Well, I figured this would be the best time to post this, since this weeks #BlogPawsChat with #HillsPets was all about what we do to keep pets happy and healthy, and I just finished with everyone’s annual vet visits for boosters and parasite preventative (I’ll talk about those in later posts).
Aside from issues we were already aware of, Memphis’ HOCM, everyone is healthy and happy, with a few who are needing some tighter weight management (oops, yes I’ve been slipping).
Since we have so many pets, I thought it might be a good idea to share how we manage keeping up on everyone, keeping it low stress, and staying in budget.
Keeping tabs on everyone’s schedule;
I have a binder divided by species, then by pet from oldest to youngest, with all their records from most recent to oldest, so every month I double-check who needs to go each month. Plus since we do have so many we have a very good working relationship with our Vet and the Techs, so they also send us reminders or call us.
There are many ways to organize your pet’s schedules this is just what works for us.
Low stress visits;
We take all the dogs regardless of who needs the visit, just so they get to be with the Vet and Techs but have nothing done. It helps them learn that the Vet’s office isn’t always a bad place to go, and they won’t always get stuck for vaccines, or handled for a physical examination.
In fact, when we go, we tend to have three and four Techs in the room just because they want to come say ‘Hi!’ to the pups.
We’ve also been complimented on how chill they all are and have started recommending similar habits with their other clients.
When we take the cats, we usually take them one at a time. Once in the exam room we open the carrier. This way they can explore their surroundings at their own pace before the Vet or Techs can come in. By doing this they have a chance to calm down, get their bearings, and process all the new stimulation. Usually by the time the Vet and Techs come in they are purring and loving the attention. (The only one that this isn’t as effective with is Memphis, but that is because the poor guy has gone in more often due to the monitoring we need to do for his HOCM)
Staying within budget;
This can be a hard one, especially when you have as many as we do, or for those who have special needs critters as well.
- Instead of scheduling everyone’s visits together, space them out. Since we have eight we find eight smaller bills are a little easier to plan and save for than one or two huge bills.
- For the items that don’t need a prescription that you know you will be buying consistently shop around for the best price and buy in bulk! For example; Putt-Putt’s Glyco-Flex III for his back and joints would cost me $99 at the Vets office I can get it online for $33, Belle and Q.B 2.5’s Glyco-Flex II for their joints would cost me $27 at the Vets office I can get it online for $13 (I purchase two packages due to the savings), and the filters for their PetSafe Big Dog Drinkwell fountain cots $10 at the pet store I can get them online for $5 (I buy a years worth at a time so I know I always have some). Some online stores also offer free shipping on purchases over a certain amount and offer auto-ship (usually one or the other) so you don’t have to remember to re-order. (examples of such sites would be Pet360.com [no link since it’s in my sidebar] and drsfosterandsmith.com)
- Make or grow your own treats. For example: a package of seeds for catnip is roughly $2 instead of buying a container for $5-$10. Baking your own pet treats not only tends to be less costly (for biscuits or cookies since most of what you’ll need you probably already have), but also are much healthier particularly now with all the recalls and uncertainty behind pet food and treats. There are good brands out their but you definitely need to do your homework.
- Make your own pet toys or buy them in bulk. Cats love inexpensive toys, particularly the kinds made out of paper and cardboard or are doused in catnip. Dog toys can easily be made as well, there are tons of ideas on the web, Pinterest is a great place to get started. Or if you are not feeling particularly crafty you can buy them, but bulk purchases tend to be less expensive, we buy frisbees by the case via Humphrey Flyers (still made in the USA and a very soft plastic that won’t cut gums or chip teeth), since we go through one disk per game with Chloe.
- ROUTINE VET VISITS! Make sure you take them annually! Catching problems early tends to be a wallet saver! Memphis’ HOCM was diagnosed when he was 2 years old, he is now 6, and since we monitor his heart we will know when we need to up his care level (meaning put him on beta blockers to slow progression), but right now, just keeping him calm and happy have kept the progression so minimal that even his cardiologist is happy with just routine monitoring visits.