When a loved animal member of your family is sick and the treatment is difficult to afford, the situation can seem helpless. Financial assistance programs are few and far between, and a situation can rarely be paid for entirely by grants.
Below are some suggestions from previous RedRover Relief applicants. If you have a successful fundraising strategy to share, please email us.
Also please read our tips on preventing veterinary emergencies.
- Be upfront with your veterinarian about your financial restrictions.
- Discuss with your veterinarian the minimum treatment to save your animal's life. For example, amputation can be a more financially attainable option than reconstructive surgery; or purchasing a wheelchair for an animal can be more attainable than a full hip replacement. Your veterinarian can help you evaluate what is most attainable for your situation, keeping your animal's quality of life in mind.
- Ask other area clinics how much they normally charge for similar treatment or request a second opinion. Costs can vary widely from clinic to clinic. For a directory of veterinary clinics, visit www.veterinarians.com.
- Apply for one or more grants. Besides the RedRover Relief program, there are a number of other financial assistance programs available to help pet owners. For a complete directory, visit www.redrover.org/help.
- Apply for a loan through Care Credit, a credit card specifically intended for health expenses, including veterinary care. Read the terms of this card carefully to make sure obtaining one will not add to your financial difficulties. iCare is an alternative service credit card with 0% interest that your veterinarian must apply for.
- Find a quick way to earn money, such as having a bake sale, yard sale or car wash.
- Create a fundraising page using your social network site or other funding tool, like CauseWish, YouCaring, GoFundMe or GiveForward.
- Contact local animal shelters and rescue organizations for leads to low-cost clinics and/or help with fundraising. Petfinder.com has a comprehensive list of rescue organizations from all over the country. Visit Petfinder.com and click on “Animal Shelters” at the top of the page.
- Reach out to local veterinary schools. Many offer discounted services for limited income clients. The American Veterinary Medical Association and VeterinarySchools.com have listings of veterinary schools by state.
- Post fliers or collection jars with a description of the situation and a picture of the animal at local dog parks, vet clinics, pet stores and other community gathering places.
- Contact your local newspaper or television station and ask if they would be willing to feature a story about your situation.
- Contact church or community organizations and explain your situation. They may be willing to help you fundraise or to raise awareness.
- Local restaurants may offer a fundraising opportunity in which a portion of a day's sales is donated to an organization.
- Offer to wash floors or do other labor at the veterinary clinic in exchange for lowering the treatment cost.
- Ask for loans from your family and friends.
- Ask family and friends to help spread the word about your situation.
- If the animal is a purebred, contact that breed's enthusiast club in your area.
- Check out some more ideas.