Insider Report: Affordable Ways To Keep Pets Healthier and Happier

contributed by The Baroness In Oregon

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These tips from a pet pro can help make your pets healthier and happier and while keeping more money in your pocket!

As someone who has owned and operated a professional pet-sitting service since the 1990s and has done small animal rescue for close to 30 years, I’d like to pass along some tips for keeping your pets healthy and happy that can save you some money as well.

Pet Sitting Options

Are you going on vacation? Decide which is better for your pet: boarding or an in-home pet sitter who makes daily visits. Whichever you decide, ensure that the boarding facility or pet sitter is licensed, bonded, insured and very experienced. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.

If you have a dog and choose an in-home pet sitter, plan on at least two visits a day. Cats can usually get by with one visit a day. If you have pets that need medical attention daily, such as a diabetic cat or dog, ask your veterinarian if one of the vet techs skilled in that area could pet sit for you.

A Cheaper Vet Option

The cost of veterinary visits can really add up. One way to save on this cost is to find out if your local State University System has a school of veterinary medicine. For example, the University of Illinois has one, Oregon State University has one, etc. If it is cost-effective for you to take your animal there for treatment, make an appointment!

Your pet will be seen by a student ready to graduate and take their state exam to become a licensed veterinarian. A licensed veterinarian who is also an instructor will oversee the student.

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Dental Care Savings

Ask your veterinarian if they participate in National Pet Dental Month, which is in February. Most vet clinics participate in this program, and you can get dental care for your cat or dog at a discount.

I’m not saying if your pet has an abscessed tooth in November to wait a couple of months to get it taken care of! You will want that taken care of as soon as possible. However, if you get your pet’s teeth cleaned once a year and your vet participates in this program, make an appointment for February and save yourself some money.

Food and Water Do’s and Don’ts

Please buy a decent pet food brand and note where it is manufactured and what’s in it! Good nutrition is vital for a healthy pet. Also, older pets need more liquid, so if you have a cat or dog over eight years of age, please ensure they have enough fresh water during the day and night. Also, please feed them wet and dry food so they can get that extra liquid they need.

Anything in the lily family is toxic to cats and dogs, so no garlic and no onions! Also, no chocolate! Please keep the telephone number of the nearest Poison Control Center and emergency veterinary hospital handy, just in case.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is a good thing to have; it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Ask your veterinarian which kind of insurance is honored at their practice and which one they recommend. Also, if you have friends with pets, ask if they have pet insurance and which company they prefer.

A Great Source for Affordable Pet Flea and Tick Prevention

I have found that Costco has the best prices for flea and tick preventive liquids that you apply by squeezing that liquid between the shoulder blades of your dog or cat. Flea collars keep fleas off your pet’s head but what about the rest of your pet’s body?

There are also some brands that I will not buy based on experience and how pets reacted to them. I can tell you that cheaper is not always the best way to go. My best advice on flea and tick prevention is to use Frontline or Advantage. I live in an area of the country that doesn’t get many hard, long-lasting frosts. That means that we have fleas and ticks year-round here, so I buy 12 applications of Frontline for each of my cats.

Cat Cautions

Speaking of cats, you might want to rethink purchasing pine-scented litter. Cats really don’t like the smell of pine.

Some people do, but cats don’t! Also, research has shown that cats can get heartworm just as dogs can, so please ask your veterinarian if your cat needs to be tested for heartworm. Heartworm can be fatal to dogs and cats.

Know Where Your Pet ER Is Located

If you have a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital in your area, knowing where it is and the fastest way to get there is always a good idea. I hope you never have to use an emergency veterinary facility. I contact mine every November to ask if they still have classes open to the public for a small fee so that I can get recertified every year in small animal CPR and first aid. I’ve had to use those skills more times than I care to count, and they sure came in handy when I needed them!

Here’s hoping that some of these tips keep your pets healthier and happier and some more of your money in your pocket!

Reviewed April 2023

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