Dear Porky and Buddy,
I just lost my job and will have to struggle along on unemployment for awhile until I find a new one. In the meantime I need to be able to take good care of my dog and two cats. Do you have any ideas about how to save money without jeopardizing them? It’s not like they were ever especially pampered, no doggy spas or diamond collars, but vet costs and food and litter. It all adds up.
No doggy spas or diamond collars??? Call 911. No we’re just kidding. Thanks for giving some forethought to what can be a difficult problem. Here are some ideas about what to do (or not do) that may help.
1. Don’t neglect your animals’ annual checkup. No they are not cheap, but they are the first line of defense for preventative care.
2. On the other hand, don’t rush off to the vet for every little thing. Use your common sense. Cats for instance sometimes get upper respiratory infections. They sneeze and get runny eyes and don’t need a doctors visit any more than you generally need one for the common cold. The same with occasional vomiting of hairballs or occasional diarrhea. They are gross, but not a veterinary emergency.
3. Symptoms that you do need to check out with a vet include loss of appetite, weight loss, unusual or rapid breathing, apparent problems with urination, listlessness. Early treatment may mean the difference between simple remedies or expensive hospitalization.
4. Regular at home grooming and flea treatments will also help you keep you pets beautiful and their skin healthy—not to speak of the extra bonding that you will have with them.
5. Don’t try to cut costs by giving your pets human medications unless your vet has specifically told you it’s ok. Many human medications are potentially toxic to pets. But if you vet prescribes a medication that is expensive, feel free to inquire whether there is a generic version that will work just as well.
6. And then there is the old pound of prevention. You should be pet-proofing your home anyway, but especially so if money is tight. It’s remarkably like having to toddler proof a home. Keep toxic substances stored safely in a secure high place. Garbage cans should have lids. Check to make sure you don’t have toxic plants in the house. Keep small sharp things that animals might try to eat up off the floor.
7. Don’t skimp on food with low quality food that you are not sure of, but don’t let it go to waste either by overfeeding or just keeping too much out. If you buy in bulk, invest in a tight storage container so it will stay fresh.
8. Check garage sales and flea markets for items that you may need like crates or carriers.
9. If you have to travel, are there neighbors or friends who will exchange pet sitting services with you so that you can all save money?
10. Make lots of homemade toys. Improvised balls of foil, strings on a stick, for a dog any old non-splintering stick
We hope you find a new job soon, but think about how much more time you have right now to play with your best friends!
And speaking of good deals. You can adopt a pet from the Humane Society that is already spayed or neutered, up to to date with shots, healthy, tested, well-socialized and totally perfect for hundreds of dollars less than the cost of going to a pet store, and still a lot less than the costs you will pay to take care of a “Free to Good Home” pet. Check out our pets for adoption at our “Get Ready for Summer” Adoption Day and Chicken BBQ on Saturday, March 19 from noon to 4 at the Oswego Elks Lodge at West Fifth and Bridge Streets, Oswego. Take home a wonderful new pet and a delicious summer meal! BBQ dinners to eat in or take out are $8. Call 207-1070 to pre-order.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.