Pet Financing Options for Your Furry Friends

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Pet financing

If you have a pet that’s part of the family, you want to give them the best possible care. But pets can be expensive. Whether it’s an extra trip to the vet and medical treatments or training fees, dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, horses, and your other pets can be costly. 

According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022. That’s up from $123.6 billion in 2021, and those numbers continue to rise. 

If the costs of caring for your pets start to exceed your budget, you might consider a pet loan. Should you take a pet loan? Find some of the best pet financing options below. 

7 Best pet financing options

Many providers offer payment plans to cover pet expenses over time. In addition, you can consider pet financing, from personal loans to non-profit grants designed to help you. See what will work for you.  

1. Personal loans

Personal loans are a flexible financing option, making them the natural first place to look for pet financing. Lenders generally don’t restrict how you spend personal loans. You can use them for anything, from pet training or medical expenses to home renovation to consolidating credit card debt. 

A personal loan can be a good option if you are experiencing financial hardship or have a single large expense. For example, if you get hit with an unexpected veterinary bill of $3,000, you could take out a personal loan to pay for it over time.

Lenders will perform a credit check before approving the loan. You’ll usually need a minimum credit score of 580, but some lenders have higher requirements. The higher your credit score, the greater the possibility of a lower interest rate. However, interest rates on personal loans are usually significantly lower than on credit cards and payday loans, making them a good choice to pay for pet financing.

Pros

The advantages of personal loans for pet financing include:

  • Spend on any needs without worrying about restrictions.
  • Fixed interest rates and monthly payments, making it easier to budget.
  • You can often prequalify without a hard credit inquiry to know what’s available to you.
  • Get funds within a few days or even the same day.

Cons

The disadvantages of personal loans for pet financing include:

  • Taking out a loan can increase financial burden in the future. 
  • Lenders may charge upfront origination fees.
  • Interest rates can be high for borrowers with lower credit scores.
  • It’s difficult to qualify with poor or no credit. 

2. Payment plans

Payment plans allow you to pay directly with the company or service provider over time. Usually, there’s an additional fee for this, but it could be lower than the interest on loans or credit cards. For example, your vet may let you pay $110 a month for a year instead of paying $1,200 upfront. Carefully compare interest rates and fees to see whether this option is best. 

You can also use a buy now, pay later app for purchases that don’t have a direct payment plan. Your credit card issuer may also offer a payment plan with lower interest rates than standard APRs, although these are usually only available for cardholders with good to excellent credit. Most payment plans don’t require a credit check. 

Pros

The pros of payment plans include the following:

  • Spread a big expense over time. 
  • No need to apply for a separate loan. 
  • Often lower in fees and interest than other options.

Cons

The disadvantages of payment plans are worth weighing. These include:

  • You’ll usually need to pay more than with a single upfront payment. 
  • Some payment plans come with high interest and fees.
  • Payment plans aren’t available from all companies. You may need to seek out a third-party app. 

3. Credit card

Putting major pet expenses on a credit card is usually only a smart financial strategy if you know how to manage the credit card and plan to pay it off before interest is due. Otherwise, the interest rates are usually too high to justify this option.  

If you have a credit card introductory offer, financing pet expenses with a credit card and paying them off in full can be a strategy to earn extra rewards or bonus points. If your credit card has a 0% APR offer, you could use it for pet financing. To avoid interest, plan to pay it off before the introductory offer ends. 

For example, if you have $3,000 in pet expenses, you could put it on a card with an 18-month 0% APR. Then, you’ll need to pay $176.50 monthly for 17 months to pay off the debt before interest is due. 

If you already have a credit card, you don’t need a credit check or minimum credit score to use the card for pet financing. However, notifying your card issuer of a large purchase can ensure the purchase goes through without issues. 

Pros

Financing pet expenses on a credit card comes with risks of high interest and fees. But when done strategically, there are significant pros, including:  

  • Easy to plan for purchase and repayment. 
  • No need for a new credit application.
  • With a 0% APR offer, you’ll save on interest.
  • You could earn bonus points with a new credit card offer, 

Cons

The disadvantages of putting pet expenses on a credit card include:

  • Ultra-high interest rates if you don’t pay it off on time.
  • A high credit utilization ratio from big expenses could negatively impact your credit score. 

PRO TIP! Explore credit and debit card options tailored to different needs and preferences.


4. Cash Advance (EWA)

If you’re facing a sudden vet bill and expect to have the funds when you get your next paycheck, maybe a loan isn’t needed. Earned wage access (EWA) is a solution when you’re short on cash until the next paycheck. EWA, also called instant pay, early wage access, accrued wage access, earned income, or on-demand pay helps you to access your salary ahead of the usual payday schedule. This doesn’t require a credit check and is best for employees of large companies or businesses with consistent wages. 

If your employer doesn’t offer EWA, you still have options. InstacashSM from Moneylion is a type of EWA that offers a no-interest cash advance for everything from unexpected vet bills,or a last-minute date night. 

You can get Instacash cash advances up to $500 so you do not have to get pet financing. Instacash and other EWA options are not a loan product and don’t require a credit check. Instead, you get access to your own salary early. 

Pros

The advantages of EWA include: 

  • A way to pay for pet expenses without taking a loan.
  • No credit check.
  • interest-free early payment.

Cons

The disadvantages of EWA include: 

  • Not offered by all employers.
  • Some third-party suppliers may charge high interest or fees. 

Want to sign up for Instacash so you’re prepared for the unexpected? Access Instacash here

5. Pet insurance

Taking out pet insurance can help ensure you’re prepared ahead of time for medical emergencies for your pets. Like human health insurance, pet insurance covers medical care costs. Coverage varies by plan. Some plans don’t cover routine care or chronic conditions. However, with the right pet insurance plan, you’ll make monthly payments and get the coverage you need without large unexpected expenses. 

You can choose from three main types of pet insurance plans: accident and illness, accident-only, and wellness or preventive care. Comprehensive pet insurance costs an average of $640 per year for dogs or $387 for cats, while an accident-only plan costs about one-third of that. 

Pros

The pros of pet insurance include:

  • Pay an affordable monthly payment for insurance that will cover your pet’s needs. 
  • Choose pet insurance plans based on your budget and coverage needs. 
  • Less expensive than large veterinary expenses.

Cons

The cons of pet insurance include:

  • Doesn’t cover other pet expenses like training.
  • Pet insurance will be more expensive for healthy pets that only require an annual checkup.

6. Vet schools

You can contact veterinary schools at nearby colleges or universities for low-cost medical care for your pets. New veterinarians need experience, and you could save on excellent medical care for your help. They may offer financing or grants for expensive surgical procedures or ongoing care.

Pros

The advantages of veterinary schools include:

  • Professional care at a lower cost.
  • Access to possible grants or financing for expensive procedures. 
  • New vets are usually supervised by experienced vets, so the standard of care may be even higher.

Cons

The cons of taking your pet to a veterinary school for care include:

  • The nearest veterinary school may be far from where you live, adding to the expenses, and time needed for care.
  • Not all veterinary schools offer low-cost programs. 

7. Nonprofit Assistance

In addition to veterinary schools, the local Humane Society can be a great resource for low-cost veterinary care. In addition to financial programs and grants, the Humane Society may have a wellness clinic on-site.

You can check with local nonprofits and shelters for support with medical expenses. For example, Anicira offers a full range of low-cost medical care for pets. 

Other national nonprofit organizations that can help with pet medical bills include:

  • The Pet Fund
  • Brown Dog Foundation
  • Paws 4 A Cure
  • CareCredit
  • Friends and Vets Helping Pets
  • Pets of the Homeless
  • The Mosby Foundation
  • RedRover Relief
  • Magic Bullet Fund

Pros

The advantages of reaching out to nonprofits for assistance include:

  • No need to take a loan.
  • Build a network of animal lovers who can help you protect your pet.
  • Get access to funds on an as-needed basis. 

Cons

The disadvantages of applying to nonprofits for assistance include:

  • Availability of funds may fluctuate over time.
  • Need-based approval means some families won’t get approved. 

What is a pet loan?

A pet loan is a type of personal loan designed for pet owners. While loans marketed specifically to pet owners might come with higher interest and fees, you can use any personal loan to cover pet expenses. Personal loans usually have a fixed interest rate with repayment terms from one to several years.

Personal loans are usually unsecured, so you don’t need to provide any collateral. If you get a fixed interest rate, it will stay the same over the life of your loan so you can more easily plan monthly repayments. 

Why should you get a pet loan?

A pet loan gives you the necessary cash to take care of your pet when you need it. The advantages of a pet financing are:

  • Get fast access to cash to cover medical bills or other expenses.
  • Secure a repayment schedule that fits your budget.
  • Helps you ensure your pet gets the best care available. 
  • With grants or special financing, pay over time at reduced interest or no interest.
  • Break up expensive vet bills into manageable monthly payments.

Can you get a pet loan with bad credit?

Yes, you can get a pet loan with bad credit. Some lenders have higher credit requirements, but many will offer smaller loans even for borrowers with low credit. You can also consider guaranteed loans for bad credit

Should You Consider Pet Financing?

Taking on debt to cover regular expenses is not usually the best financial plan. But if you’re hit with an unexpected pet expense, financing can help you ensure your pet gets the care you need. 

Your pets are part of the family, and planning to protect them requires some research. Consider pet insurance, and look at both veterinary schools and nonprofits like the Humane Society nearby so you’re prepared for the unexpected. With proactive planning now, you’ll have several options available when your pet needs it. 

FAQ

Can I use pet financing for veterinary care?

Yes, you can use pet financing for veterinary care. If you need more ideas to pay for your pet’s care, find seven pet financing options above. 

Can I get financing for multiple pets?

Yes, you can get financing for multiple pets. You could use a single personal loan to pay for the care of multiple pets. Alternatively, you might qualify for support from non-profit organizations or low-cost care from veterinary schools.

Is pet financing the same as pet insurance?

No, pet financing is not the same as pet insurance. With pet insurance, you’ll pay a fixed monthly cost and then get access to insurance when needed. With pet financing, you’ll spread a previous expense over time through a loan, payment plan, or other financing options. 

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