Five Tips for Frugal Pet Owners

For many pet owners and their pets, money is no object. But expenses like food, grooming, routine vet care, toys and kenneling can add up quickly, making it difficult for budget-conscious pet owners to afford their shaggy partners.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, the average annual cost of keeping a dog exceeds $1,200. For frugal pet owners who want to provide the best possible care to their furry friends while keeping costs low, here are five tips:

Tips For Easier Dog Bathing

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – American households keep 78.4 million dogs according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. And every one of those 78.4 million dogs, at some point…well…smells like a dog.

“Washing your dog doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience for you or your pet,” says Patty Mueller, pet care expert and founder of Rinse Ace brand pet products (www.rinseace.com). “Bathing your pet indoors is an easy, less-stressful alternative to a groomer -; or a backyard garden hose and bucket. All you need are a few inexpensive items and a little planning.”

How frequently you bathe your dog depends on its lifestyle and breed. Bathing too often can irritate the skin. A good guideline is to wash your dog only when its coat gets dirty or begins smelling “doggy.”

Here are some tips to make bath time easier and less stressful for pet and owner:

– Gather your supplies without your pet present to reduce pre-bath anxiety.

– Place a bath mat at the bottom of the sink or tub to prevent your pet from slipping and to protect the surface from nail scratches.

– Place a screened cover over the drain to catch pet hair.

– Brush or comb the entire coat before bathing to remove mats and tangles.

– Attach bathing tethers to your dog’s collar to secure them in the sink, tub or shower. This holds the dog in place and frees up both your hands.

– Use a shower hose with a sprayer that controls water flow, such as the Rinse Ace Pet Shower Deluxe. This will save water and keep you from “spooking” your pet. Hold it close to thoroughly soak the coat and skin. Usually, cupfuls of water can’t fully saturate a pet, especially its underbelly.

– Always use shampoo and conditioner made specifically for dogs. Never use products made for human use.

– Instead of applying shampoo directly to the dog, apply it to a shampoo mitt first for better distribution throughout the coat. Work it into a deep lather, and rinse with the shower hose until the water runs clear. Repeat process with conditioner. Make sure to rinse well, since any shampoo or conditioner residue can cause irritation.

– Let your pet shake off initial water, then squeeze out any excess water with your hands and finish by towel drying. Keep him or her indoors, away from drafts, until its coat is completely dry.

Holiday Travel: Tips for Pet Owners

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Whether traveling by car or plane this holiday season, pet owners need to consider all their options when it comes to deciding whether or not to travel with their pets.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Americans spend more than $38 billion a year on their pets – and the travel industry has taken notice. Hotels and kennels are rolling out the red carpet to four-legged clientele. Plush beds, gourmet biscuits, aromatherapy and massage therapy are becoming more common.

For pet owners considering a kennel, Dr. Jeff Werber, an Emmy award-winning animal health reporter and nationally respected veterinarian, suggests asking what veterinary services are available and whether the kennel requires pets to be current on their vaccinations. Also, make sure your pet is flea-free. Protection from a potential flea infestation can save your pet a lot of discomfort and you a lot of headaches.

“I recommend using a product monthly such as Advantage or K9 Advantix for dogs only, to control these pesky critters, especially before boarding your pet,” Werber says.

Winter doesn’t mean fleas go into hibernation. Temperate climates, or warm homes, allow fleas to continue producing eggs throughout winter. And don’t forget, there may be parasites at your vacation destination. These are just two reasons why year-round flea control is recommended by the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

For some, a trip is no fun without their four-legged companion. If traveling with your pet, don’t forget to pack vaccination records, food, bowl, leash, waste scoop, grooming supplies and medication, as well as a favorite toy to give your pet a sense of familiarity.

To familiarize yourself with pet travel requirements, Werber suggests asking the airline a few questions, such as:

* Can your small pet board with you?

* Do they have restrictions on transporting pets as cargo?

* Are there special health and immunization requirements?

Affix a label to your pet’s carrier with your permanent and final destination contact information. Do not feed your pet for four to six hours prior to travel. Put ice cubes in the carrier’s water tray – a full water bowl can spill and cause discomfort during the flight.

Visit www.petparents.com for more tips.

Pet Owners Embrace Natural Food Trend

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For many people, their pets are their best friends who deserve the best care possible. This includes feeding them a high-quality food to ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need to be healthy inside and out.

Last year, U.S. consumers spent nearly $15 billion on food for their pets, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. And as more people choose organic and natural foods for themselves, they are also choosing natural foods for their pets. Industry research shows that natural and organic pet food products are growing at 20 percent a year.

That growth promises to be even stronger with the arrival of natural pet foods on supermarket shelves. Previously, such foods were available only from pet specialty and natural food retailers.

Purina One Natural Blends, launched in March, is the first natural pet food with broad national distribution in grocery stores and mass merchandisers, as well as pet specialty retailers.

“The growth of natural products is making its way to the pet food aisle, as more and more responsible owners are making the same healthy food choices for their pets as they are for themselves,” said Warren Eckstein, an internationally known pet and animal expert and Purina One spokesman.

Purina One Natural Blends dog and cat food is made with high-quality, natural ingredients formulated to deliver a healthy difference in pets’ energy level, skin and coat, teeth, gums and digestion. The line features Chicken and Oat Meal and Lamb and Barley formulas for dogs and a Chicken and Oat Meal formula for cats. The ingredients are carefully selected for their nutrient content and steam-cooked at the start at an optimal time and temperature to help maintain vitamins, minerals and flavors, according to the manufacturer.

All include protein sources to help support strong muscles; whole grains for digestive health; and omega fatty acids from natural sources, including canola and soy oils for healthy skin and coat.

For more information, visit www.naturalblends.com.