Did you know that most Americans these days don’t have enough money saved to cover an emergency? In fact, only about 39% of Americans have enough money to cover a $1,000 expense while 34% have no savings at all!
This is crazy considering that the first year cost of owning a dog is estimated to run pet owners well over $1,000 and will cost you around $500 every year after.
While preventative and routine vet care is expensive on its own, the cost of emergency services can hit your wallet even harder. It’s not uncommon for emergency visits to rack up bills well into the thousands.
While we never want anything bad to happen to our pets, emergencies do happen. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that your pet can fall ill or be the victim of an accident.
And it’s a lot more common than we think.
On average, about 6 millioin dogs are diagnosed with cancer a year and about 1.2 million dogs are killed on US roads each year.
So as responsible pet owners, how can we be sure that we always have at least something squirrled away to cover these emergencies and provide the care our pets may need in an emergency.
1. Be proactive about prevention.
While we can never plan ahead for accidents, one of the best ways to keep your vet expenses down is through prevention. By providing quality nutrition and care through an exercise regiment you can help to cut down on unnecessary illness.
Annual visits to your vet, including vaccinations is a great way to be proactive and catch any unwanted diseases before they turn serious and expensive.
2. Talk to your vet.
If the worst does happen, talk to your vet. Be honest about your finances. If you have a good relationship with your vet, they may be willing to create a payment plan for your bill. In addition, they may be able to use cheaper alternatives for your dog or cat’s care if possible.
3. Get pet insurance.
Pet insurance is a great safety net to have in case of emergencies. There are a ton of different pet insurance options out there with a range of coverage, deductibles, and out of pocket costs.
Many of the plans I looked at will run you about $25-50 a month. While your pet insurance won’t eliminate all of your expenses, it will take a great burden off of you financially if you are hit with any huge vet costs.
Check out National Wide’s Pet Insurance site for a list of plans. It will break down costs, deductibles, coverages, and the types of pet care that the insurance will cover. It’s a great, easy to understand guide.
4. Get a special credit card.
In addition to pet insurance, opening a line of special credit for vet care can be another option. Having this credit can be a great safety net.
CareCredit is one popular option and will often waive your interest if your bill is paid off within 12 months. But beware! These special lines of credit tend to have high interest rates. (26.99% for CareCredit)
5. Put money into a special savings account each month.
Just as you may put away a portion of your pay every two weeks for your own personal savings or retirement, create a special savings account just for your pet. You don’t have to squirrel away huge amounts of cash, but even having a small safety net of available cash to spend may help ease your burden if unexpected vet expenses arise.
You can put in as little as $10 a pay. Right now I put away $20 a month into my own pet’s savings account. It does add up over time and hopefully you never have to use it!
6. Check out sites that offer money for vet emergencies.
There are organizations out there who will provide grant and scholarship money for unexpected vet care. One great option is RedRover Urgent Care Grants . This website has a great directory of state, national, condition specific, and breed specific programs. They also provide information on fundraising and financing.
Turning to GoFundMe and other crowd funding sites is also another way to raise some money for vet care. While I wouldn’t suggest relying on grants or crowdfunding to cover your expenses, it can be a good resource to consider.
Vet care is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be a huge financial burden! Hopefully by following these tips and suggestions I have provided for you, you will find affording vet care is easier than you believed!
How do you make sure you have ways to afford vet care? What are your thoughts on pet insurance and specialty lines of credit? Do you have any crowdfunding tips? Leave them below!