An unexpected vets bill can add a lot of strain to households (Picture: Getty)
The cost of living crisis is impacting all areas of personal finance – including pet ownership.
Keeping a pet, particular cats and dogs, can cost a considerable amount each month – and that’s just regular bills. What if your beloved companion needs an unexpected trip (or trips) to the vet following an accident or illness?
Fortunately, there is help out there. From payment plans to low- or no-cost veterinary care, owners have options to make sure their pets get the care they need.
Read on to learn more.
1. Before you do anything else, talk to your vet and be honest about what you can afford. They are best placed to advise you on what options you might have.
2. Ask them for a prescription if your dog needs medication. It’s likely you’ll be able to get it more cheaply from a pharmacy, though you will still pay for the prescription.
3. Research vet clinics around you. Some specifically aim to offer low-cost care and there are some not-for-profit clinics funded by companies such as the Animal Trust.
The PDSA can help people on low incomes with veterinary care (Picture: Alamy)
4. Some vets offer a payment plan to spread the cost of high bills. Remember that this is a loan, so be very sure that you are able to afford the monthly repayments or you will be charged penalty interest.
5. The People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals, more commonly know as the PDSA, offers low-cost and sometimes free vet care for sick or injured pets whose owners are struggling financially. Eligibility varies by location but if you are claiming benefits, it’s worth checking if you can apply.
Cost-cutting tips for dog owners
Switch expensive treats and chews with cheap and healthy veg. Carrots, broccoli, green beans and even frozen peas are all great alternatives.
Making your own treats can also keep costs down. Dogs Trust has plenty of simple do-it-yourself recipes on its website.
Buy beds, leads and toys second-hand, from charity shops and look online at sites such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace where some people list things for free.
And groom-it-yourself? You can get grooming sets online for as little as £15 online – a big money-saver compared to visits to the groomer, which can cost more than £50 a go. Home grooming won’t be suitable for all breeds or dog owners.
6. The RSPCA will sometimes provide funding through local branches and hospitals to assist with bills.