Crystal Thanks for visiting! My name is Crystal and I proudly live in the heat, humidity, and hurricanes of Houston, TX with my husband and our foster dogs. Hope to see you in the comments soon!

Do You Buy Christmas Gifts for Your Pets?

We do not buy presents for Mr. Pug or Miss Doxie.  I figure they just don’t understand, so it seems silly.  My little ones do get a lot more veggie scraps to eat around the holidays since we cook more than usual, but that is about it. 

This year, there was a special on for some Kong stuffed toy frogs that I’ve been looking at for a while, so I did spend $12 to get 5 of them, but they are all squirreled away in the pantry for 2011 since my dogs go through 1 every month or two.

Do you buy gifts for your pets?  If so, what’s the motivation for you?  If not, any specific reasons why?

What Do You Spend on Treats?

My friends laugh that my dogs get fruit and veggies as treats, but it’s the only way to make sure that my allergy-ridden Pug doesn’t get something he shouldn’t have from Miss Doxie. 

Now, I know I’m lucky because my dogs will happily eat anything.  They like potato peals, the white parts of lettuce, and even spinach leaves.  Their favorite “treat” seems to be a three-way tie between frozen grean beans, watermelon, and bananas. 

Altogether, I probably spend around $2-$3 a month on extra fruits and veggies.

How much are you spending on treats for your animal friends?

How Healthy is Healthy Enough?

Mr. Pug is almost back to his old self.  At the beginning of the year, he was losing hair, had no energy, and was eating less.  The vet diagnosed him with major allergies that led to several infections, so we’ve been getting him better ever since.

He is now a vegetarian dog to bypass his major food allergies.  He also has 5 main medicines. 

1)  He takes a daily steroid to battle his lingering environmental allergies.
2)  He has daily eye drops to take care of his Pug dry eye. 
3)  We also have a topical spray with a lighter steroid in it to treat occasional hot spots like his paws. 
4)  He has his ears cleaned with a special solution twice a week to prevent ear infections
5)  His face folds are cleaned with a special soap two times a week so he won’t have any skin infections either.

I follow through on this convoluted system because Mr. Pug has gotten 99% better.  I have no idea if we need all the medicines or if just 1-2 would work, but it is nice to have my happy doggy back.

My question for you is:  How healthy is healthy enough?  Do you have a line you are unwilling to cross?

How Much Do You Spend on Pet Food?

I was running the numbers recently on our total expenses so far this year on our dogs.  We spend a lot on food!

Miss Doxie is pretty cheap.  Her 30-35 pound bags of food last about 3 months and cost $40.  I usually lean towards Nutro Max for Seniors but Petsmart stopped carrying the 30 pound bags consistently.  I had to expand to a couple of different options including Blue Buffalo.

Mr. Pug is much more expensive.  His 16 pound bags of vegetarian dog food from the vet cost $45 each and last 1.5-2 months max.  I can’t find a brand at Petsmart that avoids meat, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn.  Sheesh.  I could make his food but don’t see myself cooking up batches of sweet potato dog food every Sunday…

We are easily spending $400 a year on dog food and an additional $30 on treats like frozen green beans and bananas.

How much are you spending every year on pet food?  Is $430 pretty bad?

Pet Sitter Options

Have you ever needed somone to watch your little animal friends?  We have.  Here are all the options we have found to help.  I’m placing between $ for cheap and $$$$$ for expensive:

1.  Family or Friends – $

This is an awesome option if you have it.  I would suggest showing your appreciation by swapping sitting duties or picking up a little gift card or something.  Our family and friends are supportive in general, and our two dogs are very lucky to have them as temp families, lol.

2. Pet Sitter in Home – $$ – $$$

If you know an aquaintance that’s good with your pets or find someone trustworthy on Craigslist, having someone check on your pets twice a day in your own home could be a great arrangment.  We haven’t tried this method since I always hope our dogs can be somewhere with more daily interaction, but if we had fish, this would be the option for us.

3.  Pet Sitter Elsewhere – $$$ – $$$$$

I used to pet sit for people on Craigslist for $15-$20 a night.  We met the coolest Shar-Pei by doing this.  When we had our Black Lab, our housekeeper took care of her for $100 for the week instead of the $25-$35 a night the other places in the area quoted, and our Lab got a lot of attention.  It’s a great option if you can find a reasonabe price in a trustworthy home (if you live around Houston, give me a call).

4.  Kennel or Vet – $$$ – $$$$$

Depending on the facility, kennels or vets can be fantastic options or little tiny hell holes…research well if you go this route.  I have personally found 2 places in our area that I’d be willing to leave our dogs, but so many of our family and friends like dogs that we haven’t had to try them out yet.  That saves us $35-$50 a night for our two furry friends!

What have you done with your animal pals while you are away?

Pet Emergency Fund

My husband and I have separate ING accounts for most of our sub-goals:  Emergency Fund, Taxes and Insurance, Auto and Home Maintenance, Vacation, and Fun Money accounts for each of us.  Now I’m thinking of starting a special one just for our dogs. 

Up to this point, we just absorbed extra pet expenses into our monthly budget.  Even the big ones.  But Miss Doxie is getting to be 12 1/2 years old and Mr. Pug isn’t ever going to be med free again.  Doggy fund here we come, lol.

I’m thinking we’ll start by contributing $100 a month minus dog expenses.  For example, if Mr. Pug’s allergy pills cost $10 and we buy a $45 bag of food, then I’ll put the other $45 into the dog account at the end of the month.  Some months we actually have no expenses and sometimes they go over $100 (we’ll absord that for the first year), but at least this way the account will be building.  Maybe the huge expenses will hurt less if I know I have it in the bank…we’ll see.

Do you have a pet fund?  If so, how do you work it?

My Latest Big Vet Bill

Mr. Pug is an allergy-ridden dog.  These allergies have caused him to have skin infections, ear infections, and internal problems.  Prednisone, a popular steroid, and a few other medicines have helped him to recover to about 99%.  He still licks his paws, but at least he doesn’t look near death’s door anymore.

Well, after 3 months of being on steroids, our dermatologist wanted to run lab tests to see if they were badly affecting his liver or kidneys, so we had yet another visit about a week ago.  $277 later he has a clean bill of health in regards to steroids and two new topical meds for his paws and face. 

The only good news is that he is overall well again and does not have another appointment for 6 months.  Yay, 6 months!!!

Any big pet expenses you’d like to vent about today?  :-)

Vegetarian Dog Food is Expensive!

As I mentioned in my last post, Mr. Pug has major allergy problems.  This leads to a bunch of expensive stuff including vegetarian dog food.  The problem is that he isn’t just allergic to meat…he also has to avoid corn, dairy, soy, and wheat!  I only have two options:

1)  The 16 pound bags of the specialized vegetarian blend from his dermatologist for about $45 a bag – it lasts about 2 months.
2)  Make it myself.

I go with option 1 since option 2 would require me to make him a new batch every week, which just won’t happen.  I know it won’t because I am a lady that forgets to prepare my own meals, much less that of my pup.  Not to mention I have no idea how much making his food would cost since the list of ingredients looked really long, included a lot of vegetables (emphasis on sweet potatoes), and even would require a few vitamins thrown in…

So yes, this post is just to vent that I have a vegetarian dog that costs alot of money.

How about you?  Are your pets on any special food?