7 Tips for Keeping Your Charlotte Pets Warm This Winter

cat and dog wearing caps to stay warm in the cold outside snow

As the temperatures drop, it’s time to start thinking about all the ways you should be protecting your precious pets this winter. Different dogs and cats react to cold weather differently. Some breeds such as German Shepherds love to roll around in the snow, while small breeds such as Chihuahuas love hibernating in warm blankets for hours on end.

Even if your pet has a thick, heavy coat they can still get chilly in the winter months. Their ears are completely exposed, their paws are directly on frigid concrete, and their noses stick out in the fierce wind. Pets are also at risk for getting frostbite or hypothermia just as their humans are.

Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your pup from the cold weather! Many of the same safety protocols you take for yourself will also keep your best friend safe and cozy. Here are some great tips for you and your favorite pet sitter to follow this winter in Charlotte:

1. Limit Outdoor Time

This may seem like common sense, but it’s very important to follow. No specific breeds are meant to spend a large amount of time outside on the coldest days of winter, not even Alaskan sledding dogs! A quick 20-minute walk for exercise and potty time is perfect. Raise or lower this depending on the temperature and wind chill. If it’s extremely cold, have your dog do their business and get back inside as soon as possible.

Also, make sure to inform your pet sitter that it’s okay to skip a long walk for the day if it’s too frigid outside.

2. Know the Dangerous Warning Signs

If you and your pet are outdoors and you notice any of these signs, get them inside immediately as they could be symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.

  • Completely stops moving or slows down noticeably
  • Whines or acts nervous/anxious
  • Can’t stop shivering
  • Seems weak
  • Starts rapidly looking for places to borrow for warmth
  • Has ice anywhere on their body

Once indoors, wrap your dog in blankets and call the vet if necessary. Any animal lover should know this information! Be sure to pass it along to pet sitters, neighbors, family and friends who may be watching your furry little friend.

3. Dress Warmly

Dogs and cats with short hair or small bodies need extra help to control their body heat in the winter. Puppies, kittens, and older dogs/cats also have harder times keeping warm. A sweater or coat can be a quick and great idea to help keep your pet more comfortable while indoors or outdoors.

4. Pump Up the Nutrients

Simply adding more protein and fat into your best friend’s diet will help keep their fur coats healthier and plentiful. The more fur they have the warmer they will be! Most pets will also need extra food and water in the winter since they’re burning many more calories to stay warm. It takes a lot of energy to increase body heat! Increase the times and amounts they’re fed each day to help keep them properly “fueled up” and ensure their pet sitter is aware of the feeding changes.

5. Don’t Leave Them Alone in the Car

You know the drill when it’s hot outside, not to leave your pet in the car. Well, the same goes for cold weather too. People don’t realize how quickly cars can cool down when it’s freezing outside. It turns into a refrigerator-like atmosphere very fast. Even if it’s for a short period of time, your pet will likely be very uncomfortable and it could result in a negative outcome. Leave them at home where they are safe and warm.

6. Provide Cozy Options

Just like you love cuddling up with a nice, warm blanket or bed, so does your pet! Leave them with a comfortable bed with a pillow or blanket to relax and sleep in. Make sure to provide these spots away from any drafts in your home and leave a note for the pet sitter to add more blankets if needed, especially for very small pets.

7. Put the Clippers Away

Your dog or cat’s coat provides an incredible amount of warmth. Be sure not to shave them down to their bare skin during the winter months. If your pet needs a haircut, make sure to leave a layer of fur so they can retain warmth properly. If your pet needs a bath make sure to dry them completely before taking them outside.

Don’t let your pooch shiver in shock from the weather this winter! By following these helpful tips and passing them along to your pet sitter, you and your pet will have a much more enjoyable winter. Contact Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking today for more information!

5 Tips to Help Your Pup with Separation Anxiety in Charlotte

Shaggy terrier dog looking out window with sad expression

Have you recently adopted a new dog to be part of your family? Once you brought them home have you discovered some behaviors that might indicate that they are experiencing separation anxiety?

Your neighbors might start telling you that as soon as you leave your home your new pup barks, howls and whines the whole time. Perhaps you have noticed scratching at doors or windows or destructive chewing of furniture or objects in the home that are not intended to be dog toys.

Becoming part of a new home can be a very stressful time on a dog. Imagine if you have been put up for adoption one or more times and you can’t understand why the people around you don’t want to stay with you. Charlotte is a very dog-friendly place, and we have a lot of ideas for your new family member to feel more at home. These tips will help your new dog feel okay about being home alone for periods of time without suffering from separation anxiety.

Give Them a Den to Feel Comfortable In

Dogs feel comfortable when they have a den that they can call home. Giving your dog a crate is an in-home equivalent of that kind of home. Allow your pup time to get used to being in the crate while you are home. This way the crate doesn’t become an automatic signal that they are going to be left alone.

When you see your dog getting sleepy, encourage them to go into their crate and curl up for a nap. When they wake up they will see that you are still at home they start to feel comfortable that this new den is safe for them. When you put them in their crate when you are about to leave, do it with the same sort of actions, encouraging them to go into their den to get some rest.

Skip the Goodbye Routine

Just like humans, dogs can get caught up in routines, and they start to see the signs of your going away actions. They watch for things like: you getting dressed, brushing your teeth, grabbing your keys, putting on your coat and starting up your car. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety all of these things start to ratchet up their fear of being left alone and not knowing when or if you will be coming back.

Sometimes we even want to make them feel better and start to tell them goodbye and I’ll be back which become more audio clues to them that they are in for a period of separation. Help your pup by breaking up those routines so the pattern is not so obvious. Try taking your jacket out to the car, and then returning to them so they know you are coming back. Another idea is leaving out of a different door so they don’t attach the front door with fear. Most importantly, make your actions unimportant. Leaving should be just a normal part of the day instead of something to get anxious about.

Give Them Plenty of Exercise

Dogs can be a lot like kids. Go ahead and tire them out with exercise and they will be ready to take a nap instead of getting into something they should not be doing. Charlotte has so many options for you to choose when you want to spend quality time together. If you love to hike, take your new pup to the U.S. National Whitewater Center or  McDowell Nature Center and Preserve where they can join you on a 6 foot leash or shorter. If you are looking for a dog park option you can try Frazier Park which offers a fenced in 1.3 acres and even contains a sectioned off area for smaller dogs. Then if you are not too tired, you can stop by Canine Cafe for some special treats and a chance to meet new friends.

Get Extra Companionship With a Pet Sitter

If you are going to be gone for a long period of time, your dog will benefit from getting a visit to take them out for a walk. At Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking we can provide long walks as well as play time or cuddle time to make your pet less anxious.

We feel it’s important to get to know your dog personally and we do this with unlimited, free in-home consults. So when we come to pet sit, your pup is already familiar with us and will be looking forward to the social interactions.

Give Them a Smell of You

Dogs use their sense of smell to understand and process the world around them. They feel comfort when they smell your scent. So, if your dog has separation anxiety it may help them to have access to something that smells like you during your time away. Think about leaving them with your pajamas that you wore last night, or an undershirt that you wore the day before. Make sure it’s something that you are okay if they chew on, if their anxiety is severe.

As you and your new pup start your life together there will be a lot of things that you will learn about each other. You have the opportunity to help your new friend feel confident and relaxed in their new home. Please let us know if there are any questions you have about separation anxiety and how we can help either of you.

December is National Cat Lovers Month

A cute little girl with brown hair wearing a santa hat, hugs her kitten. They both look loving and sweet.

December is National Cat Lovers Month, but most cat lovers know that cats expect appreciation every day of the year. For those of us who love cats, it’s a good time to remember that we should show some extra love to our feline friends this holiday season. Here are some great ways to celebrate cats in December:

Contribute to a Cat Cause

If you don’t have a cat friend of your own at home, consider volunteering time or making a donation to local cat shelters. Volunteering is especially important during the holiday season, because shelters can be understaffed, with regular volunteers having other commitments or needing to travel for the holidays.

The Charlotte Animal Care and Control Department needs volunteers, foster families, and donations. They make it easy with an Amazon Wish List that can easily fit in with the rest of your holiday shopping, and you can know you are helping cats in need.

Winter is especially hard on feral and wild cats, and Feline Urgent Rescue and Rehab can really use your support in December. You can help by volunteering, fostering, or sponsoring a kitty in need. Sponsoring helps support the cost of taking care of a cat until it is adopted, and you also get monthly emails and pictures with updates.

Foster a Furry Friend

Fostering cats is a wonderful way to help them find forever homes. Foster families help shy cats become more comfortable and sociable, or help ill or injured cats recover safely, so that they are ready for their next adventure. Fostering is a critical part of the adoption process, and opening your home to cats in need is a wonderful way to give them a better life. Foster opportunities are available with:

The Humane Society of Charlotte

Catering to Cats and Dogs

Adopt an Adorable Animal

Adopting a pet is a big responsibility, and should not be taken lightly. And you should never give pets as a holiday gift, however tempting it may be. If you want to bring home or give a pet during the holiday season, it’s best to discuss it first with your family members, and adopt a pet after the holiday season.

It’s better to adopt an animal when your home has calmed down, and your schedule is less busy, and you have more time to devote to a new pet. When considering giving a pet as a gift, consider giving a “gift certificate” instead, and offering to help them adopt a pet after the holidays. Let them choose the pet that is the best match for their lifestyle and personality. When you are ready to adopt, here are some great ways to do it:

Precious Paws Rescue has a lot of great programs, including special support for seniors adopting older pets, sponsorship opportunities, and you can even donate gently used pet supplies to their program. They also have a wonderful “foster to adoption” option, where you can foster a pet and potentially adopt it. This is a great way to find out if a new cat is a good, permanent, fit for your home.

Visit Mac Tabby. At Mac Tabby, you can enjoy coffee or tea and a snack, and hang out with one of their beautiful, adoptable cats at the same time. Not only is it just a great way to spend some quality time with cats, but it’s also a good way to find a cat that you may want to take home and live with forever.

Care for Your Constant Companion

Finally, you can continue to show your own cat the love, care, and appreciation they deserve. If you are traveling during the holidays, Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking would be happy to care for your cat just as lovingly as you do. Contact us to learn more, and have a fantastic December!

Anxious Cat? Giving Your Kitty a Calm and Happy Holiday Season

an anxious cat near a sack full of Christmas gifts

The holidays are a busy time full of new experiences. This can make for a stressful time for your kitty and, in turn, for you. Luckily, there are ways you can help your anxious cat remain calm and happy this holiday season. Let’s take a look at the important things in a cat’s life, and how you can maximize their comfort by understanding their point of view.

Sense of Smell

Your cat’s sense of smell is much more acute than humans’. In fact, they mark their scent on objects and people to help them feel safe and secure. This is also how they place boundaries on their space. When you are cleaning your house, try to leave your cat’s favorite area somewhat undisturbed so their natural pheromones will remain a comfort to them. Think about things like their tree, scratching posts, bedding, even their carrier. This way, when things get stressful for them, they will have a place to retreat to and feel calm and safe.

Sensitive Hearing

Your cat’s hearing is also better than a human’s. In fact, it’s approximately four times more sensitive than ours. Cats also hear higher frequencies than we can, but they have a harder time determining where sounds are coming from. This is why your kitty can be startled when we think we are using a normal tone of voice.

A nice quiet volume will help to keep your cat calm, whether it is a low soothing voice when you are petting them, or some soft music playing in the background. When the volume is up, like when you are having a party, provide a hideaway that can mute the sounds. This may mean placing towels or blankets over their bedding or carrier so they can block out some of the uncomfortable noise.

Importance of Routine

During the holidays it is important to keep up a routine to help your kitty feel relaxed and happy. Routines can include their wake up tactics, feeding schedule, nap times, getting brushed, having their favorite treats, and play times. Each of these events have a meaning and purpose to your cat, so maintaining these normal behaviors will help you keep their holidays happy.

Keep Essentials Convenient

You know your cat’s behavior better than anyone, so work with them to make things as stress-free as possible. For example, if you know that they run to the master bedroom when they get scared or nervous, you might expect that they will spend the entire day of the big party in there.

As you are cleaning, cooking, and getting ready for the big event, they know that something new is coming. Then the actual party itself will bring new challenges for them to face. Prepare this space with an easily accessible litter box, food, treats and toys to keep your kitty comfortable and able to control their environment.

Let Them Stay Home With Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking

We love our pets, and we want to include them in the important parts of our lives as well as the day-to-day living. However, sometimes we need to consider what would be best for our friends and make appropriate arrangements. If your cat hates any kind of car trip, perhaps it’s time to think about having your cat stay at home while you make your holiday trip.

Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking can help you out over the holidays in a number of ways. During our cat visits, we make sure to keep your kitty happy and cared for by providing fresh food, water, and litter box maintenance. We also get to know your kitty ahead of time with our free in-home consults, so we will be able to spend some quality time with their favorite type of play or special grooming time.

You’ll receive an online report card update about your cat while you’re away. We will also help you with mail retrieval, rotating blinds and lights and even watering plants. Your cat will be well taken care of while you are away for the holidays, and both of you will have time to enjoy the season. Instead of returning to an anxious cat, you’ll come home to a calm kitty!

We hope that you and your kitty have the happiest of holidays!

 

 

Traveling for the Holidays? Helpful Services and Tips for a Calm Dog

a calm dog sitting in a suitcase being packed by its owner

With the holiday season approaching, it’s time to start planning flights, renting cars, and most importantly, deciding what to do so that you have a calm dog even while you’re away. Whether you have a new dog or are traveling for the first time, panic can easily start to set in as you think about the best plan.

Take a deep breath and relax, because the answer is simple – hire a pet sitter! By hiring a professional pet sitter you will reduce your pet’s stress and anxiety levels tremendously, as well as your own. After all, your dog is a member of your family and deserves the best care. Your pup will feel more relaxed staying in their familiar home environment and keeping up with their usual schedule.

If you’re located in or around the Charlotte, NC area, Little Friends Pet Sitting has a team of excellent, caring, and insured pet sitters ready to help you! We’re here to offer services and tips to guarantee a happy holiday season for both you and your favorite four-legged cuddle buddy.

Quality Bonding Time

Before you hit the road, spend some extra quality time together to help ensure you have a calm dog. Every minute counts, and they will 100% appreciate it! Whether it’s extra snuggles on the couch, more walks and runs, or play time, this can help both of you mentally before you leave. Our sitters are expert cuddlers, so they’ll get plenty of love and companionship during their visits.

Free In-Home Consultation

Little Friends Pet Sitting offers one free in-home consultation with the pet sitter to help you and your dog feel more comfortable before the big day. They can also answer any questions you have. Your dog will feel as if they’re staying with someone they know and trust, rather than a total stranger.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Our pet sitters will give your dog nice, long walks midday or any other time you choose. This is all tracked conveniently on a virtual log and GPS report for your viewing. Sitters can also play with your dog to engage their minds and tire them out. Exercise and play time will help make sure you have a relaxed and calm dog while you’re away!

Confident, Cheerful Vibes

Dogs are experts at picking up on human’s emotions (especially THEIR humans!). If you’re feeling sad, anxious, or stressed about leaving your dog, they will likely feel it too. On the flip side, if you’re comfortable and relaxed, your dog will be the same way. Our sitters will be there to swoop in and save the day after you leave with love, cheerful vibes, and lots of wonderful belly scratches.

Flexible Times

Not only are our pet sitters insured, bonded, background check approved and experienced, they’re also super flexible. Our services begin as early as 7 am and go til as late as 10 pm. No matter what your dog’s typical schedule is, we will ensure it stays consistent every day.

Provide Distractions

Buy a few new toys like a KONG, treat puzzle, or others to give your dog on the day you leave. A brand new distraction will help keep their mind happy and busy as you leave. You can even leave a note for the pet sitter to give your dog a new treat or toy each day when they’re visiting.

24/7 Communication

A great benefit of having a pet sitter is that you can easily check up on your pup. Are you curious to know if they’re eating, exercising, sleeping, and happy? Your pet sitter can answer all of these questions and more via text each time they visit. It’ll put a huge smile on your face knowing that you have a happy, well cared for, and calm dog. We also offer a free 365/24/7 hour hotline to all of our clients!

Bring Home a Surprise

While you’re away on your holiday trip, explore a cute dog boutique in the area and purchase your dog a new treat! Bringing them home something special will give you something to look forward to, and ensure extra tail wagging and wet kisses as you return.

Little Friends Pet Sitting Saves the Holidays

There’s no doubt about it, your dog will miss you just as much as you will miss them. Be sure to plan ahead this holiday season by hiring a trustworthy, professional pet sitter at Little Friends Pet Sitting. Our experienced pet sitters are ready to give your dog all the one-on-one attention and love in the world while you’re away! Not only will your fur baby be able to stay in their relaxed home environment, but you will also get a built-in house sitter to check your mail, water plants, and reduce the chances of any unwanted vandalism. Less stress is possible for everyone this holiday season with a trusty pet sitter.

Peace of mind is just a phone call away. Contact us today for more information!

First-Time Cat Owner in Charlotte? We’ve Got You Covered

Congratulations on becoming a first-time cat owner! You are going to have so much fun getting to know your new friend. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, that’s normal, but we have some great advice and resources for you. So read on and we can give you tips on everything from great local shops to picking the right people to help you out with your cat care.

Tips for the First-Time Cat Owner

Finding the Right Vet

First things first, you will want to choose a vet that you can form a good relationship with. It’s important to find someone you trust. Ideally, they will have a long-term care relationship with your cat so they can advise you on any issues with a good understanding of your cat’s behaviors, medical background, and temperament.

If you have friends with pets, ask them who they use as a vet and why they like them. Local referrals can be really helpful in finding a good fit for you and your pet. You will be looking for someone who is great with animals, but who is also a good communicator with you.

At your first checkup appointment, your cat will receive its first round of immunizations. Work with your vet to set up a schedule for the rest of the immunizations and their needed timing. You will also want to set up an appointment with your cat to be neutered at the age that your vet advises. Write down any questions that you might have, so you are sure to cover everything you need.

Pet insurance is also a consideration for any first-time cat owner. Once you have a vet in mind, if you would like to carry pet insurance, you can call around to find a policy that will work with your chosen veterinarian.

Pet Sitters on Your Care Team

Now that you’ve found a great vet, you will want to find the perfect pet sitter for your cat. Cats are known for their independence, but as they live with us, they become dependent on a regular routine. Working with a pet sitter will assure you that your cat is cared for while you are gone by providing meals, play time, and even some cuddle time.

Getting your cat used to interacting with a cat sitter will give you confidence when you need to be away for a period of time. Little Friends offers unlimited, free in-home consults so you will have a chance to see how your cat reacts and know that you are making a good match for your cat. Setting up pet sitting services is easy, and it gives any first-time cat owner peace of mind to know that their feline friend is well taken care of.

Essentials for Your Cat

Kitten plays with toy mouse

As you are getting started, you will need some basic supplies for your cat. Here is a list to get the first-time cat owner started:

  • Cat carrier or crate
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • Healthy food appropriate for cat age category
  • Litter box and cat litter
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Scratching post
  • Bed
  • Toys

A word about toys: cats, just like humans, have a wide variety of personalities. As you are getting to know your cat, find out what kind of toys they like to play with. Some cats love to dance on two hind feet as they stretch to catch a toy on a cat wand, while others like to bat around a furry toy mouse on the ground. Others are enamored with catnip and some don’t like it at all. Once you know what your cat prefers to play with, you will have many options to keep your cat entertained.

Where to Shop in Charlotte

There are so many great options for cat owners to shop in Charlotte. Here are a few that really stand out for the pet owner who wants to make a special life for their new companion:

  • Pet Wants – You can find healthy small-batch pet food for your cat here. They are made with all-natural ingredients and don’t have any fillers. The staff is happy to educate you on what is in their pet food and help you to make the right choices for your pet. They also sell a variety of other specialty items like treat, balms and sprays.
  • Four Dogs Pet Supplies – (Yes they sell things for cats here). You can find the essentials for your cat like beds, toys, collars, bowls, leashes, and grooming products. What makes this place special is they have an animal gallery that features animal art created by Carolina artists.
  • 4 Paws Holistic – If you are looking for holistic options for your new cat, try out 4 Paws Holistic. They specialize in pet food and treats that do not contain corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, byproducts or artificial colors.

Don’t Worry – You’ve Got This!

This is an exciting time for you and your cat as you get to know each other and form a bond that will last for years to come. You are going to be a great pet parent, and if you have any questions, you can always contact us.

 

 

Adopt a Kitty: Charlotte’s First Cat Cafe and Other Local Cat Rescues

If spending some quality time with happily purring felines is your cup of tea, you’ll love the “cat cafe” concept at Charlotte’s Mac Tabby. Embracing a trend that’s spreading across the country, Charlotte’s first cat cafe allows patrons to pay by the hour to hang out with their very special cats. With a terrific menu featuring local coffees, teas, kombucha, and snacks, the cafe area is actually kept separate from the cat lounge. Guests are allowed to take their food and drinks in with them as long as they don’t share with the kitties.

a sleeping cat at a cat cafe in Charlotte

Many guests find themselves falling in love with one of the cats after their visiting time is up, and that’s okay! All the feline friends at Mac Tabby are searching for a family and are available for adoption! In fact, finding homes for orphaned kitties is one of the cafe’s biggest priorities. Mac Tabby also offers live music, cat yoga, art with cats, and kitty time for kids. Make a reservation online or drop-by for a unique experience where you just might find your next feline family member.

If you don’t have time to sip a latte or do a little cat pose with the kitties at Mac Tabby but you’re thinking of adopting, you can always adopt a cat through a number of local cat rescues. Try checking out these spots for kitties in need of a home.

Catering to Cats and Dogs

Catering to Cats and Dogs is the volunteer rescue group that works with Mac Tabby to keep their cafe full of adoptable felines, and you can work with them directly if you prefer. They pull cats from crowded animal control facilities where they may be facing euthanasia. They then place them in foster homes while they wait to find their new family.

Catering to Cats and Dogs stands out as one of Charlotte’s local cat rescues thanks to the adoption events they host throughout the greater Charlotte area. You can also virtually visit and inquire about their adoptable cats on their website. All Catering to Cats and Dogs pets, including the cats at Mac Tabby, are all fully vetted and microchipped before being placed in their new homes.

The Humane Society

Of course, The Humane Society of Charlotte is also a great place to find a purr-fect new family member. The Humane Society has a no-kill philosophy and offers shelter, medical care, and rehabilitation for homeless pets until they find loving homes. They house a large number of cats at their main facility, where visitors may meet and interact with cats in person. Their currently available cats are also listed online. Like most local cat rescues, they make sure their adopted kitties go home with a spay or neuter, all shots, and a chip. Cats adopted from the Humane Society also come with 30 days of free veterinary insurance.

More Resources and Local Cat Rescues

A few other local cat rescues where you can find cats looking for a fur-ever family include:

Remember, when you adopt a cat from Mac Tabby, or any rescue group or shelter, you’re really saving two lives. The one you take home, for sure, but by adopting you’ve created an opening at the cafe, shelter, or foster home. This makes room for them to help another orphan, as well.

Taking Care of Your New Feline Friend

Once you’ve brought your new four-legged family member home from one of these local cat rescues, Little Friends Pet Sitting is ready to help. When you’re out of town, we will take care of your cat as one of our own. We offer daily visits for cats from just a quick 10-minute check-in all the way up to a full hour. We’ll make sure the litter box is clean, fresh water is available, and that your kitty is fed, groomed, and enjoys some playtime with favorite toys. We can even schedule overnight stays so your cat doesn’t have to spend a night alone. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our special services for cats. We’d love to help!

Help Your Pup Enjoy the Season With These Fall Treats for Dogs

small dog fall sweater

Fall is the time of pumpkin spice, apple cider and, especially in Charlotte, beautiful fall colors. With the changing leaves all around us, autumn also brings an opportunity to change up your pup’s usual treats and inject some fun fall flavors into his world, too.

Before you start planning your dog’s fall feast, be sure to check out the AKC’s guide to dog-safe fruits and veggies for a rundown on what seasonal produce is safe for canine consumption. Then shop for a few staples — pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, pears and many fall squashes are all safe for dogs. Here are our favorite ideas for fall treats for dogs:

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is chock-full of health benefits for your dog. With vitamins A, C, and E as well as potassium, iron, and fiber, pumpkin has long been used to aid upset stomachs or diarrhea in dogs. Since raw pumpkin isn’t easily digestible for your pup, the easiest option is to pick up some canned pumpkin puree. Be sure it’s plain pumpkin, though, and not pumpkin pie filling!

For a delicious treat that can also help stave off boredom, fill a hollow bone with a mix of pumpkin puree and plain yogurt, then freeze. Pull it out once hardened for a pumpkin flavored treat your pup is sure to love. Because it’s frozen, it will take him a little longer to get at the yummy filling, which will help to keep him occupied if you’ll be away from home for a while.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are also superstar dog snacks. They are high in fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins B and C. Like pumpkins, they aren’t terrific for your pup’s tummy when they are raw, but they can be sliced into chips and baked at your oven’s lowest setting for several hours to make a crispy, crunchy fall snack. Or try making your own sweet potato treats using a little whole wheat flour, eggs, and applesauce. Peeled, cubed and cooked sweet potatoes can also make a great occasional treat when added to your dog’s regular meal.

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is another standout that’s rich in vitamin A, potassium and fiber. You can substitute cooked butternut squash for sweet potato in most dog treat recipes, or just like sweet potatoes, you can slice and bake them for a few hours to create crisp chips. Another popular fall flavor, cinnamon, is also safe for dogs, so feel free to sprinkle a little on your squash before baking for a little extra flavor. Steer clear of adding sugar or nutmeg, though. Nutmeg, especially, can be harmful to your furbaby.

Apples

Apples are full of vitamins A, C, and fiber, and add a delicious natural sweetness to your pup’s treats. Peeled and cubed apples actually make a tasty training treat all by themselves. Just make sure to keep them bite-sized, then pop some into a plastic baggy and you’re ready to use them as a training reward.

You can also peel and core an apple, slice it into rings and freeze. Pull out a frozen ring and smear it with a dab of peanut butter for a yummy snack. Another tasty and festive option are these cranberry apple mint treats that look just as delicious as human holiday cookies. To save time, unsweetened applesauce is a great alternative to fresh apples. Just be sure to get the variety that has no added sugar.

Pears

Pears are high in Vitamin C and K as well as fiber, so they are a great choice for a fall surprise. Make sure to remove the seeds, as those aren’t healthy for your pup to ingest. Try mixing some unsweetened applesauce with bite-sized chunks of pear, then spoon it carefully into a KONG or other refillable toy. Pop it in the freezer to create another healthy, long-lasting treat that will keep your dog entertained while he snacks. Of course, like most of these fall favorites, you can slice and bake pear chips, too!

It can be lots of fun and even healthy to share some autumn flavors with your favorite dog. As with any kind of special treats, though, make sure to share fall treats and produce with your dog in moderation. Too much of anything out of the ordinary, even healthy treats, can upset your pet’s stomach.

Fall is a busy, beautiful season in Charlotte. When your plans keep you away from home and you want to make sure your pup is well taken care of, Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking is here for you! Contact us today to schedule your dog’s next walk, pet taxi ride or pet-sitting service. We’d love to meet you and your furry best friend!

Pet Sitting in Charlotte: 5 Benefits of In-Home Pet Sitting

One major factor when planning an out-of-town trip is deciding who to care for your beloved pets. In a bustling city like Charlotte, busy schedules require keeping a reliable and animal-loving sitter on speed dial. Animal boarding facilities can be loud, messy, and stressful. Dumping your pets on friends can be an awkward and inconvenient practice.

The solution? In-home pet sitting, where a trusted animal lover stays in your own home and provides care for your four-legged family members. Here are five major benefits of in-home pet sitting:

Built-in house sitter

With in-home pet sitting, you have peace of mind knowing the lights are on and someone is home. While away, you can be sure that your mail is getting checked, plants are watered, and other home maintenance is being performed.

Best of all, chances that your house will be the target of burglary or vandalism are greatly reduced. Though you will be away, your home will continue to operate as normal. The mailman will still get barked at, and the cat will still be providing neighborhood watch services at her favorite perch by the window.

Familiar environment 

Keeping pets at home during your time away makes for the easiest transition. Many pets experience anxiety and nervousness, so yanking them out of their familiar environment can send them into a panic. Anxious pets may stop eating and sleeping, or engage in destructive behaviors.

Your pet isn’t accustomed to the different sights, sounds, and smells that often accompany an animal boarding facility. The drastic change can wreak havoc on their nervous and immune systems. Keeping your pet in the comfort of his home is the best way for him to adapt to your time away.

Keeps routines running smoothly

When you board your furry friend, though the caretakers may be great at their job, you cannot control the way they run their kennel. If Rover is used to his 6:00am potty and 7:00am breakfast, unfortunately, he probably won’t be on such a tight schedule away from home. Disrupted routines can increase anxiety in your pet. With in-home pet sitting, you can be sure that routines will stay very close to what they usually are, and he will get the feedings, walks, baths, and play times that he is used to.

More one-on-one attention

Even the most well-staffed boarding facility does not have enough employees to provide one-on-one attention to your pet. Often, boarded animals spend hours in a cage, and don’t get enough attention from their human caretakers. In-home pet sitting provides ample time for your pet’s sitter to snuggle, play with, and love on your fur baby. When your pet is safe at home, you can rest easy, knowing that they won’t be ignored.

Your baby is already there when you get home!

This is the best reason of all to opt for in-home pet sitting: you don’t have to deal with picking up your pet from the kennel. Sometimes after a trip, pet owners have to wait to be able to bring their animal home, due to staffed kennel hours. But with in-home pet sitting, your beloved pet is right where you left him. No need to make an extra trip through Charlotte rush hour traffic before landing at home sweet home.

Don’t let the stress of finding a sitter for your pets keep you from your next vacation. For exceptional in-home pet sitting in Charlotte, check out Little Friends Pet Sitting. Our experienced pet sitters are here to give your fur babies the love and attention they’d otherwise get from you. Looking for more tips and news for pet owners in Charlotte? Check out our other blog posts!

September 2018 Specials

Package Rules: Cannot be combined with other packages.  Cannot be used on previously scheduled visits.  Holiday surcharges, additional pet & medication charges still apply. Non-refundable. Package specials must be bought first through your account. Limit 1 per client. Package must be redeemed by 12/31/2018.