Just because a family has a low income does not mean that it cannot have a pet to love. Everyone needs the hug of a fussy feline or a loyal canine.
The problem is that animals need a lot of care, just like children. Both cost money, but there are ways to cut costs.
Instead of buying name-brand dog food, use cheap or homemade pet food recipes. Water is readily available. You can also take care of your pet’s hygiene without breaking the bank.
But what about when your pet gets sick and requires affordable vet services?
Like people, your furry friend can get sick during the day, night, or the weekend. You’ll need to search for a 24-hour emergency vet clinic near me.
A visit to the veterinarian can be expensive! I know. I have been there. That’s why I always search for an affordable vet clinic near me.
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34 Ways To Get Free or Cheap Vet Care Near Me
Since I am always looking for budget-friendly options, I want to look for a cheap vet near me. So here are some frugal consumer options locally and nationally.
1. AVMF’s Veterinary Care Charitable Fund
AVMF promotes a program: the “Veterinary Care Charitable Fund,” to support veterinarians who provide medical services to lost, neglected, and abused animals. The program also supports owners facing extraordinary hardships.
Its vet clinic partners offer free and low-cost veterinary services to clients who cannot afford vet care with the help of some donations given by the generous. Helping low-income people avoid surrendering their furbabies to shelters or euthanizing them is their program’s primary goal.
If your local veterinarian is an AVMF partner, they may request these funds on your behalf.
2. Brown Dog Foundation
The Brown Dog Foundation responds to requests from people without enough money to treat pets facing death that will respond favorably to treatment. So if your pet’s life is in danger, you may get some help from the Brown Dog Foundation.
It’s a small organization but caters to several requests for free veterinary care for low income nearby.
Website: Brown Dog Foundation
3. Cooper’s Legacy Foundation
Cooper’s Legacy Foundation helps families in Idaho and Washington with dogs and cats that require treatment. If your pet is licensed and has updated vaccines, you can potentially receive funds.
However, you cannot request free vet care for cats and dogs when using the funds on a pre-existing condition or even diagnostic testing.
Website: Cooper’s Legacy Foundation
4. Dylan’s Hearts
Dylan’s Hearts helps financially struggling families pay for emergency vet care. Its mission is to reduce the over 117,000 animals put to sleep every week because low-income families can’t afford treatment.
How to get a grant from Dylan’s Heart?
First, find a cheap vet near me to provide a diagnostic procedure. Then apply for the grant before the treatment takes place. Only the veterinarian can complete the application for financial assistance for your pet.
Website: Dylan’s Hearts
5. First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP)
FCNMHP is an accessible and affordable vet clinic in Florida and Georgia. It saves the lives of dogs and cats by providing low-cost neuter and spay services.
First Coast No More Homeless Pets runs the largest spay and neuter pet clinic in the country. They perform over 20,000 surgeries per year to prevent overcrowding at partner shelters.
It is not a fund like some other veterinary clinics on this list. FCNMHP provides cheap vet services at 40% less than the typical price, making them extremely valuable to any community.
Website: First Coast No More Homeless Pets
Use the FluffyRX app instead of filling your prescription at your local vet clinic. Most pet owners don’t realize they can fill many veterinary medications at their local pharmacy.
Many human medications are the same or similar to animal medication. However, the price difference between human and animal medicine can be significant.
Who accepts the free FluffyRX pet prescription discount card?
See our guide on Walmart Pharmacy open and close hours near me.
How does the affordable pet prescription card work?
- Print the free pet Rx card
- Present the card to your local pharmacist
- Save on pet meds
7. Frankie’s Friends
Frankie’s Friends provides pet care assistance for low-income owners. The criteria for providing financial assistance are based on the pet’s geographic location, financial need, diagnosis, and prognosis—Frankie’s Friends partners with emergency veterinary and specialty care pet hospitals.
You can get up to $500 to help you with free veterinary care for low-income near me.
Frankie’s Friends also helps save pets’ lives by providing grants to assist with life-saving or life-enhancing emergency care for families that cannot afford the whole treatment cost.
Website: Frankie’s Friends
8. Handicapped Pets Foundation
The Handicapped Pets Foundation assists injured, elderly, and disabled pets. It donates free dig wheelchairs to pets-in-need.
The pet owner will complete the application for a new or reconditioned pet wheelchair that’s reviewed monthly. All applicants will receive a response after completing the review process each month.
Website: Handicapped Pets Foundation
9. Harley’s Hope Foundation
Harley’s Hope Foundation helps low income families keep pets in their existing homes. They primarily provide financial assistance for major veterinary care and emergency foster care. HHF does not pay existing vet expenses and bills.
Your Harley’s Hope Foundation application must include your nearby vet clinic’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis. The prognosis should be strong for them to consider providing financial assistance for your sick pet.
Website: Harley’s Hope Foundation
10. Hope Mending Hearts
Unlike the previous suggestions, Hope Mending Hearts only helps those who need a little bit of assistance. The typical pet grant is between $100-$200 to help animals who need emergency vet care to survive.
The grants are decided based on financial need, medical urgency, pet eligibility, treatment plan, owner’s financial need, and available funding. Once the online application is completed, you can expect a response within one to two business days.
Website: Hope Mending Hearts
11. Ian Somerhalder Foundation
The Ian Somerhalder Foundation provides funding for emergency vet care for rescued pets in need. The foundation can provide up to $1000, depending on the injuries incurred.
Website: Ian Somerhalder Foundation
12. Magic Bullet Fund
Sometimes, the unexpected happens. Your dog is diagnosed with cancer. The cost of a regular checkup from the dog vet just went up a lot! Of course, it also applies to cats.
20,000 dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer daily. Since 2019, Magic Bullet Fund has helped over 700 owners with cancer treatment for pets. The money is intended for life preservation and not to pay for euthanasia.
Funds are sent directly to the vet clinic on the treatment day and are not used to pay for past due balances.
Check if your animal meets the requirements on the Magic Bullet Fund application page.
13. Onyx & Breezy Foundation
The Onyx & Breezy Foundation has a mission to help each animal live another day. It provides support and funding for the following vet services:
- Spay and neuter programs
- Food, supplies, and medicine
- Rescue animals from kill shelters
- Equipment and medicine for police and military canines
- Puppy mill rescues, foster groups, shelters, and sanctuaries
- Vet care for low income families
- Assist dogs of veterans suffering from PTSD
The Onyx & Breeze Foundation pet grant application will require individual tax returns or current balance sheet, diagnosis and prognosis, care credit status, an estimate of cost, and contact information.
Website: Onyx & Breezy Foundation
14. Paws 4 A Cure
Paws 4 A Cure provides financial assistance for vet care for low income families. It helps dogs and cats with injuries and illnesses of any age, breed, or diagnosis.
Paws 4 A Cure doesn’t pay for routine care such as spaying, neutering, vaccinations, heartworm prevention medication, routine dental care, flea and tick removal, and euthanasia.
It can offer up to $500 to help with your emergency vet care. Check the online guidelines to see if you qualify for their financial aid.
Website: Paws 4 A Cure
15. Pet Assistance, Inc.
Pet Assistance, Inc assists in life-threatening conditions for hundreds of pets with a good prognosis each year. In addition, it offers grants, referrals, and even money-saving tips for frugal consumers.
Complete the Pet Assistance application to qualify for emergency vet care.
Website: Pet Assistance
16. Pet Fund
Pet Fund provides financial assistance for vet care for low income families who cannot afford costly surgery or medical treatment. The types of pet treatments include heart disease, cancer treatment, kidney disease, spay and neuter procedures, dental, vaccinations, broken leg, torn ligaments, endocrine disorders, chronic conditions, and cataract surgery.
Eligible pet owners can get on the one-time grant waitlist for assistance.
Website: Pet Fund
17. Pit Bulls Against Misinformation
Pit Bulls Against Misinformation may deter you if you don’t have a pit bull. But, the good news is that the organization doesn’t just help pit bulls but all dog breeds.
What pet assistance programs does Pit Bulls Against Misinformation have?
- Rescue: Grant up to $1,000 for rescue groups that save dogs with medical needs from the shelter’s euthanasia.
- Shelter: Offers grants for shelter needs, including building dog runs, adding kennels, starting foster and off-site adoption, toys, pet adoption photographer fees, obedience training, tech funding, and animal control.
- Owner: The owner’s grant helps with food, pet supplies, fence repairs, kennels, temporary boarding, pet sitting due to the medical needs of the owner, and rental deposit assistance. The payment will be sent directly to the business or online store to purchase the pet supplies.
- Good Samaritan: It’s a grant for people who’ve found stray animals needing emergency vet care nearby, food, crate, leash, and related.
- Veterinary Care: The grant is for emergency vet clinic needs for all dogs, emphasizing pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Requirements for the grant include: the prognosis for the animal’s survival must be at least 70%, demonstrate financial need, vet report, photos of the dog, and a commitment to provide an update. The financial assistance for the dog is capped at $2,500 per animal.
Website: Pit Bulls Against Misinformation
18. The Animal Foundation
The Animal Foundation is a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Las Vegas. Since opening in 1978, they are now the highest volume animal shelter under a single roof in America. They performed over 17,000 spay and neuter surgeries, over 15,000 vaccinations, and over 16,000 microchipping implants in the last year.
The Animal Foundation tries to save every healthy and treatable animal, including dogs, cats, pigs, roosters, rabbits, and exotic animals.
The affordable vet hospital is open 7-day per week from 10 am to 3 pm by appointment. The Animal Foundation also offers curbside vaccines and microchips.
Website: The Animal Foundation
19. Red Flyer
The Red Flyer’s mission is to give animals the gift of mobility. Over the last six years, they’ve donated over 450 wheelchairs for pets with disabilities. Though, going forward, they are making disabled pet wheelchairs available exclusively to Rescue Groups.
Learn more at the Red Flyer Facebook pages. Contact them via phone, email, or Facebook Messenger.
20. RedRover Relief
The RedRover Relief program provides financial resources, emotional support, and assistance for low income families or facing economic hardship when a pet requires urgent care. The program will grant up to $200 for emergency vet care.
The online Applications usually receive a response within two business days.
RedRover also has domestic violence pet-friendly shelters in every state.
21. Riedel & Cody Fund
Riedel & Cody Fund assists dogs and cats diagnosed with cancer. It tends to favor funding chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
The Riedel & Cody Fund grant process is as follows: confirmed cancer diagnosis, how much the pet owner can afford, complete the online application, board review, fund the emergency surgery, and sharing your successful award on social media.
Website: Riedel & Cody Fund
22. Shakespeare Animal Fund
Shakespeare Animal Fund offers financial assistance for emergency veterinary bills for sickness, accidents, and other emergency care. They’ve helped over 13,000 pets in northern Nevada since its inception.
Shakespeare Animal Fund will help with emergency pet care for the disabled, elderly, and whose total income doesn’t exceed current poverty guidelines. Click here for the current US Department of Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines. Depending on the number of people in the household, it can range from around $12,000 to $44,000 in annual income.
Website: Shakespeare Animal Fund
SpayUSA provides low-cost neutering and spaying services to pet owners. It connects pet owners that need financial assistance with over 1,500 affordable vet clinics and sterilization programs.
24. Veterinary Care Foundation
Veterinary Care Foundation uses funds to help vet practices supplement their discounted and free pet care.
Website: Veterinary Care Foundation
25. Other Animal Welfare Organizations
Search for local organizations offering affordable vet care or financial assistance in your area. Their focus is to ensure the good health of animals in the community.
The organizations will find ways to assist with emergency vet bills for low income families.
26. Local Vets
Conduct a search using “affordable vet clinic near me” to find some inexpensive options. Some clinics provide completely free vet care, while others offer low-cost vet clinic services for low income families on a budget.
In addition, some vets offer first-time customers a discount. For example, based on experience, my veterinary offered a 15% discount on my pet’s first consultation.
Feel free to be honest about your budget concerns when contacting them for care.
27. Veterinary Schools
Veterinary schools are more likely to provide your pet with proper care at discounted prices. You may even be lucky to get a free basic checkup.
Contact the vet schools in your community to find free or low cost vet clinics nearby.
Crowdfunding is a new way to raise money for pet surgery. Start a GoFundMe page to raise money for emergency vet care; it’s easy to start.
Provide as much information as possible and loveable photos for people to relate to.
29. Search for Cheaper Pet Prescriptions
Be extra cautious when buying prescriptions directly from your vet, as you may be overpaying.
Here’s a list of places to get cheaper pet prescriptions online:
You can also use PharmacyChecker to compare pet prescription prices.
Always be extra careful when you’re buying the cheapest pet prescriptions online. Only buy pet medication from reputable sites with good reviews.
See our open and close Walmart Pharmacy hours nearby guide.
30. Prepare a Pet Savings Account
Just like humans, your pet can have a savings account, too. Budget for anticipated costs like food and vaccines, but also emergency vet clinic bills and diseases. It helps you get ahead of surprise medical bills.
Some credit unions and banks offer pet savings accounts. In addition, some special savings accounts offer benefits like higher interest rates, donations to a local annual shelter, or discounts on pet insurance.
What can I use a pet savings account for?
It’s basically a personal bank account for your pet! You can spend money on related expenses such as:
- Pet insurance premiums and deductibles
- Veterinary clinic services
- Buy a new pet
- Food cost
- Training and obedience class
- Buy toys
If you put enough money away, it will feel closer to free vet care.
31. Invest in Pet Insurance
Pet insurance generally covers the unexpected medical costs for your dog or cat getting sick or in an accident. Most insurance only covers dogs and cats, but some exotic pet insurance policies cover animals like frogs and gerbils.
A typical pet insurance policy won’t cover checkups, rabies, routine care, not pre-existing conditions.
You can read more tips for buying pet insurance here.
32. Invest in Wellness Plans
Wellness plans cover only preventive care and routine costs but exclude illnesses and injuries. Check if the plan is covered by your cheap veterinarian nearby or pet insurance policies.
Such plans allow you to pay smaller amounts through monthly installments to budget for things like vaccines, wellness exams, preventive blood and urine screenings, and dental cleanings.
Follow vaccination schedules, and discuss heartworm prevention with your local vet.
33. Subscribe to Payment Plans
An installment plan is one of the best options when you can’t afford to pay the bill in full. Some affordable vets allow a payment plan without additional fees. For example, select company plans charge interest over time, while some third-party companies like ScratchPay offer payment plans that do not require a credit check nor charge interest.
34. Veterinary Credit Lines
You might want to consider getting a special line of credit exclusively for veterinary expenses. Companies such as CareCredit offer various financing options to be used for pet owners facing unaffordable vet care.
How To Reduce Your Vet Bills”
There aren’t many free vet clinics nearby. However, here are some tips and tricks to save money on your vet bills on your next trip.
If you have a pet, keeping them healthy is always better than putting your pet through the discomfort of a vet trip.
Here are some tips to make your vet bill more affordable:
A common health issue pet owners face is allowing their pets to overeat. Unfortunately, it might not only cause your pet to be overweight but will also cause health problems that come with obesity.
Carefully read the food product label you’re feeding to your pets, and only give the recommended amount.
You take proper care of your teeth to reduce your dental bills, right? So why not do the same for your pet? Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly will reduce dental issues and infections of the mouth, leading to organ damage.
Your pet’s mouth is the gateway to his body. So keeping your pet’s mouth clean is the first step to ensuring your pet’s safety.
Lack of exercising your pet goes hand in hand with the overfeeding aspect. Too much food and not enough exercise are the leading causes of obesity in pets. Not getting enough exercise might also cause your pet to exhibit mental issues like depression, anxiety, and lethargy.
Take enough time out of your day, every day, to exercise with your pet. It will keep him healthier and improve your bond while making your pet happier and healthier.
While vaccines may not seem obvious, it’s most commonly overlooked. Unfortunately, not vaccinating your pets can lead them vulnerable to several infections and diseases, which will eventually lead to expensive veterinary bills.
However, there are free pet vaccination options. See our guide above for discounts or free veterinary care for low income nearby.
Your pets might be susceptible to intestinal worms due to their lifestyles and diets. Although deworming your pets can be challenging, it will keep them safe.
What to do if you cannot afford vet care?
If you cannot afford vet care, shop for a cheap vet nearby and ask for a discount or a payment plan. Also, seek the help of foundations that provide cheap or free veterinary care for low income owners.
Here are ways to make pet care more affordable:
- Payment Options – Ask your local vet if they offer a payment plan
- Pet Insurance – Before it’s too late, research some insurance plans for pets. The average pet owner spends over $230 a year on vet care for their dog and around $160 for a cat.
- Credit Line – Get a small credit line for emergency vet care
- Find Affordable Care – Find a free or low cost vet clinic nearby to perform neuter and spay surgeries.
- Nonprofit Assistance – There’s a list of foundations and nonprofits willing to assist with emergency vet care for free
- Pet Savings Account – Putting aside a little money each month will help offset an unexpected emergency vet care visit.
See our guide on how to get a service dog for free.
Does anyone give away free dog food near me?
The best places to get free dog food nearby include:
- Humane Society – Has a list of national and local places that give away free pet food, along with other low-cost pet services
- Meals on Wheels – Some local Meals on Wheels have a We All Love Our Pets program that offers seniors free pet food for their companions.
- Animal shelters – Some shelters maintain a food bank for animals.
- Nonprofit Pet Organizations – Google nearby foundations
- Breed-Specific Associations – Some organizations focus on supporting specific breeds with food. However, the pet association may consider other animals too. Try finding local breed groups on Facebook.
- Vet Clinics – Some clinics participate in charitable programs to provide free pet food for local low-income families.
- Pet Store – Some pet stores can reduce the price of food for special needs situations. Perhaps they have samples, an over-abundance of specific dog food, or food approaching its expiration date.
- Food Pantry – Your local food pantry not only provides for families but likely free food for pets too.
- Manufacturers – Write or call pet food manufacturers for free samples. You won’t get a lifetime supply of food, but every little bit helps.
- Religious Organizations – Most religious organizations often assist local low-income families and may have dog food donations in their stockpile.
How much does a vet office visit cost?
The average cost for services at a vet clinic are as follows:
- Regular checkup – $45 to $55
- Vaccinations – $170-$250
- Teeth cleaning – $70 to $400
- Cat neutering and spaying – $35-$300
- Dog chemo – $6,000-$10,000
According to CareCredit, a regular checkup is affordable if it’s part of your monthly budget. A dental cleaning can be a little more expensive, but you can save money by brushing your pet’s teeth yourself.
How much is the cancer treatment for dogs?
A cancer diagnosis for a dog will cost around $1,500, and chemotherapy ranges from $200 to $5,000. In addition, radiation therapy costs an additional $2,000 to $6,000.
Dog cataract surgery can cost up to $4,000. However, the good news is it’s a one-time surgery vs. continuous cancer treatments. Anyone with a low income or less than steady income may need some help with cancer treatment payments.
See our guide above for free or low cost veterinary care for low income near me.
Is pet insurance worth the cost?
There’s no clear answer if pet insurance is worth the cost. Consider pet insurance that covers severe illnesses, like cancer, because it covers more than you paid.
However, insurance for regular care does not make sense because it costs about the same as you’re paying for routine visits and care.
Can I talk with a vet online for free?
There are services online that provide free answers to vet-related questions. But, most of the questions are quick answers that can be answered from a long distance.
However, some queries cannot be answered without a proper checkup for the correct diagnosis. Therefore, doctors of all kinds are careful about handing out answers without seeing the patient.
Can I get a pet prescription online?
Yes, you can get pet prescriptions online, but your veterinarian should write the prescription.
You should still get your pet checked by a licensed vet to get the proper diagnosis and care. The vet must see the pet to get a prescription medication.
However, over-the-counter (OTC) medication can be easily bought online or local pharmacies.
Free Vet Care for Low-Income Families Near Me Summary
Having a pet can be expensive. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own one.
There are many reasons a low-income family has pets:
- They love pets and generally offer a good home unless they get diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness.
- Inherited the pet from a loved one.
- Rescued some animals that became part of their lives.
- Pets can provide companionship and security. Some serve as guard dogs, while others serve as service dogs for the disabled.
Taking care of pets can be challenging. However, there are services out there that can make life a lot easier. For example, you can visit a local 24-hour emergency vet clinic open now. But, it’s unlikely to offer cheap or affordable vet care?
You see our guide after you found a cheap vet nearby. However, it’s wise to shop for alternative pet care to save money. Thankfully, there are ways to save some money on pet care for low income families.
Most of the options listed are nonprofit organizations that revolve around their love for animals. The organizations can provide you with funds based on the size of the foundation and your eligibility and need.
Yes, they prefer helping out emergency vet services with a good prognosis and whose income is below a certain threshold. The organizations want to provide vet care for low income families nearby or nationally.
Some local clinics have already pledged to offer free or cheap vet care for charity cases. For example, a clinic may have a set quota to spend or be driven by the doctor’s love for animals.
Are you looking for free or cheap vet care nearby? Before you panic, consider the options listed above. Then, start dialing, emailing, and completing online applications to receive some discounted vet care.