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Resources to Finance Your Furry Friend / By: Iliana Garner

Pet ownership has increased significantly over the past three decades, with 66% of American households owning pets as of 2023 (Megna, 2023). With so many new pet owners, they may not realize how expensive owning a pet can be. The average cost of owning a pet can range from $700 to $1,100 per year depending on the pet (Kim, 2021). Sophia Valeo, who has been working at a vet clinic for 8 years, says it costs $40 to get a dog vaccinated for Parvovirus. If a dog is unvaccinated and contracts the virus, it can cost about $6,000 to treat. 

However, free or low-cost resources do exist to help pet owners finance their furry friends. 

Resources in Chicago 

  1. Low-Cost Veterinary Clinic 

Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society runs a low-cost veterinary clinic for people who may not be able to afford vet care for their pets. They offer complimentary Rabies and Distemper Vaccines and a microchip, as well as low or no-cost spay and neuter services. To check your eligibility, visit or call (312) 644-8338.

  1. Free Temporary Emergency Housing

Through its SAFE program, the Anti-Cruelty Society provides 30 days of free pet boarding for approved applicants who were temporarily displaced from their homes due to fires, natural disasters, medical conditions or domestic violence. Apply using the link:

  1. Pet Food Pantry 

The Friendship Center operates a pantry that provides free, nutritious dog and cat food for Chicago residents who need temporary assistance to feed their pets. Distribution occurs the third Saturday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at its facility at 2711 W. Lawrence Ave. Care for Real and the Irving Park Community Food Pantry also offers free food for dog and cat owners. 

Regardless of the expenses, Jack Juarez says that caring for his cat companions, Whiskey and Raven, improved his life immensely. “I could have had the worst day possible,” Juarez says. “But as soon as I see one of them waddle up to me and rub up against me to say hello, it’s as if all my stress fades away.” 

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