Surgery on your dog can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars, figures that cause many dog lovers to look at finance options. Here’s a look at several different options for paying those veterinary bills:

Ask about vet payment plans.

If you are hit with unexpected vet bills, it doesn’t hurt to ask about payment plans. Many offer affordable plans so you can split the cost of treatment over a period of months.

Ask for a written estimate.

You can ask for a written estimate for your dog’s surgical costs and talk with other area vets to compare prices.

Visit a teaching hospital.

This isn’t an option for everyone but, depending on your location, you may have a veterinary teaching hospital in the region that can help with major health problems and treatments at a lower cost than through a veterinary clinic.

Check the American Veterinary Medical Association and www.VeterinarySchools.com to see if there are veterinary colleges in your area. VeterinarySchools.com also offers listings of vet tech programs by state; these schools may be able to help with routine and non-routine care.

Look into CareCredit.

CareCredit (www.carecredit.com) is a credit card specifically for health care costs including veterinary care. This card has low monthly payment option and it offers a no interest payment plan if you pay in full within 6, 12, 18 or 24 months on purchases with your CareCredit card.

There are no up-front charges to pay your vet before treatment can commence; the treatments are charged to your credit card. The length of time you have to pay off your balance depends on which promotional payment plan you choose when you use the card.

Look into ChaseHealth Advance veterinary loans.

Chase Health, www.chasehealthadvance.com, provides no-interest payment plans for 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months with no down payment and no application fee. Lines of credit start at $5,000 and can be used to cover major and minor surgery, emergency care, dental care, arthritis treatments, ear surgery, and more.

Look into regional assistance programs.

The Humane Society of the United States has an extensive list of assistance programs in the US and Canada available to residents of the area. Check www.humanesociety.org (search for “trouble affording pet”) for a list of programs that offer a variety of services including pet food, spaying and neutering services, vaccination assistance, veterinary care, temporary foster care, and more for dog lovers in financial stress.