5 Ways to Fund Your Vet Bill
Going through an emergency with your pet is stressful enough without figuring out how to pay for your vet bill. When going to a veterinary ER or urgent care goes from a simple exam fee to a thousand-dollar bill that you’re not prepared for, it can take a toll on your finances and your emotions.
Unlike human medicine, there are not many hospitals with a treat-now-pay-later policy. Deferred billing and payments vary depending on the hospital, but in general, you can expect to pay at the time of service.
If you find yourself in a pickle with your pupper, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to call your boss for an advance on your paycheck or ask your Aunt Gertrude for a loan. Fortunately, there are options for financing emergency vet visits if you know where to look.
Here are a few:
CareCredit a line of credit specifically for medical purposes. It offers zero interest for six, twelve, or eighteen months depending on the amount. Always ask the hospital if they take CareCredit before counting on being able to use it. Most of them do, but you don’t want to assume and be stuck with a surprise. Hospitals need to have their own account in order to process the transaction, so always double-check.
It’s also easy to apply for. It only takes a few minutes to do it online and you have access to credit immediately after being approved, making it a great solution for emergencies.
Scratchpay can also be used immediately after applying, however it works as a loan rather than a line of credit. It is visit-specific, so you need to submit an estimated cost with your application before you can get approved. Once you’re approved, Scratchpay notifies the hospital and you’re good to go!
A new model for financing and for receiving care, Pawp is a membership-based company that provides 24/7 virtual access to a vet, care plans, and a $3,000 emergency fund for $24/ month subscription fee. Once your ER or urgent care invoice is finalized, the provider calls Pawp for payment so you can focus on taking care of your fur baby.
4. Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a great thing to have if your pet has chronic health problems or tends to be a little too mischievous. It’s also handy to have in your back pocket for things you can’t predict, like accidents and sudden illnesses.
There is a broad range of cost for pet insurance. It depends on the age, sex, and breed of your pet. The national average is between $30-$90 per month for dogs and $16- $45 per month for cats. It also depends on the type of insurance you’re looking for, which can include:
- Comprehensive (accident and illness)
- Basic wellness
It is different from human insurance because the company doesn’t pay the vet directly. Instead, you pay at the time of service and submit an itemized invoice for reimbursement. If the insurance company needs additional information, they may reach out to the hospital for medical records.
If you’re shopping around for pet insurance, here are some of the top companies:
5. Nonprofit Assistance
If you’re in the Portland, OR area, there are some local organizations that can help through grants and subsidized or sliding scale pay structures. Here are a few of them:
- Oregon Humane Society Resources: Comprehensive resource guide for veterinary care, housing, training, food and more
- Multnomah County Animal Services Low Cost Services
- ASPCA FAQ: (On the website, head to to the Animal Care section and select “I need financial help with my vet bills.”)
- Red Rover Fund Resources: Directory of grant and fundraising tools
- Pongo Fund: Pet Food bank and directory of low cost veterinary services
- PAW Team: Provides veterinary care through a robust medical program including weekday appointments and drop-in wellness clinics at their NE Portland facility.
- For The Love Of Alex: Funding for emergency and life-saving veterinary care for low-income households.
When you’re at the ER or urgent care with your pet, the last thing you want to think about is how to pay for it. Fortunately, there are some resources that can help. Please print this blog and post it on your fridge or add it to bookmarks for easy access when you need it. Hopefully, you won’t have to use it but if you do, you can always contact us at Heart and Soul at 503.749.9400. Read through our unique visit process here.