Meeting Ellie

This is a video I took when Chris and I met Ellie for the for first time. Her name used to be Ella but I changed it because ‘ella’ in Spanish means her. I didn’t want a dog named Her. Ellie seemed sweeter to me. The tan dog you see there is Elise and she was one of Ellie’s litter mates. We had originally gone to see Elise because we thought we were interested in her but one of the staff members decided to bring Ellie out as well and it was pretty much love at first sight. Elise found a forever home as well.

The Handy Dandy Steam Mop

I bought the Hoover Twin Tank Disinfecting Steam Mop a week after Ellie came home this past Summer. I got the idea one day when I dropped off Argos at Doggy Day Care and I saw the staff cleaning up after the puppies with a steam mop. Ellie was peeing and pooping everywhere sooner than I could clean it up.

steam mop

Try as well and as fast I could, I could only really sweep and mop thoroughly about once a week. It’s a hassle! I have both tile and hardwood floors. We don’t wear shoes in the house on account of Chris being Asian and he really pushed for me to accept and adopt the no-shoe-policy. And so I deemed it unnecessary to clean the floors more than once a week. But when you have a shit machine, you can’t help but wonder if you might just be leaving traces on the floor and picking them up with your socks, and taking them on to your couch and on to your bed. Ugh!

So we bought us a steam mop. This much I like; no more buckets of water and cleaning solution being swung out of the bathtub and scooted around the apartment. The worst part was squeezing the yucky water out of the mop. I no longer have to do it and boy does it save me time. I also love that the head swivels and is easier to maneuver than a standard vacuum cleaner.

It claims to use steam to kill bacteria (MRSA, Salmonella, Staph). The only information available in this regard is that it is not pressurized steam. None pressurized steam, created by boiling water reaches a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. An autoclave (machines used to sterilize surgical instrument) have to reach this temperature and maintain it for a good 30 minutes. How can a mop that heats up in a minute have that same power to sterilize and kill such bacteria? I call bullshit. But what do I know?

There is also another tiny draw back. It doesn’t pick  up dirt as well as a regular mop does. This means I have to go over the floors twice to get the dirt off.

I do have to say, although I have to go over the floors twice to rid them of grit, this handy dandy mop still manages to save me quite a bit of time cleaning the floors.

Ellie doesn’t poop and pee in the apartment anymore, but I still use the mop because it saves me time cleaning. And that’s the only reason I still have it.

Do you have the low down and how these things really work? Or do you also suspect hocus pocus?

Greenies Teenie 130 Count $24.69!

Just found this on Chewy.com

Greenies Teenie Size 5-15lbs 130 count $24.69. Buy two, get free shipping and if you sign up to their auto-ship (reschedule/pause/cancel at any time)  save an additional 15%.

I use these as an after teeth-brushing/grooming treat every night. With two dogs, I go through a 96 count  (.20/treat) package in less than a month and half. With this deal I paid .16/treat. It adds up folks.

Guaranteed Analysis Greenie

Pet Expenses for 2013

It’s a new year and it’s always, somewhat, fun to look back and see the past year in numbers. It was sobering to see a picture of 2013 in terms of dog expenses. I can’t say that it was a complete surprise since, I’m the one  constantly pulling out my credit card at the cash register, but it helps me understand what happened and how to save money this year.

I spent a total of  $1,857.43 on dog goods and services. It looks something like this:

2013 Pet Cost Pie Chart

Pet Expenses 2013

I divided the costs into the following categories:

  • Medical/Wellbeing: Veterinarian costs,  Rx Medications, Flea Medication Treatments
  • Food: Kibble, Food Toppers, Training Treats, Treats
  • Hygiene: Haircuts  (PetSmart), Shampoo/Conditioner, Toothpaste/Toothbrushes, Grooming Tools
  • Supplies: Poop bags, Collars/Leashes, Pet Tracking, Toys, Water Bottle, Bowls, Car Cover

A little under half of the money spent went towards medical care of one sort or another. Ellie and Argos both got very sick at some point in 2013. Ellie got spayed and had a couple of ear infections and a mysterious rash  on her bum. Argos had a bout of diarrhea that lasted quite a while. Lab tests and prescription medications  ensued for both. The only expense I could have avoided if I had understood the issue at once, were the ear infections. An expensive learning curve.

Ellie and Argos are both shelter dogs with dubious beginnings, if I had to guess, puppy mill products of sorts.  I am not ignorant to the idea that health issues may arise in the future due to this very fact. These types of cost can happen to anyone and at any time. So for those of you considering dog adoption, keep these numbers in mind. There are many dogs in desperate need of adoption, but adopting a dog is still a huge responsibility financially and emotionally. Dropping off a dog at a shelter because of an inability to pay for their medical bills is a sad thing to see because unlike what people believe, shelters don’t keep drop offs for too long. Sometimes not even a week. Loving dogs that would otherwise be healthy but for a few pricey antibiotics don’t live to see another day. If adopting, be realistic. These costs happen.

“When you brought this dog into your home you signed an unwritten contract to feed it, care for it, and, yes, to provide medical care as needed.”

-Dr. George Coleman (played by Justin Kirk) Animal Practice 

Below is a map of WHEN the most expenses happened and it is no surprise that July came up the winner with 31%. Ellie had been adopted a few weeks earlier and so general checkups, first round of vaccinations, spaying, and  ear infection #1 took place shortly after that. Add to that new roommate accommodations: new dog bed, leash, collar, harness and a blanket we dropped off the day before bringing her home from the Humane Society so her litter mates could sleep on it. We thought it might help her sleep through the first night at home. Needless to say, the jig was up quickly and all the blanket did was stink to high heaven.

Monthly spending percentages.

Monthly spending percentages.

I also had to switch flea treatment medications. We went from Frontline Plus to prescription only Revolution. When Ellie got a rash on her bum, the Veterinarian wanted to eliminate flea bite irritation and convinced me to switch to something better. He claims Frontline Plus no longer works as it should and has lost its effectiveness. Apparently, it is not normal to see fleas on dogs while on scheduled and continued flea treatments. I went from spending 34.99 for a 3-month supply of Frontline Plus to spending $54.99 for 3-month supply of Revolution, times 2.

I am determined to cut this bill in half in 2014.  However, they will continue to receive the regular and necessary medical care and good quality food, for is  this not the best way to avoid health problems? I sure hope so!

So I’ll have to get creative in cutting costs. For example, treats are nice, but at some point I had 4 different treat bags going at the same time. I think this year I’ll stick to training treats and a treat after teeth brushing. Treats are just that, treats. I once saw a woman claim that her little Shih Tzu was a ‘delicate’ eater, meaning the dog ate very, very little. Then she showed about 10 different treats the dog gets to eat during the day. For a small dog such as a Shih Tzu, 10 different dog treats in various amounts, is a lot of food and she was still offered a full bowl of dog food. No wonder the dog was a ‘delicate’ eater, she was full! I’ll take a huge slice of chocolate cake over a properly balanced meal any day of the week (if I possessed absolutely no guilt/shame and fat just melted away with the heat of exercise thoughts).

Maybe I’ll even try making my own dog treats…maybe.money dog

I also plan on looking into dog insurance, see if it might be worth anything to put both dogs on a plan of some sort. Expect a article on this very subject.

Like I mentioned in earlier posts, I began grooming the dogs myself back in November and I plan on continuing with that through out this year. That’s gonna be a good chunk of moolah saved! As I continue on this home grooming quest I hope I actually get better at giving them haircuts. They continue to look frumpy even after I’m done with them.

My goal is to see whether it is possible to spend $1,000 or less on two dogs, whilst providing them with excellent food and preventative care. I’ll post a monthly expense report to see how I do in my attempts to save money.

How do you keep costs down? Let me know I would love to hear!

Argos Rolls Around

I took this video last year in the Spring, Argos took a whiff of the grass and rolled around in it. I don’t know what that was about or what it is he smelled but he seemed pretty happy, so I let him loose.

FREE Nutro Natural Choice 15 lb Bag Dog Food

Hi Y’all! I hope everyones holidays were merry and cozy!

Just found this nice little deal for anyone interested.

Offer good until 2/2/2014

Buy a 15 lb bag of Nutro Natural Choice Dog food for $34~ and use a mail-in rebate and receive up to $39.99 back. That means you can get yourself 15 lbs of free dog food!

Nutro Natural Choice Mail-In Rebate

Ellie is running low on puppy kibble so I’m about to make a quick trip to PetSmart.

WW: Cozy Small Spaces

Hola Wordless Wednesday!

Does your dog try to crawl into the smallest of spaces? So do mine.

Argos got in cubbie, so Chris put Ellie in a cubbie too, while moving furniture around.

Argos got in cubbie, so Chris put Ellie in a cubbie too, while moving furniture around.

 

New coffee table/nap spot.

New coffee table/nap spot.

 

Or is it Argos's nap spot?

Or is it Argos’s nap spot?

 

Under the table seems cozier.

Under the table seems cozier.

 

Yep, it'll do.

Yep, it’ll do.

Inspecting Chris's workmanship from inside the dresser.

Inspecting Chris’s workmanship from inside the dresser.

 

Argos made a nest of shoes at 3:30 AM one day.

Argos made a nest of shoes at 3:30 AM one day.

 

Brushing Dog’s Teeth

I had no clue that dogs required regular teeth brushing. I know dog owners who admit they’ve never brushed their dog’s teeth. When adopting dogs and people speak of grooming them, I seldom hear teeth-brushing come up. Regardless, it is important. According to ASPCA “Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs over five years of age suffer from periodontal disease” and that’s not a fact to take lightly. Periodontal disease and Gingivitis can lead to more serious gum infections that can spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver or kidneys.

dog-brushing-teeth

In your annual doggy checkup, make sure your Veterinarian examines your dog’s teeth. This would be a good time for the Veterinarian to catch any issues with the dog’s gums or teeth.The very first thing I did after I adopted Argos was to take him in for a general checkup with my local Veterinarian. She knew that I was inexperienced and the first thing she spoke to me in great length about was dog teeth, dog gums and how to care for both. Argos was only 4 months old at the time and she advised that I begin introducing him to this routine by gently caressing his teeth and gums with my fingers when he was relaxed, snuggling or being petted. Same thing went for his paws, butt, tail and ears. Point is, get your dog used to you touching him/her anywhere.

That has been the most useful advice I’ve been given. Soon after that visit I ordered Argos a toothbrush and some poultry flavored doggy toothpaste and began cleaning his teeth 5-6 times a week. As much as I tried, there was always a night or two when the job didn’t get done. Ellie is 8 months old today and although she lets me touch her teeth and gums, she doesn’t like the toothbrush as much. She likes the flavor of the toothpaste enough to be interested in the brushing process for about a minute. To help me with the task I decided to implement a treat after each session. Ellie and Argos both get extremely excited whenever they see a toothbrush in my hand, even if its not theirs. The process takes me no more than 3 minutes per dog and is usually followed by a quick brush of their coats and wiping away any crustiness around the eyes or mouth. After we are done, they sit and patiently wait for me to open the treat jar and hand out a Greenie to each of them. I figured, why not make it a hygiene themed treat?

How To Brush Dog’s Teeth:

  • Have supplies at the ready: dog toothbrush and toothpaste, poultry flavored works well. I use Virbac’s CET Poultry Toothpaste. Whatever you do, don’t buy mint flavored paste, the dog will hate you for it.
  • Treats, small ones you can feed constantly and will be consumed quickly so as not to interrupt or distract the process. Zuke’s Mini Naturals Dog Treats work well for me.
  • Find a comfortable, quiet place for you and the dog. You attempting anything while the dog is distracted is going to be a waste of your energy. If you have other dogs or children, find a place in the house where you can close the door behind you. Other dogs and children can be distracting sometimes.
  • Start by touching your dogs muzzle, treat and repeat. Then lift the lips, treat and repeat. Increase the time you keep your hand on the muzzle or the touching and lifting their lips and treat.  If this is the only thing you get done the first time but you manage to increase the time you hold their mouths, congratulations, you’ve done great.
  • Rub some toothpaste on the toothbrush and let your dog inspect it. Let him/her lick the toothpaste off. Get them interested in this delicious bristly stick.
  • Rub some toothpaste on the toothbrush, gently lift their lips (I start on the right) and brush in long soft strokes horizontal to the gums. Repeat on the left side. If you find yourself struggling with the dog or holding them down to hard, leave it alone. This is the kind of uncomfortable stuff that is going to make toothbrushing a nightmare both for you and the dog. Try again another night.
  • You were only able to get a stroke or two on each side? Congratulations! The next night, don’t treat until you get at least one more brush stroke on each side.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Not on the same night though. Whatever your success level was, give the dog a nice treat to end each session. Keep this up and the dog will know exactly what to expect and will be excited every time he/she sees you hold a toothbrush.

brushing-yorkie-teeth-horiz

 

Professional Teeth Cleaning

A Veterinarian’s office told me that teeth cleaning runs about $300 and the fee includes lab work. I imagine that if you are in serious need of this procedure for your pup, you can shop around with local Veterinarian offices. I’ve also read that non-Anesthesia teeth cleaning can be very stressful to a dog and it’s not always the best of options. Whatever you do, inform yourself and make sure you are doing the right thing for your dog. Or you can make it easy on yourself and brush every night and save yourself the trouble. Both you and your dog will be the better for it.

Dog Teeth Cleaning Products & Treats

Do these things really work? I’m talking about products such as Greenies Total Oral Health Solutions,  Tropiclean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover “fight periodontal disease without brushing”, drinking water additives, and chews. I feed my dog’s Greenie’s because once upon a time when Argos was a picky eater, he enjoyed eating a sample we got in the mail. I don’t feed it to them for all the oral health promises they tout. I got a 2 fl. oz Tropiclean in a Barkbox last year and I’ve used it once. Tropiclean is minty and Argos has never given me such a murderous look as he did when I tried putting this stuff in his mouth a second time. So I didn’t. I also feed them Dentley’s Rawhide Chew Chips not because they claim that the rawhide “helps reduce tartar” but because these chews keep them busy for hours and they keep Ellie out of the bathroom trash. As for water additives, these just don’t make any sense to me. Would I put Listerine in my drinking water to help me with my oral hygiene? No way. If my mouth stinks even after I have thoroughly brushed my teeth, then something else is wrong. From what I understand, water additives help with malodorous dog breath. Some people claim to keep their dog’s teeth clean but are unable to get the bad breath out. I’ve never dealt with anything like this but I imagine that if my dog had such bad breath even after having a consistent brushing regimen, I would visit the Vet to make sure there isn’t a tooth rotting somewhere or infected gums.

All in all, it seems that spending 3 minutes a night brushing your dog’s teeth will save you money no matter what. For those of you out there trying to save a buck or two on your dog expenditures, look no further. Companies that create products which claim to be an all-in-one solutions to dog oral hygiene are after those who don’t realize how easy and simple brushing can a dog’s teeth can be.

What do you prefer doing? Do you have experience with professional dog teeth cleaning services? Are you a loyal fan of dog hygienic products? Tell me why!