Budgeting for Pet Care
BUDGET YOUR PET-SPEND
4 KEY AREAS TO MAXIMISE THE FUR-DOLLAR
Twisted Whiskers clients, regardless of their income, have one thing in common: pets are considered members of the family and their owners are prepared to spend whatever they can afford to ensure that their beloved fur-babies are happy and healthy.
There’s no doubt about it, the current economic situation is putting everyone under pressure. Many of us are having to put a lot of thought into where every penny goes. And as much as we’d love to spoil our pets with goodies every day, pet-care spend isn’t exempt from the spotlight. We’ve put together some ideas to help you use your pet-care budget most effectively.
Pet-care budget tip #1 – Nutrition
Next to veterinary care, nutrition is probably the most important investment you’ll make in your dog or cat’s health and well-being. While food is not the area to skimp on, there are a couple of excellent, cost effective products that have emerged in the South African pet-food market recently, that may help reduce feeding costs significantly, without compromising on good nutrition.
If you’re sold on grain-free, antioxidant-packed, high-protein diets, but are finding some of the overseas imports a bit of a strain on the budget, why not consider Field + Forest? We have introduced many customers to this proudly South African product since its launch earlier this year and have received only good feedback. Dogs literally go wild for the taste and, at roughly half the cost of its overseas competitor, pet-parents are smiling again.
Twisted Whiskers never stocks a new dietary range without doing a thorough analysis of its nutritional value, ingredient sources, packaging materials, cost-effectiveness, manufacturer reputation, etc. Our veterinarian and our pet nutrition aficionado go through the information with a fine-toothed comb and crunch all the numbers before we’re happy to put our recommendation behind what our furry clients consume, and Field + Forest has come up trumps! It’s of outstanding quality, backed by a money-back guarantee, contains South African novel protein sources and is a nutritionally sound, value-for-money range that you can have absolute peace of mind feeding.
Another local food that is gaining popularity is the reformulated Ultradog range. Available only in the veterinary channel, Ultradog has recently undergone a formulation upgrade, positioning it favourably against other locally produced veterinary diets, often with a price advantage. Ultradog Superwoof is a tasty premium diet with increased protein and fat levels. The Ultradog Special Diet range includes the maize-free Ultradog Premium Recipe and the therapeutic diets Ultradog Hypoallergenic, Ultradog Weight Control and Ultradog Joint Health.
If you’ve been considering changing from a premium diet to a grocery brand, worrying that none of the diets available from your vet are within your price range, think again! Twisted Whiskers staff will happily do a cost per day calculation for you to show that Ultradog Optiwoof can be more affordable than leading grocery brands! And your dog will be getting the benefit of veterinary nutrition research, guaranteed ingredient quality and fixed recipes that are not subject to changes based on whatever ingredients happen to be cheapest or more easily available on a given day.
If you’re a Eukanuba, Iams, Hills or Royal Canin customer, you can rest assured that you’re feeding one of the leading, most innovative brands that delivers everything it promises, with a money-back guarantee. You’re paying for cutting-edge science, the best nutraceuticals, novel ingredients proven to promote health and longevity, and you’re getting them!
Pet-care budget tip #2 – Pet Insurance
Veterinary costs are potentially our biggest spend when it comes to ensuring our pets’ medical needs are met. Anyone who has had a fur-child with an unforeseen illness or accident will tell you that, while every cent spent was worth it, the outlay set them back financially. Others may tell you that they wished they’d had the means to do absolutely anything to help their beloved friend, instead of having to put him to sleep.
Fortunately, the above scenarios are avoidable. It may seem counter-intuitive that we suggest an additional monthly spend in the form of pet insurance premiums when times are tough, but this is an investment that you will be most thankful for if your pet needs pricey or chronic treatment.There are many new pet insurance companies to choose from, and they offer pet parents different options, from simple medical savings accounts, to full comprehensive medical aid that
contributes to the costs of routine necessities like vaccinations, parasite control and sterilization and even holistic and behaviour therapy. We consistently hear positive feedback about MediPet, both from within the veterinary profession and from clients. The independent website www.insurepet.co.za answers FAQs about the ins and outs of pet insurance and gives a helpful breakdown of some of the other products currently available and their respective monthly costs.
Pet-care budget tip #3 – Skin and Coat Care
If you have a short-haired dog or cat, chances are you can happily manage those pesky shedding issues by brushing regularly at home, without needing the services of a grooming parlour. But, if your pet has a long, thick coat or is sensitive about washing or brushing, grooming costs will need to be factored into the monthly budget.
Grooming is by no means purely aesthetic. Long-haired animals whose coats are allowed to get into a matted state suffer severe discomfort as a result. The matting eventually forms a hairy straitjacket, limiting movement and ripping the healthy hair out by the roots. Parasites and garden debris often get stuck between the mats and the skin, causing itching and sores. Worst of all, a matted, smelly animal gets few cuddles and, even if these are forthcoming, he can’t enjoy the sensation of pats or tickles on his skin.
Removing extensive matting is a big job for groomers and is consequently an expensive exercise. A convenient way to avoid this unnecessary expense is to keep your pet’s coat in good condition year-round by booking regular grooming appointments and committing to the necessary home-maintenance in between. Twisted Whiskers offers a handy repeat booking system that ensures that your fur-baby has his own set appointment and guarantees that you won’t be disappointed to find you can’t get a booking close to the time. The regular schedule will also prevent your pet’s coat from getting into a nasty mess. We all know how stressful life can be and how time can get away from us, despite our best intentions. And if you’re not able to bring Fluffy in yourself, she can catch a ride in the Twisted Whiskers Spa Limo – fully air-con’d and compartmented for the comfort and safety of all our furry passengers.
We offer great discount packages for pets, so be sure to ask our staff for more info.
Pet-care budgeting tip #4 – Parasite Control
A potentially costly mistake many pet-parents make is skimping on parasite control. Whether your dog or cat spends most of his time indoors or on your property, or out and about socialising with other animals on a regular basis, managing ticks, fleas and worms is something that cannot be compromised on. It may be tempting to relax tick and flea control in winter, or to use it intermittently throughout the year, if at all.
Parasites put your pet at very real risk for contracting potentially fatal illnesses. While worms and fleas are generally more uncomfortable than life-threatening (except in severe cases), it’s ticks that we need to concern ourselves with. That said, a flea infestation in the home can be both difficult and expensive to eradicate. And no-one wants their pets passing worms on to the rest of the family either. Pets should be dewormed every 3 months, unless they have regular contact with other animals (eg. puppy school, shows, or the dog park), in which case, it should be done more frequently.
Use Milbemax (the only dewormer that covers all types of worms as well as the dreaded spirocerca lupi), together with an additional tick and flea remedy.
Ticks spread diseases like biliary and Erlichia in dogs and Haemobartonella in cats, which can be fatal. They can also carry the parasite for human tick bite fever. Any tick might carry these diseases, so the only effective way to safeguard your pet is to be fastidious about a parasite prevention programme.
There are a variety of tick and flea prevention products available to suit your pet’s lifestyle and your budget, but these are our top recommendations.
Brand new on the market for cats is Broadline, a monthly odour-free, sting-free, alcohol-free top-spot preparation, which gives broad-spectrum protection against all types of worms, as well as ticks and fleas, in an easy-to-use applicator.
Seresto collar – ideal for dogs who swim or are bathed regularly, as the active ingredient is impregnated into the special polymer material of the collar and can’t wash off. This collar (available for cats as well) is fully effective for 8 months and, provided you have the budget for the intial outlay, is the most cost-effective option, when compared to other products.
Bravecto oral tablet – is a product that works systemically and conveniently offers protection for 3 months per single dose. It is presented in a tasty chew tablet which most dogs chomp down without protest.
Nexgard oral tablet – this works in the same way as Bravecto does but has the advantage of being available in monthly doses, which may be helpful if you don’t have the cash available for 3 months’ worth of tick and flea control in one go.
Of course, the most important budget planning needs to happen BEFORE you bring a pet into the home. Caring properly for animals costs money and they have every right to receive good care from us. Before being swept along by emotion looking at a beautiful puppy or kitten, or a wizened senior who tugs at the heart-strings, do the sums and consider carefully whether your household budget can comfortably cover all the associated costs. A fur-child is for a life-time, not just for the holidays.
We won’t be in an economic slump forever but, for now, with some careful budgeting on our part, our animals can enjoy “the lifestyle to which they are accustomed”. Happy Holidays and a very ‘Merry Twistmas’ from all of us to you and your furry loved ones!
© Written By Twisted Whiskers