A healthcare emergency for your pet may not just be a medical emergency – it can also be a financial emergency. With a tight household budget, how can you prepare for the costs of life-saving treatments for your pet? Here are a few options:

1. Preventative healthcare – semi-annual or annual visits to the veterinarian and appropriate blood chemistry tests can monitor your pet’s health and help avoid certain emergencies (e.g. collapse from undiagnosed diabetes, heart problems, etc). An investment in preventative healthcare could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in emergency costs. Consider pay-by-installment wellness plans to further budget your costs.

2. Set aside a small amount of cash with each pay or each month. Even $10 per pay period can add up over time and provide you with the funds you need in an emergency.

3. Arrange ahead of time with a financing organization, such as PetCard, so that funds will be available when you need them. With pre-approval, an amount of funds can be made available immediately to cover your emergency. Much like a credit card, you can then pay down the loan over time.

4. Consider purchasing pet insurance for your puppy or kitten. Pet insurance programs vary in coverage and cost, so compare vendors. Some insurers work with SPCA shelters and provide relatively low-cost introductory programs for those adopting from SPCAs or new pet owners.

For more information on managing veterinary expenses, see here, and here.