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Keep Your Pet Healthy on a Budget

We get a lot from our pets: love and companionship, and we can spend a lot on them, too. The cost of pet food, visits to the vet, grooming and supplies can add up fast. But the Saving You Money team found that with a little planning, you can cut those costs down quite a bit.

Like most pet owners, Karen Schmidt considers her dog Valerie part of the family. "I take care of my dogs like they're my children."

But pet care can be very expensive and veterinarians say even owners with the best intentions have been skipping visits to cut costs.

"We have heard a lot of clients express concerns about finances, particularly in these times," explains veterinarian Dr. Debbie White.

Dr. White says the best way to save money and keep your pet healthy is to talk to your vet. "Veterinarians are able to help clients and counsel them through their options that they might have - from the best medical care to maybe just covering the basics and making sure things are taken care of."

For example, an indoor cat may not need the same vaccinations as one that goes outside. "It's not a one size fits all type model anymore with veterinary medicine," explains Dr. White. "Different risk factors and different vaccines may play a role for your pet"

One area Dr. White say says owners shouldn't skimp on is food. "It's really you get what you pay for. You get a higher quality protein, a higher quality diet and you many have a pet that eats less in a volume situation than if you're eating a low-cost, high-filler food."

We heard similar advice when Jim Snyder and his dog Tank went to check out K-9 Barracks & Bath on Nellis. "In many cases, with some of the economical foods that you can buy, there (are) lots of fillers," Elizabeth Davis with K-9 Barracks & Bath warns.

They sell "all natural" dog food and if that sounds like an extravagance, it can actually save you money because your dog will eat less.

Explains Davis, "Tank would require six cups of one of the top-selling commercial foods. If we were to put Tank on a natural food - a bag costs the same dollar amount - he would only be eating four cups."

Jim Snyder: So, we've got a money savings for sure and it's better for the dog, too?

Elizabeth Davis: Correct.

Jim: Let me just take a little piece of this. Hey buddy, this is the good stuff. What do you think of this? It's gone. Yeah, he likes it just fine.

Another way to save is to learn to do some things by yourself. Most owners can handle basic grooming at home, like baths, to stretch out the time between professional visits.

Another do-it-yourself strategy is to brush your pet's teeth to lengthen the time between those expensive cleanings at your vet's office.

The goal with all of this is to keep your pet healthy and happy, even in tough times.

More ways to have a happy, healthy pet -- for less:

Minimize risk of accidents.

Saving the life of a pet after it has been hit by a car or poisoned by hazardous foods or plants can cost thousands of dollars. Keep cats indoors to prevent injuries and keep dogs on a leash or in a fenced area.

Keep pets fit and trim.

An overweight pet is prone to diabetes, heart disease and joint injury. To help your pet maintain a healthy weight, measure its food carefully, keep treats to a minimum, and be sure to work in a daily exercise session

Consider Pet Insurance:

If you can fit it in your budget, pet insurance may help when larger unexpected bills arise down the road. Veterinarian Debbie White of Lone Mountain Animal Hospital insurance usually makes more sense for younger pets and breeds that are prone to health problems.

Buy used supplies.

Check yard sales and Craigslist for more expensive items like pet carriers. You can often find great deals when people are moving or cleaning out their garage.

When it comes to toys, cut down but not out. A good chew toy can save an expensive pair of shoes. Buy in bulk, whenever possible. And if your pet needs medication, have your vet write out a prescription, then call around or look online to find the best price.

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Know the Pet Lemon Law Before You Buy
By Melissa Jackson Williams

Many states now have a pet lemon law in place. These laws protect owners or consumers who have bought a sick animal. Customers can return the sick or dead animal to the place they bought it from for a refund or replacement. While these laws are protecting consumers, they do nothing to protect the animals. If you are looking to help a sick animal, you need to check the animal abuse laws in your state or town. A lot of the laws only cover adult dogs and puppies. To see what animals are covered by your local pet lemon law you would need to either research the law on your own or consult an attorney who has handled cases similar to yours and knows what exactly the law includes. Some people grow attached to their pets very easily.

If, after bringing your pet home, you find it has an illness contracted at the store you bought it from, or if it was born with an illness, some laws allow for you to get your pet treatment at the expense of the store. There are limits to the amount that the store will have to pay for veterinary care of a pet they sold. Your local pet lemon law will determine if you can bill the seller for treatment and for how much. There are time limits that apply to the pet lemon law. If your pet is infected at the store, or dies, you can bring them back usually within two weeks for a refund or replacement. If the sickness is one they were born with, you usually have a full year in which you can have the animal replaced. Certain ailments and conditions are not covered by any pet lemon law.

Anything that occurs because of neglect on the part of the owner, conditions that were known about at the time of purchase, and worms or other parasites are not covered. You cannot take your pet home, let it get injured or infected there, and try to return it under the pet lemon law. Worms and parasites aren't covered because they are not considered deadly, and can be treated by your veterinarian. You can avoid buying a sick pet. First, make sure you know everything about the pet's history, especially their medical history. Avoid puppy mills and stores where the cages are overcrowded or dirty. You may feel sorry for that little fluffball sitting in its own filth but you will most likely end up with many problems if you take it home. Report the store to the proper authorities and find somewhere else to buy your pet.

Melissa Jackson Williams has been scammed too many times to count, but that was all in the past. Today she is armed with all of the top knowledge of the laws and informs as many of us as she can. For more information on any aspects of the lemon law, please visit: http://www.lemon-law-types.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Melissa_Jackson_Williams

3 Questions For Your New Pet Sitter
By Amanda Orson

How do you know your pet sitter or dog walker is qualified?

Ask these three questions:

1. If they are a member of either of the two major pet-sitting associations (Pet Sitters International and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters). Membership in these organizations requires that the person be bonded and insured to protect you, the pet owner, against damages, theft and anything that may happen to your animal while in their care.

2. References, specifically, references that you are allowed to contact. You are putting your best friend in their care, it's worth the phone call!

3. A little about their experience; e.g. have they handled emergency vet visits before? How many years have they been doing this? Do they know Canine CPR? And anything else relevant to your animal, such as whether or not they have administered diabetic injections, are they able to carry your animal up steps if necessary, etc.

If you have a pet that requires medication, has a medical condition that requires any special observations or attention (like a seizure disorder, etc..), be sure to talk to that person about the medical needs, and if possible, see if they have had training or experience with similar pets.

Most pet sitters and dog walkers are very forward with what they can accommodate, what they are trained for, and what they feel comfortable working with. Many dog walkers have dealt with dogs with medical needs before, even if not your exact condition, and will be willing to work with you to safely provide services for your pet. If they have had clients with medical needs before, be sure to get a reference and talk to that person about their experiences.

Asking these 3 questions while interviewing your future pet sitter or dog walker will help ensure a happy, seamless transition for your best friend.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amanda_Orson

Helping Your Portly Pet Lose Weight
By Isla Campbell

Although prevention is by far the best cure, it's all too common that pet owners can let their pets become overweight, or even obese. This change can sneak up on us and, sometimes, we don't even realise our beloved animals are at risk until the stern voice of the vet tells us that we have to put Fido or Fluffy on a diet.

Thankfully, it's now commonplace to find specialist diet pet food on the shelves of veterinary clinics - and there are plenty of other ways to help your pet lose weight too and get on the path to a healthier, happier life.

Your vet will recommend a diet plan specifically for overweight animals and you should strive to remain faithful to this plan. And while the special pet food - packed with all the nutrients your pet needs whilst containing fewer calories - is doing its job, you can still do your part to help.

The most obvious and best way to encourage weight loss in an overweight pet is through exercise. If you have a dog, take it out for more walks or introduce some running into the regime, play with it regularly and encourage it to run around and use up some of that energy rather than reclining around the house. You could even find that, by being more active with your pooch, your own health benefits too! As for cats, playing with your pet is key - and there are plenty of cost-effective ways to do so. Just try dragging a piece of string across the floor in front of Fluffy and watch the fur fly.

Don't forget that your pet still needs the occasional treat to feel valued in your affections. Why not train your dog a new trick that uses up some excess energy and reward him with a well-deserved treat? And for those truly on an exercise kick, sometimes the best reward of all for your beloved pooch is even more playing!

What's more is that all of this extra time you're spending with your pet will make your bond stronger and form an even more rewarding relationship both for you and your animals - meaning that helping your pet lose weight can end up being a valuable experience for all concerned.

Once your pet has passed the final furlong and gotten back down into a healthy weight, all you need to concern yourself with is maintenance. And hopefully, what with all the extra playing you've been doing, keeping up the pace should be more than easy. All you need to do to ensure your animal enjoys a long and healthy life is a good diet and plenty of exercise - and also have the necessary pet insurance in place for any unexpected illnesses. With these simple measures, your pet will thank you for their health and happiness.

Isla Campbell writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Isla_Campbell

The Chinese Dwarf Hamster
By Russ Fleederman

If you are interested in owning and caring for dwarf hamsters, you should get to know one of the species, the Chinese Dwarf Hamster. It may not be the ideal pet for very young children, but for older kids and adults, it they can provide lots of entertainment.

Meet The Chinese Dwarf Hamster

This particular species is approximately 10 to 12 centimeters in length when fully grown. It's appearance is somewhat close to that of a common rat, although smaller. The male has a large scrotal sac significantly visible in adults, which is often quickly injured when they are engaged in a fight.


Dwarf hamsters in general are communal animals. They willingly share common space with fellow hamsters and can get along well with each other. However, Chinese dwarf hamsters are less likely to get along with their fellow hamsters. It is recommended that you pair two young females first; they should be introduced while they are still young and as soon as they are weaned from their mother. Females are the dominant gender in their species. Trying to pair male and female together would result in a struggle for dominance that sometimes ends up in death; most often the male turns out to be the victim.

When building up or buying a cage for any small or dwarf hamster, make sure to provide ample space for them. Ideally, choose a cage twice as large as you think you should, along with multi-level spaces and lots of hiding spots. The weaker ones should have a hiding place in case the dominant ones are bullying them. It is not recommended to squeeze together more than two of this species in one cage, unless of course they are sisters and raised together since they were young. They tend to be aggressive with each other, especially with the opposite sex.


This specie's diet can be bought at any pet shop. Lab blocks are highly recommended since it provides nutritious mix with bits of vegetables and fruits for your pet. Wheat bread and leafy green veggies are also a good treat for them, given at least every other day and in small quantities. As much as possible, junk food should not be given. This can upset your pet and it is not in their nature to each such food. In their natural habitat they sometimes eat worms, crickets and other insects; giving them foods such as these might be a good variation, but only in moderation and once in a while. Vitamins such as Nutri-Cal can be given in addition to their diet as well as calcium to a nursing mother.


The aggressive behavior of the this species should be noted. They jump high and can leap out of an open cage. Sometimes this results in escaping, which is a heartrending predicament for a newbie pet owner. They move fast and their lively nature means they might escape your grasp as you try to cuddle them.

Overall, a Chinese dwarf hamster will make a good pet. However they are not recommended for very young children because of their dexterous personality. Teenagers and young adults are the perfect candidates for handling the their antics and lively personalities. They provide endless hours of fun and entertainment to their owners, so giving them specialized play equipment - such as wheels and balls - could add-up to some real laughs.

Russ Fleederman is a dwarf hamster expert. For more great information on the Chinese dwarf hamsters and a FREE dwarf hamster mini-course, visit http://www.dwarf-hamster.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Russ_Fleederman

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