Pet Care Costs

Cat eating from bowl while dog watches

17 Ways to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy on a Budget

We know. Caring for a pet can be expensive. But it’s entirely possible to keep your pet happy and healthy on a budget. Here are 17 ideas for saving money on pet care without compromising your pet’s wellbeing or quality of life.

1. Start with Realistic Expectations

 Most pet owners pay for pet supplies and veterinary care from general household funds without ever separating out and adding up the total costs of pet care. If you’re serious about trimming your pet care budget, the first step is to determine what you’re spending now on your pet. 

Our post “The Costs of Owning a Pet” will help you get started on tallying your ongoing, periodic and one-time expenses.

2. Plan Ahead

Most pet care costs (unrelated to accidents or illnesses) are predictable and can be budgeted for in advance. 

You know you’ll be buying pet food, treats and irresistible toys regularly throughout the year (unless you decide to make your own treats and toys, as we suggest in tip #14). 

If you use professional grooming services, you can anticipate when and how often the appointments will be (until you put tip #13 into practice and learn to groom your pet yourself). 

If you board your pet when you travel on business or for fun, you can probably predict the timing and approximate amount of these expenditures (unless you barter services, as suggested in tip #15).

You know when your pet’s routine wellness check-ups, vaccines and parasite preventives will come due and if you ask us, we’ll give you an estimate of what these essential services and products will cost next time. 

If, after adding everything up, you know you can easily pay these ongoing and periodic expenses as they occur, great! Of course, you can still benefit from our money-saving suggestions to reduce your pet care costs. 

If you find you can afford the relatively minor ongoing expenses but the more substantial pet care costs tend to put you into a financial bind in the months you have to pay them, see our post “Sources of Cash to Pay Vet Bills” for ideas on generating cash to cover pet care when you need it. 

Our favorite source, by far, is savings you’ve set aside in advance to cover these anticipated costs.

3. Reduce Your Financial Risk

We recommend insuring your pet as the best way to reduce your risk of substantial financial loss in the event your pet has an accident or becomes seriously ill. See our “Pet Insurance” series to find out how to choose the best insurance policy for you and your pet. 

The five-part series includes—

4. Feed Your Pet Well

We recommend feeding the right amount of high-quality, age-appropriate food as foundational to your pet’s health and wellbeing. 

For an overview of nutrition basics, see “Dog Nutrition Tips” and “Cat Nutrition Tips” from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

While there’s no need to buy the most expensive premium foods containing exotic ingredients, you must avoid the false economy of buying cheap food made with inferior ingredients that provide little or no nutrition. These “economy” pet food brands can cause allergies and intestinal problems—conditions that often clear up when our clients upgrade to a better-quality pet food.

For most pets, we suggest feeding a mid-priced food from a reputable manufacturer. You can save money by not overfeeding—not only saving on the food itself but on treating the health problems that can develop with overweight and obesity. 

Generally, but not always, buying food in larger sizes saves you money provided you can store the food properly and use it before it spoils. The best deals on high-quality pet foods may be private label brands at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. We’re happy to read ingredients lists to determine if the food you’re considering will be nutritious for your pet.

You can also save money by having food automatically shipped to your home by subscription. 

Although it may seem counterintuitive, preparing a nutritionally-balanced homemade diet for your pet will most likely cost you more than feeding commercially prepared food from a reputable manufacturer. 

5. Keep Up With Wellness Exams

We consider regularly-scheduled wellness check-ups essential to your pet’s continuing health and happiness. We know it can be tempting to postpone these exams—especially when your pet seems perfectly fine—but the benefits of maintaining a regular wellness check-up schedule are well worth the effort and expense. 

See our post “Preventive Care for Better Health and Lower Costs” to find out how wellness exams can result in a healthier, happier pet at a lower total cost for veterinary care over the pet’s lifetime.

See also “Getting the Most from Your Pet’s Regular Check-Ups.”

6. Keep Up With Vaccines

As part of our wellness exams, we recommend and administer the vaccines your pet needs to avoid the most common, preventable illnesses (and obey Indiana law). For more specifics about vaccines, see our post “Essential Vaccines to Protect Your Pet.”

7. Protect Your Pet From Parasites

As part of your pet’s wellness check-up, we test for heartworms and intestinal parasites and examine your pet for fleas and ticks. 

Keeping heartworms, fleas and ticks under control is a year-round challenge in our part of the country, so we recommend year-round heartworm and flea and tick preventives. We understand preventives can be expensive—especially when you buy a year’s supply at once—but the challenges and expense of treating an infestation as well as the damage to your pet’s health more than justify the costs of preventives. 

See our post “Protecting Your Pet from Heartworms” to learn more about this especially dangerous parasite. 

For more information about protecting your family from diseases your pet can transmit to you—many of which are caused by parasites—see our post “Your Pet Can Make You Sick.”

8. Price-Shop for Drugs

For quality assurance, immediate availability and convenience, you can’t beat our in-house pharmacy and our online store.

We realize, however, that with some research, you may find your pet’s prescription drugs and parasite preventives for sale at a lower price than we can offer. If you’d like to buy from an outside pharmacy, we will provide you with a written prescription or call or fax the prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. Just let us know.

Make sure you buy from a reputable pharmacy. We believe pharmacies in national warehouse clubs, big box stores and major grocery chains are most likely to offer authentic products that have been handled properly. Many of the cheapest online veterinary pharmacies have poor quality control practices and sell counterfeit products that have no medical benefit and may even harm your pet. We suggest you avoid those.

9. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

To reduce the risk of periodontal disease and delay or possibly even eliminate the need for a professional cleaning, we recommend brushing your pet’s teeth every day. See our post “Time to Focus on Your Pet’s Dental Health” for more advice about dental health care for your pet. 

10. Keep Your Pet at a Healthy Weight

As with humans, overweight and obesity are associated with a number of serious, often expensive-to-manage health problems. See our posts “Overweight, Obesity and Your Pet’s Health” and “New Year’s Resolutions for Overweight Pets” for our advice on helping your pet achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

11. Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Spaying or neutering your pet does have an up-front cost for the surgery, but you are likely to save money in the long run by preventing the birth of unwanted litters and by avoiding serious health problems such as uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers. 

Your veterinarian will answer your questions about spaying and neutering and advise on the best timing for your pet’s procedure. See our post “When to Spay or Neuter? It’s Complicated” to find out more. 

12. Be Careful

One of the very best ways to save money on veterinary care is to keep your pet safe from injury. For more information about pet safety, we recommend reviewing these articles from our blog:

Safety Precautions for Better Health and Lower Costs

Keeping Your Pet Safe in Cold Weather

Keeping Your Pet Safe in Hot Weather

Fire Safety Precautions to Protect Your Pet

Safe Travels With Your Pet

To find more posts about keeping your pet safe, browse our blog’s entire “Safety” category.

13. Groom Your Pet Yourself

If you’ve been paying for professional grooming services, you may be able to save money by learning the necessary grooming skills needed to care for your pet and doing it yourself. 

You’ll need tools and supplies—brushes, combs, shears, clippers, nail trimmers and pet shampoos and conditioners—plus training (for you and your pet), practice and patience. 

You’ll find plenty of tools and supplies for sale online and YouTube videos to show you how to do the grooming. In addition to your own learning curve, your pet may need time to adjust to your newfound interest in grooming at home. We suggest introducing steps in the grooming process gently and incrementally so that you and your pet learn to enjoy grooming sessions with minimal stress.

14. Make Your Own Toys and Treats

You can skip the monthly toy and treat subscription boxes at $15 to $50 a month and make your own toys and treats using low-cost or no-cost materials and ingredients you may already have around the house. Ideas, instructions and recipes are easy to find online, and it can be a fun family project to create entertaining toys and tasty treats for your pet.

Be sure to review lists of foods that are toxic to dogs and cats before cooking up your own treats. And make sure your homemade toys don’t present any sharp edges or choking hazards.

15. Barter Services

If you are currently paying for dog walking, doggie day care, boarding and pet sitting services, you may be able to reduce those costs by swapping services with reliable, pet-owning family, friends and neighbors. 

16. Ask for Help

We maintain a resources page listing nearly 40 organizations that provide grants to qualified applicants to help pay for veterinary care. If despite your best efforts at budgeting for your pet’s care, you find yourself needing financial assistance to cover veterinary expenses, we encourage you to visit our “Financial Resources” page and look for organizations whose missions align with your circumstances and needs. 

Please note: The information we provide about these charitable organizations is based on their websites. You’ll need to conduct your own research to decide if you want to apply for a grant with any of the organizations.

 17. Talk to Us

Our veterinarians and technicians encourage you to ask questions about the costs of various diagnostic and treatment options for your pet. We can also provide printed estimates to help you plan your budget and make cost-conscious health care decisions. 

Admittedly, conversations about money are not always the most comfortable, but we believe it’s important to address not only medical concerns but the related financial issues that come with them. See our posts “The Care-Cost Conversation” and “Is Gold Standard Care Always the Best Option?

To browse all our posts related to the costs of pet care, browse the “Pet Care Costs” category on our blog.

17 Ways to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy on a Budget Read More »

Cat and dog lying next to each other on a bed

The Care-Cost Conversation

Among the many challenges that come with operating a veterinary clinic, the American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes clients’ “disconnect around cost” as one worthy of ongoing research and training for practice owners and their teams. 

With the release of the AVMA’s latest resources on communicating about pet care costs—including webinars, ebooks and pocket guides—we decided to review the new materials to help us fine-tune our approach to conversations with you—our clients—about the costs of veterinary care for your pets.

Our aim in giving ourselves a “cost communications refresher course” is to make all our conversations with you about pet care costs—whether face-to-face, by telephone, text and email, or on our website—as empathetic, informative and personally relevant as we can. 

Why Many of Us Dread ‘Money Talk’

Many veterinarians and their teams find it difficult to talk to clients about money. Some of the reasons veterinary teams cite:

  • We don’t have time to talk about costs during the limited time available for each appointment.
  • We’re afraid any talk of money—especially if we bring it up first—will make our clients think that’s all we care about.
  • We’re health care providers—not financial advisors. It’s not our job to talk about money.

Other reasons our fellow veterinarians say they tend to shy away from conversations about money:

  • We fear emotional reactions from clients, declined recommendations and damage to our relationship. 
  • We sometimes feel guilty about recommending treatments we suspect the client may not be able to afford—especially if we’d have a hard time affording them ourselves.
  • It’s quicker and easier to make assumptions about a client’s ability to pay and adjust our recommendations to fit our best guesses than it is to offer a fuller range of options without regard for cost.
  • We worry that clients interpret any discussion of money to mean we care less about doing what’s best for the patient and more about making money for our clinic. 

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we freely admit to having experienced some of these worries about cost discussions ourselves. In our years of practice, it’s likely every one of our veterinarians and team members may well have inadvertently committed some of the cost conversation “don’ts” in the ideas we’ve expressed and our choices of words. 

But with our current renewed focus on best practices for talking about costs with our clients, we are striving to deepen the knowledge, skills and confidence we need to have ever-more comfortable, productive conversations with you about the costs and affordability of the care we provide your pet. 

Ultimately, we know these frank, good-faith conversations with you will lead to the best possible health outcomes for your pet—the primary goal we all share. 

Balancing Care and Costs

When your pet requires diagnosis and treatment, we most often have more than one approach to offer. The various options may differ in terms of the complexity and invasiveness of testing and procedures and the expected short- and long-term health benefits. Affordability is almost always a concern. 

There is seldom—if ever—a one and only option that is right for every owner and every pet. When we present you with treatment options, we know it can be hard to choose what’s best. In our next conversation about balancing care and costs, we encourage you to ask us about anything you don’t fully understand. We’ll do our best to explain not only estimated costs and exactly what you’ll be paying for, but how and why and to what degree we believe the various approaches can improve your pet’s health and wellbeing. 

See our post, “Is Gold Standard Care Always the Best Option?” for much more information about how we tailor our cost-of-care conversations with you and make our recommendations about treatment options based on your and your pet’s individual needs and preferences.

The Cost-of-Care Conversation On Our Blog

“Research shows us that pet owners’ first association with veterinary care is money, and they want their veterinarian to have more proactive conversations with them around cost of care.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association

If you follow our weekly blog, you know through our ongoing “Pet Care Costs” blog post series, we have long been proactive in acknowledging that veterinary care can be expensive—particularly for owners of multiple pets—and in helping you better understand and manage the costs of caring for your own pet. We’ve written numerous articles containing our best advice about—

Pet Insurance

We strongly recommend pet insurance as a way to reduce the risk of substantial, unexpected veterinary bills that could cause financial hardship and compromise your pet’s care. 

On the topic of insurance, we have chosen to disregard veterinary industry advice to us to pick one or two companies and recommend them to all our clients. Yes, that would be quick and easy and might even result in more coverage for more of our patients—definitely a good thing! 

But based on what we know about pet insurance, recommending only one or two companies to all our clients would be a disservice. We’ve chosen instead to offer you the information you need to choose a pet insurance policy wisely and well. 

We created our “Pet Insurance” series to empower you to make truly informed insurance buying decisions tailored to your own and your pets’ needs. We encourage you to review the series and give serious consideration to insuring your pet. The five-part series includes—

We Want to Hear From You

The latest training materials from the AVMA are based on research conducted with pet owners who, presumably, represent a broad sampling of respondents. We know, when it comes to concerns about the cost of veterinary services, all pet owners have much in common and the results most likely apply to veterinary clients at any typical small animal practice, including ours. 

Still, we’d like to know just what our own clients think.

On the emailed surveys we send you following your appointments, the tenth item measures your level of agreement with, “The quality of service and care given to your pet in relation to the associated cost was a good value.”

In your numerical rating, you can tell us your opinion of the cost-value relationship at Brownsburg Animal Clinic, and in the comments box, you can help us understand the thoughts and feelings behind the number you assign. Ideally, you will also give us your suggestions for doing better.

The Care-Cost Conversation Read More »

Hands holding stethoscope against small puppy

Preventive Care for Better Health and Lower Costs

If you’re like most pet owners, you’re at least somewhat concerned about the costs of pet ownership. An all-too-common money-saving strategy is to postpone or skip preventive care. 

But attempting to lower costs by delaying or cutting back on preventive care—wellness exams, vaccinations, deworming, heartworm and flea and tick preventives—risks not only your pet’s health but also your budget. 

In fact, your regular, ongoing investment in timely preventive veterinary care for your pet is likely to save you money in the long run while helping your pet enjoy a healthier, happier life. 

At home, between visits to the clinic, your ongoing management of your pet’s nutrition, exercise and dental care can further improve quality and length of life while actually reducing the total cost of care over your pet’s lifetime.

Wellness Exams

One survey found that more than half of cat owners and nearly a fourth of dog owners had not visited the veterinarian in the past year. Yet, for adult dogs and cats, nearly all small animal practitioners—including us—recommend an annual wellness exam, with more frequent check-ups for older pets or those with chronic medical conditions. 

These regularly-scheduled exams allow us to detect health problems early when treatment is likely to be easier and less expensive, with the best chances of success. 


One of the wisest investments you can make in preventive veterinary care is in vaccines to prevent such deadly illnesses as distemper, hepatitis, rabies and Lyme disease. The potential costs of treating any of these conditions far outweigh the cost of the vaccines and, in some cases, protect your family from disease as well. 

Your veterinarian will advise you on the core vaccines recommended for all dogs and cats as well as any additional vaccines worth considering based on your pet’s potential exposure to other, less common diseases. 


Dogs and cats can pick up and play host to worms found in their environment—tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and others. Some of these worms can be transmitted to humans.

To avoid the potentially serious and costly health problems that come with worm infestations, we recommend regular testing and deworming as part of ongoing wellness care. 

Heartworm and Flea and Tick Preventives 

One worm in particular—the heartworm—is so debilitating and potentially deadly that it merits annual testing and year-round preventive care. 

See our post, “Protecting Your Pet From Heartworms,” for information about the dangers of heartworms and the preventives you can use to protect your pet.

For detailed information about fleas and ticks, see the ASPCA’s “Fleas and Ticks” page.  

The ASPCA article includes tips for treating your house and yard for a flea infestation, but we recommend a proactive approach to flea control, using preventives to stop a full-blown infestation before it starts. See also the article’s directions for removing a tick from your pet. 

Our veterinarians recommend preventives as a cost-effective way to control both fleas and ticks as well as heartworms year-round.

Spaying and Neutering

Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies, spaying and neutering reduce the risk of mammary tumors and prostate disease and can make your pet calmer and less likely to roam. 

For details on the ideal ages for spaying and neutering your pet, see our post, “When to Spay or Neuter? It’s Complicated.”


The most common nutrition problem we see is overfeeding. The resulting overweight and obesity are associated with arthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. These chronic health problems can be debilitating for your pet and costly to treat.

Consistently feeding your pet the right amount of food (and treats) to maintain a healthy weight not only saves you money on the food itself, but on the treatment your pet would otherwise need to address any of the related health concerns that could develop from overfeeding. 

We also see food-related health issues—especially allergies and intestinal problems—in pets fed low-quality “economy” pet food brands. By upgrading to a higher-quality food, you may well see your pet’s chronic skin and digestive problems resolve over time as a result of improved nutrition. The investment in better food is more than offset over time by the reduced need for medical care. 

Your veterinarian can help you choose an affordable, nutritious pet food and recommend the amount to feed to achieve and maintain your pet’s ideal weight. 


Like people, pets benefit from regular, age-appropriate exercise. Walking and playing fetch with your dog benefit you as well as your pet.

See Everyday Health’s “10 Cat Exercises Your Pet Will Enjoy” for ideas on planning an exercise routine for your cat.

Dental Care

Keeping up with your pet’s professional and home dental care can ultimately save you money long-term by reducing the risks of oral and systemic infections and organ damage. 

While only 10% of owners say they brush their pets’ teeth every day, those pets receiving regular home dental care need professional cleanings less often and tend to have fewer problems with their gums and teeth. 

For more information about dental health care for you pet, see our blog posts, “Time to Focus on Your Pet’s Dental Health,” and “Dental Health Care.”

Let Us Customize Your Pet’s Preventive Care Plan

Our veterinarians are happy to recommend a preventive care plan tailored specifically for your pet based on age, breed, general health and lifestyle. Let’s discuss your pet’s plan at your next appointment.

Preventive Care for Better Health and Lower Costs Read More »

Currency featuring $10 bill

Crowdfunding and Grants to Pay Vet Bills

In a previous post, “Sources of Cash to Pay Vet Bills,” we listed eight possible sources of relatively quick cash to pay for veterinary services. 

In this post, we explore two additional fund-raising options, leading with brief discussions of several crowdfunding platforms, followed by an overview of charitable organizations offering grants to help qualified applicants pay vet bills. 

If you are having financial difficulties and need help paying for your pet’s veterinary care, rather than taking an either-or approach focused on either crowdfunding or applying to charitable organizations for grants, our research suggests you take a both-and approach and explore both crowdfunding and applying for need-based grants you determine you are eligible to receive.

Please note: We’ve prepared this post on crowdfunding platforms and charitable organizations and our “Financial Resources” page for your information only. In most cases, other than verifying their websites are currently up and running, we have no direct experience with the organizations we’ve listed and linked to and do not intend to endorse nor vouch for any of them.

While we’re happy to help you get started on your search for funding your vet bills, it’s entirely up to you to do your own careful, thorough research before setting up a crowdfunding campaign or applying for a grant with any of these organizations. 

Now, let’s look at several crowdfunding platforms.


You can ask “the crowd”—that is, your family, friends, social media and email contacts, and compassionate strangers—for charitable contributions to cover your pet’s vet bills by setting up a page on GoFundMe, a leader in crowdfunding which has collected a total of $25 billion in donations to individuals and nonprofits since its beginnings in 2010.  

It’s free and easy to set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for your pet’s medical care. A transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 will apply to every donation. 

Read about how GoFundMe works.

See also the website’s section on animal-related fundraisers and these two GoFundMe blog posts:


Waggle is a crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to fundraising to help pay pets’ medical bills. Once you create a free Waggle campaign, supplying your veterinarian’s contact information, your pet’s medical costs estimate and photos of your pet, Waggle reviews your case and if approved, posts it on the Waggle website. 

You can then share the link to your campaign on social media and via email with your contacts. As with GoFundMe campaigns, you may receive donations from people who know you as well as strangers touched by your story.

Instead of sending the money raised to you to pass along to your veterinarian, your veterinarian sends your pet’s invoice to Waggle, and Waggle pays the bill directly to the veterinarian from your campaign proceeds. Your campaign goal cannot exceed the total on the estimate or invoice provided by your veterinarian. The maximum amount a campaign can raise is $2,000.

According to its website, “Waggle’s operating expenses are supported by donors who contribute a small fee at checkout along with an optional tip. This allows us to pass 100% of every donation directly to the chosen pet.”

Our Thoughts on Crowdfunding

In researching this post, we learned of a study of GoFundMe medical fundraising campaigns published in the American Journal of Public Health early in 2022. Researchers analyzed 437,596 GoFundMe campaigns conducted over a five-year period and found only 12% of all campaigns to raise money to pay for human health care services met their goals, and 16% received no donations at all. 

All the campaigns in the first two years analyzed raised at least some money, but in 2018, 0.1% of campaigns raised no money. By 2019, the campaigns producing zero contributions increased to 4.1% and by 2020, to 33.8%.

We know of no comparable study of GoFundMe campaigns to pay for veterinary services. Given the 88% failure rate of human medical care GoFundMe campaigns to reach their goals and the upward trend in recent years toward zero campaign proceeds, we suggest you not only follow the platform’s advice for making your campaign most effective, but explore additional resources, such as charitable foundations, to supplement proceeds from any crowdsourcing campaign you set up for your pet. 

If you find you don’t meet charitable organizations’ eligibility requirements to qualify for need-based grants, revisit our post, “Sources of Cash to Pay Vet Bills” to explore options for borrowing the money you need.

We also suggest you review crowdsourcing platforms’ “how it works” descriptions carefully and compare fee structures before choosing the one where you’ll set up your campaign. Several of the platforms we reviewed had fairly complicated processes and made it difficult to find complete information about fees that would be applied to donations and distributions.

For example, the pet-focused CoFund My Pet platform differentiates its service by distributing donations through debit cards that work only at veterinary clinics to assure donors their gifts will be used exclusively for veterinary care. 

In trying to determine CoFund My Pet fees, we found information spread among three different frequently-asked-question section responses:

  • “CoFund My Pet has an administration fee of 5% of all donations to support our thorough campaign administration to ensure funds are used only as intended.”
  • “Our credit card processor requires merchant transaction fees of 2.9% and a $0.30 processing charge. This is the industry standard and is common with all platforms.”
  • “CoFund My Pet charges a small administration fee to access the payment networks associated with your campaign. We have purposely tried to keep these costs to a minimum. Simply, we charge a $1 per month campaign maintenance fee as well as $1 per transaction fee each time you use your debit card.”

Like GoFundMe, CoFund My Pet charges a 2.9% merchant transaction fee plus a $0.30 processing charge—standard in the industry, just as CoFund My Pet says. The additional 5% administration fee, monthly campaign maintenance fee and the debit card transaction fees reduce the spending power of your campaign proceeds, compared to GoFundMe. 

Similarly, the Fundly platform deducts a 4.9% fee from each donation, along with the usual credit card processing fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation. 

Before you set up your campaign, dig around the crowdsourcing websites to find the actual fee amounts and do the math. 

Financial Aid Organizations

United by a common cause of animal welfare, there are dozens of charitable organizations dedicated to supporting pet owners who need help paying their vet bills. Most charities’ individual missions focus on the financial circumstances of the people they serve and the nature and urgency of the need. Some limit their grant-making based on the pet’s disease, disability or breed. Some serve only dogs or only cats.

Most charitable organizations’ websites present stories of their founding—often inspired by the founders’ own pets—along with detailed information about eligibility for their grants and the types of expenses they will and will not cover. 

It’s a good idea to read this material carefully before submitting an application to make sure the organization’s mission, policies and procedures align with your particular case. 

While a few charities ask simply for an email message or a “pre-application” with the basic facts of your situation to get the application process started, most have fairly lengthy applications for you to fill out, often requiring input from your veterinarian and documentation of your financial need. Be prepared to invest considerable time in researching each charity you plan to approach and completing each one’s application process as directed.

Many grant-makers pay veterinarians directly, to help make sure funds are used only for paying for medical care. Most will not reimburse you for an invoice you’ve already paid. 

You will most likely be expected to pay at least a portion of the vet bill yourself, and some charities encourage or require you to have made other efforts to get help. Some list other charities for you to consider on their websites. 

Many of these organizations are small and run by volunteers. They have usually registered as 501(c)(3) nonprofits and depend entirely on donations to fund grants and cover operating expenses. They typically report receiving many applications each day and do their best to review them in a timely way. 

Although a few charities make grants of as much as $1,500 or more, most grant amounts tend to be fairly modest, topping out at $250 to $500. 

Brownsburg Animal Clinic has for many years maintained a “Financial Resources” page in the Client Information section of our website where we list organizations dedicated to helping financially strapped pet owners pay vet bills and meet other pet-related needs. Rather than duplicate the list of financial aid organizations in this post, we refer you to our recently updated and expanded list.

We’ve visited all the websites listed and highlighted information we could find to help you choose the most promising organizations for further consideration. 

Please note: We are not able to recommend or endorse specific charities. 

Visit our “Financial Resources” page now.

Crowdfunding and Grants to Pay Vet Bills Read More »

Currency, including $10 and $100 bills

Sources of Cash to Pay Vet Bills

In a recent post, “The Costs of Owning a Pet,” we cited wide-ranging estimates of first-year and ongoing average costs of dog and cat ownership. 

In two posts that followed, we considered the most and least expensive dog breeds and most and least expensive cat breeds to own.

In this post, as part of our ongoing Pet Care Costs series, we offer ideas for how to pay actual vet bills “in real time”—particularly for those clients who might experience financial hardship if faced with a relatively substantial vet bill.

If you are among those clients, you’re not alone.

The Impact of Vet Bills on 2,000 Pet Owners

In a 2022 Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners, 42% of surveyed pet owners said a vet bill of $999 or less would require them to go into debt. 

A bill of $499 would cause 28% of those pet owners to incur debt. 

Only 12% answered “none of the above” amounts, ranging from $1 to $5,000+, would require them to borrow money to pay the bills, with another 5% declining to answer.

While it’s certainly not our place as veterinarians to intrude into the financial affairs of our clients, we do encounter clients every day who tell us they’re struggling financially and having a hard time paying for their pets’ medical care. 

Our hearts go out to them and to their pets—our patients. We hope by sharing some of the solutions they’ve found, we can help other clients find ways to pay for the veterinary services their pets need when they need them.

Expected Costs

Keeping up with exams, vaccines and parasite preventives are the best veterinary care strategies for minimizing potential future costs for treating undetected, advanced illnesses. 

Barring unforeseen screening test results that might indicate a need for further testing or treatment, these preventive care costs are predictable. Your veterinarian can provide written estimates for what you can expect to pay for these services in the coming months. 

Be prepared to cover these predictable costs with readily available funds, either as part of your general household budget or by regularly setting aside savings designated for veterinary care. 

Unexpected Costs

Should your pet get sick or hurt, the additional costs for diagnosis and treatment could cause emotional upset and real financial hardship if you find yourself unprepared to pay unexpected vet bills. 

We assure you, we’ve encountered these situations many times before. Based on the solutions other clients have found to raise the money needed to pay their vet bills, we offer these suggestions for your consideration.

Personal Savings

Ideally, you have regularly set aside some easily-accessible cash in a savings account, either as part of a general-purpose emergency fund or in an account designated specifically for veterinary care. 

Having the cash on hand when you need it is the best way to keep from going into debt because of an unexpected vet bill. Replenish and keep building the account when you’re able to keep yourself prepared for future needs.

Selling Personal Property

Selling personal property—like collectibles, jewelry, electronics, clothes, musical instruments or antiques—to raise cash is easier now than ever before with such online advertising options as eBay, craigslist and Facebook Marketplace—to name only a few. 

You might consider implementing this strategy to liquidate assets now to build your veterinary care savings account before your need for cash is urgent.


At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we have for many years accepted CareCredit, a credit card especially designed to cover veterinary care costs. (CareCredit offers cards to pay for medical and dental care for humans, too.) 

CareCredit is different from most “regular” credit cards in a number of ways, offering more favorable terms for veterinary care charges as explained on the company’s website. Also on this page, you’ll find information about the payment terms offered and how to apply for the card. 

If, after visiting the CareCredit website, you believe CareCredit is a good option for you, we suggest you go ahead and apply for your card before you need it. Once you’re approved, you can use the card to pay any invoice at our clinic. Please note, we apply a $5 transaction fee to CareCredit charges of less than $50.

0% APR Credit Card

You may consider opening a new credit card account to be used primarily, if not exclusively, for veterinary expenses. Many cards are available with introductory promotions of 0% finance charges for an initial period of time.

Shop for the most favorable credit card offers online at sites like NerdWallet and BankRate.

Pay attention to when the introductory period ends and do your best to clear the debt before the higher interest rate kicks in. Otherwise, you may find yourself saddled with high-interest credit card debt that takes you years to repay.

Existing Credit Card Accounts

If you prefer not to open a new credit card account, you can rely on credit cards already in your wallet to pay vet bills so long as you have available credit to cover the charge. You may request an increase in your credit limit if needed.

Personal Loans

A NerdWallet survey report, published in October 2022, revealed that 24% of Americans took out personal loans within the previous year, borrowing an average of $5,046.

If you have an acceptable credit history and a dependable source of income, you may qualify for a personal loan from an online lender, bank or credit union.

Personal loans are typically unsecured, requiring no collateral. They often have lower interest rates than credit cards. 

Borrowers make a set monthly payment over an agreed-upon number of months. Some lenders tack on fees, like origination or late fees, to payment amounts.

Most lenders offer online applications and will usually approve or reject your loan request promptly. If you qualify, you could have the money available within as little as a week.

Interest rates vary by lender, and the rate you’ll be offered depends on factors such as your credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio. 

Search online for “best personal loans” to shop for the most favorable terms currently available.

Loans and Gifts From Family and Friends

Asking your family and friends to help you pay your vet bills can be an easy quick-fix for you, but accepting their gifts and loans can potentially complicate your relationships. The wisdom and feasibility of this option depend on the personalities, relationships and resources available to the people involved.

If you accept money from family and friends, make sure all involved clearly understand the terms. Is it a gift? A loan? If it’s a loan, what’s the plan for repayment? When will you begin paying the money back, by how much, over what period of time? Will you pay interest? 

To minimize the risk of damage to your personal relationships, get all these answers in writing before you accept the money, and do your best to honor any commitments you make to repay it.

Paycheck Advance or Loan From Your Employer

Your employer may be willing to give you an advance on your salary or a loan. You may arrange to repay the advance or loan in the coming months through payroll deduction. 

The Worst Ways to Raise Cash

When you are under the emotional stress of having a sick or injured pet and facing a vet bill you can’t immediately pay, you may feel desperate to raise quick cash. 

Options like payday loans, loans against your car title and other loans that don’t require a credit check are among the riskiest and most expensive ways to borrow money. Avoid them if you possibly can.

Sources of Cash to Pay Vet Bills Read More »

Blue-eyed cat

Most and Least Expensive Cat Breeds

As we did in our previous post on “Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds,” we’re discussing in this post estimated purchase prices and projected health care cost estimates for various cat breeds. 

The estimates we found for the costs of acquiring and caring for various cat breeds are wide-ranging and frankly, may or may not be reliable. As you’ll see, the same estimated purchase prices for several breeds were considered both “expensive” and “affordable,” depending on the article. We’ve included links back to the source articles we found so you can review them for yourself. 

In considering potential health care costs over the lifetime of your cat, remember, generalities about specific breeds are just that—generalities. Your own purebred cat may or may not experience any of the common health issues associated with its breed.

With this post, we mean simply to get you thinking about potential costs associated with buying and caring for various cat breeds. We encourage you to do further research before purchasing a purebred cat of your own so you’ll have a better-informed idea of the potential risks and rewards unique to each breed.

The Most Expensive Cat Breeds to Buy

We found three estimated purchase price lists—one listing the “most expensive” cat breeds, and the other two listing the “most affordable” breeds. 

The list of the priciest cat breeds starts with the Ashera—a breed currently recognized by neither The Cat Fanciers Association, nor The International Cat Association. These cats reportedly sell for $75,000 to $125,000. 

Another cat on the “most expensive” list, the Savannah, reportedly costs $25,000. The rest of the “expensive” breeds are priced at anywhere from an estimated $400 to $5,000. 

Interestingly, on the two lists we found of the “most affordable” cat breeds, several breeds estimated to cost as much $1,000 to $1,500 are included. Clearly, there are no standard definitions of “expensive” and “affordable” when it comes to buying cats.

A 2019 article, “The Most and Least Expensive Cat Breeds in the World,” quotes what it calls “sometimes staggeringly high prices” for 15 cat breeds. Here are the acquisition cost estimates the article listed for the world’s most expensive breeds:

  • Ashera $75,000 to $125,000
  • Peterbald $1,700 to $3,000
  • Savannah $25,000
  • Bengal $2,000 to $5,000
  • Persian $3,000
  • Sphynx $900 to $1,200
  • California Spangled $800 to $3,000
  • Maine Coon $1,000 to $3,500
  • Egyptian Mau $500 to $800
  • Russian Blue $400 to $3,000
  • British Shorthair $800 to $1,000
  • American Curl $800 to $1,200
  • Korat $600 to $800
  • Ocicat $800
  • Scottish Fold $800 to $1,500

Visit the Yahoo article for commentary on each breed.

In the same article, included a list of these 15 least expensive breeds: 

  • Oriental Shorthair $400 to $500
  • Turkish Van $200 to $600
  • Manx $200 to $500
  • Havana Brown $300 to $500
  • Himalayan $300 to $500
  • Ragdoll $400 to $1,100
  • Munchkin $300 to $500
  • Snowshoe $200 to $1,000
  • Cornish Rex $700 to $800
  • Siamese $200 to $600
  • Burmese $550 to $1,000
  • Birman $400 to $700
  • American Bobtail $500 to $700
  • Tonkinese $600 to $1,200
  • Abyssinian $500 to $700

As you see, within this article, there’s some overlap of purchase prices considered expensive and those considered affordable. published an article, “11 Most Affordable Cat Breeds (with Pictures)” listing these affordable breeds and their estimated purchase prices:

  • Turkish Van $200
  • Ragdoll $400
  • Siamese $200
  • Burmese $500 to $1,000
  • Manx $500 to $800
  • Himalayan $300
  • Cornish Rex $100
  • Oriental Shorthair $400 to $500
  • Havana Brown $300 to $1,500
  • Snowshoe $200 to $250
  • Domestic Shorthair <$50

See the article—with pictures—for estimated lifespan, temperament, colors and commentary on each of the 11 listed breeds.

Note the overlap of affordable breeds named on the Yahoo list with the above list from PetKeen as well as the substantial ranges in purchase price estimates for some of the breeds. To determine actual purchase prices for the breed you’re interested in buying, contact individual breeders.

As a cost-saving alternative to buying a purebred cat from a breeder, consider looking for an adoptable cat at the Hendricks County Animal Shelter or Misty Eyes Animal Center. Purebreds are available from time to time at both facilities.

The Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue organization is a foster-based program with foster homes in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan. Visit the website to see cats currently available for adoption.

What Makes a Cat Breed Expensive to Care For?

Any cat can inherit a genetic disorder, but pedigreed cats tend to be at higher risk than mixed-breed cats for certain known heritable health problems because purebreds are selectively bred from limited gene pools.

In a blog post identifying the seven cat breeds most prone to hereditary diseases, Pawlicy Advisor, a pet insurance marketing company, posted “Which Cat Breeds NEED Pet Insurance?” listing these breeds:

  • Siamese
  • Persian
  • Ragdoll
  • Bengal
  • Sphynx
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Scottish Fold

Following the list is detailed health information, including the most common known hereditary conditions, for each breed.

From a article, “Do cats get genetic diseases?” a list of common genetic diseases associated with specific cat breeds includes:

  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Osteochondrodysplasia
  • Deafness
  • Hypokalemic Myopathy
  • Diabetes
  • Lymphoma and Small Intestinal Adenocarcinoma
  • Feline lower urinary tract disease
  • Asthma
  • Strabismus
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

See the article for details on these diseases and the breeds most likely to inherit them. 

Keep in mind, while the breed predispositions for certain heritable diseases may be stronger than average for some breeds, all Burmese and Norwegian Forest Cats do not necessarily develop diabetes. All Siamese cats do not develop lymphoma and small intestinal adenocarcinoma, nor are they all asthmatic. And mixed-breed cats can develop these disorders, too. 

Insurance Claims Rankings By Breed

An indicator of breed-specific health care costs is pet health insurance claims data. 

For an article published on, pet health insurer Trupanion provided information on the five cat breeds with the highest total lifetime average claims submitted:

  • Siamese $74,638
  • Bengal $73,408
  • Himalayan $69,449
  • Maine Coon $63,683
  • Ragdoll $40,442

See the article for details on common health problems experienced by each of these cat breeds, based on claims submitted. The information about cats starts about halfway through the article.  

Another list based on insurance claims data was published by Forbes Advisor as part of a more general article on pet health insurance. On that list, the ten breeds with the highest average pet insurance claim amounts included: 

  • Siberian Forest Cat $457
  • Bengal $404
  • Mixed Breed Medium-Haired Cat $403
  • Mixed Breed Long-Haired Cat $397
  • Ragdoll $381
  • Mixed Breed Short-Haired Cat $380
  • American Shorthair $376
  • Maine Coon $374
  • Russian Blue $369
  • Domestic Medium-Haired Cat $356

As the individual and lifetime claims averages show, several breeds—Bengal, Ragdoll and Maine Coon—made both lists. Note that four of the ten cat breeds listed as having the highest claims amounts are actually mixed breeds. 

Also bear in mind that claims amounts do not include deductibles and co-insurance—typically 20 to 30%—covered by the pet owner. 

Our Observations

  • As suggested in a previous post, the lifetime costs of buying and caring for any pet can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Regardless of pedigree and initial purchase price, all cats need to be fed and cared for properly throughout their lives. Before you add any pet to your household, be prepared financially to provide these essentials.
  • Any cat will experience poor health if not fed and cared for properly. You can do your part to keep your cat’s lifetime total healthcare costs affordable by scheduling regular preventive exams, having us administer recommended vaccines and addressing any illnesses and injuries promptly.
  • While breed and breeder research is helpful before you buy, it’s impossible to predict the health outcomes for any individual cat you acquire.

For more information about cat breeds, visit the website for The Cat Fanciers Association, a breed registry founded in 1906. CFA currently recognizes 45 cat breeds as well as non-pedigreed companion cats that make up more than 95% of the cat population.

Another cat registry organization, The International Cat Association (TICA), currently recognizes 73 cat breeds for championship competition. Visit their site for photographs and details about the breeds they register.

Most and Least Expensive Cat Breeds Read More »

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds

In this post, we consider two aspects of expense for owning various dog breeds as pets—acquisition cost and estimated total cost of ownership over the expected lifespan of the dog. 

The figures we’ve included are wide-ranging and perhaps not completely reliable. Click the links back to the source articles to decide for yourself.

Keep in mind, regardless of the reliability of the numbers, the estimated average expenses presented here for buying and caring for dogs of a particular breed may or may not apply to individual dogs. 

The goal of our post is to provide an overview of typical costs of acquiring dogs of various breeds and help you understand health risks by exploring known health issues for the breeds you’re considering. With this information, particularly if the cost of pet ownership is an issue, you can improve your odds of spending less by choosing a breed likely to be more affordable. 

What Makes a Dog Breed Expensive to Buy?

Many variables influence pricing of purebred dogs, and most breeds have a going rate range in the marketplace based on popularity, availability and breeding costs.

On a practical level, prices reflect the breeder’s out-of-pocket costs for the litter, and reputable breeders typically invest substantially more in their litters than do puppy mills and backyard breeders. In addition to food and supplies, medical exams, vaccines and deworming expenses that are typically incurred by all puppies, there could be additional expenses such as stud fees, artificial insemination costs and breed-specific genetic screening tests for the breeding stock chosen to produce a purebred litter.

At least among dog show enthusiasts, purebred pricing is influenced by the breeder’s prestige and record of producing multiple generations of winning dogs. Dogs with impressive pedigrees from leading kennels command higher prices than dogs from less prominent breeders and those not involved in competitive showing. 

The most popular dog breeds are, naturally, most likely to be the most readily available, possibly—but not necessarily—at relatively affordable prices, compared with less popular and more obscure breeds. Labrador Retrievers, French Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs and Poodles are likely in greater supply and perhaps more affordable than Norwegian Lundehunds, English and American Foxhounds, Belgian Laekenois and Sloughis.

For any breed, the laws of supply and demand can impact pricing and availability if a breed experiences a sudden surge of popularity because of media exposure. 

Most Expensive Dog Breeds to Buy

One website we found in our research listed “20 Most Expensive Dog Breeds That Are Worth Every Penny.” The list, ordered from least to most expensive to buy, includes breeds with average estimated initial costs of $2,200 to $3,500. 

The 20 breeds, listed in order of estimated average acquisition costs, include:

  • Portuguese Water Dog $2,200
  • Chow Chow $2,250
  • Afghan Hound $2,250
  • Brussels Griffon $2,300
  • Saluki $2,400
  • Leonberger $2,400
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog $2,500
  • English Bulldog $2,500
  • English Toy Spaniel $2,500
  • Giant Schnauzer $2,500
  • Miniature Bull Terrier $2,500
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever $2,500
  • Azawakh $2,500
  • Tibetan Mastiff $2,500
  • Xoloitzcuintli $2,750
  • German Pinscher $2,800
  • French Bulldog $2,800
  • Norfolk Terrier $3,250
  • Norwich Terrier $3,500
  • Neapolitan Mastiff $3,500

Besides estimated average purchase price, the article presents photographs and additional data on each of the 20 breeds, including typical height and weight ranges, personality, activity level, grooming requirements, life expectancy and average lifetime costs ranging from $14,000 to $34,000, along with summary descriptions of breed highlights. 

GoBankingRates published a list of 28 most expensive dog breeds, based on estimated purchase price range, projected grooming expenses, average lifespan and potential healthcare costs for common issues faced by each breed. 

Here are the 28 breeds, with estimated purchase price ranges: 

  • Akita $1,000 to $2,500
  • Alaskan Malamute $1,200 to $2,000
  • Bernese Mountain Dog $1,500 to $3,000
  • Black Russian Terrier $1,000 to $2,500
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel $1,500 to $2,500
  • Chow Chow $1,200 and $2,000
  • Dogo Argentino $1,500 to $2,500
  • English Bulldog $2,000 and $4,000
  • French Bulldog $2,000 and $4,000
  • German Shepherd $800 to $2,000
  • Golden Retriever $1,000 to $2,000
  • Great Dane $1,000 to $2,000
  • Ibizan Hound $2,000 to $2,500
  • Irish Wolfhound $1,500 to $2,500
  • Kerry Blue Terrier $2,000 to $2,500
  • Lakeland Terrier $1,500 to $2,800
  • Miniature Bull Terrier $2,500 to $3,500
  • Newfoundland $1,700 to $2,500
  • Old English Sheepdog $1,800 to $3,000
  • Pharaoh Hound $1,800 to $2,500
  • Portuguese Water Dog $2,000 to $3,000
  • Rottweiler $1,200 to $2,000
  • Saint Bernard $1,000 to $2,000
  • Samoyed $1,500 to $3,000
  • Spinone Italiano $1,200 to $2,000
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier $1,500 to $2,500
  • Tibetan Mastiff $2,500 to $4,000
  • Yorkshire Terrier $1,500 to $3,000

See the article for brief summaries of each breed.

Are Purebreds More Expensive Than Crossbred Dogs?

We define a purebred dog as the product of mating two dogs of the same breed. We define a crossbreed (also known as a hybrid) as resulting from a deliberate mating of two different-breed purebred dogs, such as a Cockapoo from mating a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, a Labradoodle from a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle or a Puggle from a Pug and Beagle mating. Technically, these are mixed-breed dogs, but in this article, when we refer to mixed-breed dogs, we’re talking about dogs of diverse parentage that most likely was not deliberately selected.

Are purebreds more expensive than crossbreds? In terms of purchase price, it appears the answer is yes.

An article at compared purchase prices for popular purebred and crossbred dogs, demonstrating that purebreds are indeed more expensive than crossbred dogs to buy. 

  • The article listed these estimated price ranges for popular purebred dog breeds:
  • Labrador Retriever $650 to $4,000
  • French Bulldog $3,000 to $10,000
  • Golden Retriever $750 to $5,000
  • German Shepherd $300 to $3,200
  • Standard Poodle $300 to $3,000

Average purebred price $1,000 to $5,040

For comparison, the article listed these estimated purchase prices for popular crossbred dogs:

  • Cockapoo $800 to $3,200
  • Labradoodle $151 to $2,000
  • Goldendoodle $750 to $2,900
  • Puggle $250 to $3,665
  • Shepadoodle $350 to $3,000

Average $460 to $2,953

As these numbers illustrate, the crossbreds—while still potentially somewhat pricey—tend on average to be priced more affordably than purebreds. 

Alternatives to Buying From a Breeder

As an alternative to buying a purebred dog from a breeder, consider adopting a purebred rescue or shelter dog.

Most dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club are available for adoption through the AKC Rescue Network. Locations, availability and adoption fees vary, but procuring your purebred dog through the rescue network can be a lower-cost and more satisfying alternative to buying from a breeder.

About 25 to 30% of shelter dogs are purebreds, so with patience and persistence, you may find a dog of the breed you’ve chosen at the Hendricks County Animal Shelter or Misty Eyes Animal Center.

As you plan your budget, keep in mind adoptable rescue and shelter pets have most likely already been spayed or neutered, fitted with a microchip, vaccinated, dewormed, started on parasite prevention and treated for at least the most urgent health and behavior problems presented when they arrived at the rescue organization or shelter. These initial expenses are usually covered by the adoption fee.

What Makes a Dog Breed Expensive to Care For?

When you choose a purebred dog, you have a good idea of its size at adulthood. As a general rule, the larger the dog, the greater the expense for feeding, equipping, grooming, boarding, insuring and providing veterinary care. 

Because they are more likely to be inbred from relatively small populations, some purebred and crossbred dog breeds may be at greater risk than mixed-breed dogs for developing particular heritable health conditions. These conditions, which can be debilitating for the dog, heartbreaking for you and costly to treat, are generally well-documented for the various breeds and should be a central focus of your breed research. 

For example, as a group, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known to be more prone than average to develop heart disease. German Shepherds have more than their share of canine degenerative myelopathy. Dachshunds have relatively more spinal issues. Boxers have an above-average incidence of cancer. 

While the most reputable breeders select to improve health by screening breeding stock and attempting to eliminate defective genes, some breeders either carelessly or unknowingly disregard such considerations, and some may even select problematic traits on purpose. Bulldogs and Pugs often experience respiratory difficulties because they’re deliberately bred for their short, flat faces. German Shepherds selected for their sloping backs tend to have more hip dysplasia. Shar-Peis selectively bred for their skin folds often suffer from chronic skin infections. Such breed-specific health risks can result in higher veterinary care costs. 

Health Insurance Claims by Breed

One indicator of the cost of care for dogs of various breeds is claims paid by pet health insurers. For example, based on claims filed in 2020, Embrace Pet Insurance reported the five breeds with the highest vet bills were Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Flat-Coated Retrievers, Bullmastiffs and Newfoundlands.

On a more detailed short list of dogs with the highest average insurance claims, Rottweilers placed first with an average claim amount of $567.53, followed by Bernese Mountain Dogs with average claims of $412.85, Great Danes at $385.49, English Bulldogs at $370.57 and French Bulldogs at $355.63.

Another list based on insurance claims data was published by Forbes Advisor as part of a more comprehensive article on pet health insurance. On that list, the ten breeds with the highest average pet insurance claims include: 

  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog $425
  • Rottweiler $401
  • Dogue de Bordeaux $395
  • Cane Corso $386
  • American Bulldog $376
  • Irish Wolfhound $375
  • American Staffordshire Terrier $373
  • Mixed Extra Large Breeds (111 Lbs +) $368
  • Bernese Mountain Dog $367
  • Bull Mastiff $366

The dog breeds identified with the lowest average pet insurance claims are actually crossbreds including the Australian Labradoodle at $226, followed by the Miniature Goldendoodle at $230 and the Shichon at $241.

Bear in mind, these figures reflect individual claims amounts—not the total vet bills which would typically include the owner’s deductible and typical 20-30% share of the cost. 

Projected Lifetime Costs of Ownership’s “Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds” lists these five breeds (including two crossbreeds) as having the highest total estimated ownership costs:

  • Giant Schnauzer $34,410 over a 14-year lifespan
  • Goldendoodle $32,675 over 13 years
  • Tibetan Mastiff $32,485 over 11 years
  • Black Russian Terrier $30,200 over 11 years
  • Labradoodle $29,475 over 13 years

Many additional details about costs of ownership for each breed and crossbreed are included in the article.

Least Expensive Dog Breeds

A 2021 article published on Yahoo’s finance site listed these 30 least expensive dog breeds and their estimated average purchase prices:

  • Manchester Terrier $600
  • Schipperke $650
  • Irish Terrier $650
  • German Wirehaired Pointer $700
  • Border Collie $525
  • Beagle $650
  • Australian Terrier $550
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi $550
  • Otterhound $550
  • Dalmatian $700
  • Chihuahua $650
  • Cesky Terrier $400
  • Field Spaniel $550
  • Redbone Coonhound $650
  • American Pit Bull Terrier $600
  • Pekingese $500
  • Bichon Frise $525
  • Affenpinscher $400
  • Dachshund $500
  • Papillon $400
  • Pug $350
  • English Setter $350
  • Treeing Walker Coonhound $500
  • Miniature Pinscher $500
  • American Foxhound $475
  • Parson Russell Terrier $400
  • Plott Hound $275
  • Black and Tan Coonhound $350
  • Rat Terrier $350
  • Harrier $300

Visit the article to see photographs and find additional details about life expectancy, potential ailments and estimated healthcare and grooming costs for each of the 30 breeds.

In an article on, these are listed as the five least expensive dog breeds based on estimated total costs over the lifetime of the dog: 

  • Japanese Chin $13,695 over 11 years
  • Boston Terrier $14,620 over 12 years
  • English Toy Spaniel $14,980 over 11 years
  • Toy Fox Terrier $15,255 over 14 years
  • Jack Russell Terrier $15,405 over 13 years 

See the article for more cost of ownership details for each of the five least expensive breeds.

Our Observations

  • As noted in a previous post, the lifetime costs of owning any dog can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars. All dogs, from the most to least expensive, need nutritious food, exercise, training, basic equipment like crates and leashes and a safe, secure environment in which to live. All dogs also need ongoing veterinary care including regular medical exams, vaccinations and parasite preventives and diagnosis and treatment of any illnesses and injuries along the way. Supplying the essentials for whatever dog you choose costs money.
  • While many genetic diseases are more common in purebreds, any dog—purebred, crossbred or mixed breed—can inherit genetic diseases that disable the dog, upset you and your family and require possibly extensive, expensive veterinary care.  
  • Maladies associated with a particular breed will typically manifest in only a percentage of the dogs, perhaps with a higher prevalence in some bloodlines. All German Shepherds won’t necessarily develop hip dysplasia. All dogs of the Belgian breeds will not develop epilepsy. All Flat Coated Retrievers will not have cancer. 
  • No amount of research can predict the health outcomes of an individual dog you acquire. Doing research to determine common health problems prevalent in a particular breed will help you understand the risks associated with owning a dog of that breed, but there are no guarantees that any individual dog—purebred, crossbred or mixed-breed—will or will not experience a genetic disorder during its lifetime. 
  • Any dog can suffer ill health if not fed, kept safe and cared for properly. Besides providing basic food and shelter, seeking timely ongoing preventive care by our veterinarians is your best strategy for helping control the total cost of veterinary care and improving the quality of life for your dog and yourself over your dog’s lifetime.  

For more information about dog breeds, visit the American Kennel Club website. Since 1884, the AKC has been registering dog breeds, keeping track of pedigrees and working with breed clubs, local kennel clubs and obedience clubs to organize dog shows year-round throughout the country. Of the 340 dog breeds known throughout the world, the AKC currently recognizes 199 breeds.

Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds Read More »

Close-up of a $100 bill with a coin in the background

The Costs of Owning a Pet

How much does it cost to own a dog or cat?

Our online research shows the answer depends on whom you ask, and most of the estimates we’ve found are so wide-ranging as to be of limited value to anyone trying to budget accurately for cat or dog ownership. 

Still, we hope our research findings will be useful as you consider the financial obligations that come with pet ownership and make best estimates of your own based on your experience and typical purchasing choices. (You know if you’re the sort who would buy the basic $20 litter box or the $650 self-cleaning model.)

In two upcoming posts, we’ll focus on breed-specific acquisition and health care costs for dogs and cats to identify the most expensive and most affordable breeds. 

In this post, we look at some average cost estimates for owning any dog or cat, regardless of breed, and conclude with some ideas for saving money on pet care. 

Please Note

As noted, the annual cost estimates range widely—sometimes by factors of 10 or more—with differences amounting to thousands of dollars. Some of the lowest figures and several of the highest estimates seem too low to us, based on our experiences caring for our own and our clients’ pets. Especially for larger pets and breeds prone to health problems, the upper-range estimates for some services and procedures may be substantially lower than real-world prices in our area of the country. In particular, the estimated maximum prices for spay/neuter surgeries seem unrealistically low.

We also note that regardless of the adoption fees listed in the articles we found, the Hendricks County Animal Shelter’s current adoption fees are $70 for adult dogs, $150 for puppies, $20 for adult cats and $70 for kittens. We’ve included the other adoption fee estimates we found for comparison. (See our National Shelter Appreciation Week post for more information about our county shelter.)

As you plan your budget, keep in mind adoptable shelter pets have most likely already been spayed or neutered, fitted with a microchip, vaccinated, dewormed, started on parasite prevention and treated for at least the most urgent health problems presented when they arrived at the shelter. These initial expenses can be considered covered by the adoption fee.

For accurate, written estimates of our clinic’s fees for exams, vaccines and medical procedures for your dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian. 

Whether or not any of the following general estimates align with the precise amount you’ll end up spending on your pet, our goal is to raise awareness of the financial obligations that come with pet ownership. If you’re thinking of adding a pet to your household, we hope this post will give you an overview of the potential financial obligations that come with owning a cat or dog before you finalize your plans and bring your new pet home.

A Range of Cost Estimates

In a web page published in 2021, “Cutting Pet Care Costs,” the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals itemizes average ongoing costs for both dogs and cats as well as initial and “special” costs.

The ASPCA estimates total initial costs for dogs and cats—not counting what you pay for the pet itself—to be $1,030 for dogs and $455 for cats. Ongoing annual maintenance costs are projected at $1,391 for dogs and $1,149 for cats.

The special costs listed are $300 for professional dog grooming and dental care estimated at $500 for dogs and $300 for cats.

On the Money Under 30 website, “The Annual Cost of Pet Ownership: Can You Afford a Furry Friend?” sets estimated annual expenses at $400 to $4,000 plus one-time costs typically incurred during the first year. 

In itemizing cat costs, the article lists these first-year expenses:

  • Adoption fee $40 to $300 
  • Vaccinations $65 to $200 a year
  • Spay/neuter surgery $150 on average, $50 to $500 depending on the individual case
  • Microchip $45 average
  • Initial supplies $86 to $580
  • Litter box $6 to $350
  • Collar $20 to $50
  • Bed $15 to $50
  • Crate $20 to $40
  • Scratching post $15 to $50
  • Food and water bowls $10 to $40

The article estimates total first-year costs of cat ownership at $386 to $1,335 and suggests budgeting at least $1,000.

Ongoing annual cat care costs include:

  • Cat food $120 to $500
  • Toys and treats $30 to $100
  • Litter $30 to $300
  • Medical expenses $100 to $750
  • Insurance $108 to $360

These yearly cost estimates for owning a cat amount to $388 to $2,010.

Money Under 30 estimates first-year costs of dog ownership as follows:

  • Adoption fee $100 to $800
  • Vaccinations $115 to $230 a year
  • Spay/neuter surgery $35 to $500
  • Microchip $50
  • Training $30 to $1,250
  • Initial supplies $90 to $290
  • Collar, harness and leash $30 to $75
  • Bed $20 to $75
  • Food and water bowls $30 to $100

The site estimates total initial costs of dog ownership between $420 and $3,270 and suggests a minimum budget of $2,000.

Ongoing annual dog care cost estimates include:

  • Dog food $120 to $900
  • Toys and treats $30 to $200
  • Medical expenses, including check-ups, dental care and vaccines $750 to $1,750
  • Insurance $280 to $1,030
  • Additional supplies $30 to $250

In all, Money Under 30 estimates ongoing yearly costs for dog ownership at $1,210 to $4,130 and suggests budgeting at least $2,500.

For both cats and dogs, Money Under 30 suggests setting aside savings to cover ongoing expenses and building an emergency fund to cover unexpected illnesses and accidents. Pet health insurance, estimated at about $45 a month for dogs and $25 a month for cats, can provide reimbursements for unexpected medical treatments provided the condition is covered by the policy.

More Dog Cost Estimates

In an August 2022 article published at, “How to Budget for a New Dog,” the author discusses a broad range of estimated upfront costs as well as recurring expenses over the ten or more years you’re likely to be caring for your dog. 

Upfront costs cover such essentials as spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations and basic equipment and supplies. One survey, cited in the article, reported that 38% of dog owners estimated upfront costs at about $500 when actual costs ranged from $1,050 to $4,480. projected recurring expenses to range from $480 to $3,470 a year with optional expenses like pet health insurance, dog walkers and sitters potentially adding $1,210 to $4,040 to the total.

Variables noted as impacting expenses are the dog’s age, size and health as well as where you live.

The article continues by comparing the cost of acquiring a dog from a pet store or breeder to the cost of adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization. Acquisition costs vary among breeds as do feeding and health care costs. We will explore these breed-related variables for both dogs and cats further in future posts.

In an article ranking states for “spoiled dogs” (Indiana dogs ranked 20th), Forbes Advisor reported on a survey of 5,002 dog owners that asked about spending on such extravagances as costumes, birthday parties, strollers, perfume, pedicures, homemade dog food and restaurant treats, and health care and grooming, relative to expenditures on human members of the household. See the article for details of the survey responses.

In a section titled, “How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog?” Forbes Advisor reported survey respondents said they spend an average of $730 a year on their dogs, with 41% saying they spend $500 to $1,999 a year and 8% reporting spending more than $2,000. More than a third—36%—reported spending only $200 to $499. 

Dog food topped the list of expenses, at 47%, followed by vet bills at 28%, treats and toys at 10% and professional grooming at 6%.

Visit the page for a complete break-down of survey responses about annual expenditures. Bear in mind, these figures are based on the owners’ self-reports of their spending and may not accurately reflect actual costs. 

More Cat Cost Estimates

On the ASPCA brand pet insurance website, “How Much Does It Cost to Have a Cat?” the post author discusses the potential costs of adopting a cat from a shelter ($50 to $175) and buying from a breeder (possibly $750 or more) as well as listing one-time purchases of such essentials as a litter box, a cat carrier, collar and ID tag, scratching posts or mats and food and water bowls. Optional accessories listed include a bed, water fountain, cat shelves, window perches and tech gadgets such as computerized toys and two-way video. No price estimates are included for these items.

The article cites ASPCA annual cost estimates of $634 for routine medical exams, vaccines and parasite preventives, food, treats and toys plus a few extras such as catnip or an extra scratching mat.

Unexpected costs may include fixing household damage caused by your cat’s scratching and territory marking as well as unexpected medical expenses for treating illnesses and accidents.

There follows a brief discussion of pet health care insurance as a way to mitigate unexpected veterinary care costs.

Money-Saving Suggestions

In “Cutting Pet Care Costs,” the ASPCA offers these suggestions:

  • Schedule regular check-ups
  • Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines could safely be eliminated for your pet
  • Spay or neuter your pet
  • Brush your pet’s teeth
  • Protect your pet from parasites
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes around your pet
  • Consider pet health insurance
  • Buy high-quality pet food
  • Groom your pets at home

Visit the page on the ASPCA website for details on each tip.

In the article, money-saving suggestions include:

  • Making your own toys and accessories
  • Buying accessories like crates and water bowls second-hand
  • Do-it-yourself grooming
  • Buying food at a discount by subscription
  • Using reward and cash-back credit cards to pay your pet’s expenses
  • Hiring bargain-priced friends, neighbors and family members as dog walkers and pet sitters
  • Taking advantage of senior and military discounts when purchasing products and services for you pet
  • Researching grants, financial aid and other resources to help pay for unexpected illnesses and accidents

The ASPCA Pet Insurance article on the costs of owning a cat offers five cost-saving tips:

  • Buy in bulk
  • Shop around
  • Make your own toys
  • Make your own cat treats
  • Consider pet insurance

In its survey report about spending on dogs, Forbes Advisor advocates buying pet health insurance as the one suggestion for “taming veterinarian bills.” We agree, pet health insurance is a wonderful idea. Be advised, however, that the Forbes Advisor website earns commissions if you buy a policy through one of its links. 

Our Money-Saving Advice

The Brownsburg Animal Clinic team reiterates and adds these cost-saving suggestions:

  • Consider the costs before you bring a new pet into your household
  • Adopt a shelter or rescue animal rather than buying from a breeder
  • Let us recommend an affordable, nutritious food for your pet
  • Schedule wellness exams when recommended
  • Brush your pet’s teeth to reduce the risk of periodontal disease and delay or possibly even eliminate the need for a professional cleaning
  • Prevent illnesses (and obey Indiana law) by having us administer the appropriate vaccines for your pet
  • Give recommended parasite preventives year-round
  • Prevent accidents by keeping your pet indoors or in a fenced yard and keeping potential hazards out of reach
  • Consider buying pet health insurance to reimburse you for unexpected major medical costs of treating covered illnesses and injuries. 

For a list of charitable organizations serving pet owners facing unexpected major medical costs, visit our Financial Resources page.

The Costs of Owning a Pet Read More »

Cat sleeping next to puppy

Financial Resources

We realize veterinary care can be costly and may at times seem out of reach for some families. If you are having financial difficulties that could compromise your pet’s veterinary care, you can ask for help by setting up your own crowdfunding campaigns. You can also apply for grants from charitable organizations with missions that align with your situation and needs.

Please note: We have little or no direct experience with these organizations beyond verifying their websites are up and running. We have no way of knowing if information on the websites is current. We are providing these links solely for your convenience, to help you get started on your own research. We are neither endorsing nor vouching for any of the organizations listed.

Before you apply for a grant or make a donation, we strongly encourage you to exercise due diligence in researching them for yourself. 

General Assistance Funds

Bow Wow Buddies Foundation

Bow Wow Buddies Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps sick and injured dogs by funding urgent medical care and aiding with veterinary bills for serious conditions. Grants up to $2,500 are available to families unable to afford veterinary care. The foundation suggests you visit the “FAQs” page before proceeding to the “Apply for a Grant” page.

Brown Dog Foundation, Inc.

Brown Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides funding to families whose pets would likely respond to treatment for a life-threatening illness or injury but who lack the money to pay for that treatment. Visit the “Ask for Help” page for information about the approval process and how to apply for assistance.

Feeding Pets of the Homeless

From the website, “Feeding Pets of the Homeless is the first and one of the few national nonprofits providing pet food and emergency veterinary care to pets that belong to homeless people.” The organization has donation sites in Avon and Indianapolis and works through the Street Outreach Animal Response (S.O.A.R.) Initiative to serve pet owners in the Indianapolis community who are experiencing homelessness or crisis.

For the Love of Alex

For The Love Of Alex Inc. provides emergency funding for life-saving veterinary care for pets belonging to low-income families. The organization pays the veterinarian directly. To get started on the application process, visit the “Help My Pet” page.

Frankie’s Friends

Frankie’s Friends provides financial grants to families whose pets need life-saving emergency or specialty veterinary care but who can’t afford the full cost of treatment. The pets the organization helps have a good prognosis for return to a good quality of life with treatment and would otherwise suffer, be euthanized, or relinquished without proper veterinary care. Visit the “National Frankie’s Friends Fund Application” page to learn more about eligibility requirements and apply for a grant.

Friends & Vets Helping Pets

 Friends & Vets Helping Pets helps families with financial limitations to pay for extraordinary veterinary expenses necessary to save a pet’s life. According to the website, “Friends & Vets Helping Pets funds treatments for curable (lifesaving, not life-prolonging) diseases such as tumors, broken bones, ambulatory care, expensive medication, or post-surgical prosthetics such as a K-9 cart.” Visit the website for more information about applying for a grant.


You can ask for charitable contributions to cover your pet’s vet bills by setting up a page on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding platform that has collected a total of $25 billion in donations to individuals and nonprofits to help fund a variety of needs since its beginnings in 2010. The site has an entire section devoted to animal-related causes.


Help-A-Pet is a nonprofit organization that provides financial help nationwide for the veterinary medical care of pets whose owners are unable to afford it. The “Application Process” page describes eligibility requirements and lists documentation you’ll need to supply along with your application.

Hope Mending Hearts

Hope Mending Hearts provides grants, typically of $100 to $200, to pet owners in financial need whose pets have a life-threatening injury or illness that requires urgent and specific treatment. Details of the grant requirements and a link to the application form are on the “Grant Process” page of the website.

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) Veterinary Care Partnership Program 

The program benefits adult hearing, guide or service dogs whose owners are IAADP members experiencing “conditions of severe financial hardship.” Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences, Inc., administers the program, and only veterinarians can apply for grants.

Lucy the Rescue Dog Inc.

Lucy the Rescue Dog Inc. is a nonprofit organization offering financial help to families whose pets need life-saving emergency care they cannot afford. The pet must have a treatable disease or injury. Any funds granted will be paid directly to a pre-approved veterinary hospital. Visit the “Ask for Help” page for details and a link to an application form.

Make a Wag

Make a Wag, the Jeffrey Sutarik, DVM, Charitable Fund for Elderly Pet Care, provides financial reimbursements to veterinarians and veterinary clinics for their financially struggling elderly clients whose companion animals need unexpected and/or emergency medical care. 

The Mosby Foundation

Through its general medical assistance fund, The Mosby Foundation offers financial assistance to qualified applicants to help pay for their dog’s life-saving, non-urgent treatment confirmed as needed by a licensed veterinarian. Apply for aid here.

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation provides funding and support to a wide range of pet-related causes, including help for individual pet owners facing difficulties paying for veterinary treatment. Visit the foundation website’s “Requesting a Grant” page and the “Grant Application FAQs” page for detailed information.

Paws 4 A Cure

Paws 4 A Cure is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to those who can’t afford veterinary care to treat their dog or cat’s illness or injuries. The organization’s maximum one-time grant amount is $500. Visit the “Ask for Help” page for details.

The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund was founded in 2003 as a national nonprofit dedicated to funding veterinary care for those who could not afford it. The organization’s primary focus is on “non-basic, non-emergency care.” Its one-time grants are reportedly limited to $500 per applicant. The website offers pet owners a number of suggestions for addressing financial difficulties on its “Financial Assistance” page. For details on the grant application process, visit “Page One: To Begin Your Application.”


Besides providing transport services to help displaced animals find new homes, RACE4Ran also offers financial assistance directly to veterinarians for animals requiring emergency care. The grants will cover 80% of a final vet bill from $1 to $299 and a flat $300 for bills exceeding $300. See the application form for details.


RedRover provides financial assistance, resources and support to low-income individuals and survivors of domestic violence and their pets, so families can escape abuse together and stay together. Urgent care grants through RedRover Relief are also available to pet owners struggling with economic hardship when pets are in life-threatening situations. The average grant is about $250.

STARelief and Pet Assistance

STARelief’s Home For Life grant program provides financial assistance for veterinary care and resources to pet families experiencing financial hardship. Typical grants are from $100 to $500 and may be used for emergency medical care, emergency boarding and foster care, spay or neuter surgery, routine medical care and end-of-life services. Visit the “Home For Life Grant Application” page for detailed eligibility requirements and an online application form.

Violet’s Friends in Need

Violet’s Friends in Need is a program of Oscar Newman Luxury Pet Couture offering financial assistance for urgent or critical veterinary care, surgeries, therapies or mobility solutions that are too costly for pet owners. See the “Violet’s Friends—Application Pre-Requisites” page for full details. 


Waggle is a crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to fundraising to help pay pets’ medical bills. Once you complete the application process and set up your page, Waggle pays your veterinarian directly from your campaign proceeds. According to the website, “Waggle’s operating expenses are supported by donors who contribute a small fee at checkout along with an optional tip. This allows us to pass 100% of every donation directly to the chosen pet.” 

Disease- and Injury-Specific Funds

Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program

The Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to cat and kitten owners who are unable to afford veterinary services to save their companion with Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (VAS), also referred to as Injection Site Sarcoma (ISS). The application form can be faxed or scanned and emailed.

Fur the Brand

Fur The Brand is a nonprofit organization providing support and financial help to families whose pet faces a cancer diagnosis requiring veterinary care they are unable to afford. Visit the “Financial Assistance” page for detailed information about applying for a grant.

Handicapped Pets Foundation

The Handicapped Pets Foundation donates new or reconditioned wheelchairs to elderly, disabled and injured pets in need. The organization does not make financial grants.

Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation

The Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation (JLACF), through Frankie’s Friends, provides financial assistance grants to pet owners who cannot afford the full cost of lifesaving veterinary oncology care. Before applying, you must have a clear diagnosis, specific treatment plan in place, and an estimate of the cost of care from a veterinary oncologist who deems your pet is treatable. Your pet must have a “good prognosis” as determined by a veterinary oncologist to be eligible for assistance. To apply for assistance, visit the Frankie’s Friends website.

Juniors Fund

Juniors Fund helps families of pets suspected to have irritable bowel disease (IBD) defray the costs of treatment. To receive assistance, an internal medicine veterinarian has to have diagnosed your pet with IBD (or suspected IBD), while you have “an extenuating financial need.” Your pet’s expected treatment outcome is for a good quality of life to continue more than one year after treatment. The grant application has more details.

Live Like Roo Foundation

The Live Like Roo Foundation helps cover healthcare costs related to cancer treatment in the form of grants from $500 to $1,500 per qualified applicant. The foundation awards grants monthly after reviewing applications and medical records. To qualify and be considered for a grant, your pet must have a confirmed cancer diagnosis. For additional details and to apply for a grant, see the “Live Like Too Foundation Medical Application” Google doc.

Magic Bullet Fund

If your cat or dog has cancer and you can’t afford treatment, the Magic Bullet Fund may offer you assistance for cancer treatment including surgery or chemotherapy. The fund does not give grants. With active participation in fundraising by the owners, it raises donations for each cat and dog accepted by the fund. Visit and read the “Apply” page to find out more about how the program works. 

Miranda’s People

Miranda’s People offers financial assistance to owners who can’t afford cancer treatment for their dogs. To request help, send an email message as directed on the “Financial Assistance” page.

Tripawds Foundation

The Tripawds Foundation serves pet amputees, providing financial aid for amputation assistance, rehabilitation therapy, assistive devices such as harnesses and adoption fee reimbursements. See the “Tripawds Assistance Programs” page for an overview of the types of funding and other resources available to owners of amputees. Financial aid programs include The Tripawds Amputation Surgery Assistance Program, which grants $1,000 in financial aid for each of two qualified applicants per month. The Tripawds Gear Fund makes free assistive devices for amputee dogs available to financially distressed pet owners. The Maggie Moo Fund grants up to $200 to reimburse owners of a three legged dog or cat who visit a certified animal rehabilitation therapist for a first-time evaluation.

Wild Hearts

Through its sponsorship program, Wild Hearts serves mobility-impaired animals, including those with paralysis, amputation, trauma, neurological or birth defects and other diagnosed ailments. The program does not help with immediate or urgent needs, surgeries or common orthopedic conditions, nor does it offer reimbursements for paid invoices. Visit the “Application for Sponsorship” page for more information and the online application form.

Breed-Specific Funds

Australian Cattle Dog Rescue, Incorporated

Australian Cattle Dog Rescue, Inc., (ACDRI) offers financial aid to individuals or groups rescuing purebred Australian Cattle Dogs. Medical assistance is available for expenses above and beyond routine examination, vaccination, spay/neuter, heartworm test and intestinal parasite test expenses. If approved, ACDRI will pay up to 75% of the submitted bill with the total donation not to exceed $400 for each case. Visit the “Financial Assistance Guidelines” page and the “Rescue Dog Financial Assistance Application” page for details on how to apply for a grant.

Chow Welfare

Chow Welfare is an appointed committee of the Chow Chow Club, Inc., the AKC-recognized national parent club of the Chow Chow breed in the U.S. The Welfare Fund provides grants to individuals and groups involved in Chow Chow welfare to provide medical care, spay/neuter surgery and/or transportation to rescued Chow Chows on a case-by-case basis. A fillable online grant application form is available.

CorgiAid, Inc.

CorgiAid helps corgis and corgi mixes in rescue get medical care so they can become adoptable and also lends carts to corgis with mobility issues. CorgiAid does not provide funding for the care of established personal pets. However, CorgiAid may be able to help a newly adopted dog with an issue that a vet determines was present at the time of adoption. The application for funding must meet all other CorgiAid guidelines.

Dachshund Friends in Deed

Dachshund Friends In Deed is an all-volunteer organization founded in 2019 to help dachshunds in need of veterinary care by making grants to help dachshund owners pay vet bills they can’t otherwise afford. Visit the organization’s “Requesting Help” page for detailed information about applying for a grant. The application form is posted here.

Labrador Life Line (for Labrador Retrievers)

Labrador Life Line, Inc. is a nonprofit organization created to help owners or rescuers of Labrador Retrievers who need financial assistance with urgent and short-term veterinary care. The “Application Process” page outlines steps to apply for a grant. There’s an “Apply Now” page as well as a more detailed “Application Guidelines” page with a link to an “Application for Funding” page with additional information and a contact form.

Poodle Angels

Through their Vetcare Program, Poodle Angels helps Poodles in medical crisis receive the veterinary care they need. The organization raises money to help pay all or part of vet bills directly to licensed, approved veterinarians on behalf of individuals and families who cannot otherwise afford the appropriate veterinary care for their Poodle. See Poodle Angels’ “Guidelines BEFORE you apply” page before proceeding to the grant application.

WestieMed (for West Highland White Terriers)

WestieMed helps rescued West Highland White Terriers (Westies) in foster care or those adopted from a rescue organization within the past 6 months and for whom funding is unavailable or insufficient. The organization does not consider applications for “established pet Westies.” Visit “WestieMed Funding Guidelines” for details of eligibility and grant-making policies. If you think you qualify for a grant, see the application form here. More information about the application process is available on the “Application Procedures” page. If your application is approved, WestieMed allows funding for any one eligible individual applicant or rescue group to a maximum of $2,500 per case not to exceed $5,000 per calendar year. 

Financial Resources Read More »

Dog and cat playing together beneath a tree

Fees and Charges

We set fees for our services and prices for drugs and merchandise at fair and reasonable levels. Your doctor will be happy to discuss our fee schedule and pricing with you and provide an estimate of total costs for any procedure your pet may require.

Fees are payable at the time we provide our services. We prepare your bill for payment at the end of each appointment.

See our blog post concerning required advance payments by new clients.

If your pet is admitted for treatment, we may require a deposit at check-in. We present your final bill when you come to pick up your pet.

We accept cash, personal checks and major credit cards.


We do not offer payment plans, but we do accept CareCredit. To find out more and apply for a CareCredit card, please visit Please note, a $5 transaction fee will be applied to CareCredit charges of less than $50.

Articles About Pet Care Costs

We post articles about pet care costs regularly on our blog. For your convenience, we’ve created a dedicated “Pet Care Costs” category you may use to display these posts on a single page.

Our 5-Part Pet Insurance Series

We believe pet insurance is a good option to help you reduce the impact of financial considerations on major, possibly urgent veterinary care decisions you may face in the future impacting the pet you love. We created a 5-part blog post series to help you understand basic pet insurance concepts and how to shop for the best policy for your pet.

Our ‘Financial Resources’ Page

We maintain a “Financial Resources” page on our website where we share links to charities offering financial aid to owners unable to pay for their pets’ veterinary care. There are also links to crowd-funding websites where you can create and post your own fund-raising campaign.

Fees and Charges Read More »