Swap Methods to Achieve Similar Results and Reduce Outgoings

Whitby during the autumn is better for dogs

I’ve already published an article about products I’ve swapped for lower-priced goods, which give similar results, and this article methods I’ve used (except an online vet) to reduce outgoings.

Video Vet can be free

“Book an online video chat with one of our online emergency vets and talk through your concerns from the comfort of your own home”


As we proceed into the digital age, we can now have a brief consultation with a qualified vet using our SmartPhone, tablet or desktop computer.

Video VetsNow are linked to your veterinary practice

There is a consultation fee for VetsNow, and the online video vet consultation is only 10 minutes so pre-appointment preparation is vital. If further treatment is required, you will be referred to a practice vet, and the online consultation will be refunded if you visit the clinic within 48 hours. Sometimes it isn’t easy getting an appointment that quickly.

To read more about VideoVet, visit your veterinary website and search the menu or bottom footer for ‘Video Vet’. They may use a different system but will operate more or less the same.

What’s included with the online video vet?

Vets are RCVS registeredBook an appointment online
Costs approx £24 for 10 minutes.
Refunded if you need a veterinary appointment. Appointment must be within 48 hours
Join chat using the confirmation email to your SmartPhone, tablet, laptop or computer
You need a webcam and microphone on your deviceThe vet needs to hear you and see your cat and assess behaviour, body language, physical characteristics and demeanour
Only non-urgent cases onlyAvailable for UK residents
Further information at VetsNow or read the FAQ’s.

FirstVet are linked to your insurance or subscriptions

If you have pet insurance with one of the 18 company partners, you are eligible for FirstVet free of charge. Having a consultation will not affect your insurance premium. Always check the ‘small print’ as, quite often, free veterinary help isn’t prominent on websites. However, Fluffy Pet Insurance highlights its offer of free 24/7 vet and behaviourist helpline, dog training and behaviourist trainer.

However, consultations are chargeable if you do not have insurance with any partners, which I’ve highlighted below.

  • £24 – Weekdays 9 am to 6 pm
  • £36 – Out of hours
  • Open 365 days a year

The online vet can answer health questions and help with illnesses like poisoning, gastrointestinal, and constipation as examples

Emergency treatment must be made with your registered vet.

What’s included with the online video vet?

Download the app using Google Play or AppleCreate an account and add your pet’s details
If insured with one of the 18 partners, it’s freeOption to upload images before the call
Select which pet the call is for and book and appointmentIt will not affect your insurance premiums
Will not affect your insurance premiums
Further information at FirstVet

Who are the 18 pet insurance companies?

Co-opRSPCA Pet InsurancePETtrac
LVItchPetPets in a Pickle
Vets Medi CoverNCIPetsure
Many Pets (bow Bought by Many)4PawsNapo
***RevolutPetwise SeniorPitPat
Cover My PetPet GuardInsure Your Paws
Visit FirstVet’s insurance listing for full details

**Revolut is a legitimate bank but one used by scammers. One particular scam on Facebook is different companies set up selling logs in the UK. The images are similar, and the houses and vehicles are American.

Subscribing for wellness or flea treatment products with ItchPet entitles a member to use FirstVet for free. This applies from month two of a subscription. I’ll buy monthly flea treatments from ItchPet, especially as you get the first month free.

What is the overall comparison between VetsNow & FirstVet?

A video vet does not deal with emergencies, so if your pet is in a life-threatening situation, please go directly to your vet.

VetsNow (used by a vet practice)FirstVet (access if online retailer)
7 days a week between 8 am to 11 pmOpen 24/7
U.K. registered RCVS vetsU.K. registered RCVS vets with 3+ years of experience
Pay as you goFree service if your pet is insured with their pet insurance providers or if you registered with ItchPet after making a product purchase. £24 – £36 if not
£24 for 10 mins (refunded if referred to an in-person vet)Free unlimited consultations with pet insurance and ItchPet subscription. Says 2/3 cases solved with a video call
The vet will look and listen to your pet online.
help with preventative care, advice on ongoing and chronic conditions, non-urgent queries
Help with: ear & eye, coughing & sneezing, small cuts & grazes, allergies & skin, minor injuries & accidents, intestinal issues (vomiting and diarrhoea), poisons, ticks, wellness, rehabilitation, advice for horses
App unavailable – access with mobile, laptop, tablet, PCFirstVet App available – access using the app

Dog Grooming: professional groom or do-it-yourself?

Professional grooming prices vary depending on the size of your dog, the location, and what the business offers. For example, some grooming parlours offer a bath, dry groom, and clipped nails. Others offer playtime with dogs of similar size or a pamper package; others have hydrotherapy available. These all have running costs and staffing and will reflect in the price.

With today’s cost of living crisis, dog grooming every two months adds up for those making cutbacks. Read my article about why our dogs must be groomed. It’s also about maintaining a healthy coat and basic hygiene. Nails must be trimmed to prevent them from curling around, making walking difficult and painful, especially if overgrown nails pierce the paw pads.

We bought a set of Andis clippers and my Instagram reel shows how easy it was to clip Teddy’s coarse fur. So is buying professional dog clippers the answer? If grooming your dog, don’t expect the outcome to resemble a professional clip, but with practice, you can master groomingmy YouTube shows you our first attempt at grooming Teddy and, again, how easy and effective the Andis clippers are.

If brave enough, you could invest in a set of nail clippers and trim your dog’s nails, or for around the same price, ask the vet or nurse to trim them during a routine appointment.

Comparison between 3 grooming parlours

Parlour 1 is set up in a small shop with one room divided into sections. The business is in a mid-affordable area and priced accordingly.

Bath, dry, groom, nail trim & perfume finishPrices around £40 to £50 for a medium to large dog
Shelf with secondhand dog coats sold at low-costPayment plan offered – pay weekly, so paid in full by the appointment
Option to have a bath only and towel dry at a lower costCanine first aider

Parlour 2 has a lavish setting, hence the higher charges.

Bath, dry, coat restyle, nail trim, ear clean & perfume finishOption hypoallergenic shampoo £2 extra
Puppy full groom £25Nail trim only £10 for 30 minutes
Small dog full groom £20 – £35Pampered Pooch Package £5 extra for 30 minutes: Designer perfume blueberry facial, ear plucking, luxury shampoo & conditioner, paw balm
Large dog full groom £45 – £65
Extra large dog full groom £65 – £100

Parlour 3 is set in a village location and is based on 30-minutes increments regardless of dog size.

£8 for 30 minutesA bath, dry, groom and nails will take longer than 30 mins
The larger the dog, the longer the session

Watch the Reel: During the Winter months, we took Teddy to a doggy parlour for a £15 bath. The session included a towel dry and perfume, so if cutting costs, it is worth asking for a bath only.

Swap to: grooming at home with professional clippers

what clipper is easy to groom my dog at home
Andis AGC2 UltraEdge

Because Teddy is around 59kg, he is classed as a giant dog. As seen above, costs depend on what the parlour offers and general overheads.

We purchased the Andis AGC2 UltraEdge Clippers because they are suitable for an amateur, easy to control and handle, and smooth to groom a dog’s fur. Teddy’s fur is thick and coarse, and the clippers glided through, as the video below demonstrates the first time we used them.

Watch the Video: Home Dog Grooming: Andis AGC2 UltraEdge Clippers. Amateur: We Save Money with Home Grooming

Prices vary for professional clippers. Never use clippers designed for human use. The same applies to cat clippers; they are unsuitable for a dog. Anything not designed for its true purpose may injure your companion, and it will take longer to groom and will not be a smooth finish.

I wrote an article about three salon dog grooming clippers and which is the best to invest in for home use. At the time, the Andis was affordable and, for us, proved itself to be invaluable. But research products and buy what is suitable for you. The following products are based on beginners, start-ups, students and professional dog groomers.

ProductRecommended for
Andis UltraEdge AGC 2 speed
Students, start-ups & beginners
Ideal for tough, thick coats
Andis UltraEdge AGC Super 2 SpeedStudents and start-ups
Ideal for tough coats
**Beginners: faster speed
Wahl Student Starter Kit
Ideal if starting a career
Andis UltraEdge AGC 2 Speed Clipper with Wahl 8 Comb Guide BundleSuits all coats and multiple dogs groomed in one day

We paid £145 for the Andis UltraEdge AGC 2 Speed, and after three grooms, we earned our money back.

One point to consider if grooming at home is securing your dog. In a grooming parlour, a dog is secured with professional restraints, but at home, having an assistant and using a collar, lead, and on the floor is easier. A rubber mat may be practical to prevent a dog from slipping. I’ve groomed Teddy alone and succeeded eventually, but a few times, he wandered off. During the Summer, he is groomed outside and secured with a lead attached to his collar. The lead is threaded through an outdoor handle loop.

In a grooming parlour, calming pheromones will be sprayed, so an option at home. I use Rescue Remedy, which is available as a spray, diffuser or wipes.

Watch the Video: Quick Tip to Secure Your Dog if Grooming Alone

Related articles

Microchip charges: Free vs charges

How can I pay for vet bills

When your pet has a microchip implanted by a professional person, there is a charge. It is then the owner’s responsibility to contact the microchip database the chip is assigned to and register that chip with your up-to-date contact details. Failure to add or update contact details will mean you will not be reunited with a missing pet.

It is worth noting that you do not have control over which microchip database the professional implanter uses. However, you can transfer to another more suited to your requirements.

**Registration can be completed by:

  • Online with the database
  • Posting the form the implanter has given you (take a copy with the microchip number)
  • Telephone

**Please read the details on the website of your preferred database

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home reported in 2021 that 63% of stray dogs have out-of-date microchips.

The reasons could be as follows:

  • Updating the microchip with a new mobile number or address was forgotten
  • Unable to afford to update details
  • Believing that their pet will never go missing and therefore updating information doesn’t matter, mainly because of the cost

What does Identibase charge?

Identibase is listed on the Government website as one of nineteen legal microchip databases. Identibase is transparent with its charges, so let’s look at costs for 2023 if you want to update contact details and activate a lost pet service.

£10 per year
£30 per year
**includes Identibase
£119 one-off
**includes Identialert
Free registrationYesYesYes
Data securedYesYesYes
Missing pet helpline8 am to 6 pm24/724/7
Unlimited changes to your accountYesYesYes
Text (SMS)alerts to over 4 million pet owners locallyNoYesYes
One membership for all pets in the same homeNoYesYes
Monitoring 5000 vet practices to check if the chip has been scannedNo YesYes
Sharing your missing pet on social mediaNoYesYes
Alerts sent to the Police, dog wardens, refuges, vets within a 20-mile radiusNoYes
Missing pet posts are available, and tips for reunificationNo YesYes
Real-time location tracking with PitPat GPS trackerNoYesYes
Data from Identibase

Transfer to or from Identibase

Swap to: Pet Database offers a FREE service

The same applies; a professional microchip implanter inserts the chip for a charge, and the owner must register contact details, enabling reunification with a pet.

What does Pet Database charge?

Pet Database is also one of the nineteen Government backed microchip companies. Let’s see what is offered and what is chargeable for 2023.

Update your contact details as many times as you wantFree
Activate and use a lost pet serviceFree
Sharing on social mediaFree
Receive Safety Pings whenever your pet’s microchip is scanned Free
Add more than one pet to a single accountFree
Notifications sent to local dog wardens and vetsFree
Perks for your pet with TailsterFree
Data from Pet Database

Transfer to or from Pet Database

Dog Lost, a 24/7 national database founded to reunite dogs with their owners, is a service known to Police, vets, rescue centres, dog wardens and highway agencies, and partnered with Pet Database.

I transferred Tabitha, my geriatric cat, to Pet Database from PetLog, and after giving authorisation to Pet Log, the transfer was smooth, and I was kept up-to-date by the new provider. I also transferred my missing cat Sam, and activated the lost pet service too.

“Keep track of where and when your pet’s microchip has been searched for, so you can stay on top of who’s accessing your pet’s detail”

Pet Database

I own an Angel microchip scanner, and I tested the Safety Pings and the date and time registered on my account. Time, date and pet were listed. The name was blank, and the contact was unknown, but I am not from a professional organisation. So the details of a private individual using a scanner will probably not appear in the Safety Ping section.

Safety Ping layout:

Date / TimeNameContactPet

After-death Pet memorial: make your own vs buying

make your own pet memorial

It is comforting to have a memorial dedicated to your beloved pet. It is something special to remember them by, and, oddly, it feels like a pet is close. Today, there is a wide variety of pet memorial types to choose from – engraved boxes, glass inscriptions, small trees, forgot-me-not flowers planted in a pot or rocks for the garden are just a few choices. Prices vary from low to high.

Whatever is decided, I recommend not including the date of death because of being a constant painful reminder of the date. Always remember the good times you had with your pet.

My cats have memorial rocks, from expensive slate to rock resin to a handmade painted rock for Molly, who passed aged 20.

Buy a handmade pet memorial

Buying a handmade pet memorial is never easy, and many options are available for pet owners looking to honour their companions. Below are selected crafted pet memorials created by artisans.

CreatorPet memorial typePrice
LetterfestEngraved plant pot
(seeds optional)
£27.20 – £29.75
(excludes compost)
Tinkered by Dani Elle UKPersonalised crafted wire paw £6.75 – £6.75
Unique Pet PrintsPrinted pet portrait with name£11.70 – £19.80
(by number of pets)
Gift Lover Artpersonalised portrait bracelet£16.00 – £22.50
Visit Etsy’s pet memorial gifts

Swap to: Paint a pet memorial rock

Handpainting a rock as a pet memorial is a unique and meaningful way to honour a special memory of your beloved pet. Read on for an idea of how to create a beautiful memorial for indoors or outdoors.

Items you need:

  • A large rock or small pebble
  • Pot of acrylic paint (or more if a multi-coloured design)
  • Acrylic pen to write text (and love hearts!). Make sure the nib isn’t too thick
  • 1″ width decorator paintbrushes for different colours and one for the varnish
  • Yacht varnish (optional) for outdoors
  • An old tile or piece of plastic to rest the rock as it dries

Places to buy materials cheaply:

  • Wilko
  • B&M
  • Poundland
  • Poundstretcher
  • Boynes


1: Wash the rock thoroughly. Use a brush to clean dirt from the crevices. Leave to dry

2: Paint your first coat of colour to one side and leave it to dry on a hard surface. Do not dry on newspaper as the paint (or varnish will stick to it)

3: Paint a second coat and leave to dry

4: Repeat to the opposite side of the rock

5: Using an acrylic pen, add your text and hearts. Leave to dry

6: If an outdoor memorial, varnish the rock and leave it thoroughly to dry. If an indoor memorial, varnishing is optional. I did not varnish Molly’s rock

Poppy’s Pets has a column in the Withernsea District & Community News


The reason I write and make YouTube videos is to help you and your pets from my experiences, and to take you through a journey of Green Living from worm composting and bokashi.

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