Is A CareCredit Pet Healthcare Card Worth It?
26 June, 2018

By: Lisa Fimberg

We love our pets like family and want them to live long and healthy lives.  When our cats or dogs get ill or have a medical emergency, we never want to be caught off guard by a huge medical bill that we afford to pay. And that’s’ why pet parents have turned to the CareCredit Pet Healthcare card, just for these kinds of emergencies.

What is CareCredit pet healthcare card?

CareCredit is a healthcare credit card designed for your pet’s health and wellness needs. It’s a way to pay for the costs of many treatments and procedures and allows you to make monthly payments for the medical bill.   It is essentially a credit card for pet health care that you can use over and over again for any of your pet’s procedures.  You can also use the CareCredit card for dentistry, cosmetic surgery, and LASIK as well.  But, don’t try buying groceries with it (it won’t work!).

The CareCredit pet healthcare card is associated with 100,000 pet hospitals.

But, of course, before you even apply, make sure to check their site to see if they cover your pet hospital or veterinarian.   You can use their search tool on the CareCredit site to find a doctor or business type in your area.

Below are just some of the procedures you can use your CareCredit pet healthcare card:

Routine veterinary

Annual check-ups

Teeth cleaning






Care of chronic pet diseases and conditions

Dog chemotherapy



Pet food and nutrition

Veterinary surgery & emergencies

Spay and neutering

Emergency services

Surgical procedures

Hip dysplasia surgery

According to the AVMA, with the costs of veterinary procedures rising each year, anyone with dogs or cats knows that veterinary care can be necessary, unexpected, and expensive even with all of the veterinary advances. Veterinary costs can also vary depending on the pet, the desired procedure, the veterinarian’s fees, and other factors.

Below are some of the average costs you might encounter.  And these prices are just for routine procedures:

Puppy vaccination average cost:

$170 to $255

Dental cleaning average cost:

$100 to $900

Cat spaying and neutering average cost:

$35 to $300

Annual heart worm test average cost:

$50 to $75

What is the difference between pet insurance and the CareCredit card?

Pet insurance is for the unexpected illness, accident of condition to offset any big medical bill.  However, with pet insurance you pay a monthly premium payment, deductible and percentage of the bill up front.  But, once you’ve met the deductible, if you get a big medical bill, you can most certainly afford it or at least cover most of it.  And you really aren’t responsible for the entire bill but only a percentage of that bill making it a lot less expensive.

However, pet insurance only accepts those pets without a pre-existing condition.  Or if you have a pet breed that is of higher risks of illness or typically has a certain hereditary or congenital illness, your pet insurance rate will be more expensive.  For example, if your dog needs hip dysplasia surgery, your pet insurance will not cover it and a CareCredit card will.  Further, if you live in a metropolitan city like Los Angeles or New York, your monthly premium will only be that much higher.  And with pet insurance, for some illnesses or condition that have been cured, there is waiting period.

CareCredit, on the other hand, is essentially a line of credit that can be used to cover costs that pet insurance doesn’t cover. (You can use it for your own health or even cosmetic expenses, too.).  It really is just like a typical credit card but it is only accepted at veterinarian or medical facilities.  So, you can get LASIK done and then go to your vet and pick up your pet’s medication and use your CareCredit card to pay for it.  And you can use it only when you need to and not just have it ‘for the unexpected’ as you would with pet insurance.

Therefore, the real perk in using the CareCredit card is that if there is a big bill that you can’t afford, you can put it on your CareCredit card and pay the monthly payments and know that, at least, the procedure or surgery will definitely be paid for.  And with CareCredit, you can use it for your pets pre-existing conditions that are never covered for in pet insurance.

How CareCredit works as a credit card

With CareCredit, you are eventually responsible for the entire full balance of your pet’s vet bill or procedure.  Just like a credit card, it enables you to pay for a large bill right away and then pay it off later.  And like a credit card, it has terms, financing and an interest rate if not paid off.  But, it does offer several options as far as their payment terms, where you have anywhere from 3 months to 2 full years to pay off the balance with no interest which is a plus.

However, if you don’t pay that balance off in the time frame specified, you’re going to be hit with interest charges on the total balance that you originally paid.  Just as with any credit card, you have to pay at least the minimum monthly balance to keep your account in good standing, and this is a line of credit so it will affect your credit report. So, therefore, you need to pay, at least, the monthly amount owed.

What are the pros of a CareCredit pet health card?

Some of the pros of a CareCredit card is that it cover everything medically as long as your healthcare provider or veterinarian accepts it. It can be used cosmetically, surgically, for equipment, for medications purchased at your veterinarian and even medication.  Pet insurance only covers accidents, illness and the unexpected surgery.  You can use CareCredit for vet appointments, spaying and neutering and pre-existing conditions.  As mentioned above, pet insurance will not ever pay for any pre-existing conditions so the card is a relief in that respect.

Another pro of the CareCredit card is that you have the peace of mind that you can actually pay for a big procedure or surgery and worry about paying off the increments later.  But, at least, your beloved pet can have that surgery if needed!  And, of course, you can use it for yourself, as well.

We all have pets and some of us as many as five, and even the simplest of veterinary procedures can get expensive. With just typical routine exams, vaccinations, teeth cleanings and even common medications such as deworming pills all costing hundreds of dollars, it makes sense for pet parents to need assistance when it comes to paying these extensive bills.  And the CareCredit card does just that and you can use it multiple times.  With pet insurance, each pet needs to be signed up and accounted for separately.

The biggest perk of using a CareCredit card at the vet instead of using a regular credit card is the fact that, depending on the time it takes to pay off the purchase amount, the pet parent might never have to pay interest. For example, if the medical bill or procedure is $6,000, the credit card user is not charged any interest if the full amount is paid off within the designated promotional period. But, you just have to pay it off by then or the interest goes up, a lot!

What are the cons of a CareCredit pet health card?

Some of the cons of the CareCredit card are, well, it is essentially a credit card and therefore your interest rate is going to depend on your credit. Late payments will go on your credit report, which affects just about every financial aspect of your life.  So, in this respect, you might as well increase your limit on your existing credit if need be.

CareCredit advertises its special financing options as a reason to sign up, but if you don’t pay off the balance in full within the term period, you will be charged interest on the original payment amount — not the balance remaining.  And the interest rate can go up to almost 27%! (Always read the fine print before applying of this or any credit card)

It might not make sense to sign up for CareCredit as it really isn’t that different from any other credit card. The only difference is the special term length with no interest, and purchases are limited to medical needs.

Of course, if you aren’t using pet insurance or a CareCredit pet health card, you can put aside monthly payments each month to save for any pet emergency.  And, while in theory that makes sense, it’s sometimes not practical.  If your refrigerator stops working or you need new brakes on your car, of course, there goes your savings.

The real benefit of the CareCredit card is to have a credit card that gives you a longer time to pay off the bill.  While opening a new credit card always comes with the typical risks, the idea that something like this exists is a good option for pet parents who don’t have the money or discipline to save.

If you are a person who doesn’t save and wants to have a specific card that gives you a longer time frame to pay for a medical bill, than a CareCredit Pet Health Card could be a good fit for you.  Take a look at their site and see if this makes sense to you.  Or call your credit card company and ask for better terms and rates!

If you are looking for pet insurance, take a look at our list of the top 7 pet insurance companies of 2018!



2 thoughts on “Is A CareCredit Pet Healthcare Card Worth It?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *