10 Ways to Get Help With Vet Bills: Payment Plans & More

You should never have to decide between your pet’s care and other expenses. Check out these veterinary payment plans, groups that offer assistance, and more.

Published February 19, 2024
Happy dachshund dog at the vet with her owner

Veterinary bills are expensive, so much so that it’s not uncommon for people to have to decide between treating their pets and paying their rent. But it shouldn’t be this way. If you’re worried about how to pay your veterinary bills, know that there are vets that take payment plans and organizations designed to help with vet bills. Here are a few of the approaches I recommend clients take that have proven to be really helpful.

Veterinary Hospitals That Take Payment Plans

People and their dogs at the vet's front desk

When you walk up to the front desk, there’s probably a sign that says, “Payment is due at the time of service.” But what if you don’t have enough with you to cover the entire bill? There are some ways around this via payment plans.


CareCredit is a financing option that nearly all veterinary hospitals take. If you have credit and are in a position to apply for a new line, definitely look into it. With this card, you can pay your veterinary bill over time, and many of the plans are interest-free for six months!

You can apply yourself online or fill out an application when you get to the vet hospital. If you anticipate a large bill for something like surgery, it’s a good idea to do so beforehand so you know exactly what you qualify for. As a bonus, you can use CareCredit for your own medical bills, too!

Related: 8 Ways to Save on Dog Surgery Costs Without Skimping on Care


Scratchpay is similar to CareCredit, though there are a few differences. The great thing is that your credit score won’t take a hit when you check to see what a payment plan would look like and whether you qualify. Find a payment plan that works for you so you can give your pet the care they need.

Hospital-Specific Payment Plans

A lot of veterinary hospitals will offer their own form of payment plans to help clients with their veterinary bills. You’re more likely to find this at a privately owned clinic versus a corporate-owned one because they tend to have a bit more flexibility. It never hurts to ask if they have a payment plan option.

Getting Veterinary Financial Assistance

Another option, outside of payment plans, is applying for financial assistance to help cover your vet bills. Just know that some of these organizations can take a few days to process your application and let you know whether you’ve been approved, which can be too long in emergency cases. 

Quick Tip

Some veterinary hospitals have their own assistance fund that clients donate toward.

Lowering the Cost of Veterinary Care

Little happy puppy kissing the vet

There are plenty of other easy ways you can save on vet bills without sacrificing your pet’s care. I use these strategies for my own pets and recommend them to all my clients, too.


GoodRx isn’t just for human medications. You can find codes and discounts for pet meds on there as well. Find out what medication your veterinarian wants to prescribe and search for it on GoodRx, then see if you can find it at your local pharmacy or an online pet pharmacy.

Human Pharmacies

A lot of the medications we use in veterinary medicine are actually meds that humans take, too. Drugs like some antihistamines, steroids, and thyroid and seizure meds can be found at your local human pharmacy for a lot less than what your veterinarian sells them for. Ask your vet if it’s something you can get at your local pharmacy, and if so, ask them to call it in there. 

Low-Cost Vaccine Clinics

Shelters and pet stores often have low-cost shot clinics where you can get your pet updated on their vaccines for a fraction of the cost. There’s always a veterinarian present to examine your pet and either administer the vaccine themselves or oversee a technician giving it (depending on the rules in your state).

Discount Months

Everyone loves celebrating national holidays, including veterinary hospitals. I bet you didn’t know there’s a National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day or Senior Pet Month. A lot of veterinary hospitals will offer discounts on services for these holidays, so if your pet’s care isn’t urgent, you can always wait until then.

Related: Lowering Your Cat's Teeth-Cleaning Costs: 7 Tips to Chomp On

You're Not Alone With Vet Bills

There’s no harm in asking about vet hospital payment plans or applying for financial assistance if you need it. Veterinarians are tied to the hospital’s billing protocols, so they can’t give you services or medications for free, but they’ll do everything they can to help you provide your pet with the care they need without breaking the bank.

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10 Ways to Get Help With Vet Bills: Payment Plans & More