Finances for Fido
For many of us, our pets are family. We would never want the almighty dollar to determine if our pets get the medication or treatment they need, but the reality is, sometimes that has to happen. Before you have to make any difficult decisions, here are a few ideas to help you when the time comes!
Try sending money from each paycheck to a separate savings account for your pets. Out of sight, out of mind, and when the time comes, you'll have a cash reserve to help pay for veterinary expenses. I know some budget for all known expenses with a little reserve and some stash it away only for emergencies. Even annual visits, heartworm checks, and preventatives can add up!
There are many options out there for pet insurance. Some through "human" insurance companies and others stand on their own. The list continues to grow and each insurance carrier has different rules, so I won't even try and cover it all here. Needless to say, I have seen more than a handful of people "saved" by insurance because their pet became quite ill or required an extensive medical procedure, like a TPLO for a torn knee ligament.
Once upon a time, my dogs got on the counter and snacked their way through a bottle of chewable Rimadyl. Unfortunately, with ingestions like this, it requires 24 hour observation which was not and is not offered in my area. Off we went to the very expensive, pre-payment required, 24/7 emergency pet hospital about an hour away from us. This was the first time I had ever been required to provide such a large pre-payment up front. This is where I learned about Care Credit.
Essentially, Care Credit is a line of credit that is interest free for a period of time. (Watch out though because after that, the interest gets ya.) It can provide a nice cushion for pay back and you can set up payment plans so your balance is paid off at the end of the time period. Below is a snippet from their website FAQ section.
"Our No interest if Paid in Full Within 6, 12, 18 and 24 month financing options (sometimes called Deferred Interest) let you pay for purchases of $200 or more with minimum monthly payments made throughout the duration of your promotional period. Interest accrues during the promotional period but will not be charged if you pay your balance in full by the end of the promotional period.*"
Check out more about Care Credit by clicking here.
Did you know you can fill your pet's prescription at a regular pharmacy? Did you know that sometimes it's cheaper and more convenient? On two occasions, I have had my vets call in emergency prescriptions to a human 24/7 pharmacy to get my dog through until the following day. Both times generics were filled and the cost was minimal. Our vet is great and if we find that a prescription is cheaper at the pharmacy, they are more than willing to fill it there. (Also, random note, sometimes there is a significant price difference between tablets and capsules for the same medication!)
Did you also know that you can use GoodRX for pet prescriptions!? We use GoodRX to save money on our prescriptions, but I now also use it to check my dogs' prescription prices. Honestly, so far, our vets prices have been very similar but if I found one that saved me a chunk of change, you can bet that I would be asking them to send the prescription out.
GoodRX is a website that can be found here, but it's also a phone app! I only use the phone app. You can check to see pharmacy prices local to you because that will vary as well. There's no fee and no associated cost, but there are savings to be found! (There is GoodRX Gold, which has a fee and supposedly gets you better deals on prescriptions. I have not tried it, but I believe there is a free trial if you were interested.)
I hope some of these options will help you save some money or peace of mind. If you have something for me to add or have a personal experience with any of these that you think would help others when reviewing this post, please let me know!