Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: Pampered Pets On A Budget: Written By: Jeffrey L. Barnes And Kristen M. Levine

I was excited when I was contacted a few weeks back asking if I would like to receive a copy of Pampered Pets On A Budget by Jeffrey L. Barnes And Kristen M. Levine to read and review.

My pets, like everyone else's are pampered and since I am virtually unemployed and my husband has recently retired, the idea that I could read about how to pamper my pet and receive ideas/suggestions about how to do so AND maintain a budget had my ears perked and my tail on alert!

These are tough times in which we live. Every day people are losing jobs and struggling to make ends meet, while the prices of groceries, medical care, etc. continue to rise. Sadly, when a family experiences a financial blow one of the first casualties is often the family pet.

As pet lovers we can never have too many tools in our tool belt to help us not only care for our pets but to maintain a budget while doing so and this book sets out to do what it promises, and that is to:

"help pet parents uncover new ways to save on the products and services you need to take great care of your pets, without compromising your pet's health and wellness care or severely damaging your pocketbook."

This book is short (74 pages) but don't let that fool you. It is 74 pages that are jam-packed with must-have information for today's pet owner.

Take a look at some of the chapters:

Chapter 3-The Internet is not Always Right: this chapter was written by Jeffrey Barnes and is one  of my personal favorites. We have all fallen victim to running to the internet when our animal is ill. It can be anything from a Google search to posting a problem on Facebook and receiving 500 differing opinions. Many of those opinions include horror stories that when you are already stressed and worried, are the LAST things that you need to hear.

This chapter explains:

  • How the internet is NOT a substitute for your veterinarian, your veterinarian knows YOU and your pet!
  • It reinforces how when you are reading ANY information from the internet you need to look at the qualifications, licensing and formal education of the source providing that information!
  • It mentions how drug and vaccine manufacturers stand behind their products ONLY when they have been purchased directly from your veterinarian.

Other great chapters in this 10 chapter book are:

Chapter 4-Trusted Online Pet Resources-

in this chapter Kristen Levine points out that there is some online information that can be trusted but that it should NEVER take the place of human professionals when it comes to your beloved pet.

 This chapter talks about:
General pet information and adoption sites such as and
 It also mentions reputable Veterinary and Health Sites such as 

Chapter 5-The Value of Your Veterinarian: as explained by Jeffrey Barnes one of my favorite points made in this chapter is "your veterinarian is your pet's medical health care captain and is the only authority on medical issues."

Chapter 7-Pet Health Insurance is discussed by Kristen Levine and is relevant to me because I am still pondering the issue as to whether or not to purchase pet insurance for Cody and Dakota. Some points that Kristen mentions that are important to consider are:

Consider Premiums, Co-Pays and Deductibles
Pick Coverage, Not Cost

This book contains so much information and delivers it in an interesting,  straight-forward, concise and  reader-friendly style.

I loved that at the end of each chapter there is a page called Chapter Highlights which is a summation of information listed in an easy to refer to bulleted format.

Pampered Pets On A Budget  will be your newest, invaluable resource to help you "properly position yourself to give your pet the best lifestyle possible."

For more information about this book please visit:

Pampered Pets on a Budget is available from: and
Paperback · ISBN: 978-1-105-20415-9 · $15.99
Kindle · ISBN: 978-1-105-20415-9 · $9.99

Jeffrey L. Barnes: is a business advisor, consultant, and business intermediary, who strives to give veterinarians and business owners sound business advice in their day-to-day operations and represents them when they buy or sell their practice or business. His professional experiences with such respected companies as Aventis, John Deere, Merial, and the Sandler Sales Institute has afforded him the extensive sales, client service, and marketing knowledge that he now shares with countless veterinarians, practice managers, manufacturers, distributors, local, state, and national veterinary associations. Jeffrey lives in Tampa, FL with his wife and two dogs.

Kristen M. Levine's  volunteer work led to a fifteen-year career as the Public Relations Director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Tampa Bay, Florida, where she played a critical role in promoting pet adoption and pet lifestyle education. Kristen's knowledge of pet lifestyle concerns and family dynamics coupled with her understanding of public relations led her to found Fetching Communications, the nation’s first marketing and public relations firm wholly dedicated to serving the pet industry, in 2003. Having logged over 1,000 live national radio and television show appearances, Kristen is also a frequent contributor to pet and veterinary trade magazines nationwide. Kristen serves as Bissell Homecare’s official pet spokesperson, educating pet parents about pet clean up solutions, as well as on the Toyota Pet Expert Team (P.E.T.), where she shares her knowledge to help develop programs to teach pet parents the importance of properly protecting and securing pets in automobiles. Kristen lives in Florida with her husband, dog and a pair of miniature donkeys.

I received no compensation for this review. I received a copy of the book to read/review.


  1. *I* would like to be pampered, on a budget or otherwise! Ha ha ha.

    My Human is pondering retirement. A pretty nice offer has been extended to some people at her work, and she's thinking about it at the end of this school year. What she wants really to do is work part time, but that probably is not in the cards. Frankly, I'm not sure I want her around here all the da*n time, either, MOL!

  2. This looks like an informative book for pet owners, but where are the parts about pampering, and budgets? The chapters you mention don't seem to address those things. As for Chapter 3-The Internet is not Always Right, I would say, "The internet is almost always wrong." MOL. I have a handful of sites I trust, and take the rest of what I find with a grain of salt. One simply must carefully considering the source and their qualifications for any information you find online whether it's pet health or your own.

    P.S. My cat Rocky wrote a special post for tomorrow, I hope you can come by!

  3. Sounds like an interesting book. I had just been thinking about ways to cut expenses next year and of course the cost of cat food was one of the items I would like to reduce. My three cats get premium cat food right now and it is really becoming very expensive.

  4. @Spitty that is exactly what happened to my Dad but the Detroit Schools were more or less pushing the teachers out. He hasn't been able to find a job since. I am sure your Mom will do what is right for her and we wish her the best of luck either way!

    @Julia, yes, the chapters I mention DO address those points. I didn't mention everything that each chapter contains (even on the ones that I included), if I had, there would be no reason to read the book now would there?
    "Pampering" is seeking veterinarian care, you would be amazed at the number of people that I have come into contact with who NEVER and I mean NEVER take their pet to the vet unless the pet becomes ill. There is NO preventative care. Giving your pet preventative care IS pampering (YES, it is what we SHOULD do, but not everyone does) by practicing preventative care and going to a professional veterinary costs can be reduced.
    Pet insurance can help reduce veterinary bills, hence, less strain on the budget.
    There are 10 chapters in the book, I obviously am not going to mention what is in all ten chapters.
    I merely stated what the book set out to do and that in my opinion it accomplished what it set out to accomplish.
    Were you a lawyer in another life???? lol.....
    If I am home tomorrow night I will do my best to stop by and read Rocky's post...thanks for informing me

  5. @Elaine I completely understand that problem because Cody has to eat special food that I purchase from the vet (Royal Canin rabbit) which is quite costly. Ironically, Chapter 8 of this book addresses the Food might find it to be helpful :)

  6. I was just looking at this book earlier this afternoon. It looks really interesting and from the chapter summaries you gave it sounds very well written.

    While I might look something up on the internet the final word will always be the vet. I have no fear of calling up and asking questions and making appointments. If I can't reach them I know two vet techs who would help in an emergency. My little brood is definitely pampered when it comes to their health.

  7. Our fuzzies get pampered and we live on a budget!

    Wishing you a furry purry New Year, Caren And Cody. Meows and purrs from all of us.

  8. The opinions you get on the internet often are not "right" for your cat, but often vets are not right, either, as I have found out from personal experience and Annie's death. If I listened to my vet re: cat nutrition, for instance, about which they know nothing, my cats would be on a diet of 40-50% carbs....not exactly a species-appropriate diet for a OBLIGATE CARNIVORE.

    So I think you have to educate yourself as much as possible--definitely do your own research, make sure you understand where the info you are getting comes from. And definitely understand that pet food and drug companies are in the business to make money, period. Always find out who funds the studies that are being done on pet health--who has a vested interest in a certain outcome.

    A bit off topic here, sorry. But not all vets can be trusted, frankly, to do what's right. You only have to look at how many will jump and give your cat antibiotics for no d*mned good reason, or drugs for this and that. (Ditto for human doctors.)

    Work WITH your vet, but make sure YOU are informed.

  9. Yes, the internet is not a substitute for visiting the vets! Thanks for the intro to this book, Caren. Sounds like it's a great guide to giving your pet the bestest care on a budget. I can't recommend pet insurance enough - but to also research the best insurance package tailored for your pet.

    Take care

  10. That does sound like a good book but I have to agree with Julie, where is the part about hoe to do the animals on a budget. And on that note, this is a great review. Don't think we can afford this right now. Take care and a very Happy New Year

  11. Sounds interesting! I tend to read books of this kind that are produced in the UK, as they are specifically for cats with a British accent! lol

  12. I'm not sure whether I'm pampered but I always hear they say I'm rotten spoilt!

    Guess my mum might like this book, she likes everything BUDGET!!!


  13. Great review. I have a copy of this book for review as well, and I'm especially curious about the chapter on food. Personally, I feel strongly that that is one area where you shouldn't cut back. Proper, species-appropriate nutrition is the foundation of good health, for ourselves, and our cats. I'll be curious to read what the authors have to say about this topic.

  14. Sounds like a good little book to own.
    I know my Moby is one pampered pet... pampered and spoilt!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR CAREN.. luv you!xx

  15. I think the most important is: "How the internet is NOT a substitute for your veterinarian, your veterinarian knows YOU and your pet!".
    Great release!
    Marilia & Bavarescats

  16. @Squirrel Queen thank you and yes the final word should always be the vet. Vet's aren't God just like doctors aren't, the key is finding a good one. To me not having one or only seeing the vet when animal is ill and not practicing preventative veterinary care will prove to be far more costly.

    @Marilia thank you!There is far more in each chapter that I mentioned as well as the seven that I didn't :)

    @Alittlesprite as they all should be! Happy New Year to you too and LOVE YOU!

    @Ingrid King THANK YOU and as always I look forward to your superb and thorough review! I agree that nutrition shouldn't be compromised. They list it as being the "most important medicine" and I know with your expertise you will be able to take that a step further. I eagerly await your review!

    @Eva you are definitely BOTH and that is a good thing!

    @Carolyn would love for you to recommend some British published books for us! That would be wonderful!

    @Marg thank you and as I mentioned above the purpose of this book is ""help pet parents uncover new ways to save on the products and services you need to take great care of your pets, without compromising your pet's health and wellness care or severely damaging your pocketbook."...."Products" would translate to "Insurance" (which I mentioned and how to choose that in a cost effective way which would help your budget), "veterinary care" is a service, by neglecting PREVENTATIVE veterinary care an issue that could be beginning in a pet can be treated early on often at a lower cost than if the situation becomes a full blown problem which helps the budget. Also, MANY vets will work with people who cannot afford veterinary care and they do this for the sake of the vet. As I mentioned above I did not mention everything listed in the chapters that I mentioned, nor the rest of the book. A book review is MY "take" on a book, "my" isn't the word of "God", that being said...I thank you!

    @Old Kitty thanks much! I need to look into insurance this year, I keep saying it and I don't do it! xoxoxoxo

    @Fuzzy Tales I think you said it perfectly "work with your vet but make sure you are informed" absolutely!!!! As you mentioned there are good and bad vets just as there are good and bad doctors. With Cody, Cody is completely grain-free due to allergies and is eating Royal Canin rabbit...quite costly but as Ingrid said that is an area where I cannot afford to scrimp. This book is just meant to be (as I mentioned above) just another TOOL in one's is NOT the end all and be all. Thank you so much!

    @Au and Target YAY!!!! HAPPY, HAPPY HEALTHY New Year to you! xoxoxo

  17. Looks like a great resource for pet owners.

    We probably won't be blogging this weekend so we wanted to send along our early wishes for a very happy new year!!!

  18. @Cat I think it is a great additional tool for sure...I am not doing much blogging this weekend either...have to read a book for a Monday review but WILL be posting photos for New Years! HAPPY, HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. That sounds so cool! I love pampering, but not that budget thingy!

  20. pampered on a budget sounds quite nice
    Benny & Lily

  21. The price is awfully steep for a book about budgets. My vet knows squat which is why we're looking for another one. TW has been thinking about pet insurance for years. A neighbor swears it's better than human health insurance. Dunno, those writers seem like they're in cahoots with the vets.

  22. Great review Caren, this is a book our Mommy should read so she can keep us in the manner to which we has become accustomed!

  23. I wasn't meaning to be combative or questioning, I was just curious because I didn't see a connection to pampering and saving money with what was mentioned. I'm sorry if you felt I was dogging you; I truly wasn't. I know that black-and-white words on a screen are so easily miscontrued. I wasn't a lawyer in another life but in THIS life people have called me interrogative -- well, I do have a journalism degree so I guess that is where it comes from. Anyhoo, I apologize if my comment irritated you.

  24. @Brian that makes two of us!

    @Julia maybe I can see the correlation because I was in Pre-law with a major in Rhetoric...therefore I am able to see two sides of an issue analytically and having been on the debate team and having worked in a newspaper myself for over 25 years I can certainly hold my own. "Anyhoo" sorry it didn't resonate with you, I can't win them all. I guess this is one book you won't be reading then.

    @Nellie thank you and I couldn't agree more!

    @CK as I mentioned vets, (and doctors) aren't Gods, they are human and make mistakes. It is important to find a vet that you trust and that makes you feel comfortable. I have been blessed with having two like that in my lifetime. I am beyond pro vet, maybe that is part of the reason I enjoyed the book so much.

    @Benny and Lily, I agree! Just another tool for our toolbelt...not the Gospel...

  25. Excellent review, Caren. We are fortunate to have a wonderful Vet here for Katie. ...granted, Katie would argue that point. After all, she has a "mark" on her file. Something about "cantankerous." haha! I'm also lucky to have a friend who is a Vet Tech. She's done a great job of answering questions, often encouraging a visit to the Vet.

    Now as for pampering....Katie SURELY would disagree that the Vet has ANYTHING to do with this.
    ; )

    Happy Happy New Year!
    xo Glogirly

  26. @Glogirly and Katie thanks so much! I am seriously doubting that Katie has a mark on her file! No way!! lol. You ARE lucky to have a friend that is a Vet Tech that is for sure! Nope the vet has NOTHING to do with how Katie is pampered!! You adore her and it is so obvious!! xoxoxoxo Happy New Year!

  27. Cat Chat,
    Thank you from the bottom of our pampered paws for the flattering review of our book, Pampered Pets on a Budget. I feared that some pet lovers wouldn't get the "no compromising vet care" part.... but it is too important not to preach! Thank you for spreading the word. Happy New Year!

  28. @Kristen it was my pleasure and I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I share your feelings of "no compromising vet care" being much too important not to preach! In the long run if we practice preventative care, it will save $$$ which in turn DOES help one's budget!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AS WELL!

  29. Very nice review!

    Looks like you found it as interesting as I did in my own review.

  30. Caren, thanks for letting me repost this, you did such a great job on this review! :)