Money issues are one of the biggest setbacks for people when it comes to taking their pet to a vet, especially in cases of emergency or sudden illness or injury. I know everyone here loves their pets and no one wants to put off taking their sick pet to a vet because of lack of funds. I was brainstorming some ways that pet owners of all ages might be able to afford and prepare for veterinary care for their pet.
1. By far the easiest and most efficient way to provide for your pet is to already have cash on hand when a situation arises. Having a secure piggy bank or savings account would be sufficient. Whether you set aside some money each paycheck or each allowance, most people are able to save up; some of those savings could be set aside for potential vet expenses. This way, if a pet suddenly takes ill and requires care, there's no need to delay a visit until money can be scrounged up, helping us to catch any sickness in its earlier stages and hopefully avoid complications.
2. For adults with good credit, an alternative may be to carry a credit card. I use this method myself. Many veterinary offices will accept credit payments.The advantage is that all the money you may need is readily available provided you don't max out your card; it's convenient. The disadvantage of course is that you have to pay it off again with interest, and you are prone to what I think of as the 'one step forward, two steps back' effect, whereby you pay off some of the debt, and then something else pops up requiring you use your credit card again. I really only recommend a credit card to people who are very strict with their finances and can restrain themselves from spending too much with it!
3. Another alternative, both for adults and even younger people is to use a prepaid credit card. A prepaid credit card does not need to be paid back. It can be bought for yourself or given as a gift; even a child can use a prepaid credit card. If you wanted to have money on hand for veterinary care but somehow end up spending your cash or have trouble saving money, buying a prepaid card or asking your parents for one as a gift would be one way to have that money readily available in the event of an emergency. Of course, you are only good to spend what the prepaid card is worth, but there is no need to pay it off and no tempting cash laying in your wallet; just leave the card at home and designate it as being strictly for vet expenses.
4. The only other option I can think of is to buy into insurance for your pet. This could be a little tricky because 1) not every insurance company will cover birds or small animals. Most will only cover cats or dogs. And 2) insurance companies have different policies and may use complicated jargon, so you would have to communicate with them over how many visits and which treatments will be covered under your pet's insurance. Basically, your pet's vet care is dictated by their rules, not your own choice, so shop around if you can and see what types of packages are available.
Just like us, animals are bound to be sick or to have an injury at some point in their lifetime. If we are to keep them as family members and pets, we have a responsibility to look after their health.
Putting off a vet visit until money can be found can be damaging to an animal's health and happiness. For their benefit, it helps to be prepared for emergencies and to be able to provide preventative care such as annual checkups. These things are often expensive and being unprepared for them can create undue stress and unhappiness for any loving pet owner!
Please take a moment to consider your pet's future and determine what your resources are. Would you be able to provide veterinary care for your pets if they became ill tomorrow? What methods have you taken to provide for your pets, and how will you prepare for your animals' future?