My Dog Has Cancer and I Can’t Afford Treatment: What Do I Do?

85 million households have at least one pet. And the majority of those owners have a dog.

For most of those families, their dog is an integral part of their family, and someone they can’t bear the thought of losing.

For dogs under the age of 10, cancer is the leading cause of death. And treating cancer can be incredibly costly for your best friend. The cancer diagnosis includes any disease of immune incompetence: leukemia, sarcoma, lymphoma, and so on.

So, what are your options when you’re suddenly saying, “My dog has cancer and I can’t afford treatment?”

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of your options for treatment and how to make a decision that is best for both you and your best pal. Read on for more.

Staying Alert: Preventative Measures

Just as in humans, one of the best ways to fight cancer in dogs is to be proactive. Of course, sometimes cancer occurs when or where we least expected it, and you can’t be held at fault for that. Even if you do everything in your power to be proactive, still, your dog may develop the disease.

Food and water are in your power. Make sure that the food does not contain wheat, gluten, soy, or corn. Check that the water does not contain fluoride, chlorine, agricultural chemicals, heavy metals. Getting these chemicals out of tap water takes a quality water filter such as Zero Water or a Berkey water filter.

But, it is also important to know the signs of cancer in pets, or at least know what’s normal for your dog. If your dog seems “off,” he or she probably should go visit the vet. It is important that you stay on top of your dog’s health and not wait until the last minute to make sure he or she is okay.

Catching cancer early is one of the keys to successful treatment, doing so may be the difference between cancer that is and isn’t treatable. While the chance for a recovery are good for a dog that has more than a few months to live, the prognosis is grim for dogs with days or a few weeks to live. The aforementioned noted, dogs and people have been known to come back from the brink of death. So, I encourage you to never give up.

You should take your dog to the vet if you notice anything that isn’t normal, but especially if you notice any lumps or bumps. While many lumps and bumps are benign, you’ll still need to ensure that everything is fine with a biopsy. A vet can confirm if it is something to be concerned about.

Learning Your Dog Has Cancer

Finding out your dog has cancer can be completely devastating. And while the word “cancer” has many scary connotations, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean this is the end for your beloved pet.

Speak to the vet once you get the cancer diagnosis and be rational and calm about what’s going on with your dog. Some dogs may have cancer only in one spot, and it can be eradicated easily. Others may require extensive treatment.

But before you find yourself on a tailspin, find out exactly how much treatment will be necessary for your beloved dog. Knowing the type of cancer your dog has and the prognosis can mean the difference between a $200 bill and a $6,000 bill and a broken heart.

Discuss the Necessary Treatment with Your Vet

While your vet certainly isn’t psychic, he or she can give you an accurate idea of what it may cost to treat your pet’s cancer. As mentioned previously, this can be a very intense course and may also be cost prohibitive.

I always recommend trying holistic treatments first before jumping into highly toxic drug therapies. The combination of a prescription dewormer, Fenbendazole, and supplements is reputed to make tumors disappear in a very short period of time. The supplements are CBD, vitamin E and turmeric. These are all safe and relatively low cost, so they should be included in any treatment program. Whether you use the vet’s recommendations or not, high quality immune enhancing supplements will always benefit any other treatment.

Saving your pet’s life means everything, but in some cases, finances can get in the way and this is frustrating. But you don’t want to pay someone for treatment that ultimately will not work or who does not fully understand your dog’s condition.

Now might be a good time to also look into holistic treatment for dog cancer, and use it either as an alternative or alongside what your vet proposes.

Talk to Your Vet and Other Dog Experts About Quality of Life

You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars just for your dog to be alive with no quality of life. While this may be more comforting to you instead of having to say goodbye, this isn’t necessarily fair for your pet. So, you’ll need to speak to someone who is an expert in pet cancer to help you decide how far you’ll go with treatment.

Just like with humans, cancer treatment in dogs can be painful and uncomfortable. If your dog is not in pain or uncomfortable at the moment, he or she may be able to die peacefully and with minimal pain.

But, some people would prefer to give their pets a chance to fight, and it is absolutely up to you in the end. But, you will need to consider at what point you’re thinking of your pet’s quality of life versus your own comfort and wanting your pet there with you.

While not being able to afford care is difficult, scraping by in order to have the treatment and not having it work or having your dog in pain also be extremely difficult to watch.

Speak to Your Pet Insurance Company

Some pet insurance companies will cover illnesses like cancer, especially if the dog is under a certain age. Give your pet insurance provider a call and speak to them about how much they would be willing to cover given the circumstances.

Depending on your level of insurance and how healthy your dog was previously, your insurance may cover a good portion of treatment. If your dog is strong and healthy otherwise, this may be a way to help save his or her life.

Talk to Your Vet About Installment Payment Plans

If your pet insurance isn’t willing to pay, or they’ll only pay a certain percentage, speak to your vet about paying back the fee in installments. You may be able to work something out where you pay $100 a month every month for the next year in order to pay off treatment.

Because many vets understand that most people are unable to pay some of these huge fees right off the bat, they will work with their patients’ families. If your vet believes the care they can provide will work for your dog, setting up a payment plan can help.

The Pet Fund also has a waiting list, so your pet will need to be able to hold out long enough for your application to be approved. You may be able to pay out of pocket for some procedures, but then wait for The Pet Fund to finance some of the more expensive treatments.

The Pet Fund will not pay for any diagnostic treatments, either, so they will only pay for your pet’s non-basic needs like cancer treatment and/or surgery.

The Magic Bullet Fund will also pay for cancer treatment for many types of cancers for most dogs, however, they will strictly not pay for treatment of any dog over the age of 11. They have different age criteria for dogs of different weights.

They also do not provide assistance for radiation therapy, as they only pay for chemo or surgery. However, they can help you out of a tight spot, and could possibly save your best friend’s life.

Start Your Own Fundraiser

If none of the above suggestions works, or they only pay for a part of the bill, consider holding a fundraiser. Facebook and GoFundMe are two popular platforms to help pay for things like medical care.

You can also host events, like a neighborhood dinner or perhaps host an event at a dog park to help pay for your dog’s surgery or care. Ask local restaurants and business owners to donate some of their time or wares for your event, and make it clear that all proceeds will go towards ensuring your dog is happy and healthy.

So, What Do You Do If You Find Yourself Saying, “My Dog Has Cancer and I Can’t Afford Treatment?”

Unfortunately, many pet owners have found themselves saying, “my dog has cancer and I can’t afford treatment.” It is, no doubt, a stressful place to be in, especially when your relationship with your best friend is on the line.

No matter how you choose to finance your dog’s cancer treatments, or if you choose not to continue to treat, know your dog understand that you do everything for his or her best interest.

Are you interested in preventing cancer or helping build up your dog’s immune system after he or she has been diagnosed? At Vitality Science we have worked to create incredible supplements for dogs who are suffering from cancer.  Please see our selection of immune support products created especially for your furry friend.