Families are growing coast to coast. A National Pet Owners survey found in 2017, 68% of US households owned a pet, up 12% in 30 years. 

And with that number comes an increase in the cost of medical care for your pet. 

Of utmost importance is preventative care, offered at a discounted rate at Pet Community Center in East Nashville. 

“Pet Community Center is a local veterinary nonprofit,” explained Julie Buford, Medical Director of the Center. “It was founded in 2014 to help decrease the relinquishment rate of animals to the Metro Animal Care center.”

The center provides spay and neutering, as well as preventative care for cats and dogs. 

Their costs are slashed thanks to grants, donors, and previous customers paying it forward. 

“Since we are a nonprofit, we are able to offer things lower than other vet clinics,” explained Buford. “I feel like we’re able to help so many people with their pets, and also just keep their families together.”

It’s a mission they’ve taken on the road.

The center has a roving RV, that goes to areas in need across the city. 

“Strategically going into places where animals may have been relinquished to a shelter at higher rates than others,” said Buford. “Places where a vet clinic may not be close if transportation is an issue for some of these people.”

But even with preventative care, emergencies arise. 

Such emergencies are a specialty at Nashville Veterinary Specialists. 

“Just like a human emergency room, we’re open 24 hours a day,” said Becky Dan. “No appointment, just walk in and we’ll do what we can for you.”

But just like a human emergency, the care can cost big. 

“It could get up into the several thousand dollars,” Dan noted. “Unfortunately some people have to make the difficult decision to euthanize their pet because they just can’t afford the care.”

Thankfully pet owners have options, including pet insurance. 

For around $30 a month, many of your pet’s problems can be covered with insurance ahead of time. 

 “You can get them where they just cover illnesses, just cover accidents, cover accidents and illnesses, or you can even get them to cover routine care,” Dan said. “Depending on the policy, can cover anywhere from 20% to 100%.”

Pet insurance is just one option. 

There are also veterinary CareCredit financing plans, and pet savings accounts for those who are able to save the money. 

“Pet emergency savings account, because if you don’t need it great – go out and spend it on something you want, but if you do need it it’s sitting there for you,” Dan explained. 

These are just a few of the ways pet owners can navigate costly treatment, and keep their furry families together. 

Thursday is National Pet Day and we have a Petpalooza of special reports. We’ll explore new dog parks, cat cafes, pet therapy, and help you cut your vet bill. Thursday in every newscast.