Equifax

Finance Blog

Saving Money When Caring for Sick Pets

Written by Teri Cettina on October 4, 2013 in Family Money  |   2 comments

If you have a furry or feathered family member, you’ve probably faced this conundrum: How much are you willing to budget for medications and medical care for Fluffy? It’s not always a simple question to answer. For example, our family paid less than $10 for…

saving money, budgetIf you have a furry or feathered family member, you’ve probably faced this conundrum: How much are you willing to budget for medications and medical care for Fluffy?

It’s not always a simple question to answer. For example, our family paid less than $10 for a hamster, and we swore that we would never spend more than a few bucks on medicine and we would never take her to a vet. Yet when she got sick a year later, I caved in and took the little fluff ball to the urgent-care vet’s office. That one office visit cost six times more than the hamster herself. (I drew the line at paying for a hamster MRI test, though.)

Chances are, your pet is worth more than ten bucks and will live quite a bit longer than our hamster. Fortunately, if you need to shell out some cash on prescriptions or medical care, you do have some options for saving money:

Shop around. Veterinary care is often a competitive service, especially in larger communities. Check with several clinics and ask what they charge for routine services or for the particular procedure your pet needs.

Negotiate with your current vet. If you have a limited budget, let your doctor know. He or she may be able to recommend less expensive treatment alternatives, provide product samples, or arrange financing over several months at no additional charge.

Look for discounted care and medications. Contact your local Humane Society or ASPCA. In many communities, both groups offer inexpensive vet services—particularly for vaccinations and spaying and neutering services. Veterinary colleges also may offer low-cost services to pet owners who are in financial need, so check with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which offers a list of veterinary colleges in every state.

In addition, be sure to shop around both off- and online for common pet medications, like heartworm preventives and flea controls. Your vet’s office may not offer the best deal in town.

Get advice at the pet store. Most reputable shop owners are happy to share health advice for critters—and they won’t you charge a cent. As long as your pet isn’t seriously ill, see what the pet shop expert recommends first. In our case, we have urban chickens (as well as a new hamster). Visits to an avian vet are expensive and hard to schedule, but the folks at our local feed stores are great resources. They also stock common animal medications at very reasonable prices.

Consider insurance—or self-insurance. The jury is still out as to whether pet insurance is a good financial deal. However, if you know you’ll want to take advantage of every medical option available to your sick pet, you may want to consider insurance. Things like surgical procedures and cancer treatment can get quite expensive, and sometimes insurance can help you cover your costs.

One alternative to buying a plan is to create your own pet insurance fund. Deposit the amount you would have spent on insurance premiums into a separate savings account every month. Use that money, if you ever need it, to pay for future pet medical care.

Pets are like part of the family, and caring for them can sometimes be stressful and expensive. To help ease the burden, consider all the options available to you and look for ways to save money where you can.

Teri Cettina is a mom of two daughters and freelance writer who specializes in personal finance and parenting topics. She blogs at Your Family Money. Follow her on Twitter: @TeriCettina

2 comments

  1. Lisa P says:

    Unfortunately my Siamese cat got a snakebite on dec 29th 2013. I knew the antivenin that it needed would cost at least $1000 and so I tried treating it with some natural remedies- when I realised it was in dire straits I took it to the vet and a day later got the bill for $980.00Au but that wasnt the end of it – it was a public holiday for New years day and it still needed intensive care so had to be taken to another emergency hospital – I transported it there and 2 days later paid another bill of $900.
    Two weeks prior to the snake bite I actually looked into pet insurance – about $5 a week per cat – I own 2. Then only part of the bill and certain illnesses/emergencies were covered – I weighed up my options as my cats rarely go to the vet because they are indoors and have a cat enclosure outside so never go near a road. I made up my mind to put money aside weekly rather than get insurance.
    Not only was it extremely unfortunate that a deadly australian brown snake go into their enclosure but that it happened near public holiday periods where all the costs are tripled.
    It was extremely stressful – give the cat antivenin for a couple thousand dollars or pay to have it euthanized. I loved it and its only 9yrs old so I took the hard road. Thankfully one week later he is fully recovered.

  2. May C says:

    When I was faced with this situation – pet care expenses, I decided I needed to seriously look at my overall budgeting abilities. I found a few sites to be helpful, including My Budget (.com . au). It’s worth a look as sometimes these expenses can skyrocket.


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter