Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Save Money on Pet Supplies

10 Money-Saving Tips for Dog Care by Brent Goodman

You just can't put a price on that welcome-home tail wag. Many of us consider our dogs members of our family, and as we try to keep them in the best health possible, we look for ways to save without sacrificing quality. Luckily, with dog supplies on the market today, and some insight, you can often spend less than you might think.

1. Quality food. Nutrition for our pets, just like for ourselves, is probably the single most important health decision we make. Good nutrition always translates into better health. Look for dog foods with real meat, fish, or eggs listed as the first or second ingredient.

2. Deal with problems before they become major concerns. Some conditions can be helped with the use of nutritional supplements. Arthritis may benefit from the glucosamine and chondroitin found in joint care products and the omega-3 fatty acids in our omega-3 gel caps can be beneficial for certain skin conditions. Dental problems, such as plaque build-up or unpleasant doggy breath can be "nipped" in the bud with diligent home care. A dental cleanser, dental treats, rawhide, and dental toys are must-haves for at-home care. Regular ear care, may save you an unplanned trip to the veterinarian for an ear infection.

3. Be diligent about flea/tick prevention and heartworm. Flea and tick preventative products are essential to a good flea and tick management program, and can help prevent the cost of treatment for illnesses such as Lyme disease. The American Heartworm Society recommends using a heartworm preventive year-round, even in seasonal areas.

4. Annual veterinary visits. Make sure your pet gets his annual physical exam. Your veterinarian will pick up on health problems you can't detect, and early treatment will probably mean less money spent down the road. The veterinarian-client-patient relationship is an essential part of maintaining your pet's good health.

5. Buy your prescriptions online and always ask for generics. It is amazing how much you can save by using a reputable online pharmacy. Online pharmacies, with their large volume, often offer better medication pricing. Generic prescriptions are an especially good value. These medications are made with the same exacting FDA standards as name brand veterinary medications.

6. Consider vaccinating your dogs at home. Keep your dog up-to-date on vaccinations. Familiarize yourself with vaccine guidelines. If you choose to vaccinate at home, a good pet pharmacy can provide you with needles, syringes and vaccines.

7. Keep him safe when you can't be there. You may think of a crate as a negative for your pet. In reality, dog owners have found that crates, when introduced properly and used consistently, are the safest place for your pet when you're not around. How do they save money? Stress relief, and less potential damage to your property.

8. Keep your dog entertained and out of trouble. Choose interesting, interactive toys. Also, make sure your pooch has adequate exercise, with plenty of walks and games of fetch.

9. Groom your dog yourself. Daily grooming may help prevent a variety of problems, from dry skin to painful and unsightly matting. There are a myriad of grooming products from brushes and combs to shampoos, conditioners, and clippers

10. Observe your pet daily and become knowledgeable. Watch for changes in eating patterns, behavior, and elimination. Even subtle differences can be early indicators of disease. Early diagnosis and treatment may save you in the long run on more complex diagnostics and treatment.

Our dogs depend on us to take care of them, and by following the tips above, you can save money without shortchanging your pet's health.

About the AuthorBrent Goodman holds degrees in English from Ripon College, a Masters of Fine Arts from Purdue University, and has extensive experience in research communications and educational publishing across various fields of study. He is currently the Senior Copywriter at Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Supplies, the nation's leading online and catalog pet supplier.

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