If You Can’t Afford To Pay The Vet Up Front, Here’s What You Need To Do
If you don’t have any savings or emergency funds and your pet becomes sick or injured, there’s no need to delay a trip to the vet. Delaying treatment can only make the situation worse and obviously lengthen their suffering. So here’s what you need to do in order to get them help without having to pay for anything up front:
The first thing you need to do is look for “first visit free” coupons or discount codes online. Once you find a place that has the free offer, call and make an appointment and make sure they are still offering free first exams. Ask the person scheduling your visit if you need to print them out or if it’s okay to pull it up on your phone when you arrive.
Now you’re covered to get them seen but let’s say they need to do some extra tests or other procedures. Before they do anything make sure you ask how much it costs to be done and/or if it is absolutely necessary for diagnosis. If your pet requires surgery ask if it can be set for a later date when you have more money and if there are other treatment options available.
They may be trying to treat your pet for other ailments that are not as urgent so you can ask them to treat only the most severe areas of concern during the visit. You can always schedule to come back in the future if necessary. Hopefully they can diagnose your pet by their symptoms and/or through visual examination.
More than likely your pet will need to take some type of medicine over the course of the next few weeks. You’ll have to pay to get the medicine if you want or need to start treatment immediately. If you can’t afford what they have, make sure you get the name of it and recommended dosage or a prescription so you can shop around for a lower price. Most pet medicine you can buy online without a prescription and it is usually much cheaper.
If they must start the medicine right away, you can ask if they can give you enough to last for a few days or however much you can pay. They might be able to just give a few doses to you for free or you may have to pay like 20 dollars for 3 days of medicine. This should buy you some time while you wait for the medicine you order to come in the mail.
It may be imperative for them to perform on your pet in order to save their life or for something else that needs immediate action to be taken. You can ask if they have some type of payment plans or if you can be billed at your address until you get paid or whatever the case may be. If you already think this could be the situation you’ll have to deal with it may be good to ask over the phone before you get there what types of payment plans and so forth that you can get on.
Sometimes they don’t offer paying incrementally over the course of several months and if your pet was treated outside of your control you may not be prepared or able to pay anything at all. This is when after your pet is ready to be taken home and they want you to pay them you ask for the bill to be sent to your home address. They will have no choice but to let you take your pet home and send you a bill in the mail because you “promise to pay” for their services at some future date.
It’s just like with a car when it gets impounded, by law they can’t hold something from you in a way that would build interest or fees for example storage or housing. That should at least give you some time to get the money together while you care for you pet at home. Otherwise if it goes unpaid it will eventually go to collections and have a negative impact on your credit score.
If your pet needs to be seen again later on you can just find another vet that has a free first visit offer like you did before. Also depending on where you live, you might be able to find a vet for low-income owners or through some sort of charity or welfare group.
You can prepare for these situation in advance or when you anticipate you will have to take them to be seen in the near future by buying pet insurance. If you can pay ten dollars a month it can really save you a lot of money in the long run and you won’t have to skimp on any extra treatments for your pet. It is a good precaution to take because any pet will probably need to go to the vet at least once during their lives.
If your pet is getting older and they are in good health, now is a good time to get them on an insurance plan before they get sick or need regular medical attention. Otherwise once they become diagnosed with something it will be considered a “pre-existing condition” that pet insurers will not cover. To get them insured you just need to take them in some place for a check up which again you can get done for free somewhere that has a first visit special.
The most important thing you need to think about is getting your pet feeling better as soon as possible. They need you to be vigilant about their care because they often suffer in silence. Take them to the vet and worry about the money later, they can wait for you to pay them but your pet can’t wait when they are in pain.
Plan ahead if you can, ask many questions, and be straight forward with the care team about your financial concerns and abilities. I hope your pet gets well very soon and I hope you’re feeling a bit less stress now too! Good luck!