woman with her dog
pet, vet care, pet finances
Saving at the vet: how to keep your furry friends from breaking the bankBy MSGCU on 5/10/2024


We all love our pets. Cats, dogs, ferrets, and furry and feathered babies of all sorts are members of the family. And like every other member of your family, if your pets get sick, they need medical care. Medical care for a family member – whether they are furry or not – can get expensive.

If your faithful furry friend needs medical care to save its life, treat an illness, or daily medication to keep conditions at bay, costs can add up quickly. Putting a price on your pet’s life isn’t easy, and if there are multiple animals involved, veterinary bills can become a real source of stress. Take steps to avoid these financial challenges. Here are four ways to keep your furry friends safe and your savings account flush.

Put together a pet first aid kit

A first-aid kit for pets looks similar to a first-aid kit for humans. When putting together your own kit, make sure to include supplies for cuts and scrapes, like gauze, adhesive tape and an antiseptic spray or cream. For general illnesses, you need a thermometer to check for fever (make sure to get a digital pet thermometer), diphenhydramine for allergic reactions, and hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting if necessary. Include activated charcoal or milk of magnesia to protect against accidental poisoning. Other things to consider including in an emergency first-aid kit, or at least having on the ready if you need to get to the vet in a hurry, are a blanket, a leash, and a muzzle.

Before you take any steps to treat your pet, speak to an expert. Many veterinarians have emergency contact hours where they may be willing to walk you through basic first aid. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also maintains an animal poison control number where you can speak to a trained representative. They can tell you if you need to induce vomiting, what dosage of activated charcoal to administer, or if you need to seek in-person veterinary help immediately.

Ask for a treatment estimate and negotiate if possible

Most veterinarians got into their practice because they genuinely love animals. They want to help your pet feel better. If you’re not sure about your ability to pay, be up front about that. There may be several options available to you. If it’s prescription medication, you may be able to have it filled elsewhere at a considerable savings. Online pharmacies are usually able to offer discounted prices on many medications and animal medications are no exception. These institutions may require a phone call or a fax from your vet, and most veterinary offices are equipped to provide that authorization. When your vet recommends a medication, ask for a written prescription so you can shop around to find the best price.

You may also be able to negotiate the cost of a procedure. Veterinarians may know of local charities that help fund care for animals in need. They may also be willing to reduce the cost themselves, or work out a payment plan with you. No one – including your vet – wants to see an animal life lost over finances.

Consider pet insurance

Pet insurance sounds like a luxury good. In truth, it’s no different than any other kind of insurance that protects against unexpected and expensive visits. Compared to a veterinary emergency, these plans are very affordable.

Veterinary care is expensive. In fact, on average, dog owners spend between $500 and $1,000 each year on veterinary services. Pet insurance helps pay for regular care and the unplanned visits that may pop up over time. How much you choose to insure is a matter of personal choice, but getting some form of insurance is a great way to get peace of mind.

Apply for a Member Fast Cash loan

If Fido finds himself at the vet with a growing bill, we can help get you get the money to cover the costs of treatment.

Member Fast Cash is a loan designed to help our members when a little extra cash is needed. Members can borrow between $1,000 and $4,000 with a fixed rate and term up to 42 months. The loan is available 24/7 and the money is deposited directly into your account in less than 60 seconds.

Learn more or apply through online and mobile banking.

We understand the important role pets play in our lives, and when their health situation gets stressful, we’re here to help. We offer several solutions to unexpected costs and our team members can help guide you to the one that’s right for you and your pet.

Call, chat, or stop by one of our convenient branch office locations to get started.

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