What to do if a pet is sick or injured and you cannot afford to take it to the veterinarian. How to get money to pay for emergency care for a pet.
If your pet is sick, injured, or in pain, you need to have it cared for by a veterinarian. Sadly many people have pets, and find themselves short of cash when their pet finds itself in need of veterinary attention. Learn what to do when you do not have money for a veterinarian.
This article will give pet owners some ideas of the options for them if they find they have a sick, or injured pet, and cannot afford proper veterinary attention for the pet. Be sure to note that in most areas failing to provide care for a suffering animal can be considered as neglect, which can be a legal issue.
Save Money by Calling the Vet Right Away
One mistake many people make is not calling the veterinarian right away. Waiting can put the animals health in a worse condition and actually inflate the veterinarian costs. If your pet is sick on a Friday it is better to call the veterinarian then, rather than waiting to see if the pet gets better, because if it does not, many veterinarians charge more for weekend visits, or visits that are after hours.
Most veterinarians do not allow people to make payments. Although this may seem unfair it is because veterinarians have a difficult time collecting payment after the animal has left their facility. An exception might be made if a client has a good relationship with their veterinarian. This would be more common for somebody with livestock, which can be seized and sold when a person does not pay their veterinarian bills.
Although many people seem to think that the only option for paying for their pet's care is cash, they often fail to think of ways to get cash that they do not have. We all have things in our homes we can sell for cash, although many times these are things we don't “want” to sell, however if a person did not have money saved for emergency, selling something may be their only option. Pawn shops, antique shops, and so forth offer cash on the spot, or a check you can cash. The other option is to return something you recently purchased for a full cash refund.
Money from Friends and Family
If your pet is ill, or injured, asking for money from friends and family, or collecting money owed to you from others, are other options.
Contact your local animal shelter. Some have emergency funds available for certain emergency situations. These funds are not for people to take advantage of in terms of getting their pet vaccinated, but may be available if a pet was hit by a car. Not all shelters have emergency funds, and a person would have to apply.
Surrendering the Pet
If your pet is in dire need of help and you absolutely cannot pay for it, you should surrender it to the local animal shelter, or humane society. The shelter will become the owner of the pet and will be able to make decisions in regards to its care. They may decide to euthanize the pet humanely, or to invest in saving it.
It might seem harsh to let the animal shelter or humane society decide on the fate of your pet, however, by not having funds to care for it yourself the animal will suffer more if you keep it. A responsible owner, who is short of funds, would be able to admit their own financial situation, and perhaps lack of planning, is ultimately to blame, and would do the right thing for the pet.
Remember, failing to provide care for a suffering animal can be considered cruelty or neglect in some areas. This means you could be charged with cruelty or neglect if you fail to take your pet to a veterinarian. *Note letting an old pet die a natural death is not included, but letting an injured pet suffer is.
Above, these cats are in an outdoor cat enclosure which will keep them safely off the road.
Planning for the Future
There are steps pet owners can take before getting into a wreck where they cannot pay for veterinarian care for their pet.
- When getting a pet, select one that is already vaccinated, and spayed or neutered, thus avoiding some required expenses, and also avoiding the risk of having to pay for an expensive caesarian section should the animal become pregnant.
- Search out low cost spay/neuter options if your pet is not already fixed and you are short of funds. Spaying or neutering greatly reduces many health risks in pets and will save money in the long run. You may note most areas also have cheaper licensing rates for "fixed" pets.
- If you cannot afford a pet, simply do not get one. You need to consider emergency expenses as well as day to day costs.
- There are some companies that offer pet insurance, in most cases this insurance is only for emergencies, not regular things like vaccinations, and in some cases it is void if the owner does not keep up with regular vaccinations.
- Start a savings plan for your pet's care and emergency needs.
- Do not let a pet become pregnant unless you have $3000 minimum to handle emergency expenses. It is far cheaper to spay a female pet, than it is to do a caesarian, or to bottle feed a litter of kittens, or pups.
- Pets who are properly cared for, kept in a fenced yard, or cats who are indoors only (or have access to an enclosed cat section) generally have fewer problems. Vaccinations and regular parasite control (using proper medication) also reduce risk of health problems.
Note: The author was prompted to write this after receiving a question from somebody who got a new puppy only days ago and could not pay to take it to a vet when it started vomiting blood.
Anyone who is short on funds should not even consider getting a pet. Once a person has a pet they must make day to day decisions in regards to how they spend their money. Would you rather have a $5 coffee, or should you make your own coffee at home and put that money aside for emergency vet care?
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