Pets don’t have the luxury of free NHS treatment if they get sick. And even a minor visit to the vet can bring big bills.
Only 22% of us have pet insurance, but this still won’t guarantee free pet care, as it won’t cover everything and may mean paying for treatment up front, and reclaiming costs later.
In the current climate you can get valuable ‘breathing space’ with household bills like your mortgage, credit cards and car finance; but if squeezed budgets mean you’re living on a lower income; there’s ways to get free, or low cost treatment for your pet.
The PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity and been going since 1917.
To qualify for financial help, you’ll need to be claiming certain benefits like Universal Credit and live near one of the 48 PDSA hospitals.
Treatment is free or discounted, depending on your circumstances, and includes everything from vaccinations, worming and microchipping to emergency treatment.
The Blue Cross animal charity has been helping sick and injured animals since 1897.
Once again you need to live near one of its centres and be claiming benefits, which include Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Income Support and Working Tax Credit, to qualify for free or low cost treatment.
Blue Cross has also teamed up with ‘PawSquad’ to offer discounted online consultations 24 hours a day. If you’re claiming benefits; this costs £12 a year, and covers unlimited online consultations for up to five pets.
Free or low cost treatment may be available depending on your circumstances.
Pop in your postcode to find your local RSPCA hospital, as well as a list of local vets’ practices that offer reduced treatment if you’re struggling financially.
This ‘not for profit’ vet company is based around the North and covers areas including Yorkshire, Manchester and North Wales.
With this one you don’t pay consultation fees; just the cost of any treatment, and there’s a full list of costs on the website.
Bill buster check list
Call your local vet in an emergency. They can agree payment plans along with other help if your pet needs urgent treatment.
In the current climate; some of the organisations above may be unable to offer the full range of treatment; so always call ahead; don’t just turn up.
Pet insurance can potentially save big bills; but it won’t cover everything. There’s usually always an ‘excess’ to pay, and some vets may charge an admin fee, to process insurance claims, so check terms and conditions carefully.
You can save money buying pet medication, as you don’t have to buy diret from your vet. Some will charge a fee for the prescription if you don’t buy from them but I’ve saved money buying prescription medication from accredited pharmacies including Viovet and Pet Prescription in the past.
You’ll need to email a copy of the prescription and vet details. You can check for a list of accredited pet medicine online outlets here.
Most of the organisations above are charities; so any donations are much appreciated.