Homestead Hints ~ Being Your Own Vet

by Merissa on August 6, 2011

in Homestead Hints

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Out here in the country, life revolves a little differently than it does in the city. We put hard, long hours into making our homestead a self sufficient haven for our families. Homestead Hints will be a series following things that we’ve learned over the last several years on how to make our homestead living a little better. Welcome to the Little Homestead on the Prairie…

Even though we only live about 10 miles from our vet we just don't get there very often. It's an extra trip to town and you can't really do anything else because then you have the animals with you. Growing up I learned that there is alot of "vet work" that you can do on your own, no special skills required! There are some shots and meds that you cannot get in the store however so it's not a "fix-all" type of solution but it might save you some trips to town.

1. Get the basic 3 in 1 shots at your local farm store. In most farm stores (Ours is Runnings) there is a small refridgerator located somewhere in the store. It contains quite a few different shots and meds. One of those meds is a 3 in 1 shot that you give to cats when they are little and then once every few years. You can pick one up for only around $5. It's not as hard as you think it is to administer a shot either, escpecially on a cat. Make sure you put on gloves and you have a helper that also is wearing gloves. Have your helper hold the cat, then pull up the loose skin around the back of the cats neck and stick the shot in. Make sure you read any other instructions on the shot also when you get it. (I think it might have to be a certain temperature before administered.)

2. Don't pay to take the animal to the vet when they have worms. They are easy to treat at home. But don't by the medicine that you see in Walmart or various other retailers. Those meds are usually for heartworm or roundworm. You need to get a med for tapeworm. 1-800-PetMeds sells tapeworm meds for Cats and Dogs. (And you can even get $5 off your order when you enter the coupon code WEBC5) You will end up paying around $8 - $9 per pill, however it only takes one pill to treat them and they do work. If you have a good calm kitty you can get them to swallow the pill by opening their mouth and placing it it the back, then just stroke the kitty's throat until she swallows. If she won't do that, we use wet canned cat food as a treat and grind up the pill in her food. It will still work the same. Either method will also work on dogs as well.

3. Flea and tick care. You could spend a fortune on flea and tick meds when the season rolls out, or shop smart and watch for clearance in the fall. I rarely pay more than $1 for a flea and tick collar and last year I found a whole bunch of the month long flea and tick liquid care for $0.99 per box (which had 3 months worth of treatments!) Watch your local surplus stores, Walgreens, or retail stores for clearance. Personally we've also found that even if the product is slightly out of date, it still works just fine.

Those are just a few ways to treat basic pet problems at home. Remember I'm not a vet, these are just ways that we've tried and they work for us. Our pets still get the care they need and we save money and time by doing it ourselves.

Looking for more money saving pet tips?

What do you do for your pets at home that you might otherwise have to take them to the vet?

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8:35 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina December 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm

We use teatree oil for flea care during the season. We wash our dog once a week and rub him down with the oil. Keep it away from the face. It works for cats too.


2 Dianne February 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm

When treating cats and dogs for fleas, is tea tree oil safe should the animal lick their fur ?


3 Kathy Burr February 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Do you use the teatree oil instead of the product like.. Frontline? We live in South Mississippi where fleas & ticks are very prevalent.


4 Bobbie April 1, 2014 at 6:18 am

Please Don’t use tea tree oil on your animals. my daughter used it on her dog and it nearly killed him! cats are even more susceptible. there are other things that will work just as well. i enjoy this site so much! bobbie


5 Mary April 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I moved to the Ozarks 4 years ago. When we moved here one of the first things we did was get my daughter a dog. He is a 150 lb bullmastiff and a huge baby. After the first year using a well-known chemical for ticks etc… on my family and expensive chemical for the dog, I had to find something different and it works very, very well. The dog is bathed using the original blue Dawn dish soap – it kills fleas on contact. Love it! For a spray for both my family and the dog I combine the following in a 99 cent spray bottle from Wal Mart: 1 teaspoon Dawn dish soap, 6 – 8 drops tea tree oil, 6 – 8 drops of peppermint essential oil, 1 cup witch hazel, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and the rest of the bottle filled with water. Shake well. We use it daily during tick and flea season. I won’t use anything else. We do not spray this on the dogs head just in case it gets in his eyes so instead we put a couple of drops of Palmerosa essential oil on his collar which repels ticks from his head. The dog has never been sick from this. Hope this helps. 🙂


6 Charolett August 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

I use Avon skin so soft. I rub a small amount into my hands and rub on my small dogs being careful not to get it into their eyes. This works great. If you use to much they will look greasy tho.


7 Alisha February 24, 2016 at 11:58 pm

I just want to post a few cautions regarding ‘being your own vet’

Some flea/tick products on the market can kill cats and small dogs. Particularly the ones containing pymethrins/permethrins. I am a vet tech and have seen many animals brought in having full on seizures just from a well-meaning owner applying a flea/tick product.

Feedstore vaccines are great as long as they came from a reputable distributor and were stored properly. If a vaccine is left at room temperature too long by one stockboy, in can be rendered useless. The AVMA recommendation for cats and dogs are shots at 6, 9, 12 and 16 weeks of age, then once yearly.

All wormers are not created equal and not all wormers treat all worms. No medicine at Walmart is for heartworms (heartworm prevention is prescription only) You can only see tapeworms and roundworms with the naked eye. If your pet has whipworms, hookworms or coccidia, you wont see them. Pets can and do die from these worms.

Also concerning 1-800-petmeds and other online retailers, please keep in mind that just because a product label looks IDENTICAL to another product, does not mean that the medicine inside the package is the same.

Please use caution and when in doubt CALL YOUR VET! Vets who see farm animals are used to farmers taking care of minor issues at home and will be more than happy to advise you and answer any questions. 🙂


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