Category Archives: dog care

To all the dog mothers

14 May 2023 is Mother’s Day. On this Mother’s Day, I have been giving some thought to the role of us, the Dog Moms.

I know that there are people who dislike the terms “dog parent” “pet parent” “dog mom” and “dog mum” – or other variations of this theme. I hope everyone will remember that the definition of ”to mother” is “to care for or protect.”

I say, without hesitation, that I am proudly a Dog Mum (Mom). I care for and protect Sox as if I had given birth to him. As dogs have the cognition of a two-year old child, the care and protection of a dog is very similar to that of a two-year old human child. A two-year old child will mature and become more self-reliant, whereas our dogs will not.

A Dog Mum truly makes a lifetime commitment.

If anything, I think the role of a Dog Mom is underrated and undervalued by society.

Please consider:

  1. I have Sox entirely through my own choice. You may have heard that some people become parents as the result of an ‘accidental pregnancy.’ Well, there’s no excuse when you are a pet parent. You take on the role entirely through choice.
  2. There are no Working for Families NZ tax credits for pet parents. Our dogs are dependent on us as caregivers but we are entirely financially responsible for their care, whereas parents to human children receive tax subsidies. One could argue that a pet parent without human children is paying more than their fair share of taxes.
  3. My under age 13 does not qualify for zero fees at the doctor, either. Whenever Sox goes to the vet, I pay a bill for the professional time and drugs to care for him. I have pet insurance for him, but this also comes at a price.
  4. If Sox required day care, we wouldn’t qualify for 20 hours of early childhood education for free, either.
  5. At a time when our health care systems are failing us, dogs support both physical and mental health and encourage social connections. By staying healthy, we reduce the demand on our healthcare system.

On this Mother’s Day, let’s give a big thanks to all the Dog Mums. They contribute to our communities in many ways that are not recognised by our system of rewards.

Happy Mother’s Day, from Sox and Me.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Pet dogs and cats could be spreading antibiotic-resistant superbugs to their owners

Dogs and cats may be passing antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” to their owners, a new study warns. Researchers discovered one pet in the United Kingdom and six from Portugal were carrying similar antibiotic-resistant bacteria as their owners. These could include E. coli and other strains linked to pneumonia.

A man hugging his golden retriever (Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash)

The team is calling for animal-loving households to be part of health programs which work to counter the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Currently the spread of these germs is reaching dangerously high levels across the world.

Drug-resistant infections kill around 700,000 a year globally, a number that estimates project will rise to 10 million by 2050 without a proper defense. Dogs, cats, and other pets are already known to contribute to the spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens that can cause human disease. Until now, however, it was unclear whether infected pets were actually sharing the pathogens with their owners.

Study authors tested stool samples from dogs, cats, and their owners for common-antibiotic-resistant Enterobacterales, which include E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Experts particularly focused on bacteria resistant to antibiotics which the World Health Organization (WHO) deem “the most critically important” for human medicine. These include antibiotics which treat meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis — known as third-generation cephalosporins. Additionally, they searched for bacteria resistant to carbapenems, used as a last line of defense when all the other drugs have failed.

“In this study, we provide evidence that bacteria resistant to a third generation cephalosporins, critically important antibiotics, are being passed from pets to their owners,” says Juliana Menezes Menezes, a University of Lisbon PhD student, in a media release.

Dogs and cats may aid the spread and persistence of such bacteria in the community and it is vitally important that they are included in assessments of antimicrobial resistance.”

“Owners can reduce the spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria by practicing good hygiene, including washing their hands after collecting their dog or cat’s waste and even after petting them.”

In total, researchers studied five cats, 38 dogs, and 78 humans from 43 households in Portugal. From the U.K., they also examined seven dogs and eight humans from seven households. Of the entire group, three cats, 21 dogs, and 28 owners tested positive for bacteria resistant to key third-generation cephalosporins.

In eight households, both pet and owner were carrying Enterobacterales. Two were homes with cats, six with dogs. In six of these homes, the bacteria DNA in pet and owner was similar, meaning the disease likely passed between animals and humans. However, it remains unclear whether bacteria passed from pet to human, or vice versa.

From the U.K. cohort, one dog was colonized by a multi-drug resistant E. coli strain, which powers the most “critically important,” last-line-of-defense antibiotics, and others. In Portugal, a dog was carrying the same bacteria resistant only to third-generation cephalosporins. Another Portuguese dog suffered an E. coli strain that encourages antibiotic resistance. All of the pets were treated for their conditions. The owners were not sick and left without treatment.

The team presented their findings at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2023) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Source: Study Finds

The Paws Off Act of 2023

On 30 January 2023, the Paws Off Act of 2023 was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require foods containing the chemical xylitol to be considered mislabeled unless the product has a warning label specifying its toxic effects on pets if ingested. Xylitol is increasingly found in foods like mints, baked goods, desserts, vitamins, and gum. A lack of proper labeling can often make it difficult for pet owners to determine which products, including those ingested by mistake, could be deadly to their pets.

“As a lifelong dog owner, I know that our pets play a cherished role in our lives, which is why it’s important we keep them safe,” said Rep. Schweikert. “It’s proven that millions of Americans are unaware of just how dangerous xylitol can be to their dogs. Today, I’m proud to reintroduce the bipartisan Paws Off Act to increase awareness of xylitol in household food products and keep our four-legged friends safe.”

“Thousands of American families own at least one animal, and it is important to ensure that households are properly informed of ingredients that threaten the lives of their pets,” 
said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Data from the FDA shows that the vast majority of pet owners are not aware of the presence of xylitol, a chemical that is lethal to dogs, in basic household items. I’m proud to co-sponsor the Paws Off Act, which would improve labeling and protect our pets.”

“For too long our pets have been exposed to household products that contain chemicals such as xylitol that can be harmful in everyday instances,” said Rep. Waltz. “Introducing this legislation is a step towards protecting our pets at home and educating pet owners of risks in household products.”

“Pet owners in Arizona and across the country deserve to have access to critical safety information to prevent our loyal companions from being exposed to dangerous chemicals,” 
said Rep. Grijalva. “The Paws Off Act is a commonsense bipartisan safety measure that shines a light on xylitol, a dangerous chemical found in many common household items with potentially deadly consequences. With 58% of Arizonans owning a pet, they deserve full transparency to keep their furry family friends safe.”

“Ingesting xylitol poses potentially lethal risks to our pets, and raising awareness of those dangers is essential for preventing tragic outcomes,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “As a dog owner, I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation to help protect pets through ensuring proper labeling of household products that contain xylitol.”

“As a pet owner, I know they often eat things they’re not supposed to,” said Rep. Stanton. “Some common household products that are safe for their owners—like candy and toothpaste, which both may contain xylitol––can be lethal for dogs. I’m proud to introduce the Paws Off Act to help families keep their pets safe.” 

“This commonsense, bipartisan legislation highlights an issue we can all agree on – protecting the welfare of our furry friends and family members,” 
said Rep. Titus. “I’m glad to work with my Animal Protection Caucus colleagues to make sure dog owners are empowered to protect their pets from dangerous toxins and prevent avoidable tragedies.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) animal poison control center has seen xylitol poisoning calls increase dramatically over the last 15 years. In 2018, the ASPCA registered 6,760 xylitol-related calls, more than 30 times the number of calls related to xylitol in 2005.

Source: Congressman David Schweikart media release

Why I decided to buy pet insurance

I see a lot of social media posts about pet insurance. Most ask for recommendations on insurers, whether pet insurance is worthwhile, and which policy is ‘best.’

Since every dog is different, and everyone’s financial position/lifestyle is different, the selection of a policy is very much an individual exercise. It’s fine to do your homework, but ultimately you have to make a decision. Here’s how I made mine:

Sox came to me in March 2022. An ex-racing greyhound, like any adoption, he was an unknown quantity. Would he be healthy? Would he be accident prone? The risk of taking on a new dog is not knowing what the future holds.

To manage this risk, I decided on pet insurance with the idea that I would invest in a policy for at least a couple of years. By then, I would have more confidence in Sox’s health status and, most importantly, I wouldn’t face having certain conditions excluded as ‘pre-existing conditions.’

I used websites for all of the known pet insurers to run a policy quotation. I chose the most reasonable price with cover that was clearly understandable. Policy exclusions for dentals, for example, were understandable. There were substantive differences with the most expensive policy costing over NZ$1,500 per year. The one I chose was slightly more than $600 and with a $150 excess (deductible), bearing in mind that the larger the excess you are prepared to bear, the less the policy will cost you.

Good thing that I did.

Many greyhounds have upset tummies when they are re-homed. I kept Sox on what he was being fed at the kennels but he had regular bouts of a gurgly tummy and diarrhea every few days. It wasn’t fun for either of us. So I changed his food, then I tried a raw, chicken based diet, then tried another food, and so it went. After keeping a food diary, it was time to seek veterinary help.

He was wormed for 5 consecutive days to ensure that he didn’t have a deeply seeded whipworm infection.

He received Vitamin B shots for four weeks.

He had blood work.

He had an ultrasound.

He was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). And all of the costs, less the deductible (excess), have been covered

IBD is a lifelong condition, we can expect to have flare-ups. Sox is booked next week for a follow-up and blood test – which will be covered by his policy.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Saving money on dog care

With a recession this year almost guaranteed, and consumers experiencing rising costs daily, I have promised readers of my newsletter my recommendations on money saving tips for dog care. I decided to make this a blog post to reach a wider number of readers because rising costs are a worldwide phenomenon.

It’s important to note that we all want/need to save money in a time of rising costs, but as dog parents we don’t really want to sacrifice quality of care. My tips are aimed at achieving both.

And just a reminder that I live in New Zealand; the products and services accessible to readers elsewhere will vary. Quoted prices are in NZ dollars.

#1 – Brush those teeth!

Dental disease is the most common condition seen by vets and the costs for dental procedures can hit the pocket when you least need it. A dentistry procedure to scale and polish teeth will easily set you back NZ$700, with the costs escalating to between $1,000-$2,000 when extractions are needed. The worse your dog’s teeth, the higher the costs involved.

Prevention is better than cure. The gold standard for dental care is daily brushing of the teeth with a pet toothpaste; the physical motion of brushing helps to remove plaque and the enzymes in pet toothpaste remain in the mouth to prevent plaque from forming into tartar (calculus). The only way to remove calculus is through a scale and polish procedure.

I sell toothbrushes for only $8.50 each; a tube of toothpaste will set you back between $24-26 at most pet shops and veterinary practices.

You do the math.

Remember, too, that you need to get your dog accustomed to teeth brushing so that it is stress-free for both of you. Whenever someone buys a toothbrush from me, I’m happy to give them a free 15-minute consult to talk them through the basics of teeth-brushing.

#2 – Ask for a script for ongoing medications

For dogs that require regular medication such as for arthritis pain, incontinence, heart murmur, or other chronic conditions, it is worth checking on prices of these medications online. The online pharmacies in New Zealand buy from the same suppliers as vet practices, but the mark-ups are often less. and are just two examples.

These outlets can legally supply your dog’s medications if they have script from the vet who is treating them; this is no different than having a script from your GP for medication that you buy from your local pharmacy.

Vet practices are entitled to charge a script fee for writing a script for your dog’s medication, so factor this into your cost calculations. The Veterinary Code of Conduct explicitly states that a veterinarian cannot refuse to write a script when one is requested.

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for a script; this is happening more often every day ( has been operating for 15 years now; it’s the original pet pharmacy in the country). And, since times are tough, if you are a loyal client of a vet practice and you show them what price you are able to source your pet’s medication for, they may choose to sell you those meds at that price.

When my Daisy was taking regular medications for arthritis and incontinence, my veterinarian told me, “we know you spend a lot of money with us, Kathleen, and you’re a loyal client. We’ll sell it to you at that price rather than lose your business for the medication.”

#3 – Reuse

In the category of ‘every little bit helps,’ re-use plastic bags and wraps as poo bags. This includes previously used courier bags, bread and bagel bags and wraps from toilet rolls and paper towels.

#4 Team up with others

I often see posts on Facebook groups like Christchurch Pets asking where a person can buy a single flea treatment because they cannot afford to buy a 3-pack. In most cases, you will always spend more buying single items than in bulk. A better way would be to team up with others and share the costs of buying a 3-pack.

Similarly, when buying dog food, a larger bag will almost always be more cost-effective than a smaller one. If you can’t buy with friends who use the same food, use social media to team up with people in the community who feed the same food that you do. Dog food should be stored in an airtight container, making it easy to divide a bag between two or more owners.

Most mobile services, including mine, offer multiple dog discounts for dogs that are treated at the same appointment at the same location. Coordinate appointment times with your friends at one of your homes and share the savings.

#5 Switch to a NZ Made Food

This tip comes directly from one of my regular clients.

She noticed her imported food from Australia was going up in price significantly every time she paid for it. She looked for equally healthy alternatives and formulations and found that most of the brands of NZ Made kibbles were more reasonable priced. She’s tried two options and settled on one for her dogs.

#6 Shop during sales and use auto ship discounts

When food, treats, toys and other items go on sale, take advantage of the discounts. Some retailers offer autoship options with discounts on regular orders. Most autoship functions allow you to cancel or re-arrange delivery dates and so if you find something on sale elsewhere, you can delay your autoship to a later date.

Discounts add up. Wise consumers know that in the long run you save money when buying things you will need when they are on sale, setting them aside until you need them.

#7 Check prices

Take the time to check prices on regularly purchased items like food and treats.

Some local stores offer good pricing that beat the prices of larger stores and retailers. For example, many of my clients use Burwood Produce Horse and Pony Supplies and Best for Pets in Christchurch for kibble and raw foods, respectively. Competitive pricing and you are supporting local!

#8 Buy for value and not just lowest price

Know quality when you see it and be prepared to pay more because quality products will last for longer. A harness or lead should last the dog’s lifetime, for example. Remember that CHEAP can work two ways: low price or poor quality.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Quantifying Cognitive Decline in Dogs Could Help Humans With Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers have found that a suite of complementary tests can quantify changes in dogs suspected of suffering from cognitive decline. The approach could not only aid owners in managing their elderly canine’s care, but could also serve as a model for evaluating cognitive decline progression in – and treatments for – humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

Photo by Ken Reid on Unsplash

Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS) is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans in that cognitive decline is associated with the development of amyloid plaques as well as cortical atrophy, a progressive degeneration of brain tissue. CCDS is also challenging to diagnose. Traditionally, CCDS is diagnosed based on ruling out any obvious physical conditions and an owner’s answers to a questionnaire.

“One problem with the current approach is that questionnaires only capture a constellation of home behaviors,” says Natasha Olby, the Dr. Kady M. Gjessing and Rahna M. Davidson Distinguished Chair in Gerontology at North Carolina State University and co-senior author of a paper describing the work. “There can be other reasons for what an owner may perceive as cognitive decline – anything from an undiagnosed infection to a brain tumor.”

Olby and co-senior author Margaret Gruen, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at NC State, wanted to determine whether cognitive function could be accurately quantified in dogs.

“Our goal was to bring together multiple tools in order to get a more complete picture of how CCDS presents in dogs,” Gruen says.

To that end, the researchers recruited 39 dogs from 15 breeds. All of them were in the senior and geriatric age range, but in good health overall. A dog is considered “senior” if it is in the last 25% of its expected life span based on breed and size, and geriatric beyond that.

The dogs underwent physical and orthopedic exams, as well as lab work that included a blood test that is a marker of neuronal death. Their owners filled out two commonly used diagnostic questionnaires, and then the dogs participated in a series of cognitive tests designed to assess executive function, memory and attention.

“The approach we took isn’t necessarily designed to be diagnostic; instead, we want to use these tools to be able to identify dogs at an early stage and be able to follow them as the disease progresses, quantifying the changes,” Olby says.

The team found that cognitive and blood test results correlated well with the questionnaire scores, suggesting that a multi-dimensional approach can be used to quantify cognitive decline in aging dogs.

“Being able to diagnose and quantify CCDS in a way that is clinically safe and relevant is a good first step toward being able to work with dogs as a model for Alzheimer’s disease in humans,” Olby says. “Many of the current models of Alzheimers disease – in rodents, for example – are good for understanding physiological changes, but not for testing treatments.”

“Dogs live in our homes and develop naturally occurring disease just like we do,” Gruen says. “These findings show promise for both dogs and humans in terms of improving our understanding of disease progression as well as for potentially testing treatments.”

The work appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. NC State postdoctoral fellows Gilad Fefer and Wojciech K. Panek are co-first authors of the work.

Source: NC State News

What does your dog’s tag say?

Sox is gradually coming up to speed with all the coats, food, treats, toys and accessories he needs for pet life. This week, I added his ID tag which I chose because it featured a greyhound.

On the reverse, it reads:

I’m Sox If I’m lost Call my Mum (and then my phone number)

I think ID tags are a personal choice with many designs available. Sox is happy with his tag.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Most US dog owners don’t follow FDA pet food handling guidelines

A new analysis suggests that most U.S. dog owners are unaware of—and do not follow—guidelines on safe pet food and dish handling from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but that better education and implementation of the guidelines could reduce contamination. Dr. Emily Luisana of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on April 6, 2022.

Study mascot, Sally Star, at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo credit: Emily Luisana, CC-BY 4.0 (

Pet food and dish handling involves potential health risks for both dogs and people, especially those with compromised immune systems. Multiple outbreaks of bacterial illness among dogs and humans have occurred as a result of contaminated dog food. The FDA has issued guidelines on protocols for safe pet food and dish handling, available online, but the information is limited, and the effects of the recommendations have been unclear.

To help clarify, Dr. Luisana and colleagues surveyed 417 dog owners. They found that less than 5 percent were aware of the guidelines, and many owners did not follow many of the recommendations. For instance, only one third reported washing their hands after feeding, and only two thirds reported preparing dog food on separate surfaces from those used for human food. The latter fact is of potential public health importance, but is not addressed in the FDA recommendations.

To better understand the effects of the FDA recommendations, the researchers tested 68 household dog food dishes for bacterial contamination. After initial testing, they divided the owners into three groups with different instructions for implementing food handling guidelines, then tested the dishes again after 1 week. They found significantly reduced contamination of dishes from owners who instituted the FDA’s pet food handling guidelines, either alone or in combination with the FDA’s human food handling protocol, versus dishes from owners who were not asked to implement either protocol.

The researchers note that their study was small and that future research could clarify optimal hygiene strategies and ways to communicate them.

Nonetheless, on the basis of their findings, the researchers outline suggestions to reduce contamination in pet food dishes for owners, veterinarians, pet food sellers and manufacturers. These include ensuring household members who feed pets adhere to FDA guidelines and including written information on guidelines with pet food sales.

The authors add: “Most pet owners are unaware that pet food bowls can be a hidden source of bacteria in the household. Knowing how to mitigate this risk and practice proper pet food storage and hygiene may make for a happier, healthier household.”

To access the journal article in PLOS ONE:  

FDA’s Tips for Safe Handling of Pet Food and Treats

Source: EurekAlert!

Cannabis poisoning cases in pets have increased significantly, study finds

A survey of veterinarians in the U.S. and Canada highlights mounting cases of cannabis poisoning among pets and sheds new light on symptoms, treatments, and outcomes. Richard Quansah Amissah of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on April 20, 2022.

Pets that are exposed to cannabis, most often by ingestion, may experience symptoms of cannabis poisoning — also known as cannabis-induced toxicosis — with varying degrees of severity. While prior evidence suggests that cases of cannabis poisoning among pets are increasing, the actual magnitude of the problem, including typical outcomes for pets, has been unclear.

To improve understanding of cannabis poisoning in pets, Amissah and colleagues analyzed survey data from 251 veterinarians based in Canada or the U.S. Conducted in 2021; the survey included questions about cannabis poisoning cases encountered by participants over several previous years.

Statistical analysis of the survey responses showed that the number of cannabis poisoning cases jumped significantly in both the U.S. and Canada following the 2018 legalization of cannabis in Canada. Unattended ingestion of cannabis edibles was the most frequent cause of poisoning, but it was unclear what proportion of cannabis products had been obtained for human consumption versus medicinal consumption by pets. The authors note that the post-legalization boost could be explained by increased cannabis use, but that increased reporting may have contributed as well.

Cannabis poisoning was most frequently seen in dogs, but cases were also reported in cats, iguanas, ferrets, horses, and cockatoos. While most cases were benign, observed symptoms — seen primarily in dogs — included urinary incontinence, disorientation, and abnormally slow heart rate. Most animals were treated with outpatient monitoring, and nearly all animals recovered completely.

In a small number of cases, veterinarians reported that pets had died due to cannabis poisoning, though the researchers note that other potential causes, such as underlying conditions, could not be ruled out in the study. With use of cannabis products continuing to rise, they call for additional research into the effects of cannabis on pets to help inform veterinary efforts and policies to keep pets healthy.

The authors add: “This is an important topic to study in the light of recent legalization of cannabis in Canada and across multiple states. In order to understand the mechanisms underlying cannabis-induced toxicosis in pets, and to develop treatments for it, we need to first understand what it looks like; this is what we had hoped to accomplish with this survey, and believe that these findings will help us get a better handle on this under-studied topic.”

Journal reference: Prevalence and characteristics of cannabis-induced toxicoses in pets: Results from a survey of veterinarians in North America

Synchrony study unveils staggering findings surrounding lifetime cost of pet ownership

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A new Synchrony study, “Lifetime of Care,”1 has revealed that 7 out of 10 pet owners consider their pets family members; however, nearly half underestimated the lifetime cost of care which ranges from $20,000 to $55,000 for dogs and $15,000 to $45,000 for cats.* In addition, about half of all pet owners who believed they were financially prepared for unexpected pet expenses, were not, and would consider a designated financial solution for pet care.

This research,1 based off on findings from 1,200 pet parents and 100 veterinarians and confirmed by veterinary clinics, offers consumer insight into the cost of lifetime care for canine or feline ownership. Conducted on behalf of Synchrony’s pet and veterinary financial solutions—CareCredit and Pets Best Pet Insurance—the research covered an extensive array of dog and cat expenses (ie, first-year expenses, food and health insurance, end-of-life expenses, etc).

According to the American Pet Products Association,2 90.5 million US homes currently have a pet, and in 2020 itself, $103.6 billion was spent on pet care. The Lifetime of Care study1 displayed dog owners can expect to spend between $1,300 to $2,800 and cat owners approximately $960 to $2,500 in the first year alone.

“Millions of Americans choose to share life with a pet, yet the true cost of ownership has historically been incredibly vague. Our Lifetime of Care study serves as a helpful tool to prepare prospective pet parents,” said Jonathan Wainberg, senior vice president and general manager, Pet, Synchrony, in a company release.3

“We want pet parents to have a deeper understanding of what to expect financially, and knowledge of the flexible payment solutions that are available to help them manage the costs of care throughout their pet’s lifetime,” he added.

Amid the COVD-19 pandemic, it is estimated that 1 in 5 households4 gained a new companion animal. This data propelled Synchrony to promote the financial preparation options available to pet parents including pet insurance like Pets Best and credit cards such as CareCredit.

Together, CareCredit and Pets Best provide a complete financial solution as cardholders can pay at the veterinary practice using their CareCredit card, and then apply the reimbursement from Pets Best towards their CareCredit account.

“Veterinarians often see pet parents struggling to balance the care their pet needs with what they can afford,” said Peter Weinstein, owner of PAW Consulting, author and veterinary industry leader, in the release.3 “This new study provides us a comprehensive look at the true costs of pet care so we can arm our clients with the information and financial solutions they need to care for their pets for a month, year and an entire lifetime.”

View the entire Lifetime of Care study here. Learn more about CareCredit and Pets Best by visiting or

* Includes initial costs, spaying/neutering, technology cost, and end of life expense (high). Low does not include health insurance, wellness plans, or other non-basic expenses.


  1. Lifetime of care study. Synchrony. January 2022. Accessed January 11, 2022.
  2. Pet industry market size, trends & ownership statistics. American Pet Products Association. March 24, 2021. Accessed January 10, 2022.
  3. Synchrony study reveals pet owners spend as much as $55,000 during a pet’s lifetime. News release. Synchrony. January 11, 2022. Accessed January 11, 2022.
  4. ASPCA pandemic pet ownership survey. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. May 26, 2021. Accessed January 11, 2022.