Author Topic: Mustachian Pets  (Read 18801 times)

Britan

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Mustachian Pets
« on: June 15, 2015, 04:06:58 PM »
Major life goal for me has been to get a dog and a cat. Until recently, I haven't been in a situation where I can do that (uncertainty around moving). Now that that is pinned down, I want to make sure I'm prepared financially for pets. Now I know stuff can get expensive (vets, shots, spaying, etc.) but I have some friends who manage to spend *a lot* of money on their dogs/cats, and I know I don't have to be like that. So I wanted to put it out there and see what mustachian pet costs look like. Some thoughts I've had so far:

1) Adopting from a shelter is cheaper than buying from a breeder.
2) Take it easy on expensive toys. All the animals I've met mostly just want your time.
3) Train them! It will save you money on buying a new couch when they don't tear it up, and on vet bills when they don't run into traffic.

Questions:
1) Training - This would be my first puppy in my adult life, and I could certainly use some help training it, but lessons can be expensive. Anyone have tips/a good resource on dog training that doesn't cost $60 an hour? Websites? Books?
2) Food - seems to be a trade off here. People I know who feed their animals junk seem to (for some *straaange* reason) have higher vet bills. But better food = more expensive food, doesn't it? What do you find to be the most cost effective food to feed your cats/dogs?
3) Vet, shots, etc. - another tradeoff. Obviously you don't want to skimp on necessary care. But how do you find a vet that doesn't charge an arm and a leg, but is also reputable? How much should routine services cost?

Are there any other money pits that it's easy to fall into as a new pet owner? Ways to get pet items for a lower cost? What kind of expenses can one expect to run into in the first month of having a puppy/kitten? 6 months? Year?

Kris

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 04:29:41 PM »
Some thoughts:

Re: training, it would be much cheaper to get an adult dog that is already trained.  Many, many wonderful adult dogs languish in shelters because so many people want cute little puppies. 

Re food: more expensive isn't necessarily better.  Do some research on this to find cheaper food that is rated well. Costco, for example, has a dry dog food that is very highly rated (blue package, don't remember the name).

abiteveryday

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 04:35:15 PM »
One cat surgery later (as of this morning), because I'm a sucker that gets attached and can't really accept euthanizing when it's fixable, the is no such thing as a mustachian pet.   

Cassie

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 04:44:54 PM »
Don't get a pet unless you are willing to spend $ on it.

Britan

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 04:59:47 PM »
One cat surgery later (as of this morning), because I'm a sucker that gets attached and can't really accept euthanizing when it's fixable, the is no such thing as a mustachian pet.
Oh no! I hope your cat is well again soon! ):

It's true, there's no such thing as a cheap pet. But just like children, I'm hoping to optimize (e.g.: not spending thousands each year on chew toys). :)

knudsoka

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 05:10:37 PM »
Hey there! Funny timing... I was thinking just the other day about how much I've spent total on 8+ years of dog ownership ... probably in the neighborhood of $2500, I would say, including initial acquisition of $450. For 8 years of learning and fun, I consider that well worth it. Others would consider that outrageous, and that's fine. Of course, this rumination came after the spending of $250 to deal with the repercussions of a severely ripped dew claw, so there you go... :)

A few thoughts:

The size and/or breed will make a BIG difference in how much money you spend. I have a Corgi, which has been perfect for me -- small enough to fit easily in studio apartments when that's where I was living, doesn't eat too much food, travels easily, etc. But big enough to go hiking, not be too delicate, etc. I've been pretty lucky with very minimal vet bills (so far! knock wood). Researching breeds and their various potential health problems is a great idea. Corgis, for example, are notorious for having bad backs later in life. I've been careful to keep my guy a healthy weight and active so he has strong muscles and bones because of that, we'll see how it works out when he reaches senior citizen status.

YES to the training -- not only will it make their quality of life so much better, because they will be welcome more places and calmer when they are out and about, but it will make your life a LOT easier in the long run. I got my dog as a puppy, and I would really emphasize to not overlook the amount of time and energy this will take for the first year + of life -- a LOT of time and energy. But, then you're reaping the rewards for the rest of the dog's life. I did a mix of books and classes. Classes are great for socialization for the dog and for hands-on instruction for YOU, if you're new to pet ownership like I was. An experienced trainer can give you a great model for how to effectively handle dogs that no book ever could. But, I don't think you have to do a lot of classes, and they weren't horribly expensive -- again, investment.

No matter what age dog you get, get this book: My Smart Puppy by Sarah Wilson. Silly name, I know, but it has the BEST hands-on training exercises that make real-world sense and make a real-world difference in your relationship with your dog (any age, not just puppies). I have read many, many dog training books, and this was the hands down winner.

Vet costs vary a lot by where you're located. I got my dog in Wyoming, where vet services are dirt cheap, due to the pets-are-more-like-livestock, not family members, general prevailing attitude there. In Seattle, where I live now, vets are expensive, but some are outrageous and some are more reasonable. Do your research, cost compare, etc.

I get a mid-range dog food from the pet food store, but I'm not overly concerned with keeping costs as low as possible there because he doesn't eat that much. (We go through a 15-lb bag every... two months ish, at $30/bag.) I have heard great things about Costco's pet food, too. Totally agree with the other poster that more expensive doesn't equal better.

A couple of toys are nice to have around, and certainly if your dog is entertained by chewing (mine isn't a chewer), a high quality chew toy is a lot cheaper than replacing floors, couches, etc! But for us, at this point in his life, the dog really needs a tennis ball or two, his food-dispensing toy (LOVE this genre of toy), a leash, a collar, flea preventive in the summer, a crate, a pad for the crate... that's about it. I got him a bed once, but he's on the hardwood floors or the couch 98% of the time. Just realize that most pet purchases are actually for the owner! That's always a good reminder whenever I'm tempted at the pet store: does he need this? will he care? No. Do YOU need this? No. Okay. Put [insert name of cute toy here] down, and walk away...

If you get a puppy, I would recommend having dew claws removed (see above).

Good luck! And good for you for thinking about all of this in advance. Dogs are fun, and they don't have to be expensive.

Britan

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 05:13:45 PM »
1) Training - This would be my first puppy in my adult life, and I could certainly use some help training it, but lessons can be expensive. Anyone have tips/a good resource on dog training that doesn't cost $60 an hour? Websites? Books?

I would also recommend adopting an adult dog.  However, I would spend a bit more money on training the dog.  Look for your animal rescue programs for recommendations.  Group training classes are awesome.  I recommend *really* focusing on training.  A well-trained dogs pays off for years to come.

I would also work on socialization with people and other dogs.  Dog parks are great if you're paying attention to your dog.

2) Food - seems to be a trade off here. People I know who feed their animals junk seem to (for some *straaange* reason) have higher vet bills. But better food = more expensive food, doesn't it? What do you find to be the most cost effective food to feed your cats/dogs?
We've been feeding our dog Taste of the Wild, and we've been very happy with it.  In order to keep the cost low, we buy it online when there is a sale partnered with a discount code.  Usually we have to purchase at least two bags to get the discount, but I don't mind storing an extra bag or two. 

3) Vet, shots, etc. - another tradeoff. Obviously you don't want to skimp on necessary care. But how do you find a vet that doesn't charge an arm and a leg, but is also reputable? How much should routine services cost?
Our vet is known for being pricey.  However, they're amazing.  They offer low cost vaccine clinics on Saturdays, which is about half of the price of the vaccine at any other time.  I would focus on getting a good vet instead of a cheap vet.  Cheap fixes could lead to long term problems. 

Additional advice:
Dog toys are ridiculously expensive.  We load up on toys when PetSmart has $0.25 toy clearance.  We spent about $5 last year and still have toys in storage.
Exercising your dog.  Plan on walking your dog a lot.  A tired dog doesn't destroy your stuff.  \

Please feel free to ignore my advice.  I treat my dog like a member of the family, and I know other people treat their dogs as pets.
I'll have to keep your recommendation for food somewhere safe for the future :)

It's good to know that training is a worthwhile investment. That seems to match with what I've seen from folks who have done training vs. those that haven't done training. TBH, the part we'd pay for is mostly to train us Humans so we can continue the training at home as well. I never understood those boot-camps where you just drop your dog for someone else to train for a few weeks...More costly than a couple group sessions, no bonding time with the dog, and I'd imagine not as effective since you aren't as skilled at keeping the rules when they get home.

The vet too. Again, it's like... having kids. They don't have to cost as much as what most people spend on them, but the medical care really just seems to be a place to not cut corners.

I am ok with the idea of an adult dog, but I think my SO is looking more for a puppy. When we start looking specifically, I'll keep adult dogs in the running, though. When you've got an actual cute adult dog with an actual cute picture and cute name and cute personality it's harder to say no. :)

PetSmart toy clearance is another thing I'll have to keep an eye out for! I had no idea they did that. Sometimes I get stuff for my friends' dogs, so maybe that will start paying off even before I get one. :)

Britan

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2015, 05:29:45 PM »
Hey there! Funny timing... I was thinking just the other day about how much I've spent total on 8+ years of dog ownership ... probably in the neighborhood of $2500, I would say, including initial acquisition of $450. For 8 years of learning and fun, I consider that well worth it. Others would consider that outrageous, and that's fine. Of course, this rumination came after the spending of $250 to deal with the repercussions of a severely ripped dew claw, so there you go... :)
Brilliant! I'll need to save this whole post for reference later.

Quote
A few thoughts:

The size and/or breed will make a BIG difference in how much money you spend. I have a Corgi, which has been perfect for me -- small enough to fit easily in studio apartments when that's where I was living, doesn't eat too much food, travels easily, etc. But big enough to go hiking, not be too delicate, etc. I've been pretty lucky with very minimal vet bills (so far! knock wood). Researching breeds and their various potential health problems is a great idea. Corgis, for example, are notorious for having bad backs later in life. I've been careful to keep my guy a healthy weight and active so he has strong muscles and bones because of that, we'll see how it works out when he reaches senior citizen status.
I was once enamored with German Shepherd Dogs. I have since given that up. Not only would one eat me out of house and home, but it's nigh impossible to rent with one. Out of necessity, we'll be staying under 45 lbs so that will help a lot on the cost front, I'm sure. I do love Corgis as well, but I suspect the final choice will be dictated by what we find at the shelter. Buying a dog from a breeder feels icky to me - both for the cost and just for the ethics of it when there are so many good dogs in shelters.

Quote
YES to the training -- not only will it make their quality of life so much better, because they will be welcome more places and calmer when they are out and about, but it will make your life a LOT easier in the long run. I got my dog as a puppy, and I would really emphasize to not overlook the amount of time and energy this will take for the first year + of life -- a LOT of time and energy. But, then you're reaping the rewards for the rest of the dog's life. I did a mix of books and classes. Classes are great for socialization for the dog and for hands-on instruction for YOU, if you're new to pet ownership like I was. An experienced trainer can give you a great model for how to effectively handle dogs that no book ever could. But, I don't think you have to do a lot of classes, and they weren't horribly expensive -- again, investment.
Good to know! I'm thinking a handful of group lessons with a *lot* of follow up work done by us at home. Plus many visits with my friends' dogs for bonus free socialization!

Putting that book on my amazon wishlist now, too.

Quote
Just realize that most pet purchases are actually for the owner! That's always a good reminder whenever I'm tempted at the pet store: does he need this? will he care? No. Do YOU need this? No. Okay. Put [insert name of cute toy here] down, and walk away...
I will have to print this quotation out and keep it in my wallet. ;)

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2015, 05:37:12 PM »
As a slightly off-topic anecdote to this, and speaking as a non-dog owner who really likes dogs but doesn't know any better, it seems there's a trend where people with small dogs tend to not really train them that well, and then go on to excuse any bad behavior simply because of the fact that they are small, innocent, and "harmless" - at least, I recall someone mentioning they notice this too.

But I've seen this play out in real-life more often than not:
- My cousin's poodle/terrier mix is tiny but has the "Napoleon" complex where he goes crazy when there's a bigger dog around. I experienced this crazy-aggressiveness at our condo while we were dogsitting a slightly larger dog (but not by much) and had this dog over during a visit. He ran around to every room and marked on the carpet. He also had to always be up higher than the dog we were dogsitting at almost all times. For instance, we found him always standing on a chair staring down and barking at her and if he wasn't he was running around acting all aggressive towards her. My cousins just wrote it off and excused it saying "Oh that's just how he is...sorry he doesn't do well with big dogs" and kind of just laughed it off. Can't you train dogs not to behave this way with other dogs? I guess that's part of the 'socialization' ? I don't know...
- And just last night, our friend's maltese nipped at my finger as I was trying to pet her while we were standing around socializing outside by their car. The owners "corrected" her by just putting her back in the car.

Ah, just found some info: http://www.dogsbestlife.com/home-page/dont-let-your-small-dog-exhibit-the-napoleon-complex/
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 05:46:09 PM by jplee3 »

aneel

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2015, 06:39:33 PM »
My husband is very good at saying "is this absolutely necessary / required" every time the vet makes a suggestion.  For example: when we come in for our annual, they ask us to bring a stool sample to test for worms, but our dog doesn't have any issues with weight or digestion, so we skip it and save ourselves $25.  Just be very open and say you'd like to save money.

Wilson Hall

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2015, 06:50:26 PM »
Yes, adopting is the way to go. We've gotten three wonderful dogs for $0-100.

Pet food: as other posters have said, it doesn't have to be high-end. Our grocery chain often has buy-one-get-one-free for the brand we buy. Stocking up on 10 bags at a time is a no-brainer.

As far as training is concerned, do you or your SO have a flexible work schedule? If you can take a few days off work when you bring your pet home to begin socializing him/her immediately, that will be a great start. The adult dog we rescued had been neglected by her previous owners and had separation anxiety. It took a long time to get her housebroken and calmed down enough that she didn't follow us from room to room whenever we were home. Training the puppies we adopted was easier because we got them so young.

We found our vet through a friend's recommendation. Good luck!

Cpa Cat

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2015, 07:13:34 PM »
My cats have lots of toys.

Mostly they prefer to play with garbage. Top of their list: empty wrapping paper rolls; cardboard boxes; tabs you pull off packaging envelopes. They have also been known to enjoy: random shadows; a spot on the wall; their own fur when combed.

The only thing that's been worth the money is that we bought some fairly inexpensive cat trees (which you can buy or build). They're perfect for increasing vertical territory, channeling their climbing energy and giving them a place to escape the floor. I highly recommend this if you have a cat and a dog.

Vertical sissal scratching posts have been instrumental to saving our furniture (you can train cats not to scratch furniture, as long as you give them alternatives).

southern granny

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2015, 09:18:51 PM »
Puppies are a LOT of work but they are adorable.  An adult dog that is at least 2 years old is much calmer and easier to train.  But if you want that puppy experience, I would very much recommend a crate.  The $50 or so that you spend on the crate might save you hundreds in damage from chewing.  Chewing is not being a bad puppy, it is something they have to do.  They will chew cables, cords, rugs, couches, table legs, shoes, purses, etc etc.  Of course you only want to crate when necessary.  We used the crate until our dog was about 2.  He will be 12 next month and he is the perfect dog.  As others have said, please consider a shelter pet.  There are some wonderful puppies and dogs in shelters.

amberfocus

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2015, 09:19:12 PM »
I can't speak for dogs, but start-up costs were quite reasonable for our kitten when we adopted him from a municipal shelter a few years ago. There's a low-cost mobile clinic in our area that offers spay/neuter for $80, which is obscenely cheap.

http://everyanimalmatters.org/supplies-services/

Ask around to see if something similar is available in your area. They were booked three months in advance and you have to drop your cat off at a sketchy van in a Walmart parking lot, but they got the job done at a fraction of the cost of a brick-and-mortar vet, and they throw in an exam and booster shots to boot.

For routine vaccinations as well as basic diagnostics (fecal and blood tests for parasites and FIV/FeLV), we use VetCo (formerly LuvMyPet) to save on the exam fee at the vet.

http://www.vetcoclinics.com/services-and-clinics/vaccination-packages-and-prices/

We wound up having to go to a normal vet to treat the parasite (coccidia) that our kitten tested positive for, so you won't always be able to get out of a vet bill if something is wrong, but I think it's a decent compromise between providing care and cost control.

Also - cat trees on Amazon are way, WAY cheaper than cat trees at the pet store, if you want to get one.

letired

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2015, 09:48:05 PM »
It isn't for everyone, but I've been really happy fostering cats and kittens for my local no-kill shelter. I buy all the food and litter (and sometimes enzyme cleaner and toys), and the shelter does all the medical care at no cost to me.

Upside: kittens! Also, I find it really rewarding to teach kittens good manners, give pregnant cats a safe place to have kittens, help a sick kitty who just needs a little time get better. It can also be a great way to 'test drive' a pet to see how well you get along, with no hard feelings if it doesn't work out.

Downside: you have to give them back eventually. It is always a little hard. But I trust my shelter's adoption screening. Also, all programs will let you adopt your foster if you fall too much in love.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 12:52:29 AM »
Lessons learned six years into owning my first dog:

1. Training is everything. And it's not just the sit, stay, down stuff either. It's about letting your dog know exactly what is expected of him in each and every situation. My dog, for example, has been trained to ignore other dogs while he is on leash so that walking him isn't a nightmare. We used Dog a Training for Dummies and took a series of four classes from PetSmart (puppy, intermediate, advanced) that were surprisingly good. I think they were $120 for each 6-week class, so a total of 18 weeks of training. Well worth it, and the group setting is great for getting your dog to listen to you when there are distractions. We also did agility for about a year, but stopped when it got too competitive. It would have been pretty expensive to train to competition levels.

2. Vet bills. If you get a puppy from a breeder that needs to be spayed/neutered and have its shot series, it's going to be VERY spendy. Turns out my purebred had lots of unidentifiable health issues. Tremors, skin irritations, etc etc. We've probably spent $10k on vets, including several specialists and in the end he's just sort of broken and we deal with it. Google, Google, Google if it's not a broken bone or a seizure or something. We treat his skin with a product we found online that the dermatologist had never heard of. Monitor a condition for a while so that you have good info to go to the vet win because half of diagnosis is behavior and frequency.

3. Food. I'd recommend just going with something grain free from the start. My dog has grain and chicken allergies, and he eats Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet. Currently he's on Kangaroo and Potato because he hates sweet potato and the rabbit gives him gas. Seriously, he's a mess.

4. Toys. It seems like all dogs are either fetchers or tuggers. Buy one of each kind (NOT the rope kinds, as the dogs can tear them apart, ingest the strings, and get a blockage) and see what your dog likes best. My dog has about 30 toys and probably needs 3. Squeaky tennis balls for outside, this weird hollow hex ball for inside, and his chuck it frisbee for swimming.

5. Crate train! My dog went from a crate to an exercise pen to free reign of the house by the time he was about a year old. He just got more privileges as he became more reliable. Still loves his crate for travel or if he's feeling mopey.

Hope that's helpful! We got out dog well before we knew anything at all about money, let alone Mustachianism, but I don't regret having him at all, though I'd probably have approached his early years differently. Despite his issues, he is the most amazing companion you could ask for. We just get each other. I hope your experience is as positive!

Lyssa

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2015, 03:01:28 AM »
Pets don't care if toys are ceap of expensive. My cat is happy with a few balls, a fur mouse and a box to hide in.

Re food: search for high meat content, grain free and then pick the cheapest. A good value for money brand is animonda carny, not sure if it's a available in the US. I use cooked chicken as an occasional treat. This is cheaper than high end 80g tins with 'chicken filet' cat food...

Re vet: look for one who doesn't run a battery of tests for every sick animal but one who chooses the most specific diagnostic i strument for the desease he thinks it is. This is both mustachian and avoids unnessecary stress for your pet. Also pick one who's honest enough to tell you when there is no hope. I had to get my second kitten euthanized because of FIP. While it was incredibly sad, it was not expensive because my vet ran the necessary lab work, avoided sonogramms and x-rays which would have been undesisive anyway and told me straight after reviewing the results: we could medicate but that would only buy a few days and you would risk neurological symptoms starting in the middle of the night or on Sunday.

I don't regret buying from a registered breeder because he helped me make the decision (took a day of work for it!) and immediately offered my money back or a new cat. I thought that was pretty generous since it was no hereditary condition but an all but unavoidable virus that just happens to fatally mutate in about 5% of affected cats.

A treatable but expensive to treat illness is something that can't be ruled out and something to think a out before getting pets...

starbuck

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2015, 06:22:10 AM »
Puppies are a LOT of work but they are adorable.  An adult dog that is at least 2 years old is much calmer and easier to train. 

Oh god, yes yes yes. Even if I was already retired and had all the time in the world, I still would not get a puppy. It's like working with the worst toddler on the planet, for months. And I work with lots of dogs every single week. I love it when OTHER people have a puppy, but our next family dog will be at least 2 years old, probably closer to 4 or 5. I also have a soft spot for senior dogs (and cats!) over 10 years old and plan on fostering senior animals down the road once we're empty nesters. Living in a shelter environment is especially hard on senior pets.

Any dog you get, even an older dog, will need some training. Either to fill in the gaps of what it knows, or to train it new skills that you'd like it to have. (Fully trained, super obedient dogs don't normally show up at animal rescues.)

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2015, 07:05:52 AM »
Lots of good advice, and here is my bit (back to say, oops, it got long, this pushed a hot button for me):

Cats - males get urinary tract blockages, because the urethra has a narrow spot, and if they have stones it gets blocked.  Been there, paid for that.  Female cats don't have this health issue.
Dogs - temperament!  Is the dog nice?  Good with people? People includes children, elderly, people of different ethnic backgrounds (not just skin colour, different diets give people different smells, and we know dogs are very attentive to smells). Good with other dogs? Cats?
     - temperament again! - how active is the dog?  How much exercise does it need?
     - Coat - does it shed a lot?  how much grooming will you need to do?  Short thin coat in a winter climate, are you OK with putting a coat on it?
     - temperament again! - how dominant or submissive is the animal?  and how good are you with that temperament?  For a newbie, go towards the submissive end, but not too much, because then you may get submissive peeing if you are not careful.
     - temperament again! - and train - not only does it encourage good behaviour from your dog, it trains you.  And if you and your dog enjoy each other's company, there are activities you can do - agility, fly-ball, frisbee, etc.

$$$ - for an adult I would want a complete physical, with X-rays - how are the hips? How are the eyes? For a puppy - what are the parents like?  Also - floppy ears can lead to ear infections, flat faces = breathing problems, other body shapes can lead to problems - a "doggy" looking dog is most likely to have fewer health issues. If there is a vet school or vet tech school in your area, see if they have clinics - the students are well supervised and costs are lower (not free, they still have costs to cover).  They may also have animals up for adoption, and those are healthy and well socialized, because they have been practiced on by the students.  That is where I got my second and third cats, and both were wonderful.

If you want a dog of a particular breed, remember that one at the shelter that looks like that breed may well be a mix - for example, there are a lot of lab crosses out there that look like Labs.  Fortunately the ones that look like Labs usually behave like Labs. But if it is a cross, you don't know adult size for puppies, I have seen Lab crosses that were a good 30 pounds heavier than a real Lab.  Oh, and the fancy crosses - it boggles my mind that people pay huge amounts for things like labradoodles - nice dogs, but mixes, no guarantees that they will be healthier than the parent breeds.

One comment re breeders - breeders (not puppy mills) care about the breed.  They want healthy puppies with good temperaments, some of which will grow up to be parents of the next generation.  They will have all the puppy vet issues looked after, so you get a healthy vaccinated socialized puppy from healthy good temperament parents.  I am on my third pure-bred of the same breed, and my on-going costs are for basic maintenance, my weird costs have been minimal.  More $ up front, but no horrible surprises.  Just make clear you want a "pet puppy", not a show quality puppy - you get the same wonderful puppy, just not the one so perfect that it can be a parent.  And breeders will take back their puppies, so if you want a pure bred that is a bit older, ask around, someone may have a older animal they want to find a good home for.

Lyssa

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2015, 09:06:03 AM »
Lots of good advice, and here is my bit (back to say, oops, it got long, this pushed a hot button for me):

Cats - males get urinary tract blockages, because the urethra has a narrow spot, and if they have stones it gets blocked.  Been there, paid for that.  Female cats don't have this health issue.
Dogs - temperament!  Is the dog nice?  Good with people? People includes children, elderly, people of different ethnic backgrounds (not just skin colour, different diets give people different smells, and we know dogs are very attentive to smells). Good with other dogs? Cats?
     - temperament again! - how active is the dog?  How much exercise does it need?
     - Coat - does it shed a lot?  how much grooming will you need to do?  Short thin coat in a winter climate, are you OK with putting a coat on it?
     - temperament again! - how dominant or submissive is the animal?  and how good are you with that temperament?  For a newbie, go towards the submissive end, but not too much, because then you may get submissive peeing if you are not careful.
     - temperament again! - and train - not only does it encourage good behaviour from your dog, it trains you.  And if you and your dog enjoy each other's company, there are activities you can do - agility, fly-ball, frisbee, etc.

$$$ - for an adult I would want a complete physical, with X-rays - how are the hips? How are the eyes? For a puppy - what are the parents like?  Also - floppy ears can lead to ear infections, flat faces = breathing problems, other body shapes can lead to problems - a "doggy" looking dog is most likely to have fewer health issues. If there is a vet school or vet tech school in your area, see if they have clinics - the students are well supervised and costs are lower (not free, they still have costs to cover).  They may also have animals up for adoption, and those are healthy and well socialized, because they have been practiced on by the students.  That is where I got my second and third cats, and both were wonderful.

If you want a dog of a particular breed, remember that one at the shelter that looks like that breed may well be a mix - for example, there are a lot of lab crosses out there that look like Labs.  Fortunately the ones that look like Labs usually behave like Labs. But if it is a cross, you don't know adult size for puppies, I have seen Lab crosses that were a good 30 pounds heavier than a real Lab.  Oh, and the fancy crosses - it boggles my mind that people pay huge amounts for things like labradoodles - nice dogs, but mixes, no guarantees that they will be healthier than the parent breeds.

One comment re breeders - breeders (not puppy mills) care about the breed.  They want healthy puppies with good temperaments, some of which will grow up to be parents of the next generation.  They will have all the puppy vet issues looked after, so you get a healthy vaccinated socialized puppy from healthy good temperament parents.  I am on my third pure-bred of the same breed, and my on-going costs are for basic maintenance, my weird costs have been minimal.  More $ up front, but no horrible surprises.  Just make clear you want a "pet puppy", not a show quality puppy - you get the same wonderful puppy, just not the one so perfect that it can be a parent.  And breeders will take back their puppies, so if you want a pure bred that is a bit older, ask around, someone may have a older animal they want to find a good home for.

Breeders who care about improving the breed also have 'retired' adults, a few years of age available on a regular basis and for very sensible prices. But be prepared to go through a vetting process yourself, they care a lot about finding a good home for them. In fact: if you choose a pedigree pet search for a breeder with strict adoption criteria since those take it most seriously and are not in it for a quick buck.

Groovin Old Hippie

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2015, 01:57:58 PM »
For training:  Zak George!!  He is the best positive reinforcement trainer on the internet, imo.  He has lots of videos with all types of dogs and their issues.  He has helped us with our two little rescue dogs many times.....even responded to an email I sent him.  The main thing to remember with any new pet is to have lots of patience!! 

Here's where to start:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMssKIjsDxXmMGypWsr8u-yGOUSoPoozb

Mr. McGibblets

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2015, 02:21:24 PM »
This post makes me want a dog.

Cassie Hill 2

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2015, 02:27:28 PM »
As a cat owner I will say that cats can be lower cost if they are indoor only since they are less likely to pick up disease or be injured. I would keep an emergency fund handy though. Generally the main thing that seems to cause vet bills for cats IME are GI bugs. Often treating them symptomatically with subcutaneous hydration / anti emetics is sufficient to get them over the hump to being well and clearing the virus. I now ask my vet if we can do this before doing a lot of expensive tests (which tend to come out negative anyway). Once they get older and frailer you may have maintenance prescriptions but generally you can get cheap generics.

Sukotto

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2015, 02:54:07 PM »
Definitely go for a shelter pet, they're just as good, if not better than pet shop pet.
-Pick a no-kill shelter if you have one by you.
-They're cheaper, and if they're a mix, will have fewer health problems than a purebred. Cats seem to have fewer health problems than dogs
-Shelter's will probably have any breed you're looking for.
-Adult dogs are much better trained and more in need of a home than puppies because everyone wants puppies. Same goes for kittens
-You'll be opening a spot in the shelter for another animal that needs a home(possibly coming from a kill shelter)
-You'll be happier knowing you saved this animal's life.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound so preachy, but its a very serious problem where I live and if only people were a little more open to the idea of adopting from a shelter than a store or breeder then there would be far less euthanasia among animals.

About training, as others have suggested, go with an adult. They're usually trained and if not, go to training sessions at Petsmart or local pet stores. And think about which breed you want since working/hunting class dogs seems to be easier to train than companion dogs.

Food: I have a cat so I can't suggest much but I think Blue Buffalo is good, and so is Simply Nourish(Petsmarts luxury brand) or any more natural sounding food is always good. And for cats I would suggest the same.

Toys: Dogs don't need a lot of expensive toys, you can even look up how to make your own too! Look them up on Pinterest.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 03:23:05 PM by Sukotto »

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2015, 03:22:41 PM »
We have two cats that we got for $20 as kittens and they came with a bag of food, all their vaccines, and we're fixed. They are wonderful, and besides an move across the world, they aren't too expensive as their favorite toys are old shoelaces or wads of paper.

But of course, all pets cost money.

All the people I know who rescued a dog have insane dogs and some with serious mental problems. Of course this isn't all rescued dogs, but just something to think about.

lemonlime

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2015, 03:23:53 PM »
I see a lot of comments about dog training - agreed. However, one thing I'm not seeing is that you really need to pet proof your house and supervise play. Dogs (and cats I would imagine, though I've never had a cat) getting access to and eating (hurting themselves)/destroying something (hurting you) is what costs you money. If you can avoid your dog/cat eating a toy and needing emergency surgery, you will save big bucks. If you have furniture that is hard for the pet to damage or at least inexpensive to replace, you will save money. Supervising play can prevent this as well. We have two dogs and do not leave them toys to play with (aside from a large rope bone, they are small and it is too big for them to hurt) when we are not there. They are only allowed to play with toys when we are present because the one dog will eat them and the other dog will try to eat the dog that eats the toys because all the toys are his, dammit! I would also say take it easy on rough play, it is fun, but know where the line is so you don't accidentally hurt your dog or yourself (= dog/vet bills.

Basically, we evolved to be together, so we need to be together for the happiness and safety of both you and your pet.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2015, 03:29:16 PM »
Adopt a cat. Keep it indoors and feed it a healthy diet. It doesn't want toys. It just wants cuddles, regular meals and a clean litterbox.

The cat cost/hassle to reward ratio is very high.

southern granny

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2015, 03:47:29 PM »
There are cat people and dog people.  I wouldn't have another cat if someone paid me $100 a month, but I am more than happy to spend $100 on my dog.

Katsplaying

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2015, 04:52:07 PM »
I grew up with pets: cats, parakeets, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, doves, plus the local wildlife I tried to adopt. My family never had dogs because mom didn't want to scoop poop. Once I had my own place I got cats and have had from 2 to as many as 6 (delayed spay and viola-kittnes :().

I adopted a mostly grown Lab/Rottie mix and had her for 12 years. Best. Dog. Ever. She was house-trained when I got her and I had done my research and decided crate training was best for both of us. She had been neglected & possibly abused and the crate was her refuge. Saddest day ever was when she had to be put down.

My cap on vet spending is around $250-350 per episode, not including routine stuff. When an animal is sick enough for the vet, finding out why is the just first hurdle. Then you get to decide how much prolonging the animal's life is worth to you, what you can actually afford to do for the animal, what kind of life quality it will bring to everyone involved, and how long you're willing to put forth the effort. Lots of thought experimentation here and don't be surprised when it comes to the real deal and your heart is breaking over that final choice.

I love my Senegal parrot & my 2 cats, even though I know the cats will eat me when I'm dead.


Mr Dumpster Stache

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2015, 05:07:33 PM »
You can do your own vaccines and save a little $ on the vet bills when you first get started. This doesn't apply to rabies, since a lot of locations require dogs to be certified for their rabies vaccine. We did the parvo and whatever else puppies get ourselves and just had the vet do the rabies.

All the cats we've had seem to be happier going outside. Shorter life expectancy, but happier life. (and less gophers in my yard!)

Retire-Canada

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2015, 05:23:17 PM »

All the cats we've had seem to be happier going outside. Shorter life expectancy, but happier life. (and less gophers in my yard!)

A cat isn't a wild animal. If you don't let it out it will live a very contended life inside. The longer life an lower vet bills are a nice bonus.

I've had inside cats and outside cats. Their happiness isn't different as long as they are cared for and loved to the same extent.

If you habituate a cat to going outside and then try to keep it inside you'll have a problem making that adjustment.

Cassie

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2015, 07:41:29 PM »
Vet bills really vary by part of country. If I limited my vet bills to 250/350 per episode all of my 4 dogs would be dead instead of happily sleeping all around me-ages 9-18.   Adult dogs are awesome-not much training required.  They will be grateful forever. I have to admit that we have trained our big dog much better then our 3 small dogs. However, if the little guys are naughty we lock them up.  Find out what vets cost in your area & decide if your budget will allow you to take care of them. Look to Dogadvisor.com for a rating on dog food. We only feed either a 4 or 5 star food.

Lis

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2015, 09:06:32 AM »
This page is making me so happy :)

On cats - I second (third? fourth?) keeping cats indoors. A nice sunny spot on the carpet is heaven for my guys and the massive new cat tv in my new apartment (very large windows that face bird busy trees) keeps them entertained for hours. Cats definitely don't need a lot of toys - they'll play with whatever is available. The cat food I buy comes in a cardboard box, which doubles as a cat bed. The plastic milk cap gets dropped on the kitchen floor when I'm done with the milk. I did pick up a $2 laser pen for them which they absolutely love. They're perfectly content snuggling up with me on the couch and pushing me out of the bed.

On dogs - Adopting an adult dog is a wonderful, fantastic idea! But if getting a puppy is a must, I recommend looking into rescue organizations in your area. Both of my parents dogs were adopted as puppies who were rescued with their litters from kill shelters in the south. For puppy #1, they took him to puppy training school at Petsmart - I think it was ~$120 for 8 weeks. He is a very well behaved and calm dog (most of the time). For puppy #2 they thought they could handle it themselves. Not so well behaved. Depending on the dog I would recommend some chew toys, but the two of them also love to play tug-o-war with a ripped up t-shirt (once used as a rag) and, like the cats they were raised with, laser pen.

My pets have brought me so much joy and are so worth every penny I spend on them. Like everyone else here, I look for the deals and save when I can, but the ~$40ish/month and the ~$200/year for vet I spend is sooooo incredibly worth it.

SeanMC

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2015, 06:33:25 PM »
You can save $ by:

- Adopting from a shelter or rescue that adds in discounts and goodies, like free/discounted training classes. Some even add "starter kits" (food, collars/leashes, etc.) at certain times of the year.

- Adopting through Craigslist (this can be a way to get a pet already vaccinated and with basic manners for next to nothing, if you have patience to sort through and meet people)

- Craigslist for used supplies to get stuff real cheap

- Smaller dog (as other people have already said)

- Pick easy to groom or keep clean dog that matches your lifestyle. I like short coat, brush and go dogs who don't need bathing or grooming (think labradors) but I have to handle shedding in the home. Think about how much money it will cost you to keep the pup in good health and hygiene, and the added wear and tear to your clothing (I basically don't do dry cleaning clothes anyway), furniture and possessions

- Have crate (and crate train!), use tethers or ties, and management to avoid unwanted chewing and damage

- Don't get a dog with higher energy needs that what you can provide through existing exercise you already do and don't think that walking at human speed tires out any dog from a working dog breed. This turns into $ spent getting the dog exercise (day care, hiring dog walker who will run extra with the dog or take dog out extra times for you, need to find more activities that cost $ for dog, etc.)

-don't buy specially made dog treats. They are expensive and not necessary. You can effectively train dogs using a mix of their dry food and more valuable treats made from much cheaper people food (1 piece of string cheese or hot dog can be cut into MANY dog treats).

Last, on toys, most dog toys say in the small print "this is not a chew toy, do not leave unsupervised." Almost every toy you see in pet store is meant to be INTERACTIVE or is otherwise "cute" and not functional. Meaning you cannot leave most things sold as dog toys alone with your dog and most dogs will not see any game with the toy besides "chew this and tear it apart." Only some dogs even like interactive games like fetch or tug, and those that do, need 1 well-made toy for that purpose. This is a complete racket.

Many dogs do like to chew and you can spend a LOT of money on special chew items. Or you can give your dog 1 antler, have 1 rubber type (non toxic) toy meant for chewing, and use Kongs frozen with cheap people food that dogs like.



expectopatronum

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2015, 09:48:34 PM »
One cat surgery later (as of this morning), because I'm a sucker that gets attached and can't really accept euthanizing when it's fixable, the is no such thing as a mustachian pet.

:( sorry to hear about kitty. I fear the day we're hit with a big vet bill and I don't have it in me to euthanize (unless it's truly end of life....).

Thoughts on our one cat:

1) came from a shelter with all shots, microchipping, neutered, and stuff for $25. BUT. He got a very severe kitty cold, and I'm embarrassed to even disclose the cost but we were out $400 two weeks later. He was losing weight and not doing well and I don't think he would have survived t without the vet visit. It's likely he caught the cold in the shelter. That being said, I don't regret the shelter choice one bit.

2) More expensive != better food.

1)
Adopt a cat. Keep it indoors and feed it a healthy diet. It doesn't want toys. It just wants cuddles, regular meals and a clean litterbox.

The cat cost/hassle to reward ratio is very high.

Please do give the cats toys and somewhere to scratch on! You just don't have to go crazy with it. The need "prey" to pretend to hunt and stuff. Ours has a bag of hand me down toys from a friend whose cat had tired of the toys and a few purchases from when we first got him. Also another one of his favorite toys is a sock of mine. He loves twisty ties (but be careful, they shouldn't eat them), part of a broken feather duster, and plays hide and seek which is totally free! He also liked thise little plastic rings that come in milk jugs and toilet paper rolls for awhile. He loves cardboard boxes, free from work.

There's a DIY scratching post made with twine I never tried out, but that's an idea too.
There are cat people and dog people.  I wouldn't have another cat if someone paid me $100 a month, but I am more than happy to spend $100 on my dog.

And just a note here: I grew up with a dog and was never a "cat person". But when I saw our cat in the shelter, it was love at first sight. He has a very dog-like personality sometimes. It's my un-scientific theory that cats are more variable in personality and dogs more predictable...but who knows...

Rural

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2015, 03:57:02 AM »
On your questions:


1. Oh, yes we train, but we don't pay someone else to do it. But my husband has always had dogs and is something of a "dog whisperer", and I have the will to be consistent. It may be worth paying for a couple of classes together (not just the dog; that accomplishes nothing. Then you have to follow through. If you can't follow through on training, get a cat instead.


2. On the vet, it does depend on your area, but country vets are cheaper. If you're on the edge of a city, be sure to look "out" as well as "in" during your vet search. A vet who also treats farm animals is usually better as well as cheaper IMO.


I forgot your other question...


I would never crate a dog, but I've interacted with dogs who see the crate as their lair, so I know it doesn't have to be automatic misery. Don't do it (too) much if you do. You wouldn't enjoy spending the majority of your time in an area too small to move around; neither will a dog,


If you get a puppy, plan on spending lots of time, and +1 on puppy-proofing. I treat a new puppy in the house a lot like a baby, complete with the lack of sleep and 12 weeks off work/working from home (we therefore get puppies in the summer). The good news is they mature much faster. You don't have to do it this way, ( the time at home, that is, the lack of sleep is unavoidable for a bit) but the payoff if you can is immense. A young puppy will never have been alone and never have been in an unfamiliar place. If you can spend the time to avoid him or her having to do both these two new, scary things at once, do it.

Your life will be better if you can have a fenced yard rather than absolutely having to walk the dog. If you can't do that, consider that dogs still have to pee when you have the flu before you take the plunge.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 03:59:39 AM by Rural »

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2015, 07:20:50 AM »
Get a pet!

Agree with shelter dog advice: I have two purebred boxers, one off craigslist, one shelter. And a purebred pitt.

The blue bag at Costco is grain free: Nature's Domain. Worth it, especially for dogs with dry skin and allergies as the salmon helps their skin.

Toys: the dollar store has dog toys. An old shirt tied into knots can be more fun for a dog than a $17 tug-o-war bs toy from the store. Someone on craigslist gave away 3 huge black garbage bags full of kids toys for free: I cut off the plastic eyes and my dogs love shredding them. (supervised: the living room has clumps of snow in the morning year round)

Any feed store as shots (except for rabies, in most states). There are videos online on how to give a shot.

Pet meds, should you need them, can be bought online cheaper, some with some without a prescription.

Pet sitters: make a friend at the dog park and agree to swap sitting duties for when you're out of town.

Please remember though: a dog is pretty much like a toddler, and takes full time attention for the first week or so. And ironically, two dogs are easier to deal with than one, as they provide company to each other which helps with separation anxiety when you leave for work.

I have 5 dogs on a ranch, but...I also have 4 doormats. There's a wheelchair ramp to the front door (came with the house) and I put four mats on it. The ones with the little tufts of plastic to get junk out of your shoe or their paws. Cuts wayyyyyyyyyy down on the sweeping/mopping.

If you decide to allow them on the couch, it's a lot easier to clean a sheet than upholstery so find some nice patterned sheets you like and use those...will save you money and aggravation.

MLKnits

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2015, 08:14:23 AM »
Re: training--look for local dog clubs. They often have affordable group classes taught by people who have seen it all and really know how to troubleshoot. And in general, wherever you go, if the first instruction involves a choke chain--leave. There's very, very good evidence that behavioural training that leans on rewarding, not punishing, is faster, creates habits better, and, of course, doesn't result in a dog that's scared of accidentally setting you off by, say, breathing or sitting in the wrong place.

Re: food--I swear by Oral Care food. You can go very fancy on this and buy it from your vet (Hill's TD, I think is the name), or you can get a similar Science Diet version at the pet store. When I got my cat, his teeth were so bad the Humane Society thought he was four years older than he likely is; after a few months on the vet version of the food, his teeth made him look like a kitten. I've stuck to it for him and for my dog, and haven't yet had a dental issue (and pet dental issues are very expensive).

Wilson Hall

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2015, 09:42:30 AM »
A couple more things:

If you do get a pet from a shelter or the humane society, some of these places will provide you with a voucher to offset part of the spaying/neutering cost at the local animal aid clinic. This is common for puppies that are adopted before they are old enough to be fixed.

Consider how much grooming will be required. Our first rescue had long, wavy hair that had to be cut at frequent intervals, particularly in the summertime. We invested a little money in some high-quality clippers and saved ourselves lots of $ and trips to the pet salon.  Our two subsequent adoptees were smaller dogs with shorter hair, which saves us even more in time and effort.

Katsplaying

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2015, 10:08:50 AM »
Yes to shelter pets! But watch rescue groups; many of them have ridiculously high standards for prospective homes, which is understandable but not always reasonable.

My cats are indoors only after the horror of hearing my mom sobbing on the phone while one of her indoor/outdoor cats was eaten by a coyote 6 feet from her deck. Cats are BEST off indoors only. Spay & neuter (of course) but do not declaw, Honestly, since my cats are indoors only I rarely take them to the vet for anything any more, not even shots or check ups. I do monitor their behavior and when something changes, I take steps. They have a basket of toys that I find scattered every morning and when I get home from work plus a couple scratching posts. Most cats need their own litter box but my pair are ok sharing.

My dog loved her crate, loved people, loved running trails, and was a big ole couch potato whenever I wasn't home to boot her off. Kong chew toys and rope toys worked best for her. Basic equipment was limited to a collar, one regular leash and one extending and the obligatory poop bags. She ate Royal Canin from day one and thrived on it. Cheap food means the dog will poop more, poop more OFTEN, and it'll be gross and runny and non-scoopable (your yard will show this very quickly).

Dogs are pretty dumb in that they'll eat almost anything available. My dog got into a box of Frangos one xmas (never leave food gifts under the tree) and I was in a panic when I called the vet. Her course of treatment: use a turkey baster to squirt hydrogen peroxide down her throat and let her vomit up the toxic mess of chocolate & plastic wrappers & cardboard. You never saw such a reproachful, contrite look on a dogs' face...Plus she spent the rest of the day outside, a devastating punishment (in her eyes).

Good luck!

Lis

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2015, 11:52:28 AM »
Spay & neuter (of course) but do not declaw

TWO MOST IMPORTANT PIECES OF ADVICE WHEN IT COMES TO CATS.

Even if you vow to keep your cat indoors, sometimes they're sneaky and escape. Don't let your male cat father a litter outside, and if you have a female cat, there's no risk of having a pregnant kitty returned to you. (Not to mention a female cat in heat will bring the male cats round from miles) Neutered males (and females, I believe) are less territorial and less likely to make a gross mess (territorial markings/spray smells MUCH WORSE than regular cat pee, which is terrible anyway). I believe neutered and spayed cats are less likely to develop UTIs and other urinary problems (research that, I'm not 100% certain).

And please don't declaw. It's the equivalent of chopping your fingers off at the last knuckle. God forbid they do run out, give them a fighting chance of either fighting back or escaping via a tree with their claws. I remember watching an episode of My Cat From Hell (love Jackson Galaxy!) where the couple had to get specialized litter because regular hurt their declawed cat's paws so much, he refused to use it. YMMV, but I highly recommend not declawing. There's even a push to make it illegal. You can most certainly train a cat to use a scratching post with catnip and treats and avoid scratching furniture with a mini water gun. Clipping cats' nails isn't that hard either, especially if you get a kitten. No matter the age, train your cat that sitting on your lap in the position to clip nails isn't scary, and gently pinch their paws so their nails come out (minimal pressure, certainly not to cause pain!).

expectopatronum

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #41 on: June 18, 2015, 12:50:31 PM »
Spay & neuter (of course) but do not declaw
And please don't declaw. It's the equivalent of chopping your fingers off at the last knuckle. God forbid they do run out, give them a fighting chance of either fighting back or escaping via a tree with their claws. I remember watching an episode of My Cat From Hell (love Jackson Galaxy!) where the couple had to get specialized litter because regular hurt their declawed cat's paws so much, he refused to use it. YMMV, but I highly recommend not declawing. There's even a push to make it illegal. You can most certainly train a cat to use a scratching post with catnip and treats and avoid scratching furniture with a mini water gun. Clipping cats' nails isn't that hard either, especially if you get a kitten. No matter the age, train your cat that sitting on your lap in the position to clip nails isn't scary, and gently pinch their paws so their nails come out (minimal pressure, certainly not to cause pain!).

This. So many people think declawing is just some simple op that saves your furniture. It's downright cruel.

cripzychiken

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #42 on: June 18, 2015, 01:42:03 PM »
A few points I haven't seen covered:

Training - Petsmart is actually a decent place to go for training.  $150 for a 6 week group class that usually has multiple times a week when they can meet.  They have "dog-age" classes (so no puppies with full grown adult dogs) and are pretty well structured. I've brought one of my dogs through it and was very happy.  The training is based around the clicker - so you could also just youtube about clicker training and do it yourself if you are dedicated enough.

Starter equipment/toys - look at goodwill/thrift stores.  All sorts of stuff can be used as toys. So shop there before you head to a pet store to shop.

Vaccines - the Walgreens/CVS around us brings in companies every 3-6 months that give all the shots and a quick checkup for $50.  Add in another fee for flea and heartworm meds (I can't remember how much it is).  Save the real vet visits for when something is wrong.

Bonus help - ask the shelter you adopt from if they have stuff to help a new pet parent.  Main vets are willing to do a free first visit for new adaptions (so you will go to them when something is wrong) so the shelter can give you a list of those vets. Also, my shelter also gave me a 50% coupon to a local thrift store (it was next door) where I purchased everything I needed for the first year (collar, leash, bed, 3 toys-chew/throw/stuffed, bowls) so ask if there is a local company they recommend buying stuff from (if there is no deal/coupon, then just go to the thrift store of your choice).

Total Cost - after nearly 30 years of pet ownership (from as a kid up to now) I figure about $400/yr for a large dog, maybe $300 for a small dog.  Food actually isn't that expensive - I spend $40 every 6-8weeks for a 60lb dog.  Make sure you feed proper amounts (I feed about 1.5cups 2x daily, plus about a $1 bog worth of treats a month), so it's hard for a dog to eat you out of house and home if you watch what you are doing.  I also Purina-One from Sam's Club (cost is ~$0.83/lb).  It's the human wanted extras (cute leashes, new toys, tons of treats) and medical that runs the cost up.  These costs are the same basically regardless of the size. 

SunshineAZ

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2015, 02:15:42 PM »
There are cat people and dog people.  I wouldn't have another cat if someone paid me $100 a month, but I am more than happy to spend $100 on my dog.
LOL I currently have 3 cats and 2 dogs, and I feel the same way but in reverse.  I love them, but I do not plan on replacing the dogs when they go over the rainbow bridge.

relena

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2015, 04:00:17 PM »
I also got my dog when he was a puppy. He's almost 8 now. He's also a corgi. +1

Anwyways, regarding the puppy chewing. We tried bitter apple spray, but he was too smart for that. He would scratch that stuff up and keep chewing away. So one weekend, I followed my puppy around with a rolled up magazine. When I caught him chewing something I didn't want him to, I would make a really loud noise with the magazine by hitting it on the table. The noise scared him and he would stop chewing on the item. If he chewed on a chew toy, no noise. I did this for the whole weekend. It worked, he learned right away and I never had a problem with him chewing up our things.

I knew someone who had one of those dogs who was training to become a service dog but failed service dog training. That seems like a great idea! their dog was very well behaved.

Mr Dumpster Stache

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #45 on: June 18, 2015, 08:07:40 PM »
Spay & neuter (of course) but do not declaw
And please don't declaw. It's the equivalent of chopping your fingers off at the last knuckle. God forbid they do run out, give them a fighting chance of either fighting back or escaping via a tree with their claws. I remember watching an episode of My Cat From Hell (love Jackson Galaxy!) where the couple had to get specialized litter because regular hurt their declawed cat's paws so much, he refused to use it. YMMV, but I highly recommend not declawing. There's even a push to make it illegal. You can most certainly train a cat to use a scratching post with catnip and treats and avoid scratching furniture with a mini water gun. Clipping cats' nails isn't that hard either, especially if you get a kitten. No matter the age, train your cat that sitting on your lap in the position to clip nails isn't scary, and gently pinch their paws so their nails come out (minimal pressure, certainly not to cause pain!).

This. So many people think declawing is just some simple op that saves your furniture. It's downright cruel.

Our declawed cat climbs trees, kills birds and small animals, and wins fights. Dude's a badass. :D

TrumanGrad

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #46 on: June 18, 2015, 09:33:14 PM »
I agree with all the other posters that mention adopting an adult dog.  A good shelter will ask a lot of questions about your household, lifestyle and what you want in a dog and then introduce you to potential matches.  We adopted both of our dogs from shelters.  The shelter we adopted our second dog from asked a lot of questions about us and what we were looking for and matched us with the perfect dog (for us)!!!  She was $75 including her spay surgery and all vaccines and she is the best!  The same shelter that we adopted that we adopted her from now includes free training sessions with your adoption as well.

For training, read everything you can by Karen Pryor, Patricia McConnell and Pat Miller.  Although I don't agree with everything in the magazine, I also like Whole Dog Journal for their food reviews and articles about training techniques and dog behavior.

As for dog toys, it will depend on what your dog likes to do (retrieve? Play tug of war?), but we like Kongs.  I stuff them with cream cheese and dog food.  Both of our dogs each get one when my husband and I aren't home.  They are dishwasher safe so they can be reused again and again.  They are very durable.  We have a Pit Bull and a Doberman/German Shepard mix and we have maybe had two Kongs destroyed in four years (we use Kong Extreme which are Kongs that are black in color).

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2015, 07:12:19 PM »
More dog commentary.  Re exercise, some dogs are good with bicycles, some not.  Mine would have me in the ditch.  But she loves retrieving a doggy Frisbee and I can throw it a lot farther than I can throw a ball, and my elbow doesn't hurt.  When she gets tired of retrieving, we play tug of war with it, or she just lies down in the shade and rests for a bit.

All mine have loved their crate, when I couldn't find them I would look in the crate - and there they were.  At present it is just the one dog and me, so she doesn't need to hide from cats, kids, etc., but she loves her crate anyway.  The trick is to make the crate a place the dog wants to be.

Newspapers are wonderful for house-training too.  Every time the puppy has an accident in the house you roll up a newspaper and hit yourself in the head with it, saying "I didn't watch the puppy and I didn't get it outside in time so it could learn where to go - BAD ME!"

Janie

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #48 on: June 19, 2015, 07:21:44 PM »
Do you travel? Boarding or in-home care can be a significant expense.

Goldielocks

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #49 on: June 19, 2015, 07:30:24 PM »
One word.. Fostering
 
Most of the costs and medical is taken care of and you give a home and your time.

If you are great with animals and have time and room then spca could even pay you to take them for a while. My cousin has a second income fostering mis treated horses, llamas, donkeys, some dogs, while the legal stuff is resolved.  She has a farm, but still ...

Urban breed specific rescue foundations  that take in abandoned breeds are your best bet.

The catch?  You don't actuly own or keep it for life.