7 Beginner Tips for Every Dog and Cat Owner

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1. Cuts and Scrapes

If your pet has a minor cut or scrape, apply a little aloe vera gel to the area. Not only will it have a soothing effect, but it will also fight infection and help the wound heal faster. Remember that it’s always a good idea to check with your vet first.

2. Cracked and Dry Pads

If your poor pet’s pads are cracked or dry, the solution is simple. Gently rub a little petroleum jelly into her pads while she’s sleeping. It will moisturize the area and is completely safe if your pet decides she wants to lick it off later.

3. Poisonous Plants

If your pet likes chewing on plants, beware: Some common house and garden plants are poisonous to animals. They include: tomato plants, rhododendron, daffodils, crocus, lilies, poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, lantana, laburnum, taro, yew, cyclamen, foxglove, hyacinth, hydrangea, rhubarb, narcissus, and the pits of many fruits like apricots, plums, and peaches. If you see your pet eat any of these, take him to the vet immediately! For more information about plants that may be toxic for your animals, visit ASPCA.org and go to their “Pet poison control” section.

4. Dandruff

If your pet is suffering from dandruff, adding some omega-3 fatty acids to his diet is a good solution. Luckily, it’s easy: Buy a can of sardines in oil and chop up a few and add to his food. He’ll love the taste, and his coat will love the nutrients. (Just be sure to check with your vet first.)

5. Reduced-Price Vaccinations

Is your pet in need of vaccinations that you can’t afford? Check out LuvMyPet.com to find a directory of veterinary clinics that offer reduced-price vaccinations around the US. Or check with your local animal shelter to see if they have a program.

6. Vet School Services

Save on regular check-ups at your vet by taking your pet to a veterinary school instead. These vets-in-training are supervised by licensed veterinarians, so you can get good care for much less. Call a vet school in your area to see if they offer clinics for the community. You can find one near you at VeterinarySchools.com/veterinary-school-directory.

7. Shelter Services

We all love our pets and will go to any lengths to make sure they are happy and healthy, but this shouldn’t mean taking out a second mortgage to pay vet bills. Look at your local shelter to see what services they provide. Many will spay/neuter and administer vaccinations and annual shots for less than half the price of your friendly neighborhood vet.

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Photo by Shutterstock.

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