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Budget-Friendly Pet Care

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As any pet owner knows, caring for a pet can be expensive. These days, everything seems to cost more, and as your own costs of living increase, so do the costs of caring for your pet. Add up pet food, veterinary care, grooming, or other expenses, and it may start to seem overwhelming.

The good news is that, with some smart strategies and practical choices, it’s possible to reduce these expenses without compromising on the quality of care you provide for your pet. In this blog we’ll explore budget-friendly ways to feed and care for your pet, ensuring their well-being while being mindful of your finances.

Preventive healthcare reaps rewards

The best way to save on costly vet bills is to keep your pet healthy! Taking proactive measures to prevent health issues can save you money on expensive veterinary treatments down the line.

  • One key way you can keep your pet healthy is by helping them maintain a lean body weight: provide vet-recommended amounts of food, lots of water, and plenty of exercise.
  • Schedule regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive treatments for parasites like fleas and ticks.
  • Brush your pet’s teeth regularly, which is good for their overall health and can help reduce periodontal disease and associated costly procedures.

Preventive care is usually more affordable than treating advanced conditions.

Make your own treats

While treats can be a great way to reward and train your pet, they can be expensive. Consider making homemade treats using simple ingredients like sweet potatoes, carrots, or peanut butter. Many recipes are available online, and making your own treats allows you to control the ingredients and portion sizes, ensuring a healthier and cost-effective option. Remember though, some tasty ingredients could hurt your pet – make sure you consult your veterinarian to make sure your treats are healthy and appropriate.

Do-it-yourself grooming and hygiene

Cutting your dog’s hair or your cat’s nails may seem like a daunting task, but with time, patience, practice, and the right tools, you can handle basic grooming tasks at home – and save some cash. Invest in grooming tools like brushes, nail clippers, and pet-friendly shampoos. Check out some tutorials online or get ask for advice from your veterinarian, then dive in. By grooming your pet yourself, you not only save money but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.

Ask for Help

If you find you can’t care for your pet the way they deserve, or if you are sacrificing your own health for your pet’s, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are many organizations and charities that can help you through difficult times. Check online to find pet food banks in your area; contact local animal welfare groups for assistance; or ask your veterinarian for direction. And if you find yourself in a time when you have a little extra, consider donating back to these organizations to help others.

Caring for your pet on a budget requires a combination of smart choices, creativity, and some extra work. By prioritizing preventive healthcare, minimizing treat expenses, and practicing DIY grooming, you can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry companion without breaking the bank.

And remember, the most important aspect of pet care is the love and attention you provide – and that’s free!

LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian.

Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

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Recent studies have shown that more than half the cats in the US have not been seen by a veterinarian within the past year for a wellness visit! And 50% of cat owners feel that a visit to the veterinarian is too stressful for their pet, versus only 20% for dog owners.

Many cats only see their vet when they are sick. But the fact is, regular wellness exams are an important part of cat ownership.

Since our pets can’t tell us when they’re sick, we need to be attentive to their routine health care. This is especially important for cats, who many don’t realize are actually considered prey species (since they are also good predators). Prey species have evolved to be masters of hiding signs of illness in order to stay alive!

Also, cats age way more quickly than humans, so an annual check-up for your cat is like you going to the doctor about every four years. During these appointments, your veterinarian will perform a routine physical exam and ask questions about your pet’s daily life at home that can uncover early signs of illness or disease.

Below are some reasons why it’s so important to take your cat to the vet:

  1. Cats are masters of hiding illness. As a part of their instinct to protect themselves from predators, cats hide that they are ill, in pain, or in a weakened state. Your cat could be developing a health condition and you may not notice anything wrong until the condition has advanced and is more difficult to treat.
  2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Veterinarians are trained to spot problems early. Taking your cat for regular wellness checks allows your veterinarian to see subtle changes and abnormalities that can easily be overlooked. Spotting and treating problems early, before they are complex and difficult to treat, can translate into better outcomes for your cat – and tends to be less costly.
  3. Obesity is . More than 50% of cats in North America are overweight or obese. Many health conditions are linked to obesity, such as osteoarthritis, joint damage, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. At a regular wellness exam, your veterinarian checks your cat’s weight and provides you with guidance on achieving or maintaining their ideal weight. One or two pounds may not seem like much, but on a 10-pound cat, 2 pounds is 20% of their body weight!
  4. Aging happens quickly. Cats age more quickly than humans. A one-year-old cat is equivalent to a 15-year-old human; a two-year-old cat is close to 24 in human years! Each year thereafter is about 4 human years. A lot can happen or change in those years, which is why annual or biannual veterinary visits are so important.
  5. Dental disease can be prevented. Your adult cat has 30 teeth, which is a lot of teeth to maintain. More than 50% of cats over age three have some form of dental disease; but again, cats will hide pain caused by dental disease. Your veterinarian will check your cat’s teeth, provide advice for maintaining a healthy mouth, and recommend professional cleaning if needed. Dental health can affect overall health, so it’s an important part of overall wellness care.

How often your cat should see the vet for wellness checks depends on their health status. veterinarian will recommend an appointment schedule with your cat’s best interests in mind.

Getting your cat to your veterinarian may seem challenging, but taking some steps ahead of time will help make this easier for both you and your cat.

  • Make the carrier a fun place. Train your cat to like her carrier by making it tempting! Place the carrier in your living room or other common area, put her favorite toys, blanket, and treats in the carrier, and keep it there for a while, so she becomes accustomed to it. You can even feed your cat in her carrier, so she associates it with pleasant events. Choose a carrier with a removable lid: once at the clinic, you can remove the lid and gently lift your cat out, rather than forcibly pulling her. Your veterinarian may even be able to perform part of the exam while your cat is still comfortably in her crate! Always use a seatbelt to restrain the carrier in your car.
  • Plan your visit with the clinic. Many veterinary clinics have procedures to help keep cats more comfortable during veterinary visits. Check with your clinic to see how your veterinary team can help make the visit as smooth as possible and if there are any steps you can take at home before the visit.

No one really likes going to the doctor, but regular wellness checks can help prevent illnesses, detect early signs of disease, and keep your cat a healthy member of your family for a long time. This August 22, make an appointment to take your cat to the vet!

LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian

Do Dogs Have a Sixth Sense?

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Humans have five recognized senses. We taste, touch, smell, see, and hear. Dogs have the same five senses, but they aren’t all the same as ours.

  • Humans can discern a broader color spectrum and more visual detail than dogs, because we have more color-detecting cells (cones) in the eye.
  • Dogs see better in the dark than humans, because they have larger pupils that let in more light, and more light-sensitive cells (rods) in the center of the retina. Dogs can also detect tiny movements that we may miss, making them good hunters – especially at night.
  • Dogs have a great sense of smell. Their noses function about 10,000 times better than ours do.
  • Humans have a better sense of taste than dogs. We have about 9,000 taste buds compared to about 1,700 in a dog.
  • Dogs can hear much higher frequencies than humans and can hear at much longer distances.

What is a “sixth sense”?

While dogs have five remarkably good senses, some people think they also have an elusive “sixth sense”. What is a sixth sense, anyway? Can it really be defined?

People usually think of a sixth sense as intuition or a “gut feeling”. Is it an additional sense or an increased sensitivity to the information provided by the other five senses? There’s no clear answer, but anecdotes involving the “sixth sense” are quite interesting.

Sensitive Examples

Human mood: Many pet owners know that dogs are quite intuitive. When we are happy, our dogs may be equally exuberant. When we are sad, our dogs try to comfort us. Ever sit on the sofa in serious contemplation and have your pooch nestle beside you? Our furry friends seem to know what we need, but how? Humans produce hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine that rise and fall with our moods. Perhaps dogs sense these hormone levels. Or perhaps they notice our facial expressions, voice, body language, or smell. Some might say this increased perception is a sixth sense.

Human illness: A dog’s keen sense of smell enables them to “sense” some human illnesses. Dogs can be trained to detect specific volatile organic compounds (VOC) in humans that indicate ongoing illness, helping detect lung cancer by smelling a person’s breath or bladder cancer by smelling their urine. Dogs can also predict low blood sugar by detecting VOCs emitted through the skin or predict a seizure by recognizing changes in VOCs, pupil size, and demeanor in a patient with epilepsy.

When a dog’s sense of smell is coupled with their ability to read their owner’s mood, they are quite adept at predicting health problems and preventing injury. Is this a sixth sense or just a superhero dog?

Weather: According to an Associated Press poll, two thirds of pet owners think their pets have a sixth sense about weather. In this case, their sixth sense is likely due to their heightened senses – dogs can hear, smell, and feel weather activity, giving them a predictive edge on humans.

  • Dogs have an acute sense of hearing, which allows them to hear distant thunder before we do.
  • Dogs can smell changes in the atmosphere (ozone) better than we do, so they may sense an oncoming storm.
  • Dogs can detect changes in barometric pressure or electromagnetic fields that may be related to coming storms.
  • Dogs have been known to detect changes in seismic activity and feel small movements before earthquakes occur.

Who needs a weather forecaster when you have a dog?

How can you sense your pet’s sixth sense?

We may not be as sensitive as our dogs, but even mere mortals can recognize when a dog’s sixth sense is on the job. A dog that detects oncoming bad weather may pace nervously, whine, hide, bark, or seek out their owner. A dog that notices changes in their owner’s mood may cuddle up next to them or beg to be petted. Dogs that detect illness may lick the owners incessantly and stay closely by their side. Your own dog can be a service dog that alerts you to things you can’t see or perceive.

Your dog knows you. Pay attention and you may be surprised at how intuitive he is. Even though there is no scientific evidence for a dog’s “sixth sense”, we certainly have sense enough to appreciate our dogs’ abilities and how they integrate their other five senses in an amazing fashion.

LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian.