Low Cost Vaccinations

Are you having trouble affording your vet bills? Petco offers low-cost vaccinations at certain times of the month. All services are conducted by a licensed veterinarian.  I took my dog, Zoe, to the petco in New Orleans for her annual vaccinations.  It was so much easier than I had anticipated!  We went into Petco, filled out a form, stood in line, and when it was her turn, they put her on a table, gave her the shots, and viola! a fully vaccinated dog for a FRACTION of what it costs to go to the vet.  They also sell discounted heartworm and flea prevention.

You can take part in this low-cost vaccination program at the Petco in: New Orleans, Houma, Monroe, Metairie, Shreveport South, Kenner, Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Lake Charles, and Lafayette.  Please visit the website for scheduled dates and times or email:  drajhall@lowcostvaccination.com or call: 1-800-978-3910 for more information.

Vaccinations available for cats, dogs, and ferrets.

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Home-made litter scoop

Check out this neat little idea!

A litter scoop made out an old soda bottle!  I am in the process of making one for myself (I am using a large Simply Orange bottle)!  The reason I am making one is because I had to bring in one of my feral cats.  He is in a back room, so as not to infect my house cat if he is sick.  I need to scoop his litter box but do not want to transfer worms to my house cat, if the feral has worms.  Didn’t feel like going to the store and spending money on a new scoop, so I looked around and found this little gem.  Enjoy!

Full instructions at MessyBeast.com

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The art of tick removal

Here’s an unpleasant task that almost every pet owner will have to do at some point: removing a tick from their beloved cat or dog (or any animal that goes outdoors and plays in trees, grass, and underbrush). I remember the first time my dog, Zoe, got a tick. My husband and I cornered her on her bed and came at her with a match and some tweezers. We had no idea what we were doing. Luckily, there is the internet, and I have now fully studied and mastered the art of tick removal. By the way, apparently, the match trick can actually cause quite a bit of harm, as it often causes the tick to regurgitate all that nasty stuff inside it, which is not a great thing since ticks can carry Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Fever, and many other illnesses.

From my studies in the art of tick removal at the prestigious Internet University, I have learned that it is best to remove the tick without trying to cause it any major discomfort. When a tick gets mad (ie: burned with the hot end of a match, smothered in petroleum jelly, etc.), it tends to release extra saliva and possibly even to vomit. Not too appealing to either me or my dogs.

So, there is no easy way to make that little sucker (no pun intended) let go of his own accord. He is on and he is not going anywhere without a fight. The most important thing is to remove the FULL tick. You do not want to leave his head or mandibles lodged in your pets flesh. And how does one go about this? There are several tools available to aid you in this crusade. We will discuss a few of them.

Tweezers. Good, old-fashioned tweezers. Everybody’s got them and they are occasionally easy to find. So grab a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick by his head, and pull up in one smooth and straight motion. Do not grasp him by the body, or you risk leaving the head/mandibles behind. Also, do not twist as you are pulling. Sounds simple enough, but to complicate matters, allow me to point out that tweezers can sometimes squeeze our little tick buddy, causing him to, you guessed it- vomit. Dang. I thought we were trying to avoid that.

Enter the Tick Twister and Ticked Off. These are two products made specifically for removing ticks.

Tick TwisterThe Original TICKED OFF

Both of these products are placed under the tick such that it can be removed without squeezing it. They also remove the tick without leaving the head or mandibles lodged inside your pet’s skin.

Watch this video about using the Tick Twister:

The tick twister comes in two sizes- one for small ticks and one for large ticks. Ticks, however, can be QUITE small, and many users have commented that it was difficult to get very small ticks caught between the tines. Thus, Ticked off can be a good option for smaller ticks.

Ticks can be very dangerous, so be sure to check your pets frequently. Be sure to check between your pet’s toes and in and on their ears. If you do find a tick, it is important to remove it immediately, using one of the safe methods described above. You may want to consider a tick prevention product, as well. Also, if your pet has lots of ticks, you might want to try a tick bath, as opposed to removing them all individually. Additionally, it is not a bad idea to keep the tick in a plastic bag so that if your dog begins showing any signs of illness, you can have the tick tested for Lyme disease or other diseases.

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DIY: Home-Made Sweet Potato Chews

These sweet potato chews are awesome! They’re EASY, healthy, you know exactly what’s in them, and your dogs will love them!

1) Clean a sweet potato
2) Cut it into 1/4″ slices
3) Lay the slices on a baking sheet
4) Dry them in the oven at 250 degrees for 3-3.5 hours.

Voila!

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DIY: Home-made pumpkin dog treats

These treats will keep you, your budget, and your dogs as happy as can be!

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies:

Ingredients:

1 cup of canned pure pumpkin,

3-4 tablespoons of peanut butter,

1 egg,

enough whole wheat flour until it is non-sticky

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients.  Roll out into a sheet and cut into your favorite shape, or just roll into individual balls.  Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

Easy as pie!  Healthy, delicious, and cheaper than store bought!  What more could you ask for?

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DIY: Pom Pom Dog Toy

Pom-Pom Ball Toy 6

My friend, Michelle, is essentially the Martha Stewart of Pets.  When I went to visit her for Christmas, I saw all of these adorable pet toys and she casually stated, “I made those.”  I was impressed.  Some of them even had squeekies in them!  She sent me the link to one of the toys she made, called the fleece pom pom ball.  See the instructions here.

One day, I will make one of these for my dogs and when I do, I will post my results on the blog. If any of you make a pom pom ball, please share your experience and pictures!  We would love to see them!

Michelle’s tips:

Once I wrap it around the cardboard, I tie it in several bundles though, not one like it says on the website, and then combine the bundles.  Otherwise, the fleece pieces fall out too easily.

Have a happy play day with your pooch!!

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Why Pets Are Important

As I sit on my couch with my incredibly loyal friend Bean beside me on his favorite furry purple pillow, I can’t help but think about what an important part of my life he is. Although he only weighs 6 pounds on a “fat” day, his presence is weighty. To be completely candid, he tends to pee when he gets too excited and he barks at the most inopportune times, yet I would rather spend time with him than many of the people I know, despite their ability to use the bathroom in a toilet.

Why are he and my handsome cat Milo so important? I could start answering that question by listing all the reasons I love them, but that doesn’t get to the root of the question. Those answers would merely be explaining their importance to me personally, but not really their importance as members of our society. Now before anyone gets too indignant at the thought of including pets as members of our society, lets look at the facts that support that statement.

Firstly, there are veterinarians’ offices in every neighborhood of our city. Obviously pets are an important part of our society if one is as likely to see an urgent care clinic as one is to see a veterinarian’s office in the same area. Our pets’ health and well-being are ever-present on our minds as we make note of that emergency vet clinic that advertises after-hours care. And to delve deeper into the topic of veterinary medicine, did you know that vet school is as competitive to get into as medical school? Vet school is no 2 year associates degree; vet students study for a full five years, and it is next to impossible to even be admitted in the first place without years of on-the-job experience as a vet tech. Knowing all this about veterinarians, it begins to get harder to argue that pets aren’t a part of our society, and an important part too.

Another valid argument in support of pets’ importance is the prevalence of pet specialty stores. Everyone knows about PetSmart and Pet Co., supermarkets of pet supplies where you can even bring your beloved animal shopping with you. One can find a pet superstore where ever there is a shopping center or mall. But that’s not all! Did you know that billions of dollars were spent in 2009 on pet food, pet care, and pet accessories? New Orleans has at least half a dozen pet boutiques and another half dozen pet “spas”, where you can send your furry baby to be groomed and perfumed, complete with a “paw”dicure. Stop in one of the chic pet boutiques, and you can pick up an outfit for your pet, maybe even one for every day of the week. Now I’ll admit that some of these venues may encourage people to go a little overboard in their adoration of their animals, but the fact remains that these stores have enough business to be profitable and they stand out as the most compelling evidence in the case for the importance of pets.

If you still aren’t convinced, let’s look at a particularly popular tradition in New Orleans, the Mardis Gras parade. Well, to be specific, the Barkus parade, which occurs every year in the French Quarter, and features dogs both costumed and in the buff parading the streets with their proud owners in tow. People are not only excited to be a part of the parade with their pet, the tourists and pet-less locals alike enjoy watching the furry spectacle as they pass by. My personal and somewhat philosophical opinion on the popularity of this parade is this: dogs radiate such unbridled happiness, especially in the presence of other dogs and people, that it is contagious. You just can’t watch two dogs meet each other for the first time, sniffing butts and then running in circles of excitement, without feeling the joy, especially if those two dogs are also wearing silly costumes.

My last argument for the importance of pets is their effect on our overall health. Allergies aside, pets have been found to have a positive impact on their owners’ health. Some studies have shown that the presence of a pet during stressful situations can be more soothing than the presence of close friends or family. Senior citizens have reported that in many cases spending time with a pet staves off loneliness better than spending time with peers. Hypertensive patients have been found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates when they owned pets. And finally, in perhaps the most concrete example of the health benefits of pets, dog ownership particularly can encourage exercise and social activities, which both contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

I could certainly go on and on about the integral role pets play in the lives on their owners, but I should probably try to cut it short. Besides, anyone who has ever loved a pet of their own has his or her own reasons for the importance of having furry friends. For those of you without pets, what are you waiting for? This is for your health!

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