Monthly Archives: March 2009

How many dog coats are necessary?

How many coats does a dog need? 

I asked Bob, a born minimalist, this weekend if he had a whippet on his own, what coat(s) would he have for him or her?

“Just the green one,” he said. We got this mid-weight Montana Dogware coat from a friend this weekend: 

Soft & cozy coat from a friend

Soft & cozy Montana Dogware hand-me-down

Bob instantly declared it his “new favorite coat!” He doesn’t like walking her in her puffy coat with the leopard collar because it’s too girly. 

“And the raincoat,” he said. Fair enough: to a whippet, raindrops are the enemy. C-Biscuit loves her Chilly Dogs raincoat from Canada:

W braves the rain

C-Biscuit's Chilly Dogs Raincoat

Then he blurted out, “And the cow pajamas! I can’t live without the cow pajamas! …even though we don’t use them that often.”


I asked him if he thought the green coat would be enough for zero-degree winter weather we’ve had. He thought about that for a few seconds, fearing the expanding Essential Whippet Wardrobe. Then he said, “I’ve got it! The purple sweater, under the green coat.”

“Purple sweater?” I asked. “Where did that come from?”

Dogs without a lot of fur, especially those with very little body fat, like whippets, really do need coats. I had thought that a sweater and a raincoat would do it, but it doesn’t. She has a puffy coat from Wisconsin for winter weather, and a sweat suit to layer under that when it’s really cold. 

Every garment seems to chafe somewhere, so we have to trade off. 

And, yes, there is the cuteness factor. If Bob gives in to it, anyone would.

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Nail trimming nightmare

We were told to trim C-Biscuit’s nails once a week. I spent $25 on a high-tech nail trimmer with warning lights as the blade gets closer to the quick. While I was trying to adjust the first nail in the guillotine to read the lights, Biski got nervous and restless so I dove in and pulled the trigger – BLOOD EVERYWHERE. That was the end of that.

C-Biscuit loathed the guillotine-style nail trimmer and I could tell why: it bent back the nail before it cut it. Ouch. I could only get a couple tips off while she was held barely under control by Bob. Reading Cesar’s tips to “drain the dog’s energy” before nail trimming did nothing. She could be exhausted from hiking and actually asleep, but she bolted awake in a panic if I even thought about the clipper.

After 2 months, I resorted to taking her to PetCo. I had to capture her and stay with her while she was put on the grooming table and had her neck lassoed. She stood shaking while the groomer tipped each nail, which took a matter of seconds. It cost $12 and seemed worth it, except for how traumatized Biski was. Plus, I got a look at the clipper, which was a scissor-style rather than guillotine-style, and thought that was worth a try myself. 

The scissor-style (another $10) worked MUCH better, slicing through the nails without bending and squeezing. However, C-Biscuit still didn’t take to it and still had to be captured and immobilized, which was nearly impossible.

I got the idea to trim while giving her a bath. While Bob massaged and shampooed her, I got ahold of her paw and got a nail clipped without Biski realizing what I was doing. Unfortunately: BLOOD! I had hit the quick again. Biski didn’t seem to notice the stream of blood flowing onto the wet towel at the bottom of the tub, but Bob certainly did. “SHE’S BLEEDING!” he announced. “Maybe we shouldn’t do this!” Not a confidence booster. Continue reading

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How much does a dog cost?

Where do I get the figure of $2,ooo for Sesame’s seed money? From tracking everything I’ve spent on C-Biscuit in her first year. Forgetting the splurges and mistakes, here are the estimates of what Sesame will cost in the first 6 months alone:

$600  Sesame  

$250  Initial vet visit, vaccinations, six months of Interceptor heartworm preventative

$400  Spaying (this is high compared to what I’ve read online, but I paid $412.50 for Biski and like and trust our vet, so…)

$300 Pet health insurance  

$200  Food for six months (at $1/day) and a small contribution towards the treats budget

$100  Coats (whippets shiver below 70 degrees)

$100  Other supplies that can’t be shared with C-Biscuit

$50 Misc. (Microchip registration, NYC dog license, etc.)



And compared to all I’ve spent on Biski, this is bare bones. After all, part of the fun of having a dog is spoiling it!

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Filed under Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family, Pet Finances

Saving for Sesame

The photo up top is not Sesame. It’s C-Biscuit, my whippet, 1 1/2 years old, who is merely waiting for her companion, Sesame! C-Biscuit, it turns out, is quite expensive. So we can’t bring home Sesame until we’ve saved enough money so that she won’t stress us out financially. I’ve got three goals to achieve before I go looking for Sesame:

        *save $2,000 

        *master nail trimming

        *get on top of teeth brushing

More on all as we go… thanks for joining!

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Filed under Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family