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Personal Loans

How to Pay for Emergency Pet Care

Updated Jun 19, 2023   |   4-min read

Most pets are like members of people’s families, and as with humans, when they become sick or unwell, they may need emergency medical treatment. There are costs associated with routine vet care, but the very significant expenses usually come when emergency care is required.

The average cost for an emergency visit to a vet clinic can be as much as $120, additionally diagnostics can cost about $200 to $250 for each test. Outpatient treatment usually begins at around $200, and then for just 24 hours of hospitalization, the starting costs can be as much as $1,200.

Treatment for large dogs is oftentimes more expensive. Lastly, for anesthesia and surgery, the costs typically range from $3,000 to $4,000.

Most people don’t necessarily have this kind of spare cash lying around, and they may wonder what their options are if they need to pay for emergency pet expenses.

On this page:

Emergency Pet Care Loans

A personal loan can be used for just about anything, including an emergency loan.

A personal loan will likely have a lower interest rate than a credit card, and you may be able to qualify and receive funding online. Repayment terms typically range from two to seven years depending on the lender.

Personal loans are typically unsecured, and the interest rate you receive will be based on your credit score and income. If you don’t have a good credit score, you may not receive a lower rate than you would on a credit card.

To compare options, check out our guide to the best personal loans.

Credit Cards for Emergency Pet Expenses

Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than personal loans, but if you don’t have a great credit score and already have a credit card, it may be your only option.

There are also some credit cards with a 0% introductory period. This will allow you to pay off your vet bills within a period of time and pay no interest.

A program like CareCredit is a way to finance veterinary care. CareCredit offers all kinds of medical care financing, including for pets. These programs let users use a credit card with flexible repayment and are typically less expensive than normal credit cards.

Contact an Animal Welfare Organization

There are a variety of nonprofit organizations that provide some level of funding or repayment plans for veterinary care to people who don’t have the financial means to pay for these things up front.

Some of the many national organizations a person might want to consider include the Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation and The Pet Fund.

The Humane Society also maintains a list of federal and state organizations that provide funding for pet care.

Contact a Veterinarian School

If your pet needs costly care, you may live close enough to a veterinary school to go there for treatment. Many vet schools do offer reduced-cost clinics for limited or low-income pet owners.

Buy Pet Insurance in Advance If Possible

Pet insurance is one option for pet owners. The level of coverage depends on the policy and the company, so it’s important to read the fine print before deciding on an option.

Most pet insurance policies will cover accidents, injuries, imaging, diagnostic treatment, and in most cases things like surgeries and cancer treatment as well.

According to our research, the monthly cost of pet insurance for dogs is as low as $17 a month, and as low as $9 per month for cats.

>> Read More: Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Weigh Your Options When Considering Emergency Pet Care Financing

While you may feel anxious to find that your pet needs expensive care, there are many financing and payment options available.

You can also work on negotiating a payment plan with their vet. This is something many veterinarians will do as long as you are in good standing otherwise.

There are always options if your pet is in need of care, and there’s no reason to feel as if you’re not going to be able to provide your pet with the treatment it needs because of financial limitations. It can just take research to find the right payment option.

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

**Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.