Pet Care Resources for Low-Income SeniorsPet Care Resources for Low-Income Seniors

Pets are a source of joy for many older adults, but the cost of care can be a strain for some seniors. If you’re having trouble paying for food, vaccinations, and veterinary care for your pet, there may be low-cost or free resources available in your community. Here’s how to find the help you and your pet need.

Pet food assistance for fixed-income seniors

Hundreds of local Meals on Wheels programs offer some form of pet-care support to their homebound senior clients. The extra help with pet-care costs not only allows seniors to take better care of their animal companions, it also helps improve senior clients’ nutrition. That’s because seniors who can’t afford pet food will often give their pets the food meant for themselves.

Not every local Meals on Wheels program offers pet aid, but those that do usually deliver pet food, kitty litter, and other necessary pet supplies to their clients. Some local groups help clients with the cost of veterinary care and boarding. Some coordinate volunteers who walk senior clients’ dogs and drive seniors and their pets to grooming and veterinary appointments.

To find the Meals on Wheels program nearest you, enter your zip code here.

Reduced-cost vaccinations and vet care for dogs and cats

Keeping pets up to date on their vaccines is important to their health and yours. If you’ve missed a yearly vet check and your pet is behind on its shots, or if it’s due for boosters and a visit to your regular isn’t in your budget right now, look for a low-cost pet clinic.

The first place to look is your community’s animal shelters. They often host vaccine days on a monthly or seasonal basis, and they will know about other local options. Public schools in your area may host shot nights where you can get your cat or dog vaccinated, buy flea and tick control products, and renew your county license tag. If you’re lucky enough to live near a university with a veterinary school, check for their clinic options.

Some farm supply, grocery, and drug stores host pet vaccine events, too. Selected Tractor Supply locations (full disclosure: I occasionally write for their magazine) offer puppy and kitten shots, adult pet vaccine packages, and individual vaccines. These clinics offer other vet care, too, including testing for heartworm, Lyme disease and other pest-borne illnesses.

Texas-based grocer H-E-B hosts pet-care events at its stores across the southern part of the state, from Houston and Austin to the Mexican border. In addition to vaccines, you can get your pet microchipped for easy identification if they get lost, and you can pick up free samples of pet food and treats.

Along the East Coast, some Walgreens locations offer monthly pet clinics run by ShotVet. These are available in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine. You can use the site’s locator to find upcoming clinics.

Other resources for affordable pet care

We talk a lot on the blog about how it never hurts to ask for a senior discount, and it’s true at the vet too. Ask if there’s a discount for yearly exams and shots. If your pet takes prescription medication, ask about generics and shop around for the pharmacy with the lowest price. Finally, check the Humane Society of the US state-by-state list of financial aid resources for pet owners. With some persistence, you can keep your pets in the best possible health, even on a tight budget.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

21 Comments

  1. Carol J Goeser August 4, 2016 Reply

    Low and fixed income is always talked about for seniors and most of the time seniors are on Social Security. Therefore, how much is “too much” to be earning in order to not be able to receive benefits, like the pet benefits mentioned in your article?

  2. Carol J Goeser August 4, 2016 Reply

    Many times “low” and “fixed” income is talked about quite a lot for seniors and most of the time seniors are in Social Security. But in order to take advantage of resources, like the pet resources mentioned in your article, we are told we “earn too much” even if we are on a fixed income.

    How much is “too much” to be earning? When CAN a senior take advantage of these resources? And please don’t refer me to someone. Please talk to me like I have a brain in my head!

    Thank you,

  3. Golam Kibria October 7, 2016 Reply

    Want to know different tips for your per care? Just visit at per care blog pet food

  4. Cam Buckley April 6, 2017 Reply

    Where can a disabled widow live with her 6 old dogs and cats on a low income.

  5. Margo Kindle October 10, 2017 Reply

    I need help cutting my pugs nails – I am 60 and no longer able to do and no way can afford nail trims monthly – my one pug is a companion/ dog w a Dr prescription for me please give me any suggestions I live is San Diego east County

  6. chaplain diana October 26, 2017 Reply

    need help feeding pit bull puppies and toys haveing hard time out here .this is chaplain diana

  7. Liz January 15, 2018 Reply

    We are a pet cremation company in Los Angeles and we often get Senior citizens with pets who cannot afford to pay aftercare. CARE credit does not cover this or wont. All pets deserve a dignified pet aftercare and hoping someone can help refer a service that I can refer to our clients for financial assistance. We would love to team up with a company like this.

  8. Laura Pierce February 15, 2018 Reply

    My neighbor is a elderly an cannot come out much she needs help with her little 🐕 is there anyway she can get help.

  9. Christine LeCompte-Petrie May 8, 2018 Reply

    I have a 4 year old Min-pin mix,very small dog. He has his shots. The problem is a growth growing on his gum by his teeth. I need help for him. One vet Dr said biopsy then possible surgery. I’m low income, 66, disabled on social security income. Is there any Vet Dr. that can help my little dog? I love my little dog and need to get him help to be fixed and get well. Please advise. Thank You.

  10. Jeronimo June 8, 2018 Reply

    I have a Maltese a female. She been acting weird lately I think she might have epelysy .i need help can’t afford a vet

  11. Kathleen Olson June 10, 2018 Reply

    I’m 74 and have a 3 year old ShihTzu/Terrier mix. She is very rambunctious and I’ve had problems training her. I have started using a walker and am unable to walk her. I am very low fixed income so need a volunteer. Although I have contacted the local humane society and other dog groups no one can help me find a volunteer to walk her. I am able to take care of her otherwise. I live in West Seattle, Washington. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • sharon codter August 8, 2018 Reply

      i am a senior living in low income place my cat now has diabetics i need help getting meds an food for him.How can i go about this

  12. Noah Keeton June 26, 2018 Reply

    I am a senior 66 years old on a fixed income. I have a senior dog she is 11 year old pit she has been the best dog. She has an infection in her paw from a cut or something. I’ve tried to doctor it myself. It’s not getting any better. I can’t afford a big vet bill. I know she is in pain but she doesn’t complane. I know she doesn’t have many years left . Can anyone help me help her? Thank you for listening. Noah

  13. Sarah Sam July 23, 2018 Reply

    I have 3 dogs that need a physical and shots

  14. Diane Griffin July 26, 2018 Reply

    I am a crippled 60 yr old person with 2 jack Russell dog girls and I need a place in Pasco county Fla that is willing to give my dog there 3 yr Rabbi shots and yearly visits I cant afford it. Please help me asap. Also my disabled son has 2 kittens and the mother cat but the mother was a stay then she had the babies in are carport but it flooded and my son put the babies and momma in the house now my son needs your help please to give these beautiful babies their shots and momma too for my son can not afford it.

  15. Carol Booker August 4, 2018 Reply

    I
    Im in dire need of some pet food assistance for my pets. I’m on social security and low income and meals on wheels. Please advise me where i may seek help with my animals. I have two cat whom I love dearly but if I dont get any help for them , i will have to surrender them to the humane society and i dont want to do that. Sincerely, Carol Booker

  16. Nancie Doss August 11, 2018 Reply

    My 8 year old bob tail kitty (TIGGER) hurt his front leg. It looks like the shoulder is out of joint and blood has formed a knot as big as your fist. I have taken him to Vets 5 times with NO help. First Vet wanted to lance the knot but I went home not convinced that was the answer because his blood had a clotting problem and he could bleedout.. I then took him to another Vet that said no way should the knot be disturbed but it continued to grow. I have spent $700.00 so far with no change in his condition. If I had some help paying the only Vet that has the equipment (blood transfusion and introvenious fluids) He could be saved. They (Vets) all want to put my Kitty down although he is eating and drinking a little. Walking in pain. Please help. We are both in our 70 and 80 on SS. Thanks

  17. Candida Rodriguez August 19, 2018 Reply

    I have a 5 yesr old Jack a Russell Boston Terrier mix that has behavior problems. I can’t get him to walk by me, he has separation anxiety and right now I had shoulder surgery and my daughter is trying to help. But he needs professional training that I can’t afford. Is there any place or facility that could provide me with the help I need. I.love my dog, he is my companion.

  18. Candida Rodriguez August 19, 2018 Reply

    I have a 5 yesr old Jack a Russell Boston Terrier mix that has behavior problems. I can’t get him to walk by me, he has separation anxiety and right now I had shoulder surgery and my daughter is trying to help. But he needs professional training that I can’t afford. Is there any place or facility that could provide me with the help I need. I.love my dog, he is my companion. I live in Lancaster, PA 17603.

  19. Dana R Rush August 28, 2018 Reply

    My father recently passed away & I am now caring for his 7 small dogs, (2 shitzu,2 chihuahua, 1 poodle & 2 poodle mix & 4 cats. I was his caregiver for 4yrs & I’m now unemployed & having trouble feeding the animals. Is there a program around Temple, Ga that helps with food & supplies? Thanks in advance for any info.

  20. DORIS October 17, 2018 Reply

    I ADOPTED A SWEET SHELTER DOG.BUT HAVING A HARD TIME PAYING FOR VETS BILLS; AS A SENIOR ON SOCIAL SECURITY. IS THERE A LOCAL ORGINAZION IN OR NEAR CORNELIA GA. THAT CAN HELP ME TO KEEP MY FUR BABY WELL .
    RESPECTFULLY
    DORIS A

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