe, there is a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee that is automatically deducted from each donation. For pets, however, there is an alternative called

Waggle works with veterinarians, sponsors, donors and pet owners to provide donations to some pets, but the main goal is to crowdfund pets with medical needs. All money raised (100%) is made available directly to the veterinarian for the pet’s medical bill.

Pharmacies and GoodRx

When your pet needs expensive medications for a chronic condition, sometimes it’s worth checking out other pharmacies for less expensive options.

Chewy has a large pharmacy at discounted prices for your pet’s needs. If you can’t find what you need online, try searching for what you need at your local pharmacies with GoodRx. It’s a free discount card, which includes pets as part of your family! You can also check prices online before going to the pharmacy.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance is somewhat similar to human health insurance. The most common types are accident-only policies and accident and illness policies. If you don’t have an emergency savings fund to help with vet bills if your pet gets sick or has an emergency, then pet insurance could be a good option for you.

Pet health insurance policies vary widely, so it’s important to do your research before deciding on a policy or company. Every pet insurance company has an online tool to help you compare plans.

It’s important to note that, unlike human health insurance, pet insurance companies typically require that you pay veterinary bills upfront and then file a claim (the bill). The company reviews the claim and sends a reimbursement check to cover the out-of-pocket expenses covered by your policy, minus the deductible and coinsurance percentage.

The exception to this rule is if you have Trupanion and your vet uses Trupanion Express. In this case, the company pays the veterinarian directly.

Another difference with pet insurance is that wellness visits and preventative care are covered by separate plans. Many companies offer these pet wellness plans for routine vaccinations and annual exams, but you should take the time to check what’s covered.

Chewy CarePlus Pet Insurance

Charity organizations

Vet bills can be overwhelming, and sometimes you just need help. Fortunately, there are many charities to help pet owners.

Pet Fund, Brown Dog Foundation, and Frankie’s Friends Charitable Pet Foundation are three organizations that help with vet bills. You will need to submit an application to request assistance. Assistance is income-based and funds are not available for emergency care.

The GoFundMe website has a full list of additional organizations that help cover veterinary bills for people in need. The Humane Society of America has information on how to find assistance with pet food, bill payment, and housing, as well as national and state options for veterinary care assistance.

Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinary office for additional resources. Many veterinarians have funds set aside to help people in a financial crisis, or may know of local organizations.

Cover image:


Sarah Wooten, D.V.M.


Dr. Sarah Wooten graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. A member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists,…

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