When you purchase, rescue, or adopt an animal, there will always be veterinary costs associated with caring for them. And the cost of veterinary care, like human healthcare, is ever increasing as hospitals have to pay the increasing costs of personnel, new equipment, and medications. Emergencies happen, and no one should have to make decisions based solely on finances. However, there is never a guarantee that others will be in a position to help during an emergency. Please keep this in mind when deciding to make a furry addition to your family.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance plans are available from many companies. Most consist of paying a monthly premium for which various procedures are covered in part or in full. Plans vary greatly in cost and in coverage. They also vary in how payments are made, with some going directly to the veterinary hospital at the time of service and others reimbursing after bills are paid. Some plans have annual or lifetime caps on reimbursements, and not all veterinary hospitals accept all insurance plans. Insurance is a good option for people who can afford the monthly fee and do not ave the resources to cover a large emergency bill or expensive specialty care, but you need to do your research before selecting a plan.

We do not recommend any particular plans, but we have provided a few links to well know sites that research and recommend companies, and provide links to them.   Forbes Advisor, Consumer Advocate, and US News & World Report.

Payment & Credit Plans

For those that can qualify for credit, there are some options offered through veterinary hospitals that may help by offering payments options with lower interest rates or no interest if the bill is paid within a specific time frame. A couple of the better known plans are:

Care Credit: This veterinary financing plan allows applicants to pay for large or small veterinary procedures including routine visits, emergency care and major surgeries. With shorter term financing options of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months no interest is charged on purchases of $200 or more when you make the minimum monthly payments and pay the full amount due by the end of the promotional period. If you do not, interest is charged from the original purchase date (which is very important to note).  Most but not all veterinary practices and hospitals offer and accept Care Credit.

scratchpay: scratchpay is a payment plan that is offered at a select but growing number of veterinary practices and hospitals. You can apply online after searching to see if there is a veterinarian near you that offers the plan. If so you apply and if approved you then choose the interest rate and payment plan that will work best for you. Unlike Care Credit, this plan does not defer interest, but is more like a traditional loan but with lower interest and no impact on your credit score. 

Talk with your vet

In the case of an urgent situation or when you are facing the possibility of a large bill, we suggest that you talk to your veterinary provider about your situation. Some practices will let you work out a payment plan if you can provide proof of need. And some hospitals, particularly those affiliated with universities, may have access to grants or relief programs.

Private Fundraising

Bandit’s K9Care and other nonprofit veterinary assistance programs can only assist with a fraction of the requests that are submitted to them. Often times there is a waiting period as well since most programs are run by volunteers with limited hours to devote to the programs and limited fund availability.  As an alternative, pet parents may want to consider putting up their own private fundraisers that they can share with family and friends via social media, email, etc. A few of the better-known crowdfunding options are:  

GoFundMe: GoFundMe is the largest crowdfunding platform. They advertise that they now have a 0 percent fee but they do request that a donor pay an optional “voluntary tip” on top of the donation and processing fees to help with operational costs. Once funds are collected you put in a request to withdraw funds which can occur the same day or within a few days depending upon how the fundraiser is set up. 

Petfundr: Petfundr is a free online fundraising website designed to make crowdfunding fast, easy and effective.  Donations flow directly into your banking account and there is no fee taken out – donors can pay a voluntary fee similar to GoFundMe.

GoGetFunding: GoGetFunding was launched in 2011 and is available globally accepting all major currencies. Funds are deposited as soon as they are donated into your PayPal or debit account minus a 4 percent fee. It is an easy platform to work with and they have 24-hour support. 

Facebook Fundraisers:  Facebook allows individuals to set up a fundraiser for themselves (including their pets), other individuals in need, or to support an organization. If you click the link you can select “Raise money for you or a friend” and then follow the instructions to set up a fundraiser that will deposit money directly into your bank account. 

Other Nonprofits

There are a number of other nonprofits that provide financial assistance with veterinary bills. Some are based upon location, others upon breed, some for specific medical conditions, etc. The amount of support that is offered can vary quite a bit as well. Because the list of other organizations offering financial support is constantly changing we are not able to offer a comprehensive summary. However we will share a few links to organizations that have done the research and provided a lot of helpful information:

Red RoverThe Animal FoundationFour Paws Lifeline, and Animal Cancer Foundation

About Us

Bandit’s K9Care was originally conceived in 2014 as a program under a Florida-based nonprofit to help pay the often prohibitive costs of urgent veterinary care for dogs.

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