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The expense of having pets

Doggy with cash in mouth

One of the hardest things about having a pet is the expense. Going to the vet can use up a huge chunk of your bank account. Taking your pet to the vet and keeping them well is a necessity. Having two animals myself that require extra care I can give you a couple tips on how to keep taking good care of your pets without dropping mass amounts of money a couple times a year.

Call around to your local vets and ask them about pricing. For example: How much are x-rays or tests. What one vet charges $130 for another will charge $60.

Every time you go in be sure to ask for a quote or estimate on everything they are going to do. I was once asked if they could keep my cat for a couple hours to get a urine sample and when I went to pick her up I ended up paying an $18 boarding fee and $40 for IV sedation on top of the amount I was already paying for testing, and the office visit. The vet never told me it would cost to keep her and never called to ask if they could sedate her.

Never feel like you have to do every test or exam the vet wants. I had a vet that wanted us to take our animals in once a year no matter what for a “wellness exam”. While this sounds nice and all its $40 each time, plus if I failed to go and took an animal in for something else, all of a sudden I would be getting a charge for a “wellness exam” that I never gave permission for. Be firm that your only paying for what you gave permission for.

Do not be afraid to question your vet or call another office for a second opinion. I do not know how many times I would’ve saved hundreds of dollars if I just would’ve gotten ALL the information I needed.

I hope some of you will find this information useful. I’m not going to lie I am a strong believer in “you get what you pay for”. However I am also a believer that you can only say that if you KNOW what you are paying for. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or demand answers. Your pets are important and you cannot take care of them for life if you run out of money to do so. Your cheapest expense is likely to be your purchase of pet id tags for your pets. Pet tags are an essential tool in helping your pets return home if they are ever lost. It is extremely important to make sure that the information on the pet tags is updated if you move or your phone number changes.

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Even More Pet Facts

Cute Puppy

The Canary Islands were not named for a bird called a canary. They were named after a breed of large dogs. The Latin name was Canariae insulae – “Island of Dogs.”

The first seeing-eye dog was presented to a blind person on April 25, 1938

The phrase “raining cats and dogs” originated in 17th Century England. During heavy downpours of rain, many of these poor animals unfortunately drowned and their bodies would be seen floating in the rain torrents that raced through the streets. The situation gave the appearance that it had literally rained “cats and dogs” and led to the current expression

The term “dog days” has nothing to do with dogs. It dates back to Roman times, when it was believed that Sirius, the Dog Star, added its heat to that of the sun from July3 to August 11, creating exceptionally high temperatures. The Romans called the period dies caniculares, or “days of the dog

Overnight Pet Tags is the industry leader in top quality pet id tags

There are 701 types of pure breed dogs

Though human noses have an impressive 5 million olfactory cells with which to smell, sheepdogs have 220 million, enabling them to smell 44 times better than man.

Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second

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More Pet Facts

Dog with glasses

Dogs can hear sounds that are too faint for us to hear, and also can hear noises at a much higher frequency than we can. Their hearing is so good that they probably rely more on sound than on sight to navigate their world

Dogs have far fewer taste buds than people — probably fewer than 2,000. It is the smell that initially attracts them to a particular food

Dogs may not have as many taste buds as we do (they have about 1,700 on their tongues, while we humans have about 9,000), but that doesn’t mean they’re not discriminating eaters. They have over 200 million scent receptors in their noses (we have only 5 million) so it’s important that their food smells good as well as tastes good

Dogs in monuments: The dog is placed at the feet of women in monuments to symbolize affection and fidelity, as a lion is placed at the feet of men to signify courage and magnanimity. Many of the Crusaders are represented with their feet on a dog, to show that they followed the standard of the Lord as faithfully as a dog follows the footsteps of his master

Every year, $1.5 billion is spent on pet food. This is four times the amount spent on baby food

French poodles did not originate in France. Poodles were originally used as hunting dogs in Europe. The dogs’ thick coats were a hindrance in water and thick brush, so hunters sheared the hindquarters, with cuffs left around the ankles and hips to protect against rheumatism. Each hunter marked his dogs’ heads with a ribbon of his own color, allowing groups of hunters to tell their dogs apart

It has been established that people who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks

Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children

‘Seizure Alert’ dogs can alert their owners up to an hour before the onset of an epileptic seizure

Seventy percent of people sign their pet’s name on greeting cards and 58 percent include their pets in family and holiday portraits, according to a survey done by the American Animal Hospital Association

Some 39 percent of pet owners say they have more photos of their pet than of their spouse or significant other. Only 21 percent say they have more photos of their spouse or significant other than of their pet.

90% of pets lost that are wearing pet id tags are returned to their owners.

Check back next week for more pet facts!

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Pet Facts

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Pet Facts

 

A dog’s whiskers are touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae. They are found on the muzzle, above the eyes and below the jaws, and can actually sense tiny changes in airflow!

An American Animal Hospital Association poll showed that 33 percent of dog owners admit that they talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages on an answering machine while away.

An estimated 1 million dogs in the United States have been named the primary beneficiary in their owner’s will

At the end of the Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life”, an ultrasonic whistle, audible only to dogs, was recorded by Paul McCartney for his Shetland sheepdog

Before the enactment of the 1978 law that made it mandatory for dog owners in New York City to clean up after their pets, approximately 40 million pounds of dog excrement were deposited on the streets every year

Cats have better memories than dogs. Tests conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that while a dogs memory lasts no more than 5 minutes, a cat’s can last as long as 16 hours – exceeding even that of monkeys and orangutans

Cats have more than one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten

Cats, not dogs, are the most common pets in America. There are approximately 66 million cats to 58 million dogs, with Parakeets a distant third at 14 million

Dogs are mentioned 14 times in the Bible

Pet Tags are the cheapest way to protect your pets

Check back in a few days for even more pet facts!!

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Pet Insurance

Veterinarian Petting Dog

I have noticed that owning pets can become costly. If you are a pet owner this is something you have no doubt noticed as well. Especially if your pet has some sort of medical problem. What a lot of pet owners do not have, is pet insurance. While I am sure you have heard about it, most people have never looked into the cost and benefits of having it. I have done some research and this is what I have discovered. Now obviously, if you only need to take your pet in once a year and occasionally for a small problem here or there, there is no need for this added expense.

 

However, if your pet needs costly medication, yearly blood work, and x-rays on top of that yearly appointment, pet insurance is defiantly something you should look into. I have found you can usually find a basic plan for one animal at around $25-$30 per month. So all together we are talking around $300-360 a year. Most of the plans you can find will cover basic exams, 2 per year blood work, and most vaccines as well as heartworm tests ect. Some have a deductible and some do not. If you do the research you can find a company with a plan that is suitable for you. To some people spending $360 a year may sound like way too much money for an animal. On the other hand once you have added up the cost of office visits, blood tests, medication and all the other expenses $360 may not sound so bad.

 

Really in the end it’s up to you to make the best decision for you and your pet.  And as always,  make sure your pets are wearing Pet ID Tags.

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Dog ear Infections

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Every dog has some bacteria and yeast in their ears. Sometimes this balance can be thrown off, which can lead to an ear infection. This over growth can be very uncomfortable and even painful for your dog. It can even lead to hearing loss if left untreated for too long. Your dogs ear infection can last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. As always it is important to check with your vet for proper treatment.

If an ear infection is very severe your dog may yelp when it is touched or whine when itching his/her ear. Ear infections are easily treated if you know what you are looking for, I will try to give you the information to tell the difference between an ear infection, ear mites, or allergies.

Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Discharge from the ears will usually be black or yellow and chunky, the discharge may even contain blood.
  • If you notice excessive scratching, rubbing, or shaking of the head. You may also notice head tilting.
  • Redness and swelling may be noticed in the inner ear flap or the ear canal.
  • You may notice an unusual or foul smelling odor coming from your pets ears.
  • Eye movements that seem abnormal from left to right (or right to left)

You may also notice your pet seeming off balance. Head shaking can cause tissue damage leading to blood-filled blisters.

Swimming, dogs with allergies, and dogs that grow hair in the inner ear are more prone to ear infections.

 

Signs it is ear mites or caused by allergies:

Mites may become present if an ear infection is present. Often times the two are confused because they have similar symptoms. It is important to treat ear mites right away because they attack the blood vessels in your dogs ears. If your dog has ear mites, keep your eyes open for mite feces or eggs. Ear mites are more common in puppies. The only way to be sure if it’s ear mites, is a trip to your vet.

Dogs may develop an ear infection due to allergies. If you notice your pet wheezing, sneezing, if they have watery eyes, or if you notice excessive itching it could be an allergy.

Ear infection medical treatments:

  • Otomax ear drops-treats acute and chronic ear infections
  • Cephalexin antibiotics-used for serious skin infections
  • Mometamax ear drops-Once a day infection treatment
  • Baytril Otic-treats outer ear infections
  • Mita-clear –used for ear mites

 

Home treatments:

  • Warm compress-apply the towel to the outside of the ear and press down for 30 seconds. Can be repeated a few times a day
  • Green Tea-steep a few bags in boiling water, cool completely, and use to flush ears twice a day, or use as a towel compress
  • Vinegar-mix one part white or apple cider vinegar and two parts warm water. Apply with a spray bottle (set on mist) or a warm cloth and dab dry. This can be done 2-4 times a week. Do not use this method with open sores.
  • Vitamin E Oil-Gently massage a few drops into the ear for 10-25 seconds.
  • Garlic Oil-Apply 2-3 drops and massage for 10-25 seconds. Garlic is a natural antibiotic.

 

These supplements may also help:

  • Probiotics
  • Enzymes
  • Fatty acids
  • Antioxidants

Please remember that although some of these may help, the best course of action is always to contact your vet.

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Pets and Vacations

dog with suitcase

dog with suitcase

When it comes time to take a vacation, the decision must be made, to take the furry members of your family or leave them? Here are some tips for both choices to keep your vacations fun, and your pets happy.

Leaving your pets at home

If you decide to vacation without your pet, here are some things to think about. If you want to go the route of a kennel, be sure to check into how the kennel is run so you know how your pet will be treated. Do they have beds for your pet, or do they sleep on concrete floors? Do they have yard time? Are they given attention from the people working there? Do they charge extra for administering medication? What is the feeding schedule? Asking these questions and more will ensure a pleasant stay for your pet, and less anxiety for you.

Another option would be to check into “pet sitters”. This is a surprisingly inexpensive and very convenient option. You have to be ok with someone in your home with you not there. This option is usually easier for pets and great for pets with anxiety issues. In my area the cost for three, thirty minute visits a day, including giving meds and grabbing the mail, comes to the same as a stay at my local kennel. Pet sitters will usually take your pets for walks, feed them, and give them plenty of one on one time. Most will offer shorter visits if you’re on a tighter budget. A big plus is your pet feels at home because he is at home.

Taking your pet along

By Air or Sea: Be sure to do the research to find out if your accommodations in fact, allow for pets. If you are leaving the country, find out if your pet needs a “pet passport”. (It is in fact a real thing). Also check to see what immunizations your pet will need. Be sure to check in to rules and regulations for flying with your pet as well.

Traveling by Car: Be sure to plan out stops along the way, where it is safe for your pet to stretch his legs and relieve himself. This will help get rid of pent up energy your pet may have from being trapped in a small space. If it is going to be a particularly long trip, make sure you have prior arrangements for sleeping and eating for your pet as well.

Always be sure check with campgrounds you may stay at, or city you are staying in to find out the leash rules or if there are certain areas designated for walking your pet. Make sure your pet has a collar on at all times, and of course, Pet ID Tag with information to reach you. A simple name and phone number is best. Doing the preparation and research before hand, can go a long way toward ensuring a safe, happy journey for you and your furry family member.

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Dogs and Arthritis

old dog

old dog

 

It is always a sad experience to hear your beloved pet has arthritis. The good news is there are some ways you can make your pet more comfortable. The first step to understanding how to help your animal, is understanding what it is you are dealing with.

Arthritis is a painful yet common condition usually (as with people) in older dogs. It causes swelling of the joints. One in Five adult dogs are affected by arthritis. There are two types of arthritis in canines. These are known as degenerative and inflammatory. However the symptoms for both are basically identical.

Symptoms of canine arthritis:

Weight loss/gain- Your dog may lose or gain weight if they are suffering from arthritis. Depression is another symptom which may also cause your pet to eat more or less than normal.

Difficulty sitting/standing- If you notice your pet shifting a lot while laying down, or taking longer than normal to stand, this too could be caused by arthritis. It is very painful and can make it very difficult for your dog to get comfortable.

Hesitancy to climb stairs/jump or play- When suffering from arthritis you may notice your pet is no longer jumping on the couch/bed to sit or lie with you. He/she may also stand at the bottom of stairs and take a more zigzagged approach to climbing them. Some animals will refuse to climb them all together. You may also notice your pet less willing to play their favorite game, or take that evening walk than previous times. Even coming to get a treat may seem like it’s a chore for them.

Limping or favoring a limp- Of course this could mean they hurt themselves somehow and should never be disregarded. You may notice your pet first limping to baby one leg, then switching to baby another. If it is arthritis you will notice the lameness come and go, and often switch limbs.

Sleeping more than usual- You dog may sleep often to dull the pain he/she is in. Lethargy is a common symptom of arthritis.

Changes in mood- Your pet may all of a sudden stop listening when called and seem reluctant to move. He/she may become easily agitated and growl, whine, nip, or show his teeth when touched or forced into an activity. This is because of the pain so please try to be understanding. These aggressive behaviors are more likely to happen, to those who are not “his people”. Your pet may also become ill due to arthritis and you may notice a fever, or your pet may lick certain spots often trying to relieve the pain, these areas, when touched, may feel warmer due to the swelling.

There are a ton of supplements and even medications you can buy to help your animal. There is even the possibility your pet may need surgery to get relief, depending on the severity of the case. Contact your vet and they will be able to point you in the right direction of what is best for your pet.

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Dogs and Sunburn

dog at beach

dog swimming
Like us, dogs can suffer from sunburn. Long term exposure can result in skin damage and skin cancers just like in people.

Dogs that are susceptible to sunburn
• Any dog that spends lots of time in the sun during the hottest parts of the day;
• Dogs that have white or light colored hair;
• Dogs that have very short hair, or no hair at all;
• Dogs that have lost fur through allergies, hot spots or medical treatments.

What are the signs of sunburn?
• Red or inflamed skin; and/or
• Hair loss; and/or
• Skin sores;

What areas of the body are more prone to sunburn you ask?

Those parts with smaller finer or thinner amounts of hair specifically:
• The nose;
• Tips of the ears;
• Around the mouth and snout;
• Eyelids
• Your dog’s belly, groin and inside the legs; where there is usually very little or no hair at all. These areas are at even greater risk when your dog is on a reflective surface, such as walking on a black top or close to water.

How do I prevent dog sunburn?
• Keep your dog inside, in a cool room, or if he’s a outside pet, in an adequately covered shelter during the hottest parts of the day;
• Use an animal safe sunscreen on those parts of his body more susceptible to sunburn
• If you regularly groom your dog in the summer, think about leaving the coat a little bit longer so the hair may offer some protection. Be sure to talk to your groomer about your dogs coat, sometimes the hair is a certain length specifically to protect your dog from the sun and you do not want to do more harm than good.

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More Pet Myths

puppy

puppy

One dog year equals seven people yearMYTH: It was once believed that for every human year a dog aged, you simply multiplied by seven to calculate your dog’s age. Contrary to popular belief, there is no exact formula; aging for dogs is individual to the specific dog and breed. However, as a rough approximation, a one-year-old dog is estimated to be between 10-16 years, a two-year-old dog adds another three to eight years, and each year afterwards equals approximately four or five human years.

Dogs wag their tail when they are happy:
MYTH: A wagging tail is normally associated with a happy dog, and has even been compared to a human smile. However, a wagging tail can indicate a number of emotions ranging from friendliness and excitement to agitation and aggression.

An important communication tool, a dog’s tail needs to be read along with the dog’s body language to determine exactly what the dog is ‘saying’. Is the dog growling while wagging his tail? Are his teeth showing? Or is he is relaxed and perky? Evaluating a dog’s overall body language can help you decipher the emotion behind the wag.

Dogs and cats eat grass because they have an upset stomach:
MYTH: Dogs and cats eat grass for a number of reasons; it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not feeling well. While some people believe dogs and cats eat grass as a digestive aid, they tend to eat grass (and other plants) because they like the taste.

If you find your kitty likes chewing on houseplants, you might consider providing her alternative things to nibble on, such as a small pot of grass or other young plants (avoid toxic plants that can threaten your cat’s health).

Cats rubbing a person is a sign of friendliness:

BOTH: While getting a friendly rub by a cat may be a sign of affection, it also serves another important feline function: scent-marking. Cats have scent glands in many parts of their bodies, and use them to ‘mark their territory’ by leaving their scent on objects they come in contact with.

Scent-marking is an important cat habit. By leaving their scent on everything they touch, they become familiar with the smells around them, thus helping them to establish or claim a particular person or object as ‘their own’.

Cats purr because they are happy:
BOTH: Purring, for the most part, has been known to signal that a cat is happy. Although purring by domestic cats is usually a sign of contentment, purring, in general, is a way for cats to communicate. Used as a self-calming technique, cats have been known to purr when they’re injured, nursing or even dying.