Your pet’s health is not something to take for granted. Even the healthiest animals get sick or injured, and if that happens, you may need to seek out medical care to get your favorite furry friend back on their feet.
Advancements in veterinary science have made it easier for animals to get the treatment that they need, though the treatments can still be pretty expensive, and you may need to look into pet financing to pay for them. Luckily, there are a ton of options for veterinary financing to choose from if your pet is sick, from pet loans to vet loans, and there are even pet surgery financing options or pet loans for bad credit to help you cover the cost of your pet’s treatment.
What is a pet loan?
A pet loan is just like a personal loan, there is an application process to qualify. The lender will review your credit history and financial information to see if you qualify for a loan and decide on the loan terms if you do. If you qualify, the lender will propose terms including a spending limit and the interest rate that will be applied to your loan.
If you’re seeking a pet loan for help with vet bills, know that these loans have a fixed term, meaning that you have to repay them within an agreed upon period of time. The other terms of the loan will vary, as pet loans differ by lender and financial situation.
Average cost to take care of a pet
The average cost of taking care of a pet will depend on a number of factors. Among them are the type of pet you own, the size of that pet and the environment in which you raise the pet. If you want a purebred dog or puppy, you may want to look into puppy financing or dog financing, which can help with the high cost of buying purebred dogs.
An indoor cat or rabbit will require litter, which is an expense you won’t have to worry about if you own a dog, and that can range from $150 to $200 each year.
The cost of annual food expenses is roughly $300 for a puppy and will be significantly more costly than feeding a goldfish, which runs about $12 each year.
Still, that’s just an estimate. Larger dogs like Great Danes will eat substantially more than small Chihuahuas, leading to greater dog financing costs.
Aside from food and litter expenses, pets come with tons of other miscellaneous costs, like medical bills, toys, treats and grooming, all of which can impact the amount it costs each year to keep your pet in good spirits.
Reasons to take out a pet loan
If your pet needs surgery or major treatments, the bills can be astronomical, and most vets won’t offer in-house financing for your vet bills. This can cause an issue if you can’t afford to pay out of pocket, or you may not have enough room on your credit cards to finance them that way.
Pet loans can help to pay for major costs if you don’t have pet insurance or the money to pay for an expensive medical treatment for your pet. As a bonus, some vets or lenders will offer special zero-interest financing on charges over a certain amount, so financing through these lenders can make more sense than putting a major pet surgery on a credit card with high interest.
Alternative financing options
If pet surgery financing expenses are piling up, a pet loan isn’t the only way you can get help with vet bills. Depending on the circumstances, alternative financing options can be just as useful as a pet loan. You may be able to:
- Set up a payment plan: It isn’t common, but your vet may be willing to negotiate a payment plan so you can pay for any medical procedures in installments, which can lighten the financial blow by breaking it into increments that are easier to handle.
- Pay with credit: Another financing option is to pay for medical expenses with a credit card, but it can be risky for a number of reasons. Using credit will allow you to pay for the high costs of vet bills over time, but the average credit card interest rate is over 17%, which means you’re going to be paying a lot of interest with this method unless you have a credit card with a low interest rate.
- Look for help from a non-profit: Some non-profit organizations offer grants or loans with low interest rates to help pet owners finance their pet’s medical treatment. If your dog or cat has a heart condition, it might make sense to reach out to The Big Hearts Fund, which provides financial assistance to pets with heart conditions. If your pet has cancer, The Magic Bullet Fund is a foundation worth checking out. It provides support and assistance in helping your pet get the medical attention it needs.
- Vet schools or low-cost vet options: If you can’t find a non-profit that can help, try looking into vet schools or low-cost vet clinics. Vet schools often have affordable clinics associated with them, and your pet can often get the treatment it needs at a fraction of the cost quoted by other clinics. Some areas — rural or low income areas, for example — are serviced by low-cost vet options, which can also greatly reduce the cost of your pet’s treatment if you qualify.
The bottom line
The price for vet treatments can be extremely high, but taking care of your sick pet doesn’t have to ruin you financially. Pet loans offer a way to finance your pet’s medical expenses at an affordable rate, provided you stay on top of the payments and pay the loan off in a timely manner.