10 Top Tips to save on Pet expenses, #6

Some visits to your vet can be avoided just by being aware of some common causes of illnesses and injuries.

Some of these include:

  • Accidental ingestion of toxic substances. Examples might include, rat bait, antifreeze, snail bait, lawn fertilisers to name a few
  • Unintentional poisoning through giving non prescribed human medications or foods which are toxic to pets. Examples might include human pain medications, antiseptics, zinc creams, chocolate, onions, grapes, macadamia nuts
  • Checking dogs daily for grasseeds which may be caught in your dog’s fur. (Especially at this time of the year) These can burrow into your dog’s skin, ears, eyes and nose causing nasty infections and potentially a great deal of damage.
  • Not feeding cooked bones. They become brittle when cooked and splinter easily. If ingested they can cause blockages or perforate the intestines. Throw all cooked bones in the bin and never feed them to your pets.

Accidents do happen no matter how careful we are however, knowing just some of the things to do or avoid, can help minimise unexpected trips to the vet.

10 Top Tips to save on Pet expenses, #5

Tip Number 5 – Take action early!

Many clients put off a visit to the vet hoping that by some miracle a situation will resolve itself naturally.

While this may be the case in some instances, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way and you may see yourself rushing to the vet at midnight.

Veterinary fees will always be cheaper during a clinic’s normal opening hours. Outside of these hours you will most likely incur greater costs for the same treatment whether it be at your clinic or an emergency centre.

Make sure you are fully aware of your vet’s “normal” hours and times when out of hours fees are charged.

Also, if in doubt as to whether your pet’s condition requires a visit to your vet, always ring and ask for advice. Don’t put it off and hope it goes away.

We often see clients whose pet has been ill for days – even weeks before they finally call us late at night because it’s suddenly become life threatening or unbearable.

Sadly their bill would have been substantially less if they’d consulted us before the condition deteriorated.

10 Top Tips to save on Pet expenses, #4

Desex your pet if you don’t intend to breed from them.

Cats and dogs have an innate urge to breed. It’s part of their natural instinct.

Left entire, many pets will find an opportunity to mate – with or without your consent.

This leaves you with an additional litter’s worth of mouths to feed, not to mention the costs associated with any problems that might develop during pregnancy or birthing.

Think also of the cost of finding homes for the offspring namely, advertising, the cost of their first vaccinations and of course feeding and worming.

Apart from preventing unwanted litters, there are many other benefits of desexing to include:

  • Less unwanted behaviours asociated with the production of hormones
  • Less territorial fighting which cause injuries – especially with cats
  • Less chance of developing medical conditions linked to remaining entire
  • Less wandering and urges to escape to find a mate

Quite simply – desexing can reduce these problems dramatically thereby saving you unecessary medical expenses.

Don’t be responsible for creating unwanted litters of puppies or kittens. There are already too many of these in the world and their future is rarely bright.

10 Top Tips to Save on Pet Expenses, #3

Sometimes complex illnesses and specific surgical procedures need the skills and expertise of a Veterinary Specialist.

These are highly skilled professional who have undergone many additional years of training and education to become experts in a particular field. And the profession certainly couldn’t do without them.

However, just like human medical and surgical specialists, they do charge more.

So what do you do when your vet refers you to a specialist and you really can’t afford their fees?

Be assured, this is not an uncommon problem and you wouldn’t be the only one in this position. Especially nowadays when budgets are really being stretched.

What you need are alternatives – and they may be available for your specific situation.

First of all you need to be aware that there are many skilled and experienced veterinarians in general practice who are not specialists but have developed their own range of expertise in specific areas.

Their practices are generally well supported with modern surgical and diagnostic equipment.

Make a few phone calls to different clinics. Enquire whether they’ve dealt with this particular condition before. They’ll either say yes or no or suggest someone else who may be able to help.

We’re not embarrassed to say that we’ve been a last resort option for some pet owners who just couldn’t afford specialist’s fees. For many of these people our solution made treatment possible.

And there are other clinics out there that can do the same.

This doesn’t mean these clinics are taking work away from specialists. These are jobs the specialists won’t get in the first place.

The last thing we want to see is someone resorting to “Economic Euthanasia ” because they were unaware of available alternatives.

Invest some time in doing your own research. It could mean the difference between a solution and no solution.

10 Top Tips to save on Pet expenses, #2

Stick with a Quality Premium Diet

It can be tempting to buy cheaper brands of foods simply because they cost less to buy. This can be misleading as it’s not what you pay that’s important, its the cost per feed which is the real expense.

If you have to feed more of a cheaper product to keep your pet satisfied then it’s no longer the cheap option.

  • Stick with a premium brand that offers balanced nutrition with healthy ingredients.(Read the ingredients list carefully) You will pay more initially but you’ll buy it less often.
  • Large bags of premium diets are often on special at pet retailers. Keep an eye open for these and grab a bargain.
  • Buy dry food instead of cans. Cans contain a great deal of water therefore are more expensive to feed. You can supply water at home
  • Buy larger bags rather than smaller ones. They’re more economical.
  • If a large bag is cost prohibitive, share the expense with a friend. Buy a cheap storage container to store your half in.
  • Worried about variety? Feed some fresh meat on occasion. Human grade meat that’s on special is always a great option or some preservative free pet meat from pet stores.
  • Make use of appropriate leftovers from the family meal. Meat (without bones) and selected leftover veggies (carrots. peas, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower) – (no onions) are totally safe to feed your dog. So are rice and potatoes. Avoid feeding spicy foods or cured meats such as ham on leftover pizza and don’t feed too much pasta. It’s loaded with carbs and is of little nutritional value to dogs.

Finally – cut down on commercial treats. These are an uneccessary expense in tough times and nutritionally your pet doesn’t need them.

Don’t want to give up the treats?

Check out the web. It’s loaded with lots of ideas on how you can prepare cheap and nutritious treats for dogs and cats at home.

10 Top Tips to save on Pet expenses, #1

Tip Number: 1

Keep “Core” Vaccinations up to date – question the rest

Both dogs and cats can be protected from potentially fatal diseases through vaccination. These don’t cost the earth and are much cheaper than treatment of the diseases they prevent.

There are different vaccines available for each and they are not all necessary. We do however recommend you vaccinate both dogs and cats against the “core” illnesses. By core we mean against viruses that are present everywhere and are independent of your pet’s individual lifestyle.

Non core vaccines are dependent on your dog’s individual lifestyle and location.

Recommendation for core and non core vaccinations are therefore best made by your own vet.

Core Vaccine for Dogs:

C3 Vaccination. Protects against Canine Hepatitis, Canine Distemper and Canine Partvovirus.

This vaccination is available as a yearly vaccination or a triennial Vaccine.(Every 3 years)

Ask your vet about the benefits and fees for each.

Non core Vaccines:

If your dog ever needs to go into boarding kennels or participates in socialisation and training clases with other dogs, then you’ll also need to vaccinate against Canine cough. Combined with a C3 Vaccination, this is called a C5 Vaccination. Other non core vaccines may include Canine Leprosirosis and Coronavirus)

Core Vaccine for Cats:

F3 Vaccination. Protects against Feline Herpes virus and Feline Calicivirus (Cause of commonly known “Cat Flu”) and Feline Panleucopaenia.

None core vaccines include:

  • Feline Chlamydia
  • Feline Leukaemia and
  • Feline HIV (Aids)

Depending on your cat’s lifestyle and environment these may or may not be necessary.

So ask your vet:

  • “Does my dog need any more than a C3”? Why?
  • “Does my cat need any more than a F3”? Why?

New shoes mean a new life for Xeba

Life’s great for dogs who can get out and about with their owners however for Xeba, this wasn’t really an option any more until…..

… she got some new red shoes!

Xeba came to us a while ago with a few complaints – one of which was spinal pain. Xeba’s owners also indicated that she had problems with her back legs and that the paws kept “knuckling under” when she walked. This meant that she was injuring her paws and toes when going out for daily walks. This constant tending to injured paws and toes meant that Xeba’s outdoor adventures had to cease – for her own good.

After a course of anti – inflammatories didn’t resolve the complaint, it was time for some further investigation. X-Rays revealed a narrowed and changed angle at the lumbosacrial junction.

We also took Xeba to a specialist for a CT scan. It seems that Xeba has a congenitial abormality in her spine. Unfortunately, she was born with it and it can’t be cured. Apart from this problem, Xeba is a young and happy Australian Bulldog with lots of living to do.

We just needed to find something to help her get oudoors and live that life.

Hence the new red sports shoes.

These new “tough” shoes will allow Xeba’s owners to take her for outdoor walks again without risk of foot injuries. Xeba came in on Friday for her shoe fitting and as you can see – she looks very proud of her sporty new look.