When Your Pet Needs Help: A Guide to Free or Low-Cost Vet Care

Does it seem like vet bills are on the rise? If so, you’re not imagining things. Compared to 1997, veterinarian service prices increased by over 177% in 2020! Veterinarian services are essential to your pet’s health, but they have become more expensive than ever.


If you love your furry friends but are working on a small budget, you may think there’s nowhere to turn for help. Fortunately, there are options for free and low-cost vet care. Read on for our guide to organizations that can help.


Brown Dog Foundation


Brown Dog Foundation is a small charity that ensures you don’t need to choose between money and your pet’s well-being. They provide donations to pets with life-threatening conditions and whose humans can’t afford their treatment.


While Brown Dog Foundation accepts all applications, they will prioritize pets with life-threatening illnesses. They also accept limited applicants, but we suggest you apply if you qualify.


AVMF’s Veterinary Care Charitable Fund


American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) partners with veterinary clinics and provides them with funding with their Veterinary Care Charitable Fund program.


This way, these clinics can offer free and low-cost vet care to pets in need. The AVMF aims to prevent low-income families from avoiding pet medical care, surrendering their pets, or euthanizing them.


You can find an AVMF partner on their website. You can also ask your vet if they’re an AVMF partner or request they ask for funding.


Cooper’s Legacy Foundation


If you’re based in either Idaho or Washington state, you can seek help from Cooper’s Legacy Foundation. They provide funds to families whose cat or dog needs treatment. The ideal candidate has already been declined from Care Credit or a similar credit card company.


Keep in mind that your pet can’t have a pre-existing condition (a disorder you knew about previously or an illness the pet had before you adopted them). They also don’t provide funding for initial exams, spaying/neutering, euthanasia, vaccinations, and non-veterinary care.


They do have some requirements. Pets must be companion animals, not service animals. Their vaccinations must be up-to-date, and the pets have to be licensed. You have to show proof of denial from Care Credit or a similar company.


Canine Cancer Awareness


Does Fido have cancer, and you can’t afford their treatments? If so, Canine Cancer Awareness may be able to help. The organization also aims to spread awareness of canine cancer and its effects on dogs.


Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance


On the other hand, some organizations focus on cats. Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance is a great example. They help cats who are suffering from disorders such as vaccine-associated sarcoma (VAS).


To quality, you have to be a United States citizen/resident and prove your financial hardship. You may have to provide documents such as your health insurance information, unemployment benefits, other types of proof, social security number, and other proof of public assistance.


Dylan’s Hearts


Dylan’s Hearts is an organization formed by one human. The program is dedicated to Dylan, the human’s red golden retriever who was diagnosed with lymphoma. Dylan’s Hearts aim to ensure low-income families can still visit vet clinics and afford to care for their pet.


Every applicant is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applicants require a complete documented diagnosis and treatment plan and proof of financial need. Also, veterinarians need to complete the application on the pet owner’s behalf.


Friends and Vets Helping Pets


Is your income less than 200% of the income poverty line? If so, you’re eligible to receive assistance from Friends and Vets Helping Pets.


You’ll have to prove your financial need. Also, you can’t receive vet care completely free of charge. But you can ensure you will pay a fraction of the cost than what you would normally pay.


You can apply on their website.


Frankie’s Friends


Frankie’s Friends is a non-profit foundation dedicated to saving pets for families with low income. Qualifying for Frankie’s Friends is tricky. Pets must have a life-threatening condition but must also have a positive recovery prognosis. If you do qualify, you can receive a grant of up to $500.


You can apply on their website.


God’s Creatures Ministry


God’s Creatures Ministry promotes compassion to all animals. This not only includes animal welfare but also offers resources on having a vegetarian/vegan diet.


While God’s Creatures Ministry doesn’t offer a lot ($50 credit toward veterinary services), they have the simplest application process and seem to accept a variety of clients.


Keep in mind; they only support New Jersey-based pet owners. They will also only provide funding when they can afford it. Even though this is a religious organization, they serve all applicants in all communities in New Jersey.


You can apply by contacting the founder.


Furry Faces Foundation


Furry Faces Foundation’s goal is to ensure financially challenged individuals can still have a loving and supportive pet. They help with more than just vet bills. They assist with vaccines and food, in addition to unexpected vet bills. Keep in mind; they only supply funding to compassion pets.


Contact the organizer to apply.


Handicapped Pets Foundation


What if your pet doesn’t have a life-threatening condition but is immobile? Handicapped Pets Foundation supports owners who can’t afford pet mobility equipment. This organization works with pets that are disabled, elderly, and have other special needs.


You can apply for a wheelchair donation on the organization’s website. They try to respond to all applicants within 10 days.


Gandalf Fund


Gandalf Fund assists assistance dogs, both active and retired. They provide grants to service pets who experienced an injury or severe illness. They can provide $2,500 to every pet. Keep in mind; they only provide these funds once per pet.


Hope Mending Hearts


Hope Mending Hearts supports both pet owners and rescuers that need immediate veterinary assistance.


They also assist soldiers and victims of domestic violence. They have an easy application process, though your acceptance is based on factors such as eligibility, funding, medical urgency, and financial need.


While they receive many applications, they aim to respond within two days. Those who are accepted can receive a grant of up to $200.


Harley’s Hope Foundation


Harley’s Hope Foundation can help low-income pet parents with many different types of vet care resources, such as emergency, major care, specialty training, and even behavioral care. When applying, you must submit the diagnosis, expected prognosis, and treatment plan.


International Association of Assistance Dog Partners


The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) is a non-profit that partners disabled individuals with assistance dogs. If you’re an IADDP member, the organization can also supply grants to help with veterinarian costs.


Keep in mind; a veterinarian must apply for your grant. If you try and apply yourself, you won’t be eligible for a grant.


Ian Somerhalder Foundation


Ian Somerhalder is an actor who has appeared in popular series such as The Vampire Diaries and Lost. He established the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) in November 2010 after witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill.


The Vice President of ISF, Nikki Reed, is also a highly-acclaimed actress. She has appeared in popular films such as Thirteen (which she also co-wrote), Twilight Saga, and more.


ISF aims to make the world a better place for animals as well as the environment and youth.


If you recently rescued a pet who needs medical assistance, ISF may be able to help. They will provide a grant of up to $2,000 if your rescued pet was abused, received traumatic injuries, or suffered neglect. You can apply for your grant on their website.


Mosby Foundation


The Mosby Foundation cares for injured, critically sick, neglected, and abused dogs. They also offer grants for pet owners whose dogs need medical assistance.


Funding is limited, and pet owners need to understand the requirements before applying. Your dog must already be spayed or neutered. They can’t reimburse pre-paid vet bills and don’t assist with emergencies. They can only fund one pet owner per household.


You can apply for funding on their website.


Don’t Sacrifice Vet Care Because You Can’t Afford It


No one should need to choose between paying bills and taking care of pets just because they are low income.. With these programs, you can get support for your fur baby’s health.


If this article about free or low-cost vet care was helpful, you may qualify for free wireless service through the federal Lifeline program. You can check your eligibility now by clicking here.