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Discussion Starter #21
@voodoolamb - Great point RE: dehydrators. They're fantastic, I love mine.

You can slice just about any meat thin - I agree with others who suggested that it's easiest to cut when it's partially frozen - and then it's a bit of trial and error, but most things I've made take between 6-8 hours to dry.

The expense of buying a dehydrator can also be justified by how much produce you can preserve and avoid wasting. Bananas getting soft? Dry 'em for later. Too many tomatoes in August? Dry 'em for later. I have this model: http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-American-FD-80-Square-Shaped-Dehydrator/dp/B00179DCCQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1461777934&sr=8-2&keywords=nesco+american+harvest+square+dehydrator+and+jerky+maker+fd-80

I put the trays right in the dishwasher between batches, which is great when you go from a batch of lamb kidney chunks (urp) to a batch of dried cranberries for trailmix.
 

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Heartworm meds- you can save thousands (if you have multiple dogs like me) ordering sheep drench/ivermectin directly on line and dosing appropriately. Do your research, it's easy if you passed high school chemistry or even if you didn't.

I'm spending the summer in a heartworm area, and my vet would have charged about $50 a dog for heartworm testing (unnecessary since AK does not have heartworm, but protocol) plus I'd be spending roughly $40 a month on prescription pills ordered online, which adds up fast. This is a huge cost savings.
You can also easily overdose a dog on ivermectin. I've fostered a dog who was blinded (permanently) and neurologically damaged by an owner who overdosed the ivermectin. Most people don't realize it's measured in DROPS, not cc's for a dog. (A vet I know looked at some of the dosing recommended online and it was 1000 times the normal dose for HW prevention. Seriously.)

I would NEVER recommend an average person do the calculation or even trust the Internet to do the calculation, without a vet's guidance. The reason is because of the OD risk. Some vets will do the calculation for you -- farm vets routinely do this for their clients. The risk to the dog is irreversible, horrible damage -- if you screw it up, there's no fixing it!

If cost of HW meds is an issue, you can buy Iverheart pills from KV Supply for less than $5/month. (Iverheart is a generic analog for Heartguard.)

ETA: Administering ivermectin for livestock to a dog who may carry the MDR1 gene is also not safe. The commercial pills have extremely low doses of ivm so that they're supposed to be safe for MDR1 dogs. If you give a huge dose, you lose that margin of safety, and if you have not tested for the MDR1 gene, you could be in for a very sad surprise.
 

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Magwart, true but if you do your research it isn't an issue. Concentrations of 0.05% for example, vs. 0.1% make a huge difference. I did my research and I know enough chemistry so I'm not concerned about overdosing.

It is something to consider, for most people with just one dog, for sure. But I know sled dog people with 30 dogs aren't paying $5 a pill each month or overdosing.

Agree, about the bad information available online. I found one person recommending .1 cc per pound body weight of the 0.1% concentration. That is way more than you should be dosing.

But I also found reliable sources with the correct dosage per concentrate and ran the numbers myself just to be sure. I am comfortable going this route, but it may not be for everyone.
 

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Caution purchasing heartworm preventatives online. Yes you can find them much cheaper than at your vet. However, if your dog should get heartworm or other parasites (roundworm, hookworm, etc.) that your chosen treatment is supposed to protect against and you did not purchase the treatment from a veterinary practice the manufacturer will NOT cover treatment and followup testing under their guarantee if your dog becomes infected.

I actually just had this happen with hookworm. Never missed a dose. Because I wanted to save a few dollars I bought Heartgard Plus online. Sanofi would not cover the treatment or the repeat fecal because I did not by from my vet. End of the day it cost me more in the long run. Lesson learned.

Better to buy online than not at all. Just make the informed decision.
 

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My dog beds are thrift store and Garage Sale blankets, folded and piled up. Bonus is that they are completely washable.

Trade stuff among dog friends: my friend needed a smaller crate to fit her new car. I needed a larger crate to fit my new dog: we swapped crates and got exactly what we needed for free.
 

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As others have mentioned, inexpensive toys can be made. I took several small cardboard boxes. put a treat under one of them, and let Newlie find it.

Sometimes, people will offer to lend you things. Newlie has had free run of the house for some time, but when I told a friend that he would have to be contained after surgery, she and her boyfriend lent me an (extremely) large crate for him to use. To buy the same thing, I am guessing, would have run maybe four, five hundred dollars.
 

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eBay and craigslist- I have seen agility equipment on Craigslist for a fair price kennel crates etc. so many homemade recipe treats. My dogs love the sweet potatoe chews - which are thinly sliced and slowly cooked in the oven until dehydrated. If your crafty lots ideas on Internet -My daughter uses strips of fleece to braid max's tug toy. She makes dog tags and training treat bags for me also.
 

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Costco has $20 beds, with covers that be taken off and washed in washing machine, they are big beds too,super comfy and they look nice. they also have toys that common bulk if you don't want to offline.
This thread is awesome, love all the ideas!
 

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I bought a used airline crate and saved $350. Magic erasers with methylated spirits removed ALL the permanent marker writing and sticky label residue, with no damage to the crate.
 

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Re vet costs:

Develop a relationship with a great vet who offers good value (i.e., reasonable prices on diagnostics, not pressuring staff to "up-sell" elective services, getting good outcomes with lowest-cost interventions instead of always recommending highest-cost interventions, etc.). By develop a relationship, I mean this: don't "vet hop" constantly, or chase coupon deals on annual exams, or only show up when your dog is very sick, etc. Don't berate the staff over the cost of the bill. Don't let your dog try to bite them. Become a client they all know and like. Take your dog there frequently just to say hi to the reception staff and get a dog-treat from them (and sometimes take a plate of people cookies for the staff, just to thank them for putting up with your frequent visits).

Some vets have "good client" discounts (mine gives 10%), for people who've got multiple dogs, and are "regulars" who've been with them for years. They sometimes also do valuable "extras" for such clients, like stay past closing time on a Friday night, so that you don't have to take a sick dog to the emergency vet that costs twice as much, or even giving you their personal email or cell phone number so that you can call them over the weekend when you've got a sick dog--things you have absolutely no right to expect or even ask for, but that save you a lot of money and stress. Mine even did a house call for me at the end of my senior dog's life, and sent his vet tech to my house to help me (I live close), and he didn't charge anything extra for that level of service, even though they don't normally do house calls at all.

How do you find those kind of wonderful vets? Ask the staff at your city shelter or better yet, ask your local breed rescue. Chances are they know which vets they wouldn't send any animal to even for free (due to a history of incompetence, missed diagnoses, botched surgeries, or harsh handling), which vets are "best of the best" for hard-to-treat cases (high cost, but worth paying extra for when a life is on the line or no one else can figure out what's wrong with the dog), and which vets are trustworthy low cost/high value leaders (and worth having a long-term relationship with for general-practice vetting). If you find out which vets they use for their personal dogs, you'll probably uncover some hidden gems in your community who don't advertise much but are much beloved by clients because of reasonable prices, wonderful staff, and really great care.
 

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My dog beds are thrift store and Garage Sale blankets, folded and piled up. Bonus is that they are completely washable.
We started out using old towels; rather than donating them as planned, we repurposed them for dog bedding. I'd pad her crate with four or five of them (they were still thick and fluffy). Later we did buy her an orthopedic crate pad, but the towels were already owned, not in use for humans, and were a good starting point. I'd use them again when traveling without thinking twice.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
If you combine some of these ideas, you can really start to compound your savings....


- Use a promo code and/or discounted Auto-Ship option, AND -
- Do this during a month when your credit card's cashback category includes online purchases (Discover will be 5% cash back on Amazon purchases from October - December 2016, which I'm planning to use to my advantage). Of course, you must pay it off monthly to stay ahead, but I'll happily take another 5% "discount" on top of other potential savings.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Whoops, too late to edit, but -

I'd second the recommendation to form a relationship with a vet. I have two vets, one for dogs and cats, and a separate large animal vet. I've been very honest with both. They're willing to discuss importance, priorities, options. My large animal vet taught me how to do a number of things for myself (knowing full well that I would no longer need to pay him for these services). He has made honest recommendations for what I should pay him to do, and what I can buy at Tractor Supply and save a few bucks.


It took a few hits & misses to find the right doctors, but I value them very much. I also pay my bills immediately and thank them for their time, every time.
 

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Another tip about vets: if you live in the city, consider driving an hour or two out towards the boonies. Often time the prices of rural vets are half of their city counter parts.

Good for multi dog homes especially if you have everyone on the same schedule for check ups and vaccines.
 

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As for training, after I took a few classes at our training facility ($110 per class), they put us on their friends and family plan. Now we pay $60 for six weeks of group-classes, one class per week. We don't go out to movies or go to expensive restaurants so I think it's fairly affordable. Maybe other trainers offer similar incentives, or even payment plans...
 

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When I change the pillows on my bed, which is only when they become hopelessly flat, they go to the dog's crate. They are small enough that our dogs move them around depending on if they want to lay on them or not. And of course, pillow cases can be inexpensive and easy to wash.
 

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Grooming & bathing a dog yourself is a huge money saver. Clean the ears, keep 'em brushed, the occasional bath, clip their nails, and all that good stuff.

Unless your dog is going into show soon, just do it yourself. If the dog is simply a pet, no excuses to not do this stuff yourself. When I'm at dog parks I'm flabbergasted at how much I hear people end up paying. If your dog isn't fond of the bath tub, there is another option (though not free like your own bath tub). At least where I am, it is becoming more and more common to see car wash places having a separate doggy station that you can wash your dog yourself. I've heard some pretty much have a full blown set up similar to that the dog grooming places have. Most run about $5-10 per dog. Which is still waaaayyy cheaper than what a dog groomer costs.
 
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