Houston Animal Rescuer Gives Second-Hand Pet Supplies New Life

While working at a pet store back in 1997, Janet Huey — a long time Houston animal rescuer — had a thought: where do pet supplies go when a pet dies or outgrows them?

“This was way before eBay, Craigslist, etc.,” Janet says. “There was no niche anywhere.”

She decided to leave her job and start Pet Resale Stuff, a mobile microbiz serving the huge pet community in Houston, TX. Pet Resale Stuff does just what it says — resells discarded pet stuff. Janet’s inventory is made up of items that pet owners trade in, items found at thrift stores, and items that she collects through referrals from veterinary clinics.

If you live in the Houston area, be sure to stop by Pet Resale Stuff’s Facebook page to find out about upcoming sales and offers.

“Recycling pet items is increasing in popularity,” Janet says. “Younger people are really liking the ‘green’ aspect.”

At any given time, Janet may be selling crates, beds, leashes, toys, grooming supplies, pet clothes, and more at deep discounts. She also sells non-pet items that become pet items with a bit of imagination.

“Sleeping bags make great, inexpensive beds for big and little dogs,” Janet says. “And pillow shams with a thick piece of foam make inexpensive beds, as they usually come in pairs.”

Because Janet cares about the safety of her two-legged and four-legged customers, she makes sure to clean and disinfect anything she plans to resell.

“For cat trees, for example, I replace the sisal and let the tree sit out in the sun before using lots of carpet cleaner,” Janet says.

And if an item doesn’t meet her standards for reselling, she’ll keep it for herself if she can use it for her own dogs, cats, or cockatiel.

Pet Resale Stuff is mobile and sells at the Westbury Animal Hospital in Houston on weekends. Janet also makes deliveries. Her client base is made up of employees at vet clinics, loyal shoppers who like the delivery option, and a spay/neuter clinic that buys up every crate Janet can find.

“I love everything about my job,” Janet says. “I get the most joy out of keeping a dog in a home when the humans were ready to give up on them. And I’m able to save Houstonians money while keeping stuff out of landfills.”

And if you want to save on pet care and you don’t live in Houston, sign up for PetPlus! PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Find out more at PetPlus.com.

Thank you, Janet, for all that you do!


At-Home Pet Grooming Tricks

My Standard Poodle, Wade, is a wonderful guy. He’s an expert cuddler, a social butterfly who loves all people and animals, and he’s always making my husband and I laugh with his funny expressions and mischievous antics; he’s only 1 and ½ years-old, so he still has a lot of puppy spunk!

He’s a really great dog. However, he’s also a big dog — 56 lbs. at his last check-up — and having a large dog comes with its costs, one of which is expensive grooming. Now, full disclosure: I live in Los Angeles, where prices may be higher because it is a big city. Nevertheless, the first time we took Wade to a professional groomer, they charged $70 for the works. As he’s grown and gained weight, that price has gone up, and a full groom now costs $100. Ouch.

Poodles need to be brushed and groomed regularly to keep their thick, curly, ever-growing hair clean and free of mats. Knowing that we were looking at spending $100 every 6 weeks or so, we decided to learn how to groom at home.

At first it was challenging; especially with a puppy, we dealt with a lot of wiggling and escape attempts.

Over time, however, Wade got more comfortable with being groomed, and we’ve learned some tricks along the way that make the whole process a lot easier. So without further adieu, here are 5 of our favorite at home grooming tricks and tips.

1. Brush First, and Use The Right Kind of Brush

Trying to brush out wet, tangled hair is no fun. The best thing that you can do for your dog’s coat is brush it out regularly (once a week or more, depending on what kind of hair they have), and you should also give your pal a thorough once over with a brush before bathing/grooming to loosen mats, tangles, and check for fleas, ticksfoxtails, burrs, or other foreign matter.

The kind of brush that you use is important, and will depend on your dog’s hair.

  • Slicker brushes have thin, stainless steel pins that work to remove mats and tangles. They are perfect for dogs with medium-to-long or curly-haired breeds (like Wade!)
  • Pin brushes look like brushes that we humans use. Pin brushes are less effective at working through tangles than Slicker brushes, so they are better suited to dogs with naturally smooth hair (like Yorkshire Terriers) or any dog that is brushed regularly and thus doesn’t have mats or tangles. They can also be used as a finishing brush.
  • Bristle Brushes can help to reduce shedding and can be used on all dog breeds, depending on the length and spacing of the bristles. For example, if you have a dog with a long coat, the bristles should be long and widely spaced.

2. Use A Detachable Shower Head

Once we figured this one out, we couldn’t believe that it hadn’t occurred to us before. Before using a detachable shower head, we would use a pitcher or Tupperware bowl to wet Wade down. Wade has extremely thick hair, so fully wetting his body and washing off soap required multiple, tiring scoops of water. We decided to pick up a detachable shower head for $18 at a home improvement store, and washing Wade has never been easier. Just be sure that you get one with enough length to reach your pup — ours has an 8 foot hose.

3. Get A Better Lather and Save Money By Diluting Soap

If you try to squeeze soap directly onto your dog, you’ll end up using a lot more than you need, and soap can be expensive (unless you make your own at home!) Instead, put a bit of soap into a squeeze bottle or container (like a Tupperware), fill it up with water, mix it around, and squirt or pour the mixture over your dog. You’ll get more mileage out of your soap and a much better lather, too.

4. Desensitize Your Dog To Clippers

Ah yes, clippers. Wade was NOT too pleased the first time he heard and felt clippers. Clippers are often noisy, and the sensation is unnatural — like a strange vibration. Before using clippers to groom your dog, get them familiar with the sounds and feelings so they won’t be afraid. Turn the clippers on and give your dog a treat. Touch the body of the clipper gently to different parts of your dog (without actually removing any hair) and offer a treat. Do this once a day leading up to grooming. One note: be sure to introduce the clippers to your dog’s legs at some point; the legs are the most sensitive parts of many dogs (this is certainly the case for Wade).

5. Use Corn Starch For A Nicked Toenail

Even with lots of practice and the best intentions, chances are you will draw blood from time to time when trimming your pet’s nails. You can stop the bleeding with styptic pads or powder purchased from the pet store, or you can do like we do, and use corn starch. Corn starch quickly stops bleeding by causing a clot at the site of the wound. Simply put some corn starch into a bowl and dip your dog’s nicked nail into it. Let the corn starch sit on the nail for a while before washing it off. To avoid a starchy mess while you wait, put a sock over your dog’s foot.

So those are some of our tips! What are yours? Leave a comment below and let us know! In addition, if you’re into saving money by grooming at home, you might also be interested in PetPlus. With PetPlus, you can save on your pet’s medications, boarding, supplies, and more.


5 Not-So-Obvious Ways To Save On Pet Care

Owning a pet is a wonderful experience, but it isn’t always cheap. The American Pet Products Association found that Americans spent approximately $55 billion on their pets in 2013, and that number is expected to climb to $58 billion in 2014.

If you own a pet, chances are you feel the financial crunch from time to time. But fortunately, there are ways to save on caring for your pet, and they might not be what you’d expect.

1. Spay or Neuter Your Pet

If you think that spaying and neutering only serves to keep your pet from getting pregnant or impregnating, think again. While controlling the pet population is a very important reason to fix your pet, it’s not the only one. Spaying and neutering can also save you money in the long run by improving your pet’s behavior and cleanliness and preventing certain diseases that could be costly to treat down the road.

Spaying or neutering improves your pet’s behavior by reducing the likelihood of sex-related aggression that can lead to fighting and expensive injuries. Spaying and neutering also controls marking around the house, which can help you to save on cleaning bills. As far as preventing costly diseases, neutering eliminates the possibility of your male cat or dog getting testicular cancer, and spaying keeps female pets from developing uterine cancer and reduces the risk of breast cancer.

These routine surgeries very rarely have complications, and most veterinarians suggest that you spay or neuter your pet around six months of age. To save on the procedure itself, you can search for low-cost spay/neuter programs in your area on the ASPCA website. A benefit of PetPlus is Pet Assure, which provides 25% off vet visits and procedures at participating vets.

RELATED STORY: How Much Should Spaying A Pet Cost?

2. Buy In Bulk and Consider Splitting Supplies

Buying in bulk tends to be less expensive, whether we are talking about packs of paper towel or bags of pet food. Buying in bulk might be something that you already do if you have multiple or large pets, but if you have a small pet or only one furry friend, it might not seem convenient.

It can be, however, if you have the space to safely store bulk items. Food should be kept in an airtight container, and food that won’t be used within a month should go in the freezer. If you don’t have enough room to store a bulk purchase, find someone who wants to share in the haul. Maybe you have a neighbor who owns a dog, and they’d like to split a bag of healthy food. Or perhaps you have a few cat-owning friends who would want to get together and throw down on a massive sack of litter. Reach out to your network; saving on your pet’s supplies might just be a phone call away.

3.  Feed Your Pet The Right Amount Of Food

Seem obvious? You’d be surprised. According to a recent study by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 50% of pets are overweight, and overfeeding is one of the leading causes of obesity in pets. Overfeeding therefore not only harms your wallet, it can also harm your four-legged friend. Ask your veterinarian to help you determine the correct portion size for your pal.

Remember that the portions indicated on most pet food labels refer to the average pet, and depending on your pet’s size, age, health, and activity level, their needs may be different. In addition, you should avoid free-feeding your pet, and you should serve your pet’s portion out of a measuring cup (as opposed to a scoop or coffee cup) to be sure that you’re doling out the exact recommended portion.

RELATED STORY: Your Dog Food Questions Answered

4. Alternative Boarding

Travelling tends to be expensive even if you don’t have a pet. If you do, you’ll need to add to your spending the cost of boarding your pet for each day you’ll be away. Going with traditional means of boarding such as a kennel can cost between $25-$45 per night. However, there are other options out there, such as in-home boarding. In-home boarding has become very popular not only because it is less expensive than kenneling (some in-home boarders charge as little as $15 per night), but also because your pet stays in a comfortable home environment, receives individualized attention, and is less likely to catch diseases that sometimes show up in boarding facilities.

DogVacay.com is one website that makes finding an in-home boarder incredibly easy. You can search by geographic location, browse profiles of boarders who have already passed a background check, and read reviews of boarders by pet parents.

Want to save even more on pet boarding? Sign up for PetPlus and get $50 off dog boarding services.

5. Buy Your Pet’s Medications Online

When your veterinarian prescribes a medication for your pet, you don’t need to purchase it then and there at the vet’s office. In fact, buying medication at the vet’s office is considerably more expensive than buying online. Why? Because according to The American Animal Hospital Association, vets mark up medications from 100 percent to 1000 percent!

These markups are so drastic because vets need to compensate for the fact that they aren’t purchasing medications in bulk, mostly because they won’t be prescribing large amounts of specific medications, but also because they don’t have the space to store bulk orders. Online pharmacies, however, do have the space and do buy in bulk, and therefore can pass those savings on to you. With PetPlus, for example, you could save up to 75% on your pet’s medications.

Do you know some other not-so-obvious ways of saving on pet care? Leave a comment below!


3 Brilliant Box Hacks For Cats

Next time you receive a gift or get a package in the mail, don’t kick the box to the curb! Instead, turn it into a fort, puzzle feeder, or scratcher for your favorite feline. These hacks are so simple and satisfying that the whole family will want to join in. So come along! It’s time to think inside the box.

Box Hack #1: Cat Fort

Cats love to explore, climb, and hide, which explains why there is a such huge market for cat forts and cat condos. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to give your cat the playhouse of their dreams; all you really need is some boxes and a box cutter or X-Acto knife.

When it comes to designing a fort, the possibilities are endless. You can cut holes for your cat (or cats) to squeeze through, create small square windows for peeking, or fashion arched doorways for a fort that’s fit for royalty. Stack boxes, line them up side by side (secret tunnel, anyone?), or spread them out around the house.

If you really want to get creative, you can get out the art supplies and paint the fort to look like a little house, a castle, a hotel, or whatever you dream up.

Box Hack #2: Cat Puzzle Feeder

What if you could feed your cat, provide them mental stimulation, and satisfy their hunting instincts all at once? Puzzle feeders — games that require your cat to problem solve in order to get their food — do just that. There are plenty of cat puzzle feeders for sale at pet stores, but you can easily make your own at home.

What will you need? A small cardboard box and a box cutter or X-Acto knife should do the trick.


1. Seal up the box if it is open. If it is a box with a lid, tape or glue the lid so that it will not separate from the box.

2. Cut holes into the top of the box. The holes should be big enough that your cat can reach their paws through and fish out the food.

3. Give it a test drive. Put the box on the ground and let your kitty have at it. If they are having trouble reaching the food, make the holes a bit larger. You can also cut off the bottoms of plastic water bottles (make sure they are sanitized!) and stick them into the holes, then fill those with food. This will give your cat easier access, but will be less challenging.

You can also use the puzzle feeder for games that don’t involve food. Stick your cat’s favorite toys into the holes — a mini mouse, a bell, a fuzzy ball — and watch them go wild.

RELATED STORY: How To Play With A Cat

Box Hack #3: Cat Scratcher

Cats love to scratch, and sometimes, our furniture or pocketbooks suffer for it. Fortunately, making a cat scratcher at home is ridiculously easy. All you’ll need is some corrugated cardboard boxes, a ruler, a box cutter/X-acto knife, glue, and masking tape.


1. Cut strips of cardboard that are all the same width. You can make the scratcher as wide or narrow as you want. For a wider scratcher, you’ll need more strips.

2. Once you have all of your strips cut, you can make either a round or square scratcher. To make a round scratcher, simply wrap the strips around each other with a line of glue between each layer. Once you have all of the strips wrapped, seal the whole thing off with masking tape (you can even get a decorative kind with a fun pattern).

To make a square or rectangular scratcher, run a line of glue along the center of each strip, stack them all together, and then apply pressure for several minutes until they are packed tightly. Then, seal off the edges with masking tape, or place the scratcher into a box where it will fit snugly (like a shoe box).

Your cat will probably be waiting in the wings to get access to their new scratcher, but if they need a little encouragement, sprinkle some catnip on top.

RELATED STORY: Treat Your Cat To A Catnip Surprise

Making DIY projects at home is just one savvy way to save on your cat’s supplies. If you want to save even more, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus offers discounts of up to 75% on pet medications, and ordering is so easy! Have any other money-saving tips for pets? Leave a comment below and let us know!


The 5 Biggest Pet Expenses

We know that pets aren’t cheap — what with vet bills, food, toys, medications, pets can quickly end up costing you a pretty penny. Beyond the obvious, however, there are a number of underlying ways your new furry pal could end up shrinking your wallet. Here are 6 of the most common, yet unexpected, pet-related expenses.

1. Emergency Vet Visits

petexpensesBeyond your pet’s annual, which (all things considered) should not leave such a hefty dent in your bank account, should your pet fall ill, or end up injured, you are going to have to take them to the vet; and this time it might end up seriously costing you. Depending on the cause of the emergency trip, a last minute vet bill can quickly range into the thousands of dollars.

2. Bye-Bye Security Deposit

If you are renting, chances are you laid down a considerable amount of money at signing time, fully expecting to get that money back. Well, should your new pet decide to claw at any corners, or make the living room carpet their wee-wee pad, you can kiss a considerable chunk of that security deposit goodbye.

3. Pet-Proofing Your Home

It may not look it, but your house probably has a few aspects that, in your pet’s mischievous paws, could end up being dangerous. Things like making sure that every trash can has a lid, hanging up all your potted plants, or fencing in the yard — while only one time expenses – can certainly start to add up.

 4. Replacing Destroyed Possessions

Most pets are unaware of the fine line between “theirs” and “yours,” which can quickly become a problem when they get bored with their chew toy and decide to gnaw on your iPad. Not only can this be dangerous to their health, but constantly having to replace things like shoes, belts, phones, pocketbooks, stuffed animals, or anything else they can get their paws on, can quickly add up.

Not to mention if they are not housebroken

5. Vacation Expenses

Next time you get home from a vacation, take a look at how much you spent. Then tack on an extra $40 a day and see what that number looks like, because that is what it will probably run you to have your pet put up in a boarding facility.

6. Bump Up That Insurance!

Pet related incidents make up for almost a third of all homeowners insurance claims, and insurers are no dummies. They know exactly how much risk they are assuming by insuring you, and are going to adjust your premium accordingly. So, if you have a dog (not to mention a breed that is considered dangerous), insurance companies can quickly start to jack up the price on you.

View more from Sam Bourne

Some of the extra costs associated with having a pet are unavoidable, but over-paying on pet medication is not one of them. If your pet is taking any medicine, prescription or not, consider ordering them the savvy way, and learn more about PetPlus.


A Tale of Two Kitties — Why You Should Go to Your Annual Vet Visit

Despite the heaps of evidence proving why one should always attend their annual vet visit, many pet parents opt out, seeing them as a waste of time and money. To help reiterate the importance of taking your pet to the vet once a year, we are proud to present…



Milo is an eight-week-old tabby that was recently adopted. His new parents, Roger and Amy, made the responsible choice to take their new kitten to the vet right away to get vaccinated and neutered. They looked online for vet reviews, found a well rated, inexpensive clinic in the area, and made an appointment for later in the week.

Way to go, team!

Money Spent: $25


Nala is a seven-week-old domestic shorthair that was adopted by Shelly, a girl who just moved out of her parents’ house. Shelly decided to get a kitten to keep her company in her new apartment. She was going to make an appointment with a vet, but her new job starts on Monday, and she just didn’t have the time.

Oh, Shelly…

Money Spent: $25


Thursday is here, and it is time for Milo’s first trip to the vet. Here he has his blood tested, temperature taken, teeth checked, and vaccinations administered, running Roger and Amy a total of $130. After the appointment, Roger and Amy set up another appointment for Milo to be neutered.

Good job, gang!

Money Spent: $155


Thursday rolls around for Shelly. Little did she know that once work started up, her free time was quickly filled up with assignments and deadlines. Nala still has not been to the vet, but she seems healthy enough. She’ll just take her to the vet if something seems wrong…

Come on, Shelly!

Money Spent: $25


10 months later, it is time for Milo’s first birthday! Having already formed a great relationship with their local vet, Roger and Amy receive a letter in the mail reminding them that it is time to schedule Milo’s 1 year checkup. They promptly respond, and then blow out the candles on Milo’s tuna cake.

Nice touch, guys!

Money Spent: $155


A year passes and Nala still has not been to the vet. At this point she is a fully grown female cat, and is now officially in heat. Male cats are yowling outside Shelly’s window and Nala has been spraying around the house. Also, Nala has been very low energy and has been coughing

Looks like it is finally time to head to the vet, Shelly.

Money Spent: $25


Milo goes in for his first annual checkup! Roger and Amy tell their vet that Milo has been doing great. She checks Milo’s vitals and confirms Milo’s perfect bill of health, gives him his booster shots, and Roger and Amy are out the door in record time, and with the peace of mind provided by the vet. Well worth the $50.

Way to be, Roger and Amy!

Money Spent: $205


Shelly rushes Nala over to the emergency room where they wait for an hour and a half to see the vet because they did not make an appointment. After the vet runs a series of tests on Nala, he tells Shelly that Nala has Feline Calicivirus, and will likely be prone upper respiratory infections for the rest of her life. Also, Nala has a tooth extracted — a form of treatment for the condition.

Sadly, Nala’s condition is not curable — and while it is not directly life threatening, it could have been avoided with a simple vaccination. The visit to the ER, along with the antibiotic for Nala’s URI and the tooth extraction, run shelly just over $400. And with Nala’s condition, this is likely just the first of many trips to have a respiratory infection treated.

See, Shelly?

Money Spent: $430


And that, in a nutshell, outlines the importance of maintaining proper pet health care. Pets, just like people, are a finely tuned machine. But even the best machine needs a check under the hood every once in a while. So, if you haven’t scheduled your pet for their annual yet, why not make that call now?

View more from Sam Bourne

If you are worried about the cost of veterinary care, sign up for PetPlus and start spending less.

Pricing for vet care was taken from http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/cat-adoption/annual-cat-care-costs/ and http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2013/06/how-much-does-average-cat-tooth.html