October 2, 2023

Wolf Fun

Plink Plink Pets

How to Get Emergency Help with Veterinary Bills

veterinarian holding puppys paw

Our pets are beloved members of our family. We go to great lengths to give them the life that they deserve, factoring their needs into our budget, our home, and our lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are times when even the most responsible pet owners are hit with an emergency vet bill that exceeds the funds that they have readily available. In this article, we’re going to look at ways you can get help with veterinary bills and other solutions to raise the money and fast!

Why Are Veterinary Bills So Expensive?

It’s a question that many pet parents have asked at one time or another, especially here in Ontario where our own medical care isn’t a bill that we have to consider.

Like a human hospital, emergency vet care often involves expensive diagnostic equipment including x-rays, ultrasounds, and other high-cost medical equipment. Couple this with the overhead costs of running the clinic (rent, utilities, etc.) and the fact that the staff all needs to be paid for the care they provide, and the costs add up.

This cost only gets larger when you need to add the assistance of specialists, hospital stays, and other medical care.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that veterinarians are pocketing large sums of money at your expense. But they do have costs that they have to consider when setting their rates.

Can You Get Free Vet Care if You’re on Benefits?

While help with veterinary bills isn’t a standard part of a benefits plan, there are some organizations that help pay vet bills for those with their coverages.

If you are covered by human health benefits either through your employer or independently, take a moment to read through your coverages. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out and inquire for a definitive answer.

Should You Get Pet Insurance for Your Pet?

Pet Insurance is a highly talked about topic in the pet parent world. While some parents swear by the benefits of having pet insurance for their pets, others question whether they would be better off just putting that money into a savings account so that it’s available in an emergency.

There are a few things you should consider when deciding whether to insure your pet:

  • Are you disciplined enough to actually save the money and not dip into your pet’s savings account for other reasons?
  • Do you have the funds available to cover any medical emergencies that may come up while you are still adding to that savings account?
  • Does your pet have pre-existing conditions that won’t be covered by a pet insurance policy?

In all honesty, there is no one right answer that will fit every situation. Instead, you need to weigh the pros and cons and determine the right choice for you.

In the spirit of transparency, we have 3 dogs and only 1 is currently insured. When Daviana and Indiana were younger, we simply didn’t know enough to consider it an option. At their current ages, the policy premium would be much higher.

Lucifer has been insured since shortly after we brought him to Ontario. We wanted to lock in his rates when they were still lower as a puppy and appreciate knowing we have that help paying vet bills if his puppy curiosity leads to trouble.

veterinarian checking cats heartbeat | How to Get Emergency Help with Veterinary Bills

What Do Vets Do if You Don’t Have Money?

The options available with your veterinarian will differ between veterinary clinics. If you have a long-standing relationship with your vet, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan.

They may also be able to make recommendations for ways you can reduce your bill.

Discuss the timeline for your pet’s care. Is it something that needs to be taken care of immediately, or is it something that you can save up for in the near future? If you have time, there are ways you can raise the money yourself. 

In an emergency, you may qualify for help with your veterinary bills from charities and organizations that specialize in this assistance.

If emergency medical care is needed and there is no possible way for you to provide the funds necessary, there are two options to consider – surrendering your pet to a local rescue organization that will take care of their needs or humane euthanasia.

But it all starts with a discussion with your vet to better understand your options.

Ways to Raise Funds to Help with Vet Bills

Before looking for outside vet bill assistance, there are some ways that you can raise funds to help with vet bills yourself. These options range from immediate assistance from friends and loved ones to solutions that take a little longer but allow you to collect the money needed to take care of your best friend.

Take Work on the Side

If your pet’s care is something that can wait a little for you to raise the funds, you may be able to work a part-time job or side hustle to earn the funds yourself. Some examples include online paid surveys, data entry or other entry-level online jobs, creating and selling products, dog walking, babysitting, or working a part-time delivery job.

Sell Unwanted Items

You may be surprised to learn that there are many items around your house that could help to pull in some extra cash. This includes furniture that you’re not using, clothing and accessories that are collecting dust in your closet, or older textbooks that you no longer need.

Create a Website with Swag and/or Donation Options

We found out that our little man Lucifer is going to need surgery on both of his front legs, totalling nearly 10k with pre- and post-surgical care. To do this, we set up his website and created a line of Lucifer the Rescue Pup swag with a ‘print on demand’ company. This gave friends, family, coworkers, and other acquaintances a way they could help while still getting something tangible out of it. The proceeds from each sale will go directly to cover his surgical bills.

Set Up a Fundraiser

Online fundraising websites are a great way to reach out to others for help with emergency vet bills. Some charity donation sites to consider include:

  • GoFundMe
  • CrowdRise
  • Charity Navigator
  • YouCaring
  • Fundly
  • Facebook Fundraisers

Of course, online fundraising platforms keep a portion of all donations. If you’re comfortable asking friends and family for assistance, it may be better to reach out and ask for that assistance directly.

veterinarian looking at report next to puppy | How to Get Emergency Help with Veterinary Bills

Charities and Organizations that Help Pay Vet Bills

There are some charities and organizations that were created for the purpose of assisting pet owners that are struggling to cover the financial demands of their pet’s care. This includes organizations that help pay vet bills with a donation as well as those that provide short-term and long-term financing.


A Canadian financing program, Petcard will make payment directly to your veterinarian. They affordable monthly payments with competitive interest rates and no penalty for early prepayment.

Care Credit

This is a US program similar to Petcard. Care Credit provides a line of credit to those that qualify. It is interest-free if it is paid off within 6 months. Those that require longer can take the extra time, but it does come at a cost.

The Farley Foundation

Available to low-income pet owners in Ontario, The Farley Foundation was formed to provide much-needed assistance subsidizing the bills for non-elective veterinary care. To be considered, your veterinarian will need to apply for funding.

Brown Dog Foundation Inc

For pet owners in the United States, Brown Dog Foundation, Inc is one of the charities for help with vet bills that you may want to consider. Note: they do require you to apply before your pet’s care is provided as they only help with pending bills. If your pet is in need of care, you must explore this option before starting treatment.


The RSPCA can provide veterinary financial assistance in some areas if you are able to get your pet to one of their local animal hospitals. To determine if you can get assistance, you will need to check whether the location near you offers financial assistance. If not, locate the nearest rescue center or veterinary hospital that does and determine whether it is close enough to make the trip.

Local Charities and Organizations

While we shared several organizations that help pay vet bills, there may be options that are available specifically in your location. For example, the small town that we previously lived in had an ‘Angel Pet Fund’ at our local vet’s office. They created and sold calendars and collected donations to help cover the costs of animals in need in our area. To find out about options available in your area, talk to your veterinarian.

Fun fact: Pippen was featured as the December pet in the Angel Pet Fund 2021 calendar!

veterinarian holding puppys paw pin | How to Get Emergency Help with Veterinary Bills

Have you ever had to search for help with veterinary bills? If so, we would love to hear about where you found assistance or the creative solutions you came up with! We invite you to share your story in the comments below.