14 tips from a vet to keep your dog healthy (and your wallet wealthy)


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Owning a dog is a privilege and I say this because they make our lives a bit happier during dark periods. They bring us laughter, they protect us and our homes, and many times humans depend on them with their lives. 

In return, it is our duty and obligation to do the best we can so that they can live long, happy, and healthy. 

Whether you are a new owner- to be, or an owner with experience, you need to know that taking care of a dog is not just about love, they sometimes require special foods, and supplements, they need to see the vet, and so on. 

All these can cost, especially during the times we currently live in. This is why on Dogpricing.com, I would like to tell you how you can save a ton of money and still provide the best possible care for your dog.

1 – Get your dog vaccinated

Whenever you get a new puppy you take it to your vet for a visit. The first thing he is going to talk about is vaccination. 

There are certain viruses that are potentially deadly for your puppy and are easily preventable with a regular vaccination protocol. 

There are a lot of times when puppies don’t die from the virus because their owners react fast and take them to the vet. But the fight is long and hard, and uncertain. 

Treating a puppy with parvo costs, starting from staying at the clinic for a couple of days, to a different type of medication that needs to be given. And no vet would guarantee that the treatment will work.

On-time vaccination will certainly make the vet visits just regular checkups, rather than long and hard fights for your dog’s life. 

Vaccines cost a lot less than the treatment itself, and this goes for all of the viruses and bacteria vets vaccinate against. 

This is why vets prefer to protect dogs rather than treat them. Vaccinate your puppy and make sure your adult dog is up to date on its vaccines too! 

2 – Protect your dog against parasite infestation

This goes together with the vaccination. And it is another thing vets are quite mouthy about it. 

For starters, a puppy is only given a vaccine if it is healthy. Having intestinal parasites does not count as healthy, even though the puppy may seem good. 

Intestinal parasites steal the nutrients that are needed for the puppy to grow and develop. It is like you feed the dog, but it does not show signs that they are growing. 

The same goes for adults. This is why vets make a plan for every owner when and how to give anthelmintic drugs to their dogs.

3 – Keep the ticks and fleas away

Not only are they annoying for the animal, but they can carry scary parasites and pass them on to humans. 

These parasites could cause some serious illnesses and if they are not caught on time they can either end your dog’s life or cause long-term problems.

Treating them also will be something your bank account will not like.

Regular tick and flea prevention will keep the vet away from your dog. 

Depending on where you live, you can consult your vet about what is the best option for your canine companion and what is the best option for prevention. 

4 – Take care of your dog’s ears

Not many owners are aware that ear hygiene is a thing. I often see patients that come in with earache that is so bad that the dog does not let me come near that side, let alone touch the ear. 

In cases like this, as a vet, I need to sedate the dog in order to properly take a look at what is going on inside. 

Dogs can suffer from bacterial or yeast infections or have ear ticks. Even though this problem is more often seen in dogs with long floppy ears, dogs whose ears are raised up are not saved as well. 

Sedation, treatment, and diagnostics will cost you a lot

The easiest way to save money and save your dog a trip to hell is to invest in ear-cleaning solutions that your vet will explain to you how to use. 

Not only that you help save some money, but this way you don’t have to lie to Freddy that you are going to the park when you are actually taking him to the vet.

5 – Keep your dog on a proper diet

We all spoil our dogs! I know I do. And we think it’s okay to give them different food to try, even human food. But we also know that it is not good for them, so the question is why do it?

Improper balance especially when the dog does not get enough exercise could lead to important and costly health issues. 

Overweight dogs can suffer from illnesses such as diabetes for example, or from issues with their bones and joints. Treating any of these conditions will require a lot of money.

The easiest way to have your dog healthy and save money is to do good research on what is the best way to feed your dog. 

Nowadays, there are a lot of good brands of dry dog food that are balanced meals. Or you may prefer to cook for your dog, but that means making the meal dog-friendly, not human-friendly.

My advice, as a vet,  is to spend on well-balanced meals, no matter which type you choose even though it does seem costly, in the long run, it saves you a lot of money by keeping your dog healthy.

6 – Take care of your dog’s  fur and skin

Every new owner needs to be aware that dogs require grooming and maintaining of their fur, regardless of how long the coat is. Even though, fur and skin care are more important for long-coated breeds.

Many times I see patients that have double coats and are long-haired that come in for something called a hot spot. 

A hot spot is an infection of the skin which can be due to the moisture of the fur that has not properly dried off. And it requires medical attention. 

I have also seen dogs that have wounds that the owners have not noticed because they don’t brush their dogs often. 

Treating these types of skin conditions could be quite expensive because the dog may need to have the fur cut down to the skin and have special medical baths with special shampoos. 

Investing in proper grooming equipment and using it according to your groomer’s tips could save a lot of money for you in the long run. 

Vets ask owners to groom their dogs regularly because this way they can see the skin condition and discover growths or injuries that could be hiding underneath that double coat.

7 – Grass seeds between the toes

Walking in the woods or on high grass is an adventure for every dog. But that also means that when you get back home you need to do a good look and touch your dog’s toes on all legs because you never know what can get in between.

Dogs that come limping and licking their toes often have gotten something stuck there. Many times vets can’t find anything or the dog simply will not let them look. 

This requires the dog to be sedated and sometimes they even need an x-ray so that the vet can try and see the location of the poppy seed that has gotten between the toes. The owner may end up spending quite a lot for this one-time trip.

The best way to keep your dog safe and save some money is to just do a quick lookup after you come back home from a walk. I am sure your dog will enjoy the attention anyhow! 

8 – Clean your dog’s teeth

Yes, washing your dog’s teeth is a thing. And regular visits to the vet or a veterinary dentist are also a must. Dogs are prone to disease of the gums and teeth, especially small breeds. This is why it is important that you do regular checkups

If your dog ends up with plaque on the teeth, that means that they are in for cleaning, which may not cost as much as it would cost you to treat the illnesses and have your dog lose a tooth or two because of it. 

Oral hygiene is not really expensive to spend on. Teach your puppy to have its teeth brushed on a regular basis and give it toys to chew so it can clean them itself. This way the amount of money you will spend will be less than what you would usually spend on treatment.

9 – Take your dog once per year for a regular full-body examination

Your dog doesn’t have to be sick for you to take it to the vet. Regular and on-time yearly checkups are a good way for the veterinarian’s eyes to spot and notice any differences in your dog’s behavior, how it looks, and how it moves. We don’t see them that often and this is why we tend to notice if something is off.

Other things that vets recommend on these checkups are basic blood work checks and biochemistry. This way they can detect any early signs of a disease or something that is hidden and is just lurking. This is especially important when you own a senior dog, where things could go wrong very fast and as an owner, you may not notice until it is late.

Vets often offer tips on how to continue your dog’s diet, if your dog needs any supplementation which usually depends on the age, as well as exercise ideas for a young and developing puppy.

10 – Yearly testing for tick-borne disease, heartworm, and intestinal parasites

This pretty much depends on the region where you and your dog live, and according to that, your vet will recommend different tests. 

Where I come from, I often see pets that have a heartworm and/or one or more of the tick-borne diseases. This is why I always recommend to my clients that they should consider doing a snap test as part of their yearly check-ups.

Many times, these diseases can be detected before the dog starts to show clinical signs, which is important because if they are caught and treated on time, the dog will not develop the chronic form of the illness, whose treatment will most certainly cost and there is no guarantee that it can be fully cured.

11 – Call your vet whenever you have a question about your dog

Not always do owners need to bring their dogs to the vet, especially if there isn’t anything wrong with the dog. 

But, oftentimes owners may consider changing the dog’s diet or introducing a new food, or they simply could not find the same brand of deworming tablets spot on for external parasites that they used to use. In cases like this, it is always a good idea to call your vet for a brief consultation. 

Sometimes as an owner, you can see that your dog is feeling under the weather but it is still not refusing food or they are having a loose stool. 

This is not an emergency and contacting your vet will save some money for the trip. Vets are always keen on giving tips and ideas for home remedies that you can try. 

Of course, if they don’t work, you will have to take your dog to the clinic.

Another idea is online vets. But one must have in mind that even though an online vet can’t do a proper physical examination and other tests, which is why many owners may think that they will save money this way, they may end up spending more in the end.

12 – Don’t always go for the lower price

Owning a dog is expensive, but as an owner, we all want what is best for our dogs. Sometimes cheap does not mean good, it just means cheap. 

But the same can be said for expensive as well. Overpaying also does not guarantee quality.

This is why whenever you are moving to a new place you should do good research regarding the local vets, as well as referral hospitals and staff. Talk to your dog friends at the dog park, as some of them will probably have different opinions and a lot of valuable tips on who to choose as your regular vet.

13 – Don’t ask for discounts

You may think that your vet charges a lot, but here is an idea to think about. Studying to be a veterinary costs a lot, and graduating does not mean a vet stops to learn. 

Many times vets continue to study and spend money on additional courses and take on residencies, which eventually benefit their patient – your dog. 

One should never try to put a price tag on someone else’s knowledge and skill. If you are simply not happy with the price, consider changing the vet.

Oftentimes, local vets give discounts or will make a paying plan that will work for both of you and them, especially if you are a long-term client. It is not all about money for us too, we like our patients as well!

14 – Remember that prevention is crucial to keep your dog healthy

The best way to save money on dogs’ health care is to invest in prevention. For example, there is a reason why a vet recommends a vaccination protocol that involves the puppy getting at least three vaccine shots. Neither your veterinarian nor the manufacturer of the vaccine could give a 100 percent guarantee that your puppy won’t get the disease we vaccinate against. 

So owners wonder “ so why should I then vaccinate three times instead of once?” Or even worse, “Why should I even bother vaccinating my dog”. Well, because even if your dog gets the bug, chances are it will be treated easily and get to go home sooner rather than later, meaning that your vet bill will be less. 

In all cases, preventive healthcare for your dog will result in saving an important amount of money and preserving your dog from invasive and disagreeable treatments.

If you decide to get a dog from a shelter, try to find out how healthy it was while it stayed there, and try to get as much information as possible from its previous owner. You may also want to do a genetic screening to determine the breed of your new dog. Genetic screening could tell you enough to identify certain genetic traits and diseases that are specific to your dog.

On the other hand, if you are considering buying a purebred dog, I strongly recommend you do thorough research above all, about the breed that you are interested in. 

First and most, you need to see if the character the breed possesses will fit yours and your lifestyle. If you are a couch potato, you can’t own a Doberman, you simply can’t. 

Another reason why you need to do the homework is that this way you can learn which genetic diseases are commonly seen in the breed. And you need to be prepared for those. Once that is done, choosing the breeder is also important. 

Reputable breeders don’t have 10 litters per year, they usually breed less, because they search for healthy dogs. Some breeders also do genetic screening to allow future owners to know whether their new puppy is clear on certain diseases or not.

Good breeders also tend to educate new owners on how to specifically take care of and raise the particular breed they are going to adopt, which in the long run will most certainly help to save a lot of money.

 

 


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