More Bark For Your Buck
ISSUE 5                                                                                                                          MAY 2010
Dear Anu,
A reasonable amount of fleas is good for a dog;
it keeps him from brooding over being a dog.
Edward Westcott
Mr. Westcott's pronouncement is one of the dopier things I've read about dogs. His quote's here because there aren't many about fleas to choose from. Go figure.
Unlike at Casa Westcott, in our house one flea or tick is one too many.
Here's how I save money keeping my puppy dog bug free. Try some or all of these ideas and you can, too.
Look your dog over every day.
I brush Pukak daily. This costs me zip, zero, zilch. Grooming her not only keeps her looking good, it ensures that I notice any critters lurking in her coat.
Use the least amount of pesticide effective.
Pukak's weight fluctuates between 20 and 22 pounds so I buy flea and tick preventative formulated for dogs up to 20 pounds. I don't use the next higher application made for dogs weighing as much as 55 pounds because that's double the dosage proven successful for my dog.
Buying these smaller doses saves me money right up front and I'm applying less pesticide to my dog.
That said, whether or not you should try a lesser amount on your own dogs depends on how much they weigh over the (next lowest dosage) maximum. It's important you ask your vet for guidance with this decision.
Give as few doses as possible.
In her terrific book "Scared Poopless - Rethinking Canine Health and Safety", author Jan Rasmusen quotes veterinarian Dr. Don Hamilton. He says monthly heartworm meds are "Effective if given at six-week intervals, and possibly even at seven, and eight-week intervals."
Ms. Rasmusen then cautions "If you opt for this 'less is more' treatment, mark dosing dates on your calendar and don't miss them."
I myself have not tried Dr. Hamilton's extended dosing schedule for Pukak's heartworm prevention - yet. When I'm ready to try Dr. H's idea, before doing so, I will consult with my trusted veterinarian.
Six-week vs. four-week flea/tick application savings are significant. 
However, I did adopt Dr. Hamiliton's suggestion for Pukak's flea and tick program. Since January this year so far, so good. 
Because I'm applying flea and tick topical to Pukak every six weeks instead of four, my 12 (previously monthly) treatments now protect my dog for a year and a half.
That's 50% more for the same money, in essence, six additional months of pest protection for free!
Extended dosing for heartworm meds will save money too.
Ditto for these meds also traditionally given at four week intervals. 
Compare prices.
I price shop Pukak's meds both at her vet's office and online - every time I reorder, and for every medication she needs.
Buy as much as you can afford to.
I also buy a year's worth of treatments at a time, both flea/tick and heartworm because the cost savings are much greater buying in volume. 
Note: Before you open the packages, check their expiration dates. Make sure your meds expire after the last dose on your dog's schedule.
Cost comparison, ordering, and scheduling are much more convenient just once a year as well.
Even though fleas and other parasites are small, left unchecked, they can cause big problems for your dog. Follow my money saving tips here and your costs for foiling fleas will be almost as small as they are.  


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