As a dedicated pet owner who wants nothing but the best for your furry pal, you spend a lot on the fluffiest beds, tastiest treats, and premium foods. Supplies, bedding, food, treats, and toys quickly add up when you spoil your pet, but what about her health-care costs? Often more difficult to work into a budget, pet health care can come with unexpected expenses, such as when your pet succumbs to illness, injury, or a chronic disease. Routine medical care, like wellness exams, vaccinations, and parasite prevention, is easier to include in your budget, but unforeseen issues, such as kidney disease, heart failure, or cancer, can take a toll on your finances. Check out the following four ways to cover the cost of your pet’s routine health care, and unexpected medical conditions.
#1: Pet insurance
Pet health insurance is similar to human health insurance, but you must do your research before purchasing a plan, to ensure every aspect of care you need is covered. Some plans cover only emergency care, while others cover the entire realm of veterinary care, including wellness visits, prescriptions, preventive care, and hereditary conditions. If you have your heart set on a breed prone to illness and disease, a comprehensive insurance policy is an excellent idea. For example, we love golden retrievers, but they seem to develop a wide variety of diseases, such as orthopedic issues, allergies, and cancers. Pet insurance can help shoulder veterinary care costs, and help ensure you never have to make the difficult choice between finances and top-of-the-line care for your beloved companion.
When choosing a pet insurance policy, compare each company’s features to find the right fit for your pet, including:
- Monthly premium
- Annual deductible
- Reimbursement schedule
- Breed, health, or pre-existing conditions that are excluded
- Amount of coverage, such as emergency only, or comprehensive
- Company record and reviews
#2: Pet-health savings account
While you may have accounts set aside for household emergencies or your own health care, what about a savings account for your pet’s care? Opt for a high-interest savings account that you contribute to regularly, and use only for emergencies or specialist care. Ideally, you will have a general idea of your pet’s annual routine wellness-care costs and can budget appropriately, but an injury, acute illness, or unexpected disease diagnosis can throw your careful budgeting off-course. In such times, you can draw on your pet health savings account to cover unforeseen expenses.
#3: Nonprofit assistance groups
Regardless of your pet’s breed, condition, or need, a nonprofit organization is likely available to help shoulder the burden of costly chronic illness care. Some groups are designed for emergency care and can immediately help, while others are fundraising organizations that will work to procure funds for you. For example, the Magic Bullet Fund provides financial assistance for dogs and cats with cancer. However, this is not an emergency fundraising group, and may take up to two months to grant you financial aid.
If your pet suffers from an emergency situation, and you need financial assistance more immediately, a variety of organizations are designed to help with veterinary care costs. Organizations donate to a pet’s care based on qualifying criteria, such as location, species, breed, disease or condition, or type of treatment needed. For a list of current nonprofit organizations that may help with your pet’s cancer treatment costs, or sometimes general care, search through this list from the Magic Bullet Fund.
#4: Credit cards or loans
As a last resort, you can turn to pet health credit cards or loans, but their interest rates can be high, unless you pay off the balance during the free-financing period. CareCredit and Wells Fargo Health Advantage are two credit card options that can be used at participating veterinary clinics, and your own dentist, optometrist, or physician. Contact us for more information about veterinary care credit card options.
You can apply for a line of credit through your bank, or turn to personal loans online through lenders such as SoFi, LendingClub, or Monevo. Personal loan criteria may make eligibility difficult, and interest rates and monthly payments can be high.
If your beloved pet has been diagnosed with cancer, call us to discuss treatment options or to schedule an appointment.