What can you do if you simply cannot afford your dog medical bill? The bottom line is this: If your dog has an accident, sudden illness, or is stricken with costly medical treatment, dog parents should never have to stress over how they will afford it.
About 1.4 million pets in the U.S. and Canada were covered by a plan at the end of 2014, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, a trade group. Are you one of them? This dog mom has been an advocate for reputable pet health insurance for years. If you are not among the millions of pet health policy holders, then what? Here are some solutions to helping you afford your dog’s medical bill.
Reach Out to a Non-Profit Group
There are many national and state-specific nonprofit organizations located throughout the United States that might be able to help you with your dog’s medical bill if you can’t afford it. In an article for the American Animal Hospital Association’s blog, Pets Matter, Jen Reeder shares several resources for pet parents. Read each criterion carefully to determine if you qualify.
Foundations and Funds
Veterinary bills, diagnostic tests, and treatments can add up quickly, and these resources may be able to help with paying for your dog’s medical bill:
The Riedel & Cody Fund (animals with cancer)
I’ve assisted in, started, and successfully executed Go Fund Me and similar online fundraising campaigns to help with a dog’s medical bill. Dog parents fall on hard times or simply may not be prepared for a sudden illness or accident. Here’s a step by step on how to make a Go Fund Me or similar online crowd fundraising program work for you.
- Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. We’ve all had hard times in life, and you are not alone. You are doing this in the best interest of your dog and his or her well-being, so keep that in mind.
- Follow the instructions carefully within the fundraising platform so that you and your potential donors are crystal clear on expectations and fulfillment. Click This: Go Fund Me for animals and pets. Other crowdfunding sites include Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
- Be thoughtful, honest, and tell the true story of why you need the money. The more details you can provide, such as images, veterinary costs (with personal details removed), and the story of your dog in need will help potential donors understand the need.
- You might be hoping that strangers will find and donate to your GoFundMe campaign, but the reality is that the majority of funding on GoFundMe comes from personal networks and connections. Reach out to your online friends, co-workers, family members, your various social media connections, and be kind, courteous, and most of all, honest.
- Review similar crowdfunding campaigns like yours. Here are a few very successful GoFundMe campaigns that raised a lot of money. Check out the above-noted Animals and Pets section of GoFundMe for similar pet need campaigns to pay your dog’s medical bill.
- Reach out to a dog blogger. If you are an ardent follower of a dog blogger (or more than one), be courteous in asking, but reach out and see if they wouldn’t mind sharing your GoFundMe page on any of their social media sites.
- Realize that most people do not browse GoFundMe sites. An awful lot of funding campaigns fail because the promotional effort has to be there, too. Promoting your plea is probably the last thing you want to do when your dog’s health and medical bills are on the line, but it is a must in a dire situation. GoFundMe’s search engine won’t even list your plea in their search engine until a certain amount is raised.
- Learn tips and tricks for a successful fundraiser with GoFundMe.
- Check out the Humane Society of the United States’ article on raising money for your dog’s medical bill or veterinary care.
The Humane Society says,”If you have a credit card, ask for a limit increase or talk with your bank about loan options. Many veterinarians accept Care Credit, which is a credit card specifically for health care expenses, including your pet’s. Care Credit offers multiple payment options that may help you through your pet’s crisis. You can find out more information about Care Credit and fill out an application on their website. Consumers should take care to understand the terms of any credit they accept.”
Stash the Cash: Pre-Planning for Your Dog Medical Bill
One of the best ways to prevent a financial hardship with regards to veterinary medical care and how to afford your dog’s medical bill is to pre-plan. Here are a few ways to pre-plan:
Consider Dog Health Insurance: We have dog veterinary insurance and swear by it. Not all plans are created equal, and you must read the fine print. Ask questions, get an estimate, and check out our article on the topic below. Bottom line: Do not wait until your dog is diagnosed with a medical problem to apply, as the medical issue(s) won’t be covered at that time. Most plans cover preventative care. I view vet health insurance as catastrophe insurance. It has helped us immensely over the years, and I am a proud 18+ year policy holder (two dogs).
Click This: Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It (answer: YES!)
Keep Your Dog Healthy: It sounds like common sense, but providing your dog with good routine care, exercise, mental stimulation, a quality diet, and preventative care will go a long way to longevity. Keep smaller issues from escalating to larger ones.
52-Week Savings: I love the 52-week savings plan where the money increases a dollar each week. Week one, you save $1.00. Week two, you save $2.00 You add a dollar to each week’s savings goal. By Week 52, you’ll set aside $52.00, which will bring the year’s total savings to $1,378! That’s a nice hunk of money. When the new year starts, add to it and start at week one again. I’ve actually saved for vacations using this method.
CLICK THIS: Here’s a printable PDF of the 52-week savings plan
Medicine vs. Mom
In a continuing effort to bring you even more resources to help your dog, we have partnered with Rachel Sheppard of the My Kid Has Paws blog. Head on over to read her blog post to help you afford your dog’s medical bills.
What is your method or means of savings for any health crises or dog health emergencies? Bark at us in the comments below.