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Will dog owners spend any amount on their pets? Probably.

As appalled as non-dog people will be, consumer experts say there seems to be no limit to the desire of owners to pamper their pets. Two decades ago, Americans spent $17 billion on their pets. That outlay has steadily marched upward, at an average of more than 12 percent a year, through good times and bad. This year, the amount is expected to approach $60 billion.

The ASPCA recently put the minimum average cost of owning a dog at $875 for such basics as food, routine veterinarian care and treats. But that leaves out whole categories of spending now available to devoted dog owners. There is a huge range of prices for pet services, but here are a few samples from Washington DC area businesses:

Dog gym membership: $50 a month

Professional dog walkers: $25 a day

Doggy day care: $35 a day

Teeth cleaning: $30

Full grooming: $55 (medium-sized)

Organic dog food: $60 for 25-pound bag

Hand baked dog treats: $2 each

Collar (PetSmart): $12

Collar (Neiman Marcus): $36

Labrador who walked 30 miles back

to her previous owner that wouldn’t take her back is adopted by Florida heiress.

An aging Labrador retriever who walked 30 miles back to a Kansas family who didn’t want her took a private jet to her new home with a Florida heiress.

Kelsey Loyd, with the Chautauqua County Animal Shelter in southern Kansas, says the dog, named Lady, was adopted twice, but the first family said the old dog didn’t get along with other pets.

A second family adopted her 30 miles away, but Lady escaped and walked back to her previous home. The family wouldn’t take her back so back to the shelter she went. Ms. Loyd said Lady is an amazing dog. ‘Super dog. Gentle, calm dog,’ he said. ‘If I had to pick a dog, this would have been the dog I would take.’

‘The senior lab walked nearly 30 miles to come home,’ a friend wrote on Facebook. ‘Is there anyone out there who can give this girl a home? She may not have many years left. She is spayed, house broken, leash trained, mellow, having problems walking (so her travels back to Sedan amazed me).’ This post was shared nearly 7,000 times across Facebook.

Lady’s life changed when Helen Rich saw her story on Facebook. Rich is an heiress to the Wrigley gum company and owns an animal shelter. She sent an assistant to Kansas in a private jet to pick up Lady. The dog arrived in Tampa and was taken to her Florida sanctuary for neglected animals.

Rosburg, the great-granddaughter of the founder of the famous gum, is a self-described animal lover. She has used a portion of her inheritance to help neglected and abandoned animals. She has built a 120-acre farm in Odessa, FL, that houses 300 animals including rabbits, pigs and goats. When Rosburg learned about Lady’s plight, she stepped in. A plane was sent to Independence and a car ride was made to pick up tail-wagging Lady.

Surgery reveals dog ate 43.5 socks!

A veterinarian in Portland performed surgery on a three-year-old, 140-pound Great Dane to remove a blockage from its stomach. It didn’t take long for the doctor to determine the source of the obstruction: 43 and a half undigested socks lodged in the dog’s belly.

“We opened up his stomach and kept removing sock after sock of all different shapes and sizes,” Dr. Ashley Magee at DoveLewis Animal Hospital told KGW. It’s unclear what happened to the other half a sock. The dog was released the next day and has fully recovered. The surgery is making news because the vet entered the x-rays into the annual “They Ate WHAT?” contest at Veterinary Practice News. Despite the compelling x-rays, the story of sock-hungry dog placed just third, losing out to an exotic frog who somehow swallowed 30 rocks and a German shorthaired pointer who downed a metal shish kabob skewer.

Ohio rescue dog, Buddy, saves

new owner from devastating house fire.

An Ohio rescue dog is being called a hero after he saved his new owner from a house fire. Jacob Martin was fast asleep at his home when a blaze broke out in the empty property he was renovating next door.

Buddy the pit bull pup–who’d been rehoused just weeks earlier–started barking as the fire spiraled out of control. The barking woke Martin up, giving him enough time to escape and then save his own home from the spreading flames.

Martin, who was refurbishing the house, confessed to not having insurance. But he added he was “just glad to be alive”–and put his safety all down to Buddy, who he took in after a coworker found him living in an abandoned property. “Buddy is the best dog I ever had,” he said.

Good To Know… House Calls For Pets

For as long as one can remember, when a vet was needed, the pet owner option was to take their pets to a clinic or hospital, house calls just weren’t part of the equation. However, now people are more interested in the convenience of house calls for pet care.

Consider the increased popularity of mobile grooming services, pick-up services for kenneling even home delivery of food are a clear examples of the increased movement towards convenience-based, service oriented pet care. But with new technology it isn’t just a convenience to get good health care.

A primary goal of providing house calls is to minimize a pet’s anxiety often created during a visit to the vet. Consider the stress as one tries to coax the dog out of the car in the parking lot of a veterinary hospital?

For those pets it is this challenge that can best be addressed by home-based services. With a house call service pets are treated in familiar surroundings where there is a less perceived threat. And a healthy pet means a happy pet owner!

In 2014 many households have two parents working full time and have multiple children and multiple pets creating considerable time restrictions. A house calls veterinary services can work around a pet owner’s schedule, offering more flexible even late day appointments.

House calls also offer incredible benefits to pets as they get older. Aging and ailing pets have to deal with real challenges such as arthritis, partial or the onset of blindness, dementia and even cancer making the simple, difficult. A house calls veterinary service can help bolster better convalescent care simply by treating pets in their home environment, where stress and anxiety are minimal.

And when the inevitable day arrives and a pet owner is forced with reality of saying farewell to their loved companion, the compassionate and convenient services of at-home euthanasia assists with the incredibly difficult and emotional decision.

For these many benefits, house call services are an increasingly popular addition to the traditional veterinary care model. Now home veterinary services can range from basic, in-home care by a veterinarian with a medical bag to fully equipped mobile unit offering advanced services such as surgery, even X-ray diagnostics, ultrasounds, MRIs and cancer treatments, among others. Think about that and how technology has improved allowing for this growing service. The end result is healthier pet along with added convenience for owners, a win/win.

Dr. Lawendy is the owner of Curbside Vet Care.


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