Although pets can certainly provide lots of love and companionship, the costs of owning a pet can add up. Veterinary bills can certainly add to this, especially if they are unexpected.
The good news is, there are several ways that you can plan for, control and handle these costs. For veterinary care, here are some tips for planning ahead for routine visits and emergency costs:
- Start a veterinary savings account. Have a set amount put into this account monthly and put in extra when you can. Planning for routine care costs as well as adding a padding for unexpected issues can be a big help.
- Apply for Care Credit. Care credit is a health care credit card that offers no interest plans for veterinary and dental care with terms of 6 months, 12 months or 18 months depending on the provider. Make sure to pay off the total within the allotted time to avoid high interest charges if you go past the time limit. Make sure that your health care provider accepts Care credit.
- Pet health insurance. There are many companies with different plan options to help pay for both routine and emergency care depending on the plan option you choose. Take some time to compare policies and companies to find what will work best for you. Most policies require you to pay the upfront cost yourself and you are then reimbursed by the insurance company. Trupanion is a company that pays the vet clinic directly but their premiums can be more than other companies. Do comparisons and read reviews to find the plan best for you.
- Have a designated credit card just for pet expenses. Find a card with lower interest rates and make paying it off a priority when you do need to use it. Bonus if you earn rewards.
- Talk to your vet about different treatment options available for your pet’s issue and get an estimate before deciding what you are able to do. Be upfront about your finance limitations so that we can work with you to find options within your budget as much as possible. Sometimes symptomatic treatment can be tried before resorting to more expensive diagnostics. Just be aware that if conservative treatment based on symptoms alone isn’t enough, diagnostics may be necessary to get to the root cause of your pet’s issue. You can usually take things step wise as long as your pet is not in critical condition. While this may mean more frequent trips and a longer time period to get your pet back to wellness, this can be an option if costs are a big concern.
- Take advantage of product rebates. Many preventatives (heartworm, flea/tick), prescription diets, as well as some medications (Apoquel, Convenia, etc.) have rebates or rewards cards available. Look online or ask your veterinary office for current specials.
Expect the unexpected. Pets can get sick or injured at the most inopportune times. Having a plan in place to pay for emergency vet visits can help to make sure that your pet gets the help that it needs.