When the shit hits the fan, you had better have cleaning supplies ready. When your dog decides that you have too much petty cash, you’d better have resources ready to deal with whatever stupid thing it’s done or that you’ve done.

Figure This Out Now

Before you get your puppy, before you even think of a dog, know how much you are able and willing to spend on vet care. What level of emergency can you handle? What risks are you willing to take? At what point will you pull the plug and euthanize. It’s hard to think about this, but it’s better to think about it before your dog has a crushed pelvis.

What Strategy Are You Going To Use?

SavingsPet InsuranceCredit CardRich RelativeHoping For The Best

No wasted money

Grows with time
Coverage can start in puppyhood

Coverage often more than one can amass in savings

Multiple coverage options
Accepted nearly everywhere

Can pay off in monthly installments

Quickly available
No need to save money of one’s own

No need to plan ahead

No need to budget
No need to save money of one’s own

No need to plan ahead

No need to budget
May not be enough to cover emergency

May be needed for other emergencies

Slow to grow
Can be expensive

May not cover a condition / illness / accident

May not be comprehensive enough
Fees are high

If owner has low credit score, may be unavailable

May not have enough credit to cover procedures
Have to suck up to rich relative

Relative may disown one

May not be available during their vacation to the Bahamas
Pretty much everything

The Vet Is Not Your Enemy

Okay, let me qualify this: there are bad vets out there. Hopefully, you’ve figured out whether you can live with yours. You may have to go to an emergency vet and you will have no choice in vets. Vets in the emergency field are often brusque and have little ‘bedside manner’. Be prepared to meet tired and harried staff who are triaging even as they speak to you.

Veterinary care costs money. It will vary, depending on your area. The one thing that is usually consistent is that most vets cannot afford to extend charity, loans, extensions, payment plans, etc. Some will, especially if you’re a long-time customer, but it’s not guaranteed.

Every vet has charity stories, some good and some bad. The bad ones have left them hanging to the tune of thousands of dollars. A private practice cannot afford to extend that much credit – the vet needs to be paid, the staff needs to be paid, the medical supplies must be bought, the lease must be paid, the lights need to stay on, etc.

This is why I get irate when I see people dragging vets for their prices, especially when it’s to the tune of $10K that the vet won’t shell out for their dog. Is it painful to see the dog die of something that could have been prevented, but for money? Yes, which is why most vets will tell you to get insurance or at least have a savings account. Accidents do happen.

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