When people struggle, so do their pets: Millions of pet owners live in poverty, and the most common reason people surrender their pet to a shelter is rental limitations (i.e., their landlord doesn’t allow pets or charges an unaffordable pet fee.) Other pet owners may struggle to afford pet food, veterinary care or pet supplies and resources that could help address disruptive health and behavior issues. If this sounds like you or someone you know, there are several local and national resources that can help. 


Where can I find free pet food and other supplies?

  • Visit Pet Help Finder, click on “Food Pantry and Supplies,” enter your city, state or zip code then click “Search.”
  • Explore an interactive resource map provided by Feeding Pets of the Homeless; under “Get Help,” choose “Find Resources Near You” and enter your location.
  • For help with housing, food, paying bills and more, visit findhelp.org or 211.org.

What if I can't afford a vet? Where can I find free or low-cost vet care?

Visit Pet Help Finder, click on “Veterinary Services,” enter your city, state or zip code then click “Search.” This will bring up a listing of financially friendly providers of spay/neuter and other services. If your animal requires emergency veterinary care and you can't afford treatment, contact nearby veterinary colleges to see if they have any emergency assistance programs. If you are unsure what qualifies as emergency veterinary care, call your veterinarian and describe the symptoms. Some animal shelter and community clinics will also provide emergency care on a limited basis.

Ways to help cover veterinary expenses

  • Negotiate a payment plan with your veterinarian. If you're a client in good standing, they may be able to work out a weekly or monthly payment plan. Some veterinarians also work with third-party billing services, such as VetBilling, which allow you to pay over time.
  • Get a second opinion. You may pay a consultation fee, but another veterinarian may have other ways to treat your pet that are less expensive but equally as effective.
  • Use a veterinarian in a less expensive area or look for a community or shelter clinic in your area that offers discounted services for animals of the public.
  • Check out local veterinary colleges. Some operate low-cost clinics for limited income clients.

Fundraising and temporary credit

  • Ask if your veterinarian accepts Care Credit, a credit card specifically for health care expenses, including for pets. Note: Be sure you understand the repayment terms; often you can repay interest-free within a specific time period, but if you are late with a payment a high interest rate will be applied retroactively.
  • Ask if your veterinarian accepts ScratchPay, a service similar to Care Credit.
  • Some veterinarians accept donations from clients for a fund held in reserve to help other clients in need of financial assistance. Ask if your veterinarian has such a fund.
  • Try a fundraising platform such as GoFundMe, which enables you to create a personal fundraising page.
  • Consider Waggle, a pet-dedicated crowdfunding solution that channels funds directly to verified veterinarians for a pet’s care.
  • Contact local rescue groups and shelters. Sometimes they have funds set up to help with veterinary medical care for families in their community.

Other resources to consider

  • If you purchased your pet from a responsible breeder, check your contract to see if there is a health guarantee that covers your pet’s ailment.

  • For help with future medical expenses, consider purchasing pet health insurance.

  • Breed-specific rescue groups may have information about additional help for particular breeds. Search for breeds online to see what resources may be available.

  • Unhoused people can visit Pets of the Homeless to find pet-friendly homeless shelters, pet wellness clinics nearby and more.

Where can I find financial assistance for my pet?

Nationwide assistance

These national organizations provide financial assistance to pet owners in need. Each has its own set of rules and guidelines for offering assistance.

Assistance by state

We do not have listings for all 50 states.