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Resources To Turn To If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care For Your Dog

Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | March 13, 2015 | Comments (5)

If you have a pet there may come a time when you will need to pay for veterinary medical bills, which, depending on the medical emergency or condition, can be astronomical. Pet insurance can certainly help cover some of the costs, if you have it. But there are times when a pet's medical emergency or illness will exceed your resources. In cases such as these, pet owners may face an agonizing choice.

With this in mind, here are some financial resources and options you can look to for help.


The RedRover Relief program provides financial and emotional support to Good Samaritans, animal rescuers and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations and resources to help victims of domestic violence escape abusive environments with their pets. They also have a program that helps with disaster relief, criminal seizures and hoarding cases.

The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit association that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need veterinary care.

The AAHA Foundation

The benevolent arm of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the AAHA Foundation offers the AAHA Helping Pets Fund which works with AAHA-accredited veterinary practices to identify pets in need. Accredited practices may then apply for assistance from the Fund for emergency and non-elective treatment of abandoned pets and pets whose owners are facing financial hardship.


This all-volunteer 501(c)(3) charity helps people cover vet bills when they just can’t do it themselves. They also help with spay/neuter and have a staff on hand to answer questions or get you the resources you need for any issues with your pet.

Harley's Hope Foundation

Harley's Hope offer several services for low-income pet owners, service animals, seniors and short-term foster care.

Brown Dog Foundation

This organization is dedicated to helping families who find themselves in a temporary financial crisis at the same time their pet requires life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medications.

Banfield Charitable Trust

The Banfield Charitable Trust has numerous programs including grants to help with veterinary care, food programs (like Meals on Wheels), helping homebound pet owners and owners in hospice care among others.

Shakespeare Animal Fund

They help elderly, disabled and those whose total income does not exceed the current federal poverty guidelines to obtain emergency pet care. The fund was founded after the loss of a beloved cocker spaniel "Shakespeare". He died after a very costly illness, and in his memory this fund was founded to help others who might face financial problems while trying to save their pets.

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation

This is a privately run nonprofit started in memory of the founder’s dogs.  This foundation has helped animals in a variety of ways: from spay/neuter programs, to getting dogs on death row out of high-kill shelters, to providing emergency medical care to animals whose owners have fallen on hard times.

Handicapped Pets Foundation

The Handicapped Pets foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. They also donate mobility equipment to pets in need.

Credit Cards for Veterinary Care

Since many veterinary hospitals do not take payment plans, getting one of these specialized cards may be a solution if you are not able to afford the whole cost of treatment all at once. Your veterinarian must offer this service, in order for you to use so check with your veterinarian to see which cards are accepted.

Dog-Breed Specific Support

There are many rescue groups and associations that support specific dog breeds. Reach out to your local breed clubs for information on local, state and national groups involved in dog breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs. Examples include groups like CorgiAid, Special Needs Dobermans, LabMed, Pit Bull Rescue Central.

Disease Specific Support

There are groups that help with specific canine diseases such as Canine Cancer Awareness, The Reidel & Cody Fund, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and Muffin Diabetes Fund, The Big Hearts Fund.

Working Dogs / Service Dog Support

There are also special programs for veterinary care assistance for working dogs and service animals, such as Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program and The Gandalf Fund.

Crowdsource Funding

Try raising your own funds through fundraising platforms like GiveForward, YouCaring.com, GoFundMe, that let you create a personal fundraising page to raise funds for your pet's medical care. They charge a small percentage of funds raised.

There are many other local groups and rescues that may be able to help, or point you in the right direction for assistance. Many will know of low-cost vet clinics and possible solutions for funds.

Keep in mind the groups listed above are primarily for helping families with emergency medical situations. If you are looking for low cost-spay and neuter and vaccinations, try calling your local animal control or rescue organizations for information. Another good place to check for this information would be with veterinary schools in your city or checking with veterinary associations such as The American Veterinary Medical Association.

Do you know of programs you can recommend or have used when you and your pet were in need? Share them below!

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Comments on this Article

Hi! My sister is struggling to pay her vet bills for her sweet dog who needed an amputation and now chemotherapy for osteosarcoma. If you are able to donate to the GoFundMe campaign I set up for her, please go here to do so. Thank you! http://www.gofundme.com/x89h98z9h
Hi there: I rarely come over here, but I want to find some resources for Chace. Chace is a four-year-old golden lab who is a service dog for a visually impaired woman in my church's congregation. Chace ate something he shouldn't a couple of weeks ago and was diagnosed with salmonella. He's recovering thank heavens, but his vet bills have come to $8550. The school that trained Chace is helping with about half the bill, but $4550 is still a pretty big nut for Chace's human to handle. Please Help Chace to continue to enjoy life as before !!!May God almighty bless every person's that will donate to save his life.no amount is too small to help me raise the money needed for his treatment you can click on this link to donate any amount please you can also share the link on your social media platform if you can't donate to attract other people to donate please http://www.gofundme.com/liltledog
Wish I had known about these organizations, my husband and I have a Animal Hospital bill for over $3000.00 for our little Chi that we eventually had to put down due to his seizures he was having. And we have two other Chi babies, just hoping and praying they don't get sick, I don't know how we would pay for it! :(
A majority of the resources on your list are no longer able to help anyone and do not have funding. have a garage sale or a gofundme account I spent weeks contacting organizations on this list and go Nowhere!
Hi there! This is a great article and I will post a link to it on our web site at www.VetBilling.com. I just wanted to let you know that you can add us as a resource in future articles on this topic. We launched in 2013, and we provide payment plan management services for veterinarians, so they can offer clients in-house installment payment plans. There's more info on our web site. This is a great alternative for anyone who has been declined by a medical credit card provider, or for those who don't wish to open a line of credit. If you or any readers would like to contact me directly I can be reached at suzannemcannon@gmail.com
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