Hiking With Your Dog

It’s that time of year when the leaves start changing, the temperature starts dropping, and people want to get out there and enjoy! There’s no better time of the year to hike some of these wonderful trails and mountains that NC has to offer.  Have you brought your dog along before?  Are you thinking about bringing your dog with you for the first time?  Here are some things to think about:

  • Look for places that will be “easy on the paws,” so to speak.  Think about the ground temperature.  The ideal trail will be shady and soft.  It’s best to avoid sharp rocks and steep drops.  Remember, you have strong and sturdy shoes on.  Your dog’s pads are completely exposed to the elements.
  • Whether you use a collar or a harness, make sure that they are snug enough that it won’t cause chafing.  Have you heard of the two-finger rule?  If you can’t fit two fingers in between the collar/harness and your dog’s skin, it is TOO TIGHT.  But, the collar/harness being too loose can be just as problematic.

  • Make sure you pack food and water for your dog, and bring two separate bowls for them to eat and drink out of.  Keep in mind, you may have to increase their food during the hike by up to 50%, depending on how strenuous the hike is.  It’s also a good idea to start with a small serving of food BEFORE the hike to get the energy level up and moving beforehand.  Same as if you had a protein bar before. It’s a good rule of thumb to say that whenever you’re thirsty, they’re thirsty.  Are you taking a sip of water every 15-20 minutes?  Your dog is probably thirsty, too.  Also, try to limit drinking from lakes or streams.
  • Make sure you bring specific animal-approved first aid products.  Maybe a pair of tweezers for tick removal?  Maybe some anti-biotic cream for scrapes?  Things like that.

  • ALWAYS keep your dog leashed!  Around people, and if you’re alone as well.  They could run off.  They could slip and fall.  Just make sure to always have control of them, regardless.
  • When your dog goes #2, don’t leave it.  The two best options are double-bagging it and throwing it away at an approved waste station, or burying it away from trail and water sources.  Leaving it could attract unwanted animals, could inconvenience other hikers… plus, it’s just yucky!

  • If your dog is a first-timer, or has only hiked with you just a couple of times, be sure to start with shorter hikes.  Don’t overstrain yourself, and especially your pet.
  • Most importantly, have fun!!!  And take lots of pictures!  And send them to us so we can enjoy them, too!

 

 

Reference:  backpacker.com

Pics From:  rei.com, pinterest.com, wilderness.org, backpackerverse.com

Prepping your pets for a Baby?

Before we have our human babies, our fur babies are our children…and always will be our first babies.  A lot of people wonder (including myself) what is the best way to introduce a newborn to your pets when that time comes for your family?  My husband and I will be having our first child in January and do not know the first thing on how to introduce our pets to our son properly:) So here I am, researching and updating you guys! This will also be my last blog as my last day with Little Friends is Halloween….I will be taking on my new full time role as a Mom.  I will miss all of you dearly! xoxo

I have researched a couple of good sites and this is the one I liked best:

First step, when you find out you are expecting..ask yourself , “Are there things that your pets do that are annoying habits to you and your spouse?” If so, consider signing them up for some classes to help with obedience issues, now.

“Many dogs have never been around children before.  Little people do unpredictable things that adults do not, for example: make sudden movements, shriek, and get in dogs’ faces. To give your pet exposure to tots, take him to the park to see how he reacts to babies from a distance, Stilwell suggests. Ask mom friends if you may walk near them when they have their kiddo in a stroller—or, if things go well, even alongside them. These tactics will gradually acclimate your dog to the sight and sound of children.”  http://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/babies/preparing-for-baby/

Three months before your due date—- Actively prep your pets for their new sibling, they suggest buying a doll and carrying it around with you, like you would your infant.  You can put the doll in the swing, bassinet or crib.  “You want the dog to become familiar with these items now, not when your baby is in them,” says Betsy Saul, cofounder of PetFinder.com, an online pet-search site.  Let your hound investigate everything the way he does best—by sniffing.  “And introduce him to smells like baby lotion and powder,” Saul says.

One month before your due date–Do you know who will be feeding and walking your dogs while you and your spouse are at the hospital?  Start to get some friends or sitters lined up for when you are at the hospital during delivery:)  Keep in mind you will be away from home for a couple of days!

Two weeks before delivery date—Have your dog’s ducks in a row, because unless you have a scheduled cesarean, your due date is anyone’s guess!   “Divide your pet’s food into individual servings, jot down pertinent phone numbers for your sitter, and keep the leash in a visible place. This way, if you have to head to the hospital suddenly, your pooch’s caregiver can find everything in a flash.”

Put some goodies away just in case, as your pet will most likely be confused with the abrupt change in schedule.  “Keeping him busy is crucial for his well-being and decreases the chance of behavioral problems,” says VetStreet.com dog trainer Mikkel Becker, who suggests Kong toys (rubber toys you fill with food). “They keep a dog focused on a productive outlet that releases energy in an acceptable way.”

One week before your due date–You most likely have a million emotions going on in your head right now and your pet is probably picking up on those feelings, and may act out. “Take a leisurely stroll if you’re up for it, or cuddle with your pets on the couch. The TLC will calm your canines and help you feel more relaxed and ready for the impending life shake-up too.”

While you are in the hospital—have Daddy or Grandma take home one of your baby’s first bodysuits or blankets so your dog can get used to your child’s smell, Saul says. By the time Baby comes home, your pooch will recognize and accept the strange new scent. “There’s quite a difference between the initial sniff-down and a friendly recheck,” Saul say

Coming home—Brace for lots of licks! Your pooch is going to be overjoyed to reunite with you. “Let your husband hold the baby when you walk into your house,” Stilwell says. “Greet the dog first, since he’s missed you and will probably give you an enthusiastic hello. Then, after he’s chilled out, sit down with your baby and let your dog sniff him to get acquainted.” The first few times you nurse or give your baby a bottle, ask your husband or mother to dole out a handful of small, treats, to your pet. “Dogs sense that nursing is intimate,” Saul says. “If they learn they get rewarded for being tranquil, they’ll associate feedings with positive times.”

In the midst of all the newborn’s demands, don’t forget that exercise is your pup’s happy pill. If he’s not getting enough, he’ll find a way to burn off his energy—even if it means raiding the garbage! Have your partner (or a visitor) take your dog for a long walk each day. It will allow you QT with your munchkin and help Fido settle down. He may curl up for a nap as soon as he comes home!

First weeks—Your dog probably doesn’t entirely grasp why the home life he knew is changing. With all the additional stimulation, he may get into more trouble than usual. Stilwell advises: “Rather than scold him and say, ‘no, no, no,’ all the time, teach him another choice. Redirect his behavior toward something that will make him happy.” He’s jumping on well-wishers? Remind him he has a new chew toy.

“Include your dog in baby-related activities,” Becker says. Let him sit nearby when you’re changing a diaper, and talk to both of your “babies” while you’re at it. You’ll give your pups attention and build Baby’s language skills too. Eventually, your infant will go from being the stranger your dog is uncertain about to his favorite playmate and lifelong pal! (see below)


Keeping the peace between your dogs & baby— Your pups and baby will live happily ever after, just like you and your prince charming.  Just will be an small adjustment period:)  Here are a few tips from Heidi Ganahl and Dacia Henshaw, of Camp Bow Wow, in Boulder, Colorado.

1.  Zone Out: Install safety gates/put up baby gates to designate rooms that are off-limits to your pooch (if any).  This way, baby can perfect his/her rolling and crawling in peace.

2. Stock Up on Playthings: If your pup has his own toys, he’s less likely to chew on any cute baby toys you received as gifts.  Basically, if your pup is low on toys, get some extra toys now:)

3. Avoid Food Fights: Keep your dog’s bowls on the counter when it’s not mealtime. Once your child is mobile, she/he can create a mess of sloshed water (which also poses a drowning risk) or may sample the kibble (choking hazard). Plus, some dogs get territorial around chow.

4. Teach Your Baby to Be Gentle: As your tot begins exploring with their hands, she might grab Fido’s fur (just like the first photo at the beginning of the article)…Show her/him how to pet nicely.  They will mimic Mommy—and your pups will thank you.

5. Always Supervise: Never, ever leave your child alone with your pet. Infant behavior (squealing, a quick maneuver) could unexpectedly irritate your pets.  Watch for pacing or unusual eye contact, which could indicate your pups are not comfortable with baby.  But who are we kidding?  All of our fur babies are perfect…right? Hehe.

 

 

 

 

Teeth Scaling in the QC and all you need to know about it!

You know how we take care of our teeth daily and go to the dentist twice a year?  Dental care is equally important for our pets!  Every pet is said to need their teeth cleaned yearly (also as responsible pet owners, we are supposed to be brushing our pet’s teeth daily as well).  If you do not know how to clean your pet’s teeth, read this awesome article from Casar,  https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/dental-care/7-tips-for-doggie-dental-care 

Some breeds are more or less prone to plaque & bad teeth due to hereditary traits.  In turn, resulting in some pets needing teeth scaling more frequently or less than the next.  Every animal is different, just like humans!  Some humans have better teeth than others:)

Recently I did a lot of research for teeth scaling around Charlotte for one of my pups (my Vizsla is 5 years old and he needed it badly) & I was determined to find the best place with the best service, care and prices!  Behold the best non-profit in Charlotte, Charlotte Spay & Neuter, they have 3 non-profit clinics around town.  They have been in business forever and have serviced thousands of clients and their fur families, and counting!  Here are some pictures of their newest Charlotte facility–it is awesome may I add.

I got the pricing for teeth scaling from numerous local vets and clinics and CSN had the best price for my pup.  They also are centrally located, right outside of downtown.  We paid $200 total and it included pre-op blood-work, anesthesia, post-op if necessary, pain medication, etc.  Other local Veterinary clinics were quoting me anywhere from $450-500 per pet.

Plus, we supported a local non-profit…does not get better than that in my opinion!:)  Oh and the Dr. called us after the cleaning with an update right away, to let us know our baby boy did great and was waking up.  Now that is excellent client & customer service!  Here is their website for more information or to schedule your pup’s teeth scaling, http://www.spayneutercharlotte.org/locations/charlotte-clinic/


Now, lets compare some veterinary prices around town:

Animal Medical Hospital (& 24 hour hospital) is an amazing 24 hour vet.  I know first hand, as this was my husband and I’s first choice when we first got our pups.  We also have a large amount of client’s that take their pets here.  Having a puppy and belonging to a 24 hour vet provided us peace of mind (we all know puppy’s have tons of accidents, they are curious and get into almost everything).  The staff is amazing, caring , knowledgeable and very communicative (they always will discuss prices with you before you check out.  I know a lot of places that just slap a big bill at you in the end and that is not cool).  We went to AMH for the first couple years of our V’s life, until we were comfortable with switching to a clinic that was not 24 hours.

Teeth cleaning at AMH is about $400 per pet, this includes a pre-dental exam, anesthesia, and pain medications.  Not too shabby!  Check them out at http://www.animalmedical.net/veterinary-services/pet-dental-care.html

Long Animal Hospital is another awesome vet, if you do not know much about them.  Our general manager takes her pups here and we have numerous clients who take their animals here also!  Long actually has 24 hour care available, if needed.  Teeth cleaning here runs about $350-400 per pet, this includes pre-dental exam, anesthesia and pain medications.  I asked Lauren to describe her vet in once sentence, she said “It is very clean, up to date and super professional!”  Learn more about them at http://www.longanimal.com/contact-us/

Banfield Veterinary Hospital (specifically Cotswold) is also a great local vet, one of my coworkers takes her pup here.  They even have a pet plan you can purchase (if you are a client, you can sign up for it) and it covers all of your pet’s yearly vaccinations, any shots they may need or if anything unexpected/emergency wise happens to them throughout the year.  You end up saving a lot of money if you purchase one of these and they have 3 package different options.  One for a puppy, one for general wellness and one for elderly pets.  If you do purchase one of these package, a dental cleaning is free each year for your pet! I asked my co-worker to describe her vet in once sentence, she said “They are innovative, caring & very friendly.”

They charge $300 per dog for teeth cleaning if you do not have the yearly plan, this includes a pre-dental exam, pain medication and anesthesia.  https://www.banfield.com/veterinarians/nc/charlotte/chp

Birkdale Veterinary Clinic  is a vet in Huntersville that one of our co-workers goes to as well.  The floor plan as you can see below is very open, nothing to hide & pet friendly.  If you go to their website, you can view photos of each and every room at their facility.  I have always wondered what goes on behind those doors, dont you?  There are no secrets here:)

Teeth cleaning here, will run you about $318 per pet and this includes pre-op blood work, anesthesia & pain medication.  http://birkdaleanimalhospital.com/

 

Dixon Animal Hospital is a veterinary hospital that is in Gastonia.  A friend of ours takes her pups here and has for years.  DAH was founded in 1960 and is owned by two doctors, Dr. Rick Hovis (pictured below in the middle) & Dr. A. M. Spencer III (pictured below to the right).  They have 10 staff members that all have been with them for 10 years.  I have heard great things about this vet and that they are very hands on, can offer one-on-one attention to each and every pet and they even offer laser therapy now.

$200 per pet is what Dixon Animal Hospital charges for a teeth cleaning.  This service included anesthesia, but no pain medications or antibiotics if needed.  Pre-op appointments are recommended only for pets over the age of 7 and are not included with this price.

Check them out at http://www.dicksonanimalclinic.com/

Happy Teeth Cleaning:)  Also February is dental cleaning awareness month so look out for monthly specials around then, as I have noticed some veterinary clinics will run teeth cleaning promotions!

Top 10 Vets Our Clients Use

 

Top 10 Vets That Our Clients Use

1. Dilworth Animal Hospital

https://www.dilworthanimalhospital.com

814 East Blvd Charlotte, NC 28203

(704) 808-PETS  or  (704) 808-7387
Contact Us at:   ContactUs@DilworthAnimalHospital.com

Hours: M-F 7:30a-6pm, Sat 8a-12p, Sun Closed

2. Long Animal Hospital

http://www.longanimal.com

2523 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

(704) 523-2996

Hours: Monday- Sunday 24/7 👏🏽

3. Animal Medical Hospital

http://www.animalmedical.net

3832 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28205

(704) 334-4684

Hours: Monday- Sunday 24/7 👏🏽

4. Commonwealth Animal Hospital

http://www.commonwealthah.com

1909 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

(704) 370-0767

Hours: M-F 7:30a-6pm, Sat 8a-12p, Sun Closed

 

5. Banfield Pet Hospitals (Mostly in or attached to PetSmart) 

https://www.banfield.com

Over 20+ locations in Charlotte and surrounding areas.

I based this info on the closest location near me:

206 S Sharon Amity Rd Charlotte, NC 28211

(704)364-4171

6. Steele Creek Animal Hospital

http://keepingpetshealthy.com

9729 S. Tryon Charlotte, NC 28273

(704) 588-4400

Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30a- 7p; Sat 7:30a-12p; Sun Closed

7. Plantation Animal Hospital

http://www.plantationah.com

135 W. John St  Matthews, NC 28105

(704)841-2225

Hours: M-F 7:30a-6p; Sat 7:30a-12p; Sun Closed

8. Mallard Creek Animal Hospital

http://www.mallardcreekvet.com

2110 Ben Craig Dr Charlotte, NC 28262

(704)625-1496

Hours: M-F 7a-6p; Sat 8a-12p; Sun Closed

9.Veterinary Hospital of Davidson

http://www.davidsonvet.com

445 S Main St Davidson, NC 28036

(704) 765-1171

Hours: M-F 7a-6p, Sat & Sun Closed

10. Southpark Animal Hospital

http://www.southparkvet.net

5240 Park Road Charlotte, NC 28209

(704)523-3457

Hours: M-F 7:30a-5:30p; Sat 8a-12p; Sun Closed