“Are there any free or low-cost veterinary care services near me?”
When your pet gets sick you want to do everything you can to care for them and restore their health.
But vet care can be very costly, and if you’re unemployed, living on a low income, or just going through a tough phase financially, affording it can be difficult, if not impossible.
Sure, there are ways you can save money on vet bills, but there are also many wonderful organizations and charities that offer low cost and even no-cost veterinary services for dogs, cats and other pets.
Free Vet Care
Getting completely free veterinary care for your pet can be tough, but there are a few organizations out there that offer financial assistance, including:
PAWS is an organization that helps people to pay for vet care.
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It also offers a variety of no-cost veterinary services, like vaccinations and microchipping. PAWS offers this free veterinary care to pet owners that are living on a low income.
If you want to get help from PAWs, visit the link below.
- More info at: https://www.paws.org/about/contact/
2. AVMF’s Veterinary Care Charitable Fund
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) offers a program called the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund.
It helps veterinarians to provide low cost and free veterinary care for low-income pet owners, disabled veterans, and victims of domestic violence.
You can learn more about the fund on their site.
The program is open to current clients of AVMA member veterinarians who are enrolled with the AVMF.
Ask your personal veterinarian if they are enrolled. If not, your veterinarian can contact AVMF for more information on participating in the program.
The Prince Chunk Emergency Veterinary Care Assistance Program provides free emergency vet care to pet owners that are struggling financially.
What’s great about this program is that you can pre-apply for it. So, even if your pet is healthy now, you can apply for funding for future emergency care, should your pet need it.
Then, if an emergency does occur, the program will pre-approve your application and keep it on file, and then your pet can get care as quickly as possible.
So, whether you’re living on a low income or are looking for free vet care for unemployed pet owners, you should definitely take a look at the Emergency Veterinary Care Assistance Program
You can find out if you are eligible for the program, by reading the “Maximum Family Income Eligibility” Document. All the documents you need, contact numbers and more information about the program can all be found on the page below.
4. First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP)
FCNMHP is an organization that offers free, discounted and low-cost veterinary services. It offers free services in certain areas, like spaying/neutering. If you want to learn about which free vet services are available, then visit the “Free, Discounted, and Low-Cost Veterinary Services” (link below) page of the FCNMHP website.
The organization also provides a plethora of low-cost vet services. Since 2009, the FCNMHP has provided more than 60,000 pets with state-of-the-art medical care at 40 percent less than the cost of most veterinary clinics.
5. Local clinics near you
A lot of local clinics offer free veterinary care. At these clinics, you can get treatments and medical care for your pet.
These clinics generally provide free or low-cost spaying/neutering, but sometimes they offer other basic services.
If you’re wondering “how can I find free vet clinics near me?”, then you should check out the links below.
On the pages linked below, you can search for clinics in your area:
How to Find Low Cost Vet Care Near Me!
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many organizations and animal hospitals out there that provide completely free veterinary care, but there are many that offer low-cost vet care.
This can be really helpful if you’re struggling financially.
Here are a few organizations and resources you should check out.
The aim of SpayUSA is to provide low-cost spaying and neutering services to pet owners. It acts as a referral service that connects pet owners in need of financial assistance to over 1,500 low-cost clinics and sterilization programs.
For more information on the program, visit SpayUSA.org.
7. Shakespeare Animal Fund
The Shakespeare Animal Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners who can’t afford to pay for veterinary care.
It assists pet owners who have a fixed income or earn below $35,000 per year. The organization offers one-time grants.
You can learn more about eligibility requirements and how the organization can help you by visiting ShakespeareAnimalFund.org.
8. Visit a veterinary school or college near you
Many veterinary schools offer the same services that veterinary clinics do, but at a much lower cost.
All of the procedures and treatments performed by students are supervised by a vet too.
If you want to find an accredited veterinary college near you, then check out the Accredited Veterinary Colleges list from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
9. Local animal welfare groups and charities
A lot of local animal shelters, animal welfare organizations and rescue groups provide low cost vet care. They usually offer routine care and services like spaying/neutering.
10. Compare prices for prescriptions
Pet medication can be pricey. And as far as I know, there aren’t any prescription discount cards or programs like there are for humans, for animal prescriptions. That said, if you do a little research, you might be able to find it at a lower cost.
Take the time to compare the prices of medication from places like:
You might find that the prices at your vet’s are cheaper or more expensive, but it’s always good to do a bit of comparison shopping.
Always be careful when you’re buying medications for your pet. Only buy from reputable, well-reviewed sites. You don’t want to put your pet’s health at risk.
There’s a useful guide from the USFDA that offers advice and safety tips for buying pet meds online. Check it out here.
11. Check out our list of organizations that help with vet bills
We recently published an in-depth post that lists more than 20 organizations that help with vet bills.
You should definitely check it out for more resources.
How to Save Money on Veterinary Bills (Without Compromising Your Pet’s Health)
If you’re wondering how to save money on vet bills, check out our handy guide. It will help you to lessen the financial impact of being a pet owner.
1. Keep your pet at a healthy weight
If you want to lower vet bills, then make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pet. Many of the health problems that affect pets, like cats and dogs, are caused by them being overweight or even obese.
Dogs, cats, and other pets that are on the heavier side are at a higher risk of issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis.
So, make sure that you don’t overfeed your pet and that they get plenty of exercise – this will not only save you money on vet bills, but also on food!
Ask your vet for advice on how much your pet should be eating.
You can also find a lot of info online about how much to feed certain pets.
Here are a few great resources:
- Are You Feeding Your Dog the Right Amount? – Pet MD
- Feeding Tips for Big, Little, and Middle-Sized Dogs – Web MD
- Cat Nutrition Tips – ASPCA
- How Much Should I Feed My Cat? – Pet MD
2. Take your pet for checkups regularly
While it might seem pricey up front to take your pet for regular checkups, it can actually save you money in the long run.
When you take your pet for a physical examination, the vet can detect issues early on, before they turn into a more complicated and expensive problem – essentially, you can save yourself a ton on medical bills just by taking your pet for checkups.
Dogs and cats, depending on their age and breed, require a checkup once to twice per year – ask your vet how often your pet requires a checkup.
3. Use the right supplements
Using nutritional supplements can have a really positive impact on your furry friends’ health.
Many of them can help boost your pet’s immune system, and improve their overall health. But, be careful not to get caught up in the marketing hype when choosing supplements – many supplements are unnecessary.
Instead, ask your vet about which ones your pet would actually benefit from.
When you give your pet supplements, it keeps them healthy and prevents future trips to the vet.
Here are a few resources for you to check out:
- The Top Ten Pet Supplements: Do They Work? – Science Based Medicine
- The Importance of Supplements for Your Pets – Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
4. Look around for the best deal
Did you know that fees for treatments and procedures can vary significantly from one vet to the next?
One vet might charge significantly less than another for checkups.
Or you might find that one facility charges much more for an ultrasound than another one does.
So, take the time to shop around for services and call to get a few quotes – when you do this, you can often save yourself a lot of money on vet bills.
5. Consider veterinary colleges
Veterinary colleges are one of the best places to find cheap pet care services.
At vet colleges, students looking for practical experience offer services like checkups and vaccinations. Some also offer basic procedures too.
And, most of these services and procedures are overseen by an experienced vet.
So, if you’re really struggling, then it’s definitely worth contacting a local vet college.
Check out this page to find accredited veterinary colleges.
6. Pick up medications and treatments elsewhere
Some vets markup treatments and medications they prescribe, meaning you can end up paying more than you really need to.
So, if your pet is prescribed a particular medication, then don’t automatically buy it from your vet.
Instead, ask for a written prescription and then call and ask around for the price of that medication at other vet facilities – you might find that you can get the prescription filled for less elsewhere or you’ll find that your vet does, in fact, offer the best price.
7. Stay up to date with vaccinations and treatments
Staying up to date with vaccinations and treatments can save you a lot of money on vet bills in the long run.
When you stay up to date with your pet’s treatments and vaccinations, it prevents them from developing health issues that are more expensive to treat.
For example, treating heartworms is much more expensive, than simply preventing them.
So, ask your vet for advice on what vaccines and treatments your pet needs.
8. Reach out to organizations that help with vet bills
There are many organizations out there, like the ASPCA and The Humane Society, that want to ensure that low-cost pet care is available to everyone. So, these organizations often provide discounted services.
They often hold events throughout the year where they provide vaccinations, spay/neuter procedures and other treatments and services. So, contact them and ask about any discounted services and other resources in your area.
Also, if you’re really struggling, as your pet needs a treatment that you can’t afford, then consider contacting an animal welfare charity.
Take a look at this page for animal charities.
9. Ask about a payment plan
Did you know that some vets give you the option to set up a payment plan, rather than paying for treatments and procedures upfront?
If there’s a particularly expensive treatment or procedure that your pet needs, then ask your vet if you can set up a payment plan and pay it off slowly over time.
10. Consider Pet Insurance
Getting pet insurance can be a good option financially – particularly when it comes to expensive or unexpected treatments and procedures.
It can save you thousands on vet bills.
So, it’s definitely worth considering. Just make sure that you shop around to get the best deal.
To get a quick estimate on how much ensuring your pet will cost, use ASPCA’s Pet Insurance quote tool.
If you don’t want to get pet insurance, then consider setting up a savings account for your pet – each month you can deposit money into the account. Then, if your pet ever does need an expensive procedure, then you’ll have the money there.
The Bottom Line
Paying for your pet’s care can be tough when you’re already struggling financially. Whether you’re unemployed, living on a low income or are just going through a tough financial phase right now, these free and/or low cost vet care services can be tremendously helpful.