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.
- 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 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.