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.

49 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. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

    • Gloria Robinson June 19, 2019 Reply

      I live in the Richmond Virginia area and I have a Shitz Shu that has a big Sty hanging out his left eye and need it removed but I don’t have any money for that. I am a Senior and have a fixed income from Disability also I took in a Malti poo that was wandering out in the snow very sick, I fed him and nursed him back to health but he needs shots and has not been neutered.I love these Babies but I need help! They also need some grooming like nails and hair. I try to cut but it is hard.My name is Gloria Robinson and my Babies are Pepper and Oliver. Can someone please direct me what to do or where to go

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Sarah Sam July 23, 2018 Reply

    I have 3 dogs that need a physical and shots

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  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. I live in Lancaster, PA 17603.

    • Jayne December 12, 2018 Reply

      Get training books from the Library. It is easier than you think.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. jacqueline November 8, 2018 Reply

    i hv a 32 yr old cat and i am 81 yrs old and disabled she needs her shots current pls help i live in vegas

  21. Pam Leonettí November 16, 2018 Reply

    I need help with my senior dog. My dog needs vet care that I cannot afford. Is there a program that I can get help from in Des Moines, Iowa?

  22. Debra November 30, 2018 Reply

    I need help for my pets .I am a senior disabled and Can’t afford veternarian my dogs are rescues and ziggy has a tumor or cyst that’s growing it’s about the size of a baseball. I dont have. The finances to pay for shots,paw clippers and a tumor, cyst on his back I could make payments plus a donation which i would be so gratefull.pleasehelp

  23. now think December 6, 2018 Reply

    These all seem to be written in the same style (including spelling mistakes) which suggest to me they are fake entries—in other words, written by the same author.

  24. Marcia mendoza December 11, 2018 Reply

    Need to check my dog it seems to be dead and nd blind need help

    • Catrina May 12, 2019 Reply

      I hope you mean “deaf”not dead….

  25. Elly Gorsline December 13, 2018 Reply

    I live in Costa Mesa Ca I have an old dachshund that recently went blind and now having arthritis symptoms. I’m a senior on a fix income and don’t know of any affordable vets. Can anyone give me any recommendations?
    Thank you~

  26. Yvonne Lonczak December 24, 2018 Reply

    Please help,
    I have two little yorkies that are in dire need of care for their teeth. I am bedridden and disabled senior. Please can you help? I can’t give my babies up. They are my life.
    Thank you and I look forward to your help.

    Yvonne Lonczak

  27. Marla E Duby January 7, 2019 Reply

    Hi my name is Marla Duby i live in oregon i am trying to find help for my best friend in california she has a dog that needs care and shes on a fixed income how or what phone number can she call to help get her dog vet.

  28. Koko Lee January 9, 2019 Reply

    My mom is 73 she has a 14 year old tabby who has a injured paw. The cat will NOT come out for ME but, will come put and approach strangers. Please help me to help her help her cat….she loves it so much

  29. Irene January 15, 2019 Reply

    I am a disabled senior citizen with very low income. My Chihuahua injured his leg and he cannot walk at all. I have been on the internet all night last night and all day today abd I see Free pet care sites but never find any help through any of them.My Baby is in pain and he needs help. I need help.

  30. Bea January 31, 2019 Reply

    I’m a 73 year old on low income. My 11year old Maltese is extremely thirsty all day and night. She goes pee shortly after drinking and her belly gets bloated. I don’t know what to do. I’ve asked vets and they said it’s $100 initially and more depending on what the problem is. Testing is extra and meds as well. What can I do? Help

  31. Crystal Hildenbrand February 4, 2019 Reply

    My 64 year old mother has 2 senior doxie’s who both have mounting vet bills. She is on a fixed income. How does she get help making sure her pups live out their last days comfortably?

  32. Shea February 7, 2019 Reply

    cats don’t live to b 32 years old ,,just saying,,,,,fake

  33. Thomas Sigler February 26, 2019 Reply

    Hi I am in need of help with cat food & cat litter for my 5 cats. I am a retired Vet & have recently been I’ll & unable to earn the money for cat food, & cat litter. 3 are Male & 2 are Female. They all need to be dewormed & both females need to be spayed. 2 males need to be neutered. I appreciate your help. Thank you

    Thomas Sigler

  34. Virginia Nissen March 11, 2019 Reply

    I have three dogs that need their teeth polled and I am on low income I heard that the SPCA has grants for dogs to have their teeth pulled I had one of my dogs teeth pulled by the SPCA I can’t forward a lot so if you can get back to me and let me know how much it would cost I would Really appreciate it thank you

  35. David ludlow March 30, 2019 Reply

    My dog has fleas real bad he us my support dog I’m on SSDI and need help or a low income place to get him pills for fleas he is parson Russel and apple head chiuwawa.

  36. Phyllis neel April 4, 2019 Reply

    Im a senior living on social security I have a 5 yr old pit and he has a tumor or some growth on his side the size of a basketball that is now causing him pain I can make payments is there anyone around Dallas TEXAS that can please help me with my dog

  37. Margo Kindle Schamel April 5, 2019 Reply

    well is it me ? but Idon’t think anybody is answering any comments nice to know

  38. Debra Zetzer R.N. April 15, 2019 Reply

    Lets talk reality. Most seniors my not be able to drive to vet appts. Most seniors cannot afford the sky rocking costs of even routine care. If a pet has an urgent problem it could cost in the thousands of dollars.
    Even veterinary pet care insurance is not cheap. Nothing is cheap when it comes to caring for a companion animal. Routine care including vaccines,lab work, heartworm checks annually, flea medication and monthly heartworm medications alone could be the price of 1 prescription for a senior. Iam not opposed to companion animals for seniors because it does offer many benefits but, AN ANIMAL IS A RESPONSIBILITY AND AN EXPENSIVE ONE !

    • Charlotte Hendricks August 11, 2019 Reply

      That sounds all well in good. Should we have circumstances that change. We don’t all of a sudden decide oh we’re poor lets get a dog we can care for. I found myself in same circumstances when my elderly mom died . I took care of her instead of putting her in a nursing home. I lost 7 years I could have been working. Now I’m on widows benefit. Oh yea my husband died too. After I moved us to take care if mom. I have 3 dogs. They’re 10 , 7 , 3. So do I just take them out back and shoot them . are They’re no work houses . come on. Mine are vaccinated and fed. But flea in this awful south are a nightmare. So come off your high horse.

  39. Denise Cizek April 17, 2019 Reply

    I need transportation help for vet visits for my dog. where can i go

  40. Bernita Williams April 29, 2019 Reply

    I am a 84 yo senior with a 14 yo Lhasa Apso Comfort dog. Are there places where I can get discounted vet care here in Georgetown, TX. He is a very picky food eater. Ex. one day he likes boiled chicken, next day no way. He refuses to eat dog food. He has dry eyes – which I give drops at least once a day and if he isn’t hiding twice a day.

  41. Lola Stephens May 4, 2019 Reply

    Everyone, go on line and look up Fulton County Animal Service. It does not matter where you live because they give national help and state by state links. Oh and just disregard the thing at the beginning of the page about relinquishing your pet. Down under that tons of links to help you keep your pet!

  42. Sandra skaparas June 1, 2019 Reply

    Interested in free dog cat and African Grey food, litter and toys for disabled senior

  43. Sheila orris June 18, 2019 Reply

    My dog is 11 .adashound.needs teeth work well. Was told just to get started is $250.00 but I can’t afford to get my teeth fixed. I also have a new dog 1 year old chawawa need to get her spayed. Please help.

  44. Harriet K Muise June 18, 2019 Reply

    Hi,
    My name is Harriet and I run Lanceys Pals, LLC. We are a pet service (with different programs) that is low-cost or no fee depending on each person’s situation.and are located in Warwick Rhode Island.
    I’ve been looking at these comments and I understand everyone’s frustration! This is why Lanceys Pals was born!
    I have been working with animals for over 30 years and I have seen the frustration and heartbreak that disabled, fixed income and elderly people have with their pets.
    The services that are out there that are intended to help people are of no use when they cap your income!
    Each person has their own circumstances and needs to be looked at as an individual.
    I only wish that I could reach out to everyone of you and provide services across the country.
    My only hope is that more people will reach out to each other and help one another. We are all in this human race together. We need to support each other!

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