- Inspect your dog. Fido can’t tell you if he’s under the weather, or even if he's uncomfortably dirty—you have to discover these problems yourself. An inspection allows you to gather, track, monitor, and assess the state of your dog’s health and cleanliness in a systematic and thorough manner. Moreover you’ll discover medical and grooming issues well before they become painful to your dog and your pocketbook. Once a week, using your hands, eyes, ears and nose, give your pooch the once over. Fido's eyes, however, require daily inspections. Be sure you check every nook and cranny. The entire process takes about five to ten minutes, and your dog will appreciate the attention. If at any time you see, feel, smell, or sense trouble brewing, call your veterinarian immediately. Your inspection may save your dog's life (and your bank account).
- Dog-proof your house. Many household items are dangerous to dogs as poisons, or as choking/obstruction risks. Spending a few minutes a day clearing your counters, closing drawers and doors, and putting away medicine, cleaners, food, and small objects will safeguard your dog. It’s easier to clean up than to pay a huge a vet bill or replace chewed or swallowed items.
- Brush, brush, brush! Brushing saves time, money, and is an excellent opportunity to bond with your dog. Brushing also extends the time between professional grooming appointments, loosens and lifts dirt, and keeps skin healthy. Brushing removes the dead coat before it can fall off your dog or cause mats, which can increase professional grooming costs. For most dogs, a slicker brush is all you need. If your dog has extremely short hair, such as a Boxer, Doberman, Dalmatian or a Pug, you can use a rubber curry. You don’t even have to brush the entire dog every time. Brush a quarter of your dog each day and by the end of the week, he’ll have been completely brushed twice. Besides, more fur in the brush means you'll spend less on lint rollers and dry cleaning!
- Be smart about products. Most people use far too much product when bathing their dog at home, which wastes money and makes rinsing difficult. Dilute shampoo in a bowl or separate bottle. Don’t dilute it in the original bottle because adding water can spoil the product. All you need is one quality hypoallergenic CANINE shampoo and one CANINE conditioner. Although they’re fun to use, you don’t need fancy spa products. And there is no reason to purchase a shampoo for every doggie dirt situation—a proper wash with a regular dog shampoo followed by a regular conditioner is sufficient. Make sure you rinse thoroughly because product left on the skin can cause painful and costly skin infections.
- Ask for a shorter haircut. When your dog gets a haircut, ask your groomer to cut the coat a “step” (or slightly) shorter. The shorter haircut can stretch the time between professional appointments, but make sure the cut isn’t too short since exposed skin is prone to sunburn. And because you’ll extend the time between appointments, brushing becomes critical—the coat on some dogs can mat up overnight.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Times are tough all over right now and many people have to cut back on dog expenses. Thankfully, there are many things you can do at home to keep Fido healthy and in tip top shape while saving money. Here's a few suggestions:
In our next post, we'll talk about the most efficient way to spend your dog care dollars.