Can A Vet Keep Your Pet? [Veterinary Advice]

Can A Vet Keep Your Pet

The relationship between your pet and the vet should be solid. A constant solid connection with the vet leads to healthy living for your pet.

Vets are like second pet parents, but what if your vet holds your dog for non-payment? Can they really do that?

In some regions, especially in New York, veterinarians can legally keep pets until the bill is paid in full. However, after surgery, after treating to an injury or ingestion of toxins, it’s safe to keep your dog/cat with your vet for another 24 hours to assist with postoperative complications.

Can you sue them for refusing to release your pet? Can you refuse their veterinary support if it’s not affordable? Stick to this helpful article till the end, you will see.

Can vets take your pet away from you?

This can be a head-scratching problem for many pet parents. Many pet parents share a special bond with their pets that they can’t be apart from for at least a day.

It is not affecting only the owner but also the pet. Your pet can even develop separation anxiety even though it is just one day because of Attention! Yes, that’s the word they are craving for.

If you’re just wondering, is it necessary for a vet to keep your pet for treatments?

Maybe for a day or two? What’s so special about spending the whole night with strangers in a hospital than spending time in their own home? There are REASONS! Let me explain.

If your pet had surgery, there must be some post-surgery complications. It is not over just because they did fine in the surgery.

There can be minor and major complications after the surgery of your dog.

Minors are like Depression, Dehydration, Lack of appetite, Vomiting after anesthesia, diarrhea,, and coughing.

Majors are like pale gums from the blood loss, Discharge from the infected incision, abscess from the suture reaction, suture failure,, and hernia.

So it can be too late when you notice those things and head back to the veterinarian. So it is better if your vet can keep your dog at least 24 hours after the surgery is done.

If an accident has happened to your pet and there were severe injuries, the vet wouldn’t be able to heal your dog in one day. It might take more than one day as he’s trying to save your pet’s life.

If your dog is poisoned or ingested some toxic,  he would need to be monitored and treated accordingly.

So the vet needs to monitor your dog until the ingested are excreted or dilated so it wouldn’t be toxic for your dog anymore.

Reactions of different animals to the same vaccine can be varied, and your pet’s reaction would be terrible.

So vets can keep your dog for a bit of time after being vaccinated for some diseases to make sure post-vaccination complications aren’t raised.


It is better to make sure that your dog is monitored and taken care of for the period they are kept. You can ask away the things that concern you the most before you take over your pet.

You can ask your vet to confirm that your pet will be under 24-hour supervision and who will be watching your dog.

Ask him to give out reasons why your pet will be safe in their hospital rather than staying a night in your home.

By the way, here is why do dogs refuse to drink water after dental surgery?

Can vets keep your dog if you don’t pay?

Usually, This depends on the region you live in. In some regions, it is legally acceptable holding the pet until the bill is paid in full.

According to the New York law,

If you are still unable to pay the bill, the vet can hold your pet and also can place your pet in the care of CACC (that stands for center for Animals care and control) or the ASPCA ( American Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) to complete this procedure the requirements of sections 331 and 332 of the New York agriculture and market laws must be fulfilled.

Yes, the rules can be that tough sometimes.

They will send a notice letter to you after some particular days have expired, and in that letter, they will mention the bill and the total arrears.

They will also mention that they will hand over your pet to a pound if you are unable to pay.

You can pay the full amount and release your pet after the first and second notice of letters, but if you are unable to pay the bill after they are handed over, it’ll be difficult for you to get back your pet, and your debt still must be paid.

These legal environments can be changed according to the region. In some regions, the vets can’t refuse to release your pet upon a no payment.

Nowadays, most veterinary clinics and hospitals tend to make payments before they do the treatments.

Because when they hold the animal, people are going to abandon their pets, and the vet has to end up with nothing but boarding expenses.

Suggested Reading: Here is what to do if your dog never been to the vet.

What should you do if the veterinarian decides to keep the dog?

First, you should talk with your vet and try to come to some agreement that’s fair for both parties.

If that’s not going, the best thing to do is find a way to pay the bill. I will tell you about the options later in this article.

If your vet still refuses to release the pet, you can seek legal support to release your pet as they have no right to hold your animal if you are capable of making the payment.

What to do if you cannot afford the vet bill?

Everyone has difficult times. And not everyone can afford veterinary bills; sometimes they cost high.

So there’s no embarrassment finding some other way to pay the bill for your pet. At the end of the day, you saved your dog, your cat, your companion. That’s what matters!

So if you are out of credit, here are some other ways you can try out.

1. Find a veterinary clinic that charges less.

Veterinary charges vary according to the clinic or hospital. Those are not dependent on the quality always but on the name, brand, and facilities they provide.

So if you can find a good, trusted vet hospital that charges less it’s more than fine taking your pet there.

2. Talk to your veterinarian about payment plans.

Every doctor wants to save lives. The same goes for veterinarians. So they won’t ditch your request just like that. So talk out with your vet about easy payment plans for you.

By the way, here is whether vets overcharge.

3. Seek the credits

Many loan companies offer loans for medical coverage for your pet. Some companies do not charge interest, so you will get a reasonable period to pay back the debt.

4. Ask your family members for help.

As both of us know, You can always ask for help from your loved ones. As in friends, “they’ll be there for you” there is no shame in asking for help to save your loved one.

You can ask away from those who have pets because they exactly know the pain of losing the pet. The most important thing you have to do is ASK FOR HELP! They won’t help unless they know.

5. Start a fundraising campaign

You can run an online fundraising campaign. Nowadays, people tend to launch online fundraising campaigns as there are more advantages.

It will break the geographical limitations so you can reach more people. You can find more kind-hearted people on social media if you try.

And online fundraising also saves your time as you don’t have to go door to door for donations, and this will provide you extra time for fundraising.

Make sure to check rules before you post your fundraiser in online communities.

7. Getting help from a fund or charity

There are some funds and charities that give their hands to funding the veterinary bills and other charges.

But as it is hard to allocate money for every animal in the country, they are following specific criteria.

Most probably, they’ll help senior citizens and the disabled, but most of the time, they won’t contribute to paying the whole expense.

You can search online for those kinds of organizations and read their criteria, and apply if it suits you.

8. Rehome your pet or surrender your pet to the local humane society.

I know you love your pet that never wanna give it up. But if the final option of saving your pet is giving up, I think that is the best thing but the worst thing to do.

 You can hand over your dog to a home that can provide veterinary support, or you can give it to an organization that can rehome your dog in exchange for veterinary expenses.

Can you refuse vet treatment If you cannot afford it?

This is also a matter of the region. In San Francisco, an owner’s legal obligation to provide medical care to an injured pet depends on the situation.

Refusing the vet treatments can be considered animal cruelty, depending on the situation of your pet.

But you can discuss with your vet and ask him about the payment plans. Veterinarians love animals, and they intend to save the animals too.

So they will come up with good options if you talk with them.

Things to be aware of.

You can’t always count on the veterinarian as he’s doing this for a living. You have to be prepared for emergencies like accidents or severe diseases of your pet.

Save the money for your pet just on the day you have your pet. So it won’t be that hard to afford medical support for your pet when he’s diseased.

Choose your pet’s veterinarian or the veterinary hospital wisely.

Some veterinary clinics and hospitals are going to tighten the neck of their customers and leave them no option.

Before you choose a veterinarian, ask your friends about a good one who has an excellent technical knowledge and a good heart.


In most regions,, your vet can hold your animal until the payment is settled, but you can still sue your vet for holding your pet. It will be easier to pay his payment and release your pet than taking legal actions as it costs a lot more than your payment.

0 thoughts on “Can A Vet Keep Your Pet? [Veterinary Advice]”

  1. my 3 year old pit lab mix got hit by a car and it broke her leg and Is going to require surgey however the doctor to perform surgery wont be back in town till early next week . so for now all the treatment my dog has received from the vet was just the x rays but they are refusing to release her to me until that x ray fee are paid in full witch is 321 and i cant afford that right now ive talked to them applied for credit and called locol organizations for help and nothing plus they willm charge a extra 41 dollars aday to house her if i cant pay 321 what makes them think i could pay 362, 403 and so on . any advise of how to get my dog back

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