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What to Do When You Can't Afford to Take Care of Your Pet

Updated on November 17, 2015

I see it all the time - pet owners ask before I do any procedures how much their appointment is going to cost. We discuss the exam fee, vaccines, surgical procedures, and medications. We talk about parasite preventatives and tests that have to be run. I tell them that I can't give them all of the answers they're looking for. On the rare occasion that I can actually give them a definite answer, they roll their eyes upset with how high the damage is. Worse yet - they can't afford it at all, so their pet goes uncared for. This is an extremely unfortunate situation for me, the owner, and the pet. It can often times lead to pets suffering or having to be euthanized.

It's moments like these where having a back-up plan can mean a happy life for your pet.

Whatever you do, don't put your pet down because you can't feed them or buy simple antibiotics for them. Don't dump them on the side of the road. Don't neglect them. Take care of your pets.

Payment Plans for Your Pet

Clinic Payment Plans

Many clinics don't offer any kind of payment plan - including mine. If yours does though, you're in luck! Typically, clinics will allow you to make monthly payments with little or no interest. Being a good, well-established client can make or break your chance at payment plans. Show up to your appointments, take good care of your fur-babies, don't write bad checks, and be nice to the doctors and staff. The honest truth is that good clients get strings pulled for them, because the doctor and technicians trust them and know their pet is being taken care of. This is something you would have to discuss with the doctor, though.


CareCredit is a wonderful and versatile tool. It is essentially a credit card for medical purposes, such a veterinary medicine, eye doctors, and physical therapy. Depending on how much you spend, you might go interest free for months as long as you pay in full in the given time period.

Minimum Purchase Amount
Promotional Periods
Interest Rate
6, 12, 18, or 24 months
24, 36, or 48 months
60 months

Applying for CareCredit is simple, too. All you have to do is go to their website (, fill out the appropriate forms, and you'll get a temporary card printed out to you immediately. You'll then get a plastic card mailed to you, which you'll receive within weeks.

As you can imagine, this is a great option for those looking for other payment options to take better care of their pets. You do need to check with your veterinary clinic to make sure they accept CareCredit, though. If they don't, mention it to them and see if it's something they'd be interested in implementing.

Does your veterinary clinic take payment plans?

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When All Else Fails...

When all else fails, get a credit card. Yes - this will mean interest and monthly payments and everything else that credit cards require. If these means your pet is healthy, though, it'll be worth it. Do your research, find a card that works for you, and apply.

If you can't get payment plans through your clinic, CareCredit, or a credit card, then you need to consider this last option. Don't get a pet you can't afford. There are so many people who go out and adopt a cat or dog and can't afford even the first set of kitten/puppy appointments. You need to be honest and realistic with yourself in your ability to be a good pet parent. You need to be prepared for vaccines, exams, dental cleanings, surgeries, food, toys, proper housing, and emergencies. If you can't handle all of this, do yourself and the pet a favor, and don't get a pet.

If you're sure you can afford a pet, then factor them into your budget. Don't forget all of the care they'll required (i.e. food, toys, a crate, vaccines, preventatives, etc).

If you already have a pet and can no longer take care of them, then you may want to consider putting them up for adoption or giving them to a friend until you can sort out your financial situation. Whatever you do, don't put your pet down because you can't feed them or buy simple antibiotics for them. Don't dump them on the side of the road. Don't neglect them. Take care of your pets.


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