With the current cost of living rising, we are all feeling a little strain on home finances. Most responsible pet owners have budgeted for the financial commitment of welcoming a pet long before the pitter-patter of furry feet enters their home. These simple tips will save you the cost of unplanned vet consult fees and medications. All vets will tell you we’d really prefer NOT to see your pet unless we absolutely have to!
However, even the most forward-thinking could not have seen the extra pull on our purse strings we are experiencing lately. With many of us re-visiting our monthly budgets we have brought together our top money-saving tips for pet owners.
1. Weight management and diet- once a month pop your pet on the scales. It only takes a minute and it’s really easy to do – just pop on the scales yourself, then pick your pet up and pop back on, then calculate the difference. Being overweight can contribute to a multitude of health problems including diabetes, skin disease, heart disease and putting extra strain on their joints, particularly in those with arthritis. This can really affect your pet’s quality of life, not to mention increase your pet’s medical bills.
Simple steps such as weighing out your pet’s daily ration reduce food waste and overfeeding. When using a feeding guide remember to use your pet’s ideal weight as a starting point… By using some of your pet’s daily dry diet as treats you can save money and excess calories! Our weight management blog is available for more support and our slow feed bowls for dogs and cats are a fantastic way to support a healthy weight regime.
2. Give your pet a monthly exam – Look for any discharge or redness from the eyes and nose. Note any discharge or scabs in the ears. Check the skin for any scabs, wounds, hair loss, or fleas and ticks. You will need to gently part the fur to do this. Run your hand over your pet to feel for any lumps, swellings or sore areas. Check for any broken or overgrown nails.
This monthly check allows us to spot signs of any problems earlier, and early intervention and diagnosis often have more positive outcomes. In the case of lump removal, surgery on a small lump can also cost less than a complicated removal of a large mass. Watch Paul perform a home care exam on one of our Boston’s below.
Keep up to date with all regular vet visits, prevention is better than cure and vaccinations, anthelmintics and neutering can go a long way towards reducing health concerns. Not to mention including a thorough examination by a veterinary professional.
3. Brush your pet’s teeth – We cannot say this enough, and make no apology for nagging! As a famous trainer designer once said ‘Just do it’. Our pets can suffer from a whole host of oral care issues: rotten teeth, diseased gums and oral tumours to name but a few. It may shock you to know that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 years suffer from dental disease! The sooner we spot any potential problems, the sooner treatment and intervention can begin. If you are not sure where to start, watch our toothbrushing tutorial, have a read of our dental health blog or just ask, we are happy to help. Remember, failing to record dental checks could negate your insurance if you make a future claim.
Looking for an easy way to remember the first 3 tips? We came up with a quick and simple, stress-free plan to follow at home…Once a month, weigh your pet, examine your pet tip to toe, and finally check their teeth plus ideally take a picture from the side. If you have a pet, remember WETs!
4. Beware of a false economy – have you heard the saying ‘buy cheap, pay twice’? Well, this can easily relate to pet products too. Sometimes what can appear like a good deal can be far from ideal for your pet. Cheap diets maybe not be much more than poor-quality protein and filler, cheap toys may not be safe, and cheap cat litter could be a poor quality, overly scented nightmare for your cat. The last thing anyone needs is an unexpected vet visit for tummy upsets or surgery to remove a foreign body or urinary problems.
5. Insure your pet – another monthly outgoing may seem counter-intuitive but this one could be one you can’t afford to leave out of your budget. There is no NHS for animals!
Did you know you are more likely to claim on your pet insurance than your car or home insurance policies?
In 2019 the average pet insurance claim amount was just below £800, ongoing treatment for chronic illnesses can run into thousands of pounds per year. Our best advice would be to do your research, and take out a life cover policy before your pet has any existing health conditions. This avoids exemptions on your policy.
6. Learn the basics of home grooming – for example, by learning to clip your pet’s nails at home you can avoid the cost of visiting a groomer or vet clinic. You can browse our cat claw clippers and dog nails clippers via the links, including a tutorial on how to use them.
Keeping on top of coat care can reduce the need for dematting, especially in cats. Invest in a good brush or comb, whichever is more suited to your pet’s coat and spend a few minutes a day warding off those troublesome tats. Some dogs can require a regular expression of their anal glands, and quite often your vet clinic team can offer guidance on how to easily do this at home too. We also stock our vet-designed ear cleaner to prevent a build-up of wax and gently deodorise the canal.
7. Pet-proof your house – Thankfully, most owners these days are well informed on the danger of toxins such as dark chocolate or antifreeze…but what about the lesser-known toxins around your home? One of the most common emergency calls to vets is the ingestion of a toxin. Take a look at our hidden toxins blog to make sure your home is safe. Prevention is certainly better (and more cost-effective) than cure. Pet proofing your home can hopefully avoid your boisterous Bengal or curious cockapoo from coming to harm.
8. Ask your veterinarian about any monthly health care packages – Monthly plans are quite commonplace at clinics these days. Our own cat-only practice offers such a scheme to our clients, allowing them to budget monthly for routine preventative measures such as vaccinations and worm and flea treatments. These schemes not only spread the cost of preventative care but often offer discounts too!
9. Make your own enrichment toys – how many times have you spent a fortune on a new toy or bed for your cat, only for them to shun it in favour of the box?! Save your pennies…there are a host of enrichment ideas you can make at home (also doubles as craft time for the kids) Here are a couple of ideas for you to try;
- DIY Cat Hidey House – Battersea cat and dog shelter shared this great idea for a cat bed. Tape down the flaps of an old cardboard box, and slide a t-shirt over the top leaving the neck as a doorway. Secure by knotting the bottom of the shirt. Tuck the sleeves inside themselves to tidy up the look. Put a comfy blanket inside and if possible place somewhere high for the purrfect lookout spot! You can see how much our cat Marmalade liked his new house below.
- Dog scent game – we all must have played ‘cups’ but have you ever thought to play with your dog? Ask your dog to sit facing you. Take 1 paper cup to start with and place a treat underneath it. Give the command ‘find it’ and allow your dog to knock over the cup, and eat the treat as a reward. When they have the idea, add in the other two treat-less cups and do the usual sliding around of the cups to mask which cup hides the treat. Again use the command ‘find it’ and see if they can seek their treat. There are loads of great treasure hunting and scent games you can play, with very little cost involved.
10. Petstoreo’s Happy Healthy Pets Club – sign up to our free VIP club and receive 10% off your first order. You will then be the first to hear about any new products, tutorials or special discounts. We promise not to spam you, and you can unsubscribe at any time. You can sign up via the ‘join the club’ button on our homepage.
We hope you have found our article helpful, if so why not share it with your friends? Our dream is to build a Petstoreo Tribe of pet health heroes, we appreciate your help in spreading the word.