One thing I love about being a veterinarian is the ease with which I can manage my own animals. For example, my dog Apollo recently hurt his foot. I think he stepped on a sharp stick while running around our back yard, but whatever the cause, the result was a deep puncture between the pads of his right front foot. I quickly gathered a bowl of warm soapy water, antiseptic rinse, antibiotic ointment, and bandage material. In 15 minutes or so, the wound was clean, bandaged, and I had started him on some canine antibiotics and pain relievers that I had stashed away for just such an occasion. In a few days, Apollo was back to normal; no inconvenient late night trip to the emergency clinic needed.
Another perk that I enjoy is being able to order most of what I need to take care of my animals from my veterinary supply company, shipping everything directly to my house. This is especially beneficial when it comes to Apollo’s food. He can only eat a prescription diet designed to control his severe inflammatory bowel disease.
Apollo is a big dog, weighing in at a lean 82 pounds the last time I checked. He eats about four cups of this food every day. Since it is pricey, the food comes in relatively small bags (25 pounds is the largest). Therefore, we go through bags VERY quickly. I would not be happy if I had to run to the store every time he was running low. Instead, it simply arrives on my doorstep whenever I need it.
While most owners can’t deal with their dog’s emergency veterinary care on their own, everyone can have dog food shipped directly to their home. Online ordering is available from most major pet supply companies these days. Shipping charges are generally waved as long as the cost of the order reaches a certain limit (e.g., $49).
An especially convenient option is to have your dog’s food shipped automatically every month or so. You probably have a pretty good idea of how quickly your dog goes through a bag (or case) of food. Many online retailers will allow you to set up a regular shipment schedule—say a 25 pound bag of your dog’s food sent every three weeks. Enrolling in auto ship is often also associated with a discount on the food. The retailer wants your repeat business, after all!
There isn’t much risk associated with trying auto ship. Reputable companies allow you to modify or even cancel your standing order at any time. So, if you find your dog is not going through food as quickly as you thought, or he has to eat a special diet for a period of time, you can easily adjust your auto ship.
Convenience, cost savings, and no more late night runs to the pet supply store because you just realized you are out of dog food. What’s not to like?
Dr. Jennifer Coates