May 19, 2008 Spring has sprung and now we are sinking in mud.

May 19, 2008

Spring has sprung and now we are sinking in mud.

Well I guess we can’t have everything now can we? I know it’s disheartening to have your dog all spruced up, only to let him out to go potty and he comes back in covered in mud knee deep. Remember, this too shall pass. Soon it will be the dog days of summer and we’ll all be complaining about the heat.
What I’m about to say, you should already be aware of, but it bears repeating just in case. Though there is no flea season really, because fleas may not be outside your house in the winter, but trust me, if you aren’t protecting your pet, they are living on the inside. You should be very diligent about using your flea and tick protection every month. Ask your vet or groomer for their recommendations of products. There are new products coming out all the time, some are better than others are, and some seem to work more effectively on some pets than others. For example, Frontline Plus works great on my poodle, but has little effect on my cat. My cat seems to do fine with Advantage however. Why? I have no idea. I’m going to chalk it up to body chemistry. Just like people, some drugs work better on us than others. Some drugs have side effects on some pets, while other pets do just fine on them. The main thing you should do is find the best products for your pet, and if you have a houseful of pets as I do, you may need different products for different animals.
Lyme disease is a concern in our area. Ticks carry Lyme disease. I know several of my clients have gone through treating their dogs for Lyme disease. There are vaccines you should ask your vet about if you feel your pet may be at risk. Face it, it’s mushroom season and ticks are abundant!
Heartworm is another medicine you should give year round. It’s much easier to remember to do it if you plan to give it monthly. Years ago, I had a Dalmatian that I stopped his heartworm medicine in October or November, and by April, he tested positive for heartworm and it cost several hundred dollars to treat it, only to have him pass away the next summer, due to the strain on his heart from the heat. An ounce of prevention could have stopped his premature death.
Fleas carry tapeworms and you should have your vet perform a fecal test on your pet annually to make sure you don’t have hidden parasites eating away at your pet. Your pet can get hookworm and whipworm just by walking on the grass, the eggs are in manure that may have broken down, but later on, your dog may lick his feet and ingest the eggs. Then your pet ends up with worms, and has relatively few signs until the infestation is very bad.
Dogs are like children, you have to take care of them with regular checkups from your vet. Elderly pets are even more susceptible to problems. The thing I hate to see most is an elderly pet that is neglected because she’s old and hard to deal with or they don’t want to put her through anything. These pets often need more care than the younger pets. They have a hard time grooming themselves, and maybe they’ve gotten touchy or grouchy when you attempt to brush them. Letting them go isn’t helping the situation. Many elderly pets have arthritis, but there are medications you can give your pet for pain. Dogs are stoic about pain. They often don’t show their discomfort or make it obvious because in the animal world, pain equals weakness and weakness makes you vulnerable to attack.
Since it’s springtime, and the weather hopefully will soon be sunny and warm instead of just rainy, now is a fine time to make use of those resolutions you made in January and get out and walk the dog! Both of you need the exercise, so get out of the recliner and get walking! It’s time to work off that winter weight and get back into shape. Then your doctor and your pet’s doctor can stop nagging you about that weight gain. Think of the gasoline you’ll save by walking instead of driving. Nobody is happy with the gas prices, so it’s time to stop whining about it, (easier said than done, I do my share of whining) and make your short trips into walking ones with your best 4-legged friend. Thank goodness, pets don’t complain as we do! Somebody has to be upbeat and happy! Let’s take a cue from our pets and just enjoy the sunshine and the company. It’s time to live simply; wouldn’t it be nice to live as carefree as your pet?

May 5, 2008 Time's Are Changing for All of Us

May 5, 2008

Time’s Are Changing for All of Us

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with the gas prices and even though I work at home and don’t have to commute to work, I still can’t afford to buy gas! Buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle may save me on gasoline, but I’d lose whatever savings on a car payment and extra insurance and plates. This crisis has us all in a lose/lose situation. I want all my clients to know… I FEEL YOUR PAIN!
Luckily, I’m just a groomer that works from home. I’m wondering how the mobile groomers are making it with the $4.00 + per gallon gasoline prices or diesel, even worse!
Sadly, because of our economy, this means prices on EVERYTHING have to go up, which of course, affects how we all maintain our standard of living. I didn’t want to be another nail in the coffin, but I had to raise my prices to keep up. It had been 4 years since I had a price increase and as expected, some of my clients aren’t taking the news well.
I did come up with a few options though to help those who in the financial crunch so the pets they love won’t suffer too much. Stretching out the length between appointments can help those on a monthly or 6 week schedule. Moving them to every 8 weeks instead, I am happy to do.
For those with larger dogs that can’t or don’t want to get them done at home, I am now offering self-service, which is great because they can get their dog done for less than half the normal price, but they provide the labor. I provide everything else. Go ahead, clog my drain, and make a big mess! I’ll clean it up. This isn’t an option for dogs in need of haircuts, but for dogs that need a bath and brush out, this is a great deal! Using a self-serve option means your dog, and the aroma in your home won’t have to suffer because of the extra burden on your budget.
Finding a groomer closer to where you live is also an option. I know several groomers and I will be happy to refer you to one closer to you. My feelings won’t be hurt. I completely understand!
My parents were in their 60’s when they adopted me. They had raised their four children during the depression. I have heard all the stories of living on beans and rice and trying to find work just so they could eat. All of those stories seemed so unreal to me until recently. Now that I’m a parent, I can see the great depression coming at us again. Our economy affects everybody and every business. People were struggling before gasoline went so high, now they are losing their homes, unable to afford their medications and I’m waiting on the soup line to start forming soon.
I know that people who dearly love their pets will struggle and continue to provide for them, but I also know others who will be dumping their pets off in the country. Animal shelters are turning away owner surrenders due to lack of space, and wanting people to face their own responsibility. I can certainly see the point, but I also know that there are so many people out there that are barely getting by, it will soon get to the point of being unable to provide food and shelter for themselves, let alone their pets. The future to me looks scary for those animals and people.
I wonder if my future grandchildren will look upon the stories I tell them of our “great recession” as just stories, with no real idea of what I could be complaining about. I would imagine that by the time I have grandkids, and can pass along my wisdom and stories of the depressing economical era that I raised kids in; gasoline would be WAY more than $4.00 per gallon. They will probably wonder why I ever complained at all.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we are all in the same boat together. (Even though right now, that boat seems to be the Titanic) no matter who you are or how much money you make, this economy is hitting us all hard.
I’m hoping soon things will turn around for the better and we can get back on our feet again. Until then, try to keep your chin up and do the best you can. I’m here for a shoulder if you need one, and I’ll try to keep from gasping and muttering expletives at the gas pump. Just remember that no matter what happens in your life, or how rich or poor you are, your dog loves you regardless. Give your pooch a hug! After all, petting your dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure. Maybe we should pack our pets in the car when we fill up the car next time so we don’t have a stroke at the pump.