Keeping Dogs Healthy Without Throwing Money Away

This is not a Veterinarian rant, yet some of the following might make them uncomfortable or make for an awkward moment if brought up in a group… well only the big time up-sellers really. It’s just that there is probably a few things out there that you’re likely spending more money on than you need to. With multiple dogs, I have kept them quite healthy and provided their preventative treatments in a very cost-effective way. Here’s a few examples of how I save a considerable chunk of change over the course of one year:

Heartworm preventative:
There’s several big-name heartworm preventatives out there, none of which are available over the counter. About the cheapest pricing I’ve seen for 6-months is $35, and that’s considerably lower than the average. So for me (right now currently w/ 4 dogs) : $70/year per dog, $70 x 4 dogs (for the sake of example) = $280 – and that doesn’t take into account possibly having to take and pay for the dogs’ for a vet office visit to get it prescribed.

The alternative- The active ingredient in heartworm preventatives (as well as treatment for early/non-severe heartworm) is Ivermectin. This is widely available online and in your local farm stores under a few different brands, the one I currently have now is Ivomec (NOT Ivomec Plus, Plus is too concentrated for our purposes). Giving a dog Ivermectin this way does require a little more than just buying, opening and administering. It requires some measuring and a food grade dilute. A little Ivermectin goes a looong way, and there’s no need to over-treat a dog as doing so could result in more harm done than good. (-That’s the “scary” point this treatment option’s critics raise. However, I’m working under the notion that most reading this have a working brain, understand basic written english, and have a 6th grade physical science class under their belt.) I will not be posting mixing instructions but you can find dosage listings online and in turn blame them for any lawsuit-happy folks reading this. You can look up as it’s easy to find and this process is not hard to do. You determine if it’s worth it:

1-250ml bottle of Ivomec: $40 + 3ml Syringe (to measure, not inject dog) $1 + 1qt of food-grade Propylene Glycol $15 (which you will have a little extra) + amber colored jar to store it in $5 (amber colored glass blocks sunlight to detour ingredient breakdown)$61

How many months of treatment for a #50 dog? 2000 months (or 166.5 years)! That’s $.03 per month, or $1.44 for four dogs a year. Now, this stuff does have a shelf life which is determined by the expiration date of the Ivermectin, in a cabinet (room temperature and relatively dark) it’s 5 years, meaning the $61 total 5 years $12.20 a year (as most of it will expire before it’s used) for all four dog.

Total saved this year for heartworm preventative: $267.80

Pain Killer:
As tough as your average, serious hunting dog is, they’re going to get injured as it’s just part game. The usual go to pain medication for most vets? – Rymadil. If you’re in for a limp, the usual appointment ends with a prescription of this and a few days rest to see if it’ll clear up… which it usually does but is more attributed resting it. (Pain meds mask symptoms not cure ailments.) You may ended up having a Lyme (snap) test recommended… try yo pass on it first. If your dog is dealing with arthritis (a whole other issue), that’s not a one-and-done treatment, stick with the vet on that and request the generic Rimadyl substitute, Novox. It’s the same thing and a lot cheaper. If your dog is tender the day or two after a hunt, half a buffered (-easier on their stomach) asprin twice a day will get them through. I give mine asprin up to the following three days… if needed that long. Rymadil averages $5 a pill, let’s say you get a week’s prescription (7 pills) and your vet visit is dirt cheap at $15, all that totals $50 an instance and let’s say the likely hood of that happening annually over the course of a dog’s life is %50, with four dogs; that’s $100 a year for me.

I all ready have buffered asprin in the medicine cabinet, but it has to cost something so we’ll say $5 a year.

Total saved this year for temporary pain meds: $95

Flea and Tick Preventative:
This is the big one. Like heartworm preventative, this is another area to save a lot of money. The two big brands out there run on average, $130 a year per dog. For my four that’s a total of $520. My cost-effective substitute? Dog-safe, insecticide impregnated cattle ear tags attached to the insides of their collars, specifically Y-Tex Python Ear Tags. These keep ticks, fleas, flies and mosquitos off for 3-5 months, I replace mine every three to be safe. Now if you read the active ingredient warnings on this box, you will be frightened. That cattle industry is far different than the warm-and-fuzzy family industry. The warning can probably be attributed to the fact that most cattle tags are for identification purposes and contain no insecticides. I’m guessing the warning  is to prevent hands from using their mouth to hold the treated ear tag while holding the tag gun in one hand and securing the head with the other hand. Coincidently, Spectra Shield pet tags have the same active ingredient as the Python tags and not nearly as “scary” of a warning. These things work great.

These are found in boxes of 20 and a box runs $30, or $1.50 per tag. Grand total for all four dogs all year? $24, and saves me $496 a year.

Grand total saved this year: $858.80

A week long cabin rental located in a premier upland wilderness? – $750
An out-of-state upland hunting license there? – $60
A hefty bag of beef jerky for the ride there? – $7.78
The cost of taking my own advice? – $.02

… That means I’m $40.82 ahead on this years trip. . . (presently at current market price per gallon) a third tank of gas.

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2 Responses to Keeping Dogs Healthy Without Throwing Money Away

  1. Nick L says:

    Fantastic article! And very insightful to a rookie such as myself. My guess is plenty more would find this helpful as well! Great example of how a lot of money is wasted on “convenience.” With a bit of research and some careful execution you just paid for a week in the woods! Nicely done my friend.

  2. Robert Tourigny says:

    Thank you for experimenting and sharing all this information.

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