- Regular veterinary care, including vaccinations and parasite preventatives, is critical. Don’t skimp on the “routine” care. Flea prevention is cheaper than treatment for a flea infestation. Heartworm preventatives can save your dog’s life and keep you from spending much more money to treat the disease.
- A collar, leash, and proper identification (including a microchip) are essential and help keep Fido safe and sound.
- Always buy the best food you can afford. Cheap food is cheap for a reason, and the old adage “you are what you eat” is true for dogs too. Moreover, when a manufacturer uses cheap ingredients, it has to bulk up the food with ﬁllers to meet the government’s minimum nutritional requirements. As a result, the portion size for cheap food is typically larger than for more-expensive food with higher-quality, more-digestible ingredients. In the end, you’ll be buying more of the cheap food, which usually works out to be more expensive than buying the higher-quality food in the ﬁrst place.
- Purchasing a few good quality toys that will withstand your dog’s chewing strength is better than buying many cheap toys that break up and become choking or obstruction risks.
- Buy yourself a pair of good walking shoes. Walking with your dog is free, and is good for you and your pooch. More than anything, our pets want our time, which costs nothing! You can save money by skipping the movie and babysitter and having game night at home with your cat in your lap and your dog at your feet.
- Buy only essential grooming tools: for most dogs all you need is a good quality slicker brush and a metal comb. Many of the tools now sold to dog owners are really meant for professionals. These tools can be dangerous in unskilled hands. For example, clippers can scratch or cut skin, or render your pooch accidentally bald! The blades heat up quickly and can burn Fido’s skin. Many tools are just a waste of money. In your kitchen, you don’t really need a tool for each separate task, and the same is true for grooming. Save money by NOT buying the gimmick tools—they are often specialty items that do more dust-collecting than hair-collecting.
- Forgo fancy spa products. There is no reason to purchase a shampoo for every doggie dirt situation either. A proper wash using a hypoallergenic dog shampoo and conditioner is sufficient. It’s crucial to use only those products formulated for canine skin. The skin and hair on humans and dogs have different pH requirements, which means that most human shampoos (including baby shampoos) dry out a dog’s coat or irritate her delicate skin. In some cases, the resulting skin problem may require veterinary attention. It should go without saying: never use household or industrial cleaners on a dog. The horror stories Billy could tell and does in our book Happy Dog Caring For Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit (available 9/1/09)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
You dog depends on you to keep him healthy and happy. So, spend your doggie dollars wisely on these necessities: