Veterinary care can become expensive, especially when dealing with an unexpected emergency or a condition that requires expertise. You may want to consider pet insurance or starting a special savings account to set aside money for your dog.
If you are already facing veterinary expenses that you cannot afford, below is a list of resources that may help. This list is not an endorsement of any particular foundation or a guarantee of funds. Each program has its own process, so you’ll have to research each one to find out how to apply.
Most, if not all, of these organizations require that you apply for assistance BEFORE starting treatment and will ONLY MAKE PAYMENT DIRECTLY TO THE VET.
In addition, many require that you pursue the following options before they will consider your application:
- Get a diagnosis, estimated cost of treatment and prognosis from your vet. Consultations can be expensive themselves, but most groups will want to know exactly what is wrong with your dog, how it will be treated, and what the total cost will be in order to evaluate your situation.
- Ask your vet if they offer payment plans. Funds are limited, and organizations want to make sure that they’re helping people who truly have no other option for treating their animals.
- Ask your vet if their clinic has its own fund. Sometimes the best way to get assistance is right in your vet’s office, where they already know you.
- Contact your local animal shelter. Many shelters keep a list of local assistance programs and/or clinics that are subsidized or offer sliding scales. Some state university veterinary schools also have assistance programs.
- Apply to Care Credit (www.carecredit.com). This is a low-interest credit card just for vet expenses. Some of the organizations below require you to apply to Care Credit before they will consider your request.
General & Emergency Vet Care Resources
American Animal Hospital Association (www.aahahelpingpets.org) – vets can apply on behalf of clients who are experiencing financial hardship or for animals that have been abandoned at their clinic
RedRover Relief (www.redrover.org/relief) – RedRover Relief provides financial assistance grants and additional resources so pet owners and rescuers can care for animals who need urgent veterinary care. Visit www.redrover.org/grants for eligibility requirements and application. RedRover also offers financial assistance for victims of domestic violence and their pets. To learn more about this program, visit www.redrover.org/domestic.
The Pet Fund (www.thepetfund.org) – urgent, non-emergency veterinary care
IMOM: In Memory of Magic (www.imom.org) – dedicated to ensuring no companion animal is euthanized simply because his or her caretaker is financially challenged. does not donate to cancer or chronic illnesses.
Angels for Animals (www.angels4animals.org) – works with clinics when an animal is facing being euthanized or surrendered because of financial limitations. “Lost & Found Progam” helps owners pay to have their animal microchipped.
Fundable (www.fundable.com) – set up a fundraising page to collect donations for your pet. no specific requirements, but you must meet the goal you set to collect the money.
Disease Specific & Specialty Vet Care Resources
Tails of Hope Foundation (www.tailsofhopefoundation.org) – donates primarily to owners who are unemployed or on medical disability whose animal has been diagnosed with cancer and have a good prognosis
Piggers’ Pals: A Foundation of Hope (www.piggerspals.org) – assistance for specialty level vet care that will extend both the quantity and quality of life for your pet
The Magic Bullet Fund (www.themagicbulletfund.org) – cancer treatment for dogs 10 years and younger
Canine Cancer Awareness (www.caninecancerawareness.org)
Cody’s Club (codysclub.bravehost.com) – assistance with radiation therapy
Diabetic Pet Fund (www.petdiabetes.net/fund)
Handicapped Pet Help Fund (www.handicappedpets.com) – for disabled pets
Location Specific Resources
SOS Pets (www.sewardanimals.com/soshome.htm) – emergency fund for rescued and homeless animals
Valley Verde Area
Animal Aid Network (members.tripod.com/Animal_Aid_Network/AAN/SAVE.htm) – provides assistance for medical emergencies if owners will sign a contract agreeing to pay back the money so other animals can be funded
Los Angeles Area
Actors and Others for Animals (www.actorsandothers.com/emergencyhelp.html) – assistance with emergency medical procedures for limited income owners
Animal Guardian Society (www.animalguardiansociety.org/medicalaid.htm) - assistance for low-income families and seniors whose pets need urgent medical care
Pet Orphans (www.petorphans.org/good_samaritan_program.shtml) – helps rescuers with spay/neuter, vaccinations, adoption events, and medical emergencies when funds are available
Voice for the Animals Foundation (www.vftafoundation.org/helpingfriends) – helps seniors, people with disabilities, terminal illnesses, or fixed income care for their pets
Redwood City Area
Pets in Need (www.petsinneed.org) – primarily helps senior citizens with routine vet care and, on a more limited basis, more comprehensive vet care and low-income individuals
San Francisco SPCA (www.sfspca.org/veterinary-hospital/financing-options.html) – low-income pet owners in the San Francisco city limits
Bay Cities Area
Nike Animal Rescue Foundation (www.narfrescue.org/services/veterinary_support.htm) – works with hospitals and clinics to offer reduced rates and payment plans
Harrison Memorial Hospital (www.hmah.org) – veterinary care for service animals or therapy animals
Briar Cliff Animal Foundation (www.briarcliffanimalfoundation.org) – medical care of indigent and stray animals
Northern Nevada/Lake Tahoe
Shakespeare Animal Fund (www.shakespeareanimalfund.org) – one-time grants primarily for those on fixed incomes or with annual incomes below $35,000
Art for Animals (www.artforanimals.org) – assistance for organizations and individuals working with established rescue groups
New York City
NY SAVE Inc (www.nysave.org) – emergency vet care funds for low-income owners living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island
Humane Society at Lollypop Farms – assistance and pet food bank for seniors on fixed incomes
Ashley’s Angel Fund (www.ashleyfund.org) – assists owners whose pet is facing a life threatening condition. Also has the Zach Memorial Fund for dogs with cancer
The Bearen Foundation (www.bearenfoundation.org) – accepts requests directly from vets
Pro-Bone-O (www.proboneo.org) – free vet services for pets of people who are homeless in the Lane County area
PAWS of Centre County (www.centrecountypaws.org) – helps with medical costs of rescued animals
Pet-DC (www.petsdc.org) – services for pet owners with HIV/AIDS
Pet Samaritan Fund (www.petsamaritan.org) – financial assistance for owners unable to afford vet care
Rural Areas (Appalachia and Native Nations)
HSUS Rural Area Vet Services (www.ruralareavet.org) – mobile clinic providing spay/neuter and routine care
Breed Specific Resources
National Breed Clubs – If you have a purebred dog, check with your breed club. Some of them have veterinary assistance programs.
Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program (www.fveap.org) – assistance for those who cannot afford veterinary services to save their cat when life-threatening illness or injury strikes
Cats in Crisis (www.catsincrisis.org) – helps individuals care for cats with chronic or emergency medical conditions, has a number of funds dedicated to specific diseases
Golden Retrievers www.goldstockfund.org
Great Pyrenees www.angelfire.com/bc2/pyramedic/summary
Labrador Retriever www.labmed.org or www.labradorlifeline.org
Pit Bulls www.pbrc.net