As much as you can plan for the worst, there are moments in life when you fall on hard times. Whether you lost your job or you can't work due to injury, you may find that you can't buy pet food or pay for veterinary bills. Fortunately, there are organisations that help low-income pet owners take care of their animals.
The ASPCA has animal clinics all over the United States. Depending on your local clinic, the ASPCA provides low-cost spaying and neutering programs. Some clinics also provide vaccinations and checkups for pets in low-income households. Contact your local ASPCA to find out what days of the month are reserved for low-cost pet services. To find a clinic near you, visit the official ASPCA website (see Resources.)
Pet Food Banks
Some locales have food banks -- just like those for people in need -- that provide free food for pets. Although each pet food bank has its own rules, you usually need to provide proof of your low-income status. Once you do, the pet food bank gives you enough food to feed all your animals. You can find a pet food bank in most states, including California, Oregon, Virginia and New Jersey. For a list of pet food banks across the country, visit the Save Our Pets Food Bank website (see Resources.)
If your local ASPCA clinic performs only spaying and neutering services for low-income pets, you may be able to find a different clinic to perform vaccinations. Vaccinations help keep your cat or dog healthy by warding off common diseases and sicknesses. Some clinics also offer other low-cost services, including microchipping, tapeworm removal and canine heartworm treatments. Enter your location at the LuvMyPet website to find a clinic in your area.
Contact your veterinarian to request lower fees based on income. Some vets will lower their prices when a family is in need. If your vet doesn't offer this option, ask if she knows of any local services that help pay veterinary bills. You can also contact churches in your area to see if they can help you out with the bills. People are often willing to help people in need, especially when the health of an animal is at stake.