Young woman relaxing with her cat at home.

Pet Financing: Is It A Good Idea?

Miranda Crace5-minute read
PUBLISHED: July 16, 2023


Adopting a pet comes with a host of new responsibilities, such as feeding, walking and grooming your animal friend. Pet owners also take on major financial responsibilities, and the most expensive costs are often unexpected. Certain pet financing options can help cover the more expensive costs of owning a pet, but is a pet loan a good idea for your financial situation?

Let’s take a broad look at pet financing options, the pros and cons and the various costs you may be financing.

What Can Pet Loans Be Used For?

Pet loans are a type of personal loan specifically designed for pet owners and pet caregivers. Technically, these loans can be used for any expenses related to caring for an animal. However, most borrowers get a pet loan to cover higher expenses, which may include:

  • The original cost of adoption
  • Unexpected medical care costs
  • End-of-life care

Pet loans can also be used to pay for routine visits to the vet, spaying and neutering your pet and cremation or burial costs if your pet passes away.

As with all personal loans, pet loans range in value depending on your needs, credit score and overall financial situation, as well as your lender’s specific requirements. Most personal loans are in the $1,000 to $50,000 range.

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Pet Financing Options

While a pet loan can be a great way to cover expenses, especially because it locks in consistent monthly payments, it isn’t your only option for handling the financial burden that comes with having a furry friend. Several choices are available, depending on your specific needs.

In-Office Financing

For costly surgeries or emergency vet visits, you might be able to secure pet surgery financing or a repayment plan directly through your veterinarian’s office. Not all vets offer this option, so be sure to speak with yours beforehand about potential veterinary loans.

Alternative Services

Depending on availability in your area, you may be able to take advantage of lower-cost veterinary services through nonprofit groups like those cataloged by The Humane Society of the United States. Veterinary colleges are also an option for emergency medical needs.

Credit Cards

Another option is to take out a 0% APR or low-interest credit card to cover pet-related expenses. Occasionally, credit card companies offer a grace period of 12 – 18 months with no interest. However, with credit card interest rates rising in the past year, you might be better off with a pet loan.

Pros And Cons Of Pet Loans

Pet loans can be a useful tool in caring for your beloved animal, but they do have some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and downsides of taking out a pet loan.

Pet Financing Pros

  • Health: Pet loans and other pet financing options can help assure that your animal’s health needs receive immediate care.
  • Special terms: Depending on the type of pet financing you choose, lenders may be able to offer zero-interest periods and other special payment terms.
  • Divided costs: Pet loans can break up expensive fees into manageable monthly payments so you won’t face vet bills potentially worth thousands of dollars.
  • Flexible eligibility requirements: Borrowers with both good and bad credit scores may be eligible for a pet loan.

Pet Financing Cons

  • Potentially high interest: Pet loans usually base their interest rate on the borrower’s credit score, so pet owners with poor credit may end up paying a higher interest rate.
  • Deferred payment penalties: If you consistently miss monthly payments on your pet loan, you may end up accruing payment penalties as well as accumulated interest.
  • Lack of credit building: Depending on the type of pet financing you choose, the financial arrangement may not be shared with credit bureaus. As a result, the pet loan or other financing option wouldn’t help build your credit score.

All personal loans come with pros and cons based on your financial situation and the terms of your financing agreement. It’s best to carefully consider your options before selecting a pet financing strategy that works for you.

How To Apply For A Pet Loan

Applying for a personal loan is a straightforward process. If you’re looking for pet financing, consider these simple steps.

1.   Determine Your Financial Need

Pet loans typically range from $1,000 to $50,000. Before applying, estimate how much you truly need to cover your costs so that you don’t take out a larger loan than necessary.

2.   Check Your Credit Score

Interest on pet loans largely depends on your credit score, so make sure you’ve looked into your score before deciding on the best financing option. Knowing your credit score can give you a better idea of how affordable a pet loan is for you.

3.   Shop For Lenders

Once you know how much money you need and how your credit score might impact the interest rate you’ll receive, browse potential lenders to see what’s right for you. Available loan amounts vary by pet financing companies and come with various payment structures and interest rates.

4.   Fill Out The Loan Application

The next step is to fill out the application form for the lender you choose. Keep information like your credit score, income and desired loan amount handy to make the process as smooth as possible. Your lender will need to run a hard credit check, which can affect your credit score in the short term.

5.   Receive Your Pet Financing

You’ll likely receive news on your application status in just a few days. If you’re approved, you should receive your funds within 1 – 7 business days.

FAQs About Pet Financing

Up next, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about pet financing.

How much does it cost to raise a pet?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average dog owner spends approximately $3,221 in the first year of pet ownership, and $1,391 annually. Cat owners tend to have slightly lower expenses, with a first-year average spend of $1,904 and an annual spend of $1,149.

Over the lifespan of a pet, these costs add up. Fortunately, a pet loan can help ease the financial burden and spread the costs over time.

What credit score do I need for pet financing?

Credit score requirements vary from one lender to the next, but the average is around 600. Some lenders may be willing to work with borrowers who have a credit score as low as 550, while other lenders may require an even higher score than 600.

Can I get pet financing with no credit check?

Some lenders offer pet loans without doing a hard credit check. If your lender does require a hard credit check, your score will likely go down in the short term. However, staying on top of monthly payments could help you build your score even higher than before.

Can a dog be collateral for a loan?

In rare instances, purebred animals can be used as collateral for a personal loan. Pet loans, or personal loans designed to provide financial support to pet owners, are usually unsecured loans. This means they don’t require collateral.

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Final Thoughts

Pet loans are an essential way for many pet owners to offset the sometimes enormous costs of raising an animal. While pet care financing can provide the freedom and flexibility needed to secure the services you need, a loan may not be the right choice for everyone.

If you’re ready to explore your options for taking care of Fido or Fifi, apply for a personal loan online today.

Miranda Crace

Miranda Crace is a Senior Section Editor for the Rocket Companies, bringing a wealth of knowledge about mortgages, personal finance, real estate, and personal loans for over 10 years.