Owning a pet is a blessing. They bring joy, comfort, and meaning into our lives, and we love taking care of them. If you’re good at budgeting, owning a cat, doggo, or rabbit doesn’t cost that much. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and even the healthiest pets get sick sometimes, leaving you with a hefty veterinary bill to pay.
But what if you’re struggling financially and can’t pay for the clinic’s services? Don’t worry: you can always turn to non-commercial charities that specialize in helping fellow pet parents cover their hefty bills. And today, we want to introduce you to the 14 most trusted and easy-to-reach US-based organizations that will gladly cover the expenses. Take a look!
The 14 Charities & Organizations That Can Help Pay Vet Bills
1. The Pet Fund
Founded back in 2003, this non-profit organization works directly with licensed vets and aims at funding pets, or, rather, covering their pending bills. As a parent, you can ask Pet Fund for financial aid through their website. First, send an official request via email and only then put together your application. You won’t get help from Pet Fund if you’re dealing with an emergency, though.
This charity only covers non-basic and non-emergency procedures and services. The list includes chronic conditions, heart problems, cancer treatments, and eye diseases. Vaccinations and routine visits will be paid for as well. But again, if your cat or dog needs urgent surgery, a diagnostic test, or sterilization, Pet Fund won’t pay for any of that.
2. Brown Dog Foundation
Cancer is the number one cause of death in cats and dogs 1. On October 16, 2006, it took the life of Chip, an outstanding pup. He had lymphoma and, unfortunately, his human parents had no means of paying for the treatment. That’s why they had to surrender him hoping that the doggo would get better care at a rescue center.
Brown Dog Organization was founded in the name of Chip and has one simple, yet important goal: to help domestic animals in need. Now, they don’t reimburse veterinary services. Instead, this charity will only aid with pending bills at a vet clinic. Here’s how it works: you fill out a survey on their website, and then Brown Dog helps pay for a procedure.
3. Frankie’s Friends
No pet parent wants to give their fur babies away just because they don’t have money to pay for emergency treatment. Thankfully, if they get a grant from Frankie’s Friends, that won’t be a problem anymore. This organization has been around for two decades and specializes in covering urgent veterinary services for life-threatening conditions. It’s ready to help with unique/uncommon issues and conditions as well.
Frankie’s Friends requires pet owners to provide proof that they are, indeed, unable to pay for an emergency procedure. The staff also requests an official confirmation from a professional animal doctor that the selected treatment has a good prognosis. You can expect to get up to $1,500 in financial aid. Frankie’s Friends also invests heavily in new, promising research.
4. Paws 4 A Cure
Next up, we have a non-profit organization that only “employs” volunteers. So, if you want to help the cause, you can always join their ranks. Paws 4 A Cure will be a great choice for folks looking to pay off a non-routine vet clinic bill. We’re talking about the so-called surprise bills that catch pet parents off-guard. Yes, you should only reach out if your furry friend requires emergency meds, surgery, or special equipment.
Vaccinations, sterilization, and euthanasia won’t be covered. To be eligible, don’t forget to share your vet’s diagnosis and an estimated cost for the treatment. If you skip this part, Paws 4 A Cure won’t hit you back. They accept applications from single owners/households yet don’t work with shelters or rescue groups.
5. Kyle’s Legacy Inc.
If your doggo is fighting cancer, seek help at Kyle’s Legacy Inc. This organization specializes in oncological diseases and has various charity and fundraising programs for aiding canines that are trying to beat this terrible disease. The company also funds cancer research and spreads awareness among pet parents so that they can take better care of their dogs.
Created in the loving memory of Kyle, a Puggle, this foundation only works with dog owners. If you’re a cat person and have a kitty in dire need of help, you can scratch Kyle’s Legacy Inc. off your list. That said, canine moms and dads are always welcome to send a message including proof of financial struggles and info from a veterinarian.
6. Lovie’s Legacy
As you’ve probably guessed, this is yet another foundation established to honor someone special. But this time around, it celebrates Lovie Mae Smith, a wonderful human being that passed away in 2005 when she was 97. But, her legacy lives on with Lovie’s Legacy. Emergency veterinary service bills: that’s what the folks over at Lovie’s can help cover.
And pet parents won’t have to wait forever to get an answer from this organization: they’re usually fast and helpful with their responses (there’s a 24/7 phone line). Lovie’s Legacy only accepts applications from Tennessee residents, though. If you’re from a different state, you won’t get any financial help.
7. Shakespeare Animal Fund
Much like the previous organization, SAF does cover all 50 states. Instead, it only operates in northern Nevada (13 counties) and North Central Florida. This is great news if you’re a local because you won’t have to wait long to get aid. The Shakespeare Animal Fund opens its doors to every dog, cat, or any other pet owner and does its best to be of assistance.
You can contact them via a hotline or email. Once approved, they’ll ask you to select an animal doctor, and the fund will tell you exactly how much they can pay.
8. Bow Wow Buddies Foundation
Dog owners struggling to pay their fur baby’s veterinary bills can turn to Bow Wow for financial support. This non-profit organization covers both meds/treatment and surgeries for emergencies like sudden injury or a medical issue. And they don’t only help single pet parents or households. Bow Wow does its best to assist animal shelters and rescue groups as well, giving each doggo a chance to get better.
This organization doesn’t just provide the funds to cover bills but also helps find other sources of financial aid. That’s what sets it apart from similar charities. On average, you can expect to get a $200 grant; while it might not cover the most expensive procedures, it’s still a significant sum. It’s only given out to cover non-urgent and non-routine veterinary services, though.
To try your luck with MyPetChild, you can use a phone number or send an application online. This non-profit is available both in the US and the UK.
10. Emma’s Foundation for Canine Cancer
Just like the name suggests, EFCC was founded in dedication to Emma, a pretty canine girl that was taken away from her parents by cancer. It developed in the dog’s jaw, and the owners had the option of removing it and increasing the pet’s life expectancy to an extra year. However, the mom and dad decided to skip the surgery and instead enjoy the time that they had left together.
Today, Emma’s Foundation does a great job of helping fellow pet parents living in New England and Florida pay for their four-legged buds’ cancer treatments.
Looking for financial support to pay hefty veterinary clinic bills for an injured/ill pet? You could get the necessary help with Help-A-Pet. This non-profit caters to the needs of pet owners that can’t handle the checks on their own. If you’re eligible, the organization’s staff will review the application, and (with luck) your fur baby’s procedures will be financed.
Help-A-Pet sends the funds directly to animal doctors/clinics that provide the services. But, you will have to make less than $20,000 per year (or $40,000 as a household).
12. STARelief & Pet Assistance
Over the years, the volunteers at STARelief managed to pay $103,000 in veterinary bills and lend a helping hand to more than 650 pets in the US. This charity is always ready to come to the aid of low-income households and individuals, seniors, military folks, pet owners with physical or mental conditions, and even homeless pet parents.
STARelief has a number of programs specifically tailored to the needs of different groups of people.
13. RedRover Relief
With RedRover, you can get up to $200 in a grant for emergency pet care. If the domestic animal has a life-threatening condition, yet a promising prognosis, it will be eligible for such a grant. However, if the application isn’t filled out correctly or there’s no treatment plan, it won’t go through. And remember: this organization never covers existing bills, only new ones.
RedRover provides support for pet owners that are struggling both financially (make less than $60,000 as a household) and emotionally.
14. AVMA, AHF, and HSUS
If you can’t seem to get a grant from any of the non-profits listed above, try your luck with the “big players”. We’re talking about the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Health Foundation (AHF), and the Human Society of the United States (HSUS). Now, it may take a bit longer to get financial help from these organizations.
But, if you manage to get the necessary aid, it will be well worth the wait.
What Other Options Do You Have?
Before asking a non-profit organization to help with the bills, check your insurance first. Chances are, the company is willing to cover the expenses (fully or partially). This mostly applies to emergencies and unexpected vet visits due to a broken bone, bloated stomach, an insect bite, or something like that. Fortunately, pet insurance is rather affordable and costs $30 for felines and $45 for canines.
Next, try your luck at a local veterinary college. While they do charge for their services, the cost is usually much lower compared to commercial clinics. Low-income families are always a priority there. Going back to charities and organizations, keep in mind that they might not have the capacity to help you. They mostly rely on donations to stay afloat. Besides, not every single pet owner is eligible for their grants.
Savings, Credit Cards, Crowd-Funding, and More
Talking to a professional animal doctor never hurts. And if you tell them about your current financial situation, they might help you find a solution that’s equally affordable and efficient. Also, consider planning ahead and putting aside $50–$100 every month for emergencies. Or, you could go with a healthcare credit card that specializes in veterinary financing.
If your pet needs expensive meds, get yourself a GoodRX (it’s a free discount card) and “hunt” for low prices at local pharmacies or use Scratchpay. Personal loans are also an option, of course, but make sure you’re happy with the terms before proceeding. And let’s not forget about social media! With the right approach, you might just be able to cover the bill via crowd-funding.
How Much Does an Emergency Vet Visit Cost?
A routine checkup at a local veterinary clinic will only set you back $50–$250. However, if it’s an emergency visit, expect to pay twice as much. An X-Ray is going to cost somewhere between $100 and $250, while most animal doctors can do an ultrasound on your pet for $300–$600. A cat or doggo with a severe wound will have to say goodbye to $700–$2,000.
Hospitalization is even more expensive. If the pet has to stay at the clinic for a couple of days, the bill will be $500–$1,700; five days of hospitalization costs $1,500–$3,500. Lastly, emergency surgeries are the priciest procedures. The list includes severe infections, bloat, or bad injuries. The check for such a service can often reach $5,000 or more.
Emergency vet care is not cheap. The cost varies depending on the clinic, treatment, diagnosis, and other factors, but often, it takes a toll on our wallets. Knowing that there is a way to help your favorite kitty or pup, yet not being able to pull it off financially, is heartbreaking. Thankfully, we’re not alone in this fight!
There are quite a few charities/organizations that can be of aid. They don’t ask anything in return: just that you keep loving and caring for the furry bud. So, instead of counting every single cent and skipping “optional” and “non-essential” procedures and treatments, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Your fur baby will thank you for that!