When you adopted your newest furry friend, you may have underestimated just how much you could love your pet. But they became a member of the family in an instant now you can’t imagine your home without their friendly presence.
More and more young adults are bringing pets into their home as a sort of trial-run for parenthood. According to a 2017 study by the business solutions agency Gale , a full 44% of millennials see their pets as practice for the “real” thing down the road.
That makes it little surprise then to learn that millennials are also willing to shell out big bucks for their fur babies. According to a 2018 survey by TD Ameritrade , millennial dog owners spend around $1,285 per year on their animal, while 68% of millennial pet owners said they’d take time out of work to care for an ailing pet.
But, pets hit with a health scare can also turn into extremely expensive furballs very quickly. Though one in 10 of those survey respondents to TD Ameritrade said they’d be prepared to spend up to $10,000 on a sick pet most people simply aren’t ready for an unexpected vet bill of that size.
If you’ve ever worried about “what happens if I can’t pay my vet bill?” – don’t fret any longer. There are ways to plan ahead, and plenty of options to tackle a massive bill, so you can make sure your pooch, kitten, iguana, or favorite fish comes home happy and healthy from their next vet visit.
Be Prepared with Pet Insurance
The best defense is a good offense, and when it comes to healthcare that means having great insurance. Like humans, pets too can have their own health insurance that can help with vet bills in case things go haywire with their health. Companies like Trupanion , Embrace , Healthy Paws , and Figo Pet offers insurance for cats and dogs along with some other species.
Each one offers different plans and different price points. Just like human insurance, the plans offer coverage in exchange for paying premiums each month along with co-pays. Check out sites like Pet Insurance Review to compare plans and pricing to find the one that fits you and your pet’s needs best.
Try to Negotiate an Installment Plan with Your Vet
According to the Humane Society , you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with your veterinarian, so long as you’re a client in good standing at the practice. This payment plan could work out to weekly or monthly installments, depending on what you and your provider agree upon.
However, it should be noted that this is not a standard practice and your veterinarian does maintain every right to refuse to offer a plan. But, it’s always worth asking, especially if it’s the veterinarian who has cared for your pet over its lifetime.
Seek Out a Second Opinion or a Nearby Veterinary School
It’s important to always get a second opinion for your pet before undergoing any major surgery or procedures (just as you would for yourself or a human loved one). If a second veterinarian gives you the same diagnosis and you’re still unable to pay for the treatment you may want to reach out to a local veterinarian school.
According to the Humane Society , many schools offer low-cost clinics, which are often student-run. For a list of schools near you check out The American Veterinary Medical Association’s website .
Seek Help from a Charitable Organization
Charities like Paws 4 a Cure are open to helping owners pay off vet bills for both cats and dogs of any breed or age for any health diagnosis.
And, if your animal has a non-urgent care situation, such as a chronic illness or cancer, organizations like The Pet Fund may be able to help.
Consider a Personal Loan
According to the American Pet Products Association , pet owners spent more than $18 billion on veterinary care in 2018 alone. While a typical routine visit will run you about $45 to $55, according to Care Credit , surgery for a dog can run up to $6,000.
If you’re looking for an option to cover the cost of expensive medical care for your pet you could look into borrowing with a personal loan with SoFi. Yes, you really can use a personal loan to pay off a veterinarian bill because—as the name implies—a personal loan can be used for a variety of purposes.
A personal loan could allow you to pay for your pet’s care upfront, then pay it off over time. Personal loans typically come with a lower interest rate than credit cards, depending on your credit score and financial history.
A personal loan could offer you the opportunity to get Fido the care he needs without requiring you to break the bank. With any luck you’ll be able to get back to playing fetch and enjoying a good belly rub instead of worrying about the cost of veterinary care.
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