What we are thankful for….

Hi there! Happy November. My favorite month of the whole year. Usually, I write about our clients and many have asked me, “What about you?” or “Whats your pet family?” So this month, I have decided I am going to give you a little bit of background knowledge of myself, Mollie and Scotch.

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I am turning 30 this month! Yep, the big 3-0! My mother is so kind and loving as to be taking me to NYC to celebrate my birthday with her and my best friend. Do you think Little Friends can manage while I go out of town… we will see won’t we ;)


I have two dogs. Mollie is the oldest. She is almost 7 years old. She is a rescue. When Mollie was rescued by Tri-County Animal Rescue she had a set date to be euthanized.  Gaston County Animal Care and Control found her and her litter mates trying to nurse from their deceased mother who had been hit by a car in a hotel parking lot. Due to the cost of raising puppies, Gaston County was just going to euthanize them. Tri County Animal Rescue came in, asked to take the entire litter and Gaston County approved.

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Mind you, I have always wanted a dog of my own, however, I did have to wait until I graduated college to get a dog (my parents rules). I knew I wanted a rescue and that was about it. I went to Petsmart on a Friday night. They had 3 of the puppies there from that litter. I fell in love with one of the male puppies, he had one blue eye and one brown eye. I  started to ask the volunteers about the breed, etc, and then she said, “if you come back tomorrow, I will have his sister here, She has one blue eye and one brown eye as well.” Leaving the store, I started my contemplation about whether or not I “needed” a dog.

Needless to say, I woke up at 7am on Saturday and headed out to Petsmart. I had officially decided I was going to recue one of these dogs. The entire litter was there, playful, and such happy pups, and there in the corner all to herself was my “Mollie”. She wasn’t interested in saying “hello” to everyone, she seemed somewhat traumatized on what had been going on. I picked her up and I have not let her go since!

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“Who rescued who?” Mollie rescued me. She has been there for me through a lot. Almost turning 30, I got her when I was 23.  We have been through the party stage together, the waitress jobs, the births of my nieces and nephews, the break ups with boyfriends, the tiny apartments, and now at this point, the big girl job and the nice luxury condo. She comes to work with me everyday and lies at my feet, not moving unless I leaving the office. I can take her anywhere, no leash needed, as she stands beside me at all times. She is there for me whenever I may need her love. She protects me. She is my best friend.


Now, Scotch’s turn. Laugh out loud… they say sometimes God throws you a curve ball, with this little guy he sure did!


Last year, Terry (owner of Little Friends) contacted me and said, “You are never going to believe this. A huge puppy mill near Wilmington has been raided. The Humane Society  is in dire need of fosters. The puppy mill was made up of two double wide trailers, no AC or heat, and 188 dogs.” Devastated to hear news like that, Terry asked if I would be willing to help her foster if she were to volunteer. Of course I thought, what could be so bad?

I met Yara, the Yorkie, on Monday morning walking into work. She was in my office. Terrified of her new setting. and about to pop- she was pregnant! Oh my gosh, what did we get ourselves into? We started to do research on Yorkies  and even more research about what to do when they are delivering puppies. Thinking back, everything we read, we could have written our own book on all the knowledge we had gained.

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I met Yara and she started to get adjusted to me. Terry walked in and first thing she says to me, ” You going to take one of her pups?” I felt my response was great, saying “only if its a boy and hes ALL tan color.” Chances to me seemed very odd that would ever happen. If only I knew.

Of course, Yara, whom we had made office assistant of Little Friends wanted to stay with us a little longer, fresh food, water, warm bedding, she was now living the life she had deserved from the beginning. However, she still hated men. Three weeks later, it was time for Yara to deliver. It was a Saturday afternoon, Terry had left the office to run errands and Jon (Little Friends Owner) had to come to the office and get something.

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Yara, started barking and he looked into her warm bed and realized thier was a puppy in there! Since she didn’t like men he called me in a MAYDAY MAYDAY situation. I had to help her, so I got in the car immediately and drove to Little Friends Office. By the time I had gotten there, .I looked in her whelping box, and there was one darker colored pup (a big boy), and now a darker colored female. We kept peeping in the box to see if another had come. Finally, a white female came out third, and of course, last but not least, was a tan colored male. I then was extremely shocked and it hit me like ton of bricks that I was about to have a second dog!

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Yara did everything herself. I guess puppy mill pups are used to that kind of thing. I had brought gloves, syringes, the whole nine yards, thinking this was going to be a crazy situation. Yara however, did everything herself. We didn’t need to read books, this was probably her 5th or 6th time doing this herself.

Puppies. 4 puppies. Whoa, was a lot! We cared for them, and found all of them homes including Yara, so that we did not have to return them back to the Humane Society.

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We had to take them all to the Humane Society for one night, so they could get spayed or neutered , and all shots. Then I got to take tiny runt Scotch home.

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Scotch sure did change up our schedule. We had to get a crate, start the potty training, buy little boy dog clothes (it was winter). Waking up in the middle of the night to go outside, whimpering because he wanted to be a big boy and get in the bed with Mollie and I at night. At first, I was worried that Mollie would hate me. As the year had passed, I have come to realize this is just what Mollie needed. Someone who broke all the rules, was hard to potty train, needs a leash everywhere we go, wants to be friends with everyone, and is carefree. The complete opposite of her.


Now, they are my duo. I hate to be separated from them as they do me. They both come to work with me everyday, sleep in the bed with me every night, I make their own food for them, a walk everyday, dog park every weekend, and love them both unconditionally.

I know I would not be who I am today without the both of them.



Top 10 reasons I am thankful for Scotch and Mollie

1. The love they give me

2. The fact that I can lean over and say “kisses” and they both kiss me (lick me)

3. I am never alone- my constant companions

4. They joy in their eyes and the loud panting when we are pulling into my mother’s neighborhood because they get to see her pups, and they know exactly where we are.

5. They are my security guards, they will bark at anything. High Alert at night.

6. The toys all over the house, even if I put them away seconds ago,

7. Mollies one blue and one brown eye and Scotch’s terrible under bite

8. They like to compete and see who is the fastest runner, its different every day.

9. Scotch likes to clean Mollie’s face, fur, ears, anything, and she lets him.

10. They makeup “MY’ family.


Top 10 things I think my dogs are thankful for:

1. I will give them anything and take them anywhere

2. Bedtime

3. Scotch likes to go to The Barker Lounge once a week, get energy out, and play with other pups. Mollie and I get to enjoy girl mommy time without the stinky boy :)

4. Chewnolas and BusyBones

5. The food I make them

6. Walks

7. My job and that they get to come with me everyday

8. Beach! and dog parks suffice

9. Mollie loves Frisbees and Scotch loves stuffed babies, he is currently in love with a stuffed newspaper roll that makes crinkle noise at the slightest touch.

10. I saved them


Casey and Cooper


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Casey and Cooper 

I was so excited to ask Casey (and Cooper) to be my October blog spot. They have been working with Little Friends since September of 2012. To look back and say that they have been with us for a year now, blows my mind. I remember the first day Casey called into Little Friends.

I cant wait to share with you her story. Also, to keep in mind when I sent Casey a text, asking her to be my October Blog Spotlight, I immediately received a  text back from Casey Perry saying: “Cooper will be so excited when I tell him. He’s always wanted to be famous!” Needless to say,  I knew I was in for a treat….

Lauren: When did you get Cooper?

Casey: I got him from a breeder in Virginia. I had wanted a dog for so long. I had even had an imaginary dog, named Jack. Finally senior year of college I moved somewhere I could  have a dog. I researched on the breed of dog that I wanted for two years.  I knew I wanted a big cuddly dog that was sweet and wanted to lie everywhere, and that dog was born in 2010.

Lauren: How many in the litter? Why Cooper?:

Casey: Nine in the litter. I was town between the two males.  I was about to put him back to be with the other litter mates on my first visit of visiting the breeder with her pups. Right when I was putting him back with his litter mates he looked at me. smiled big and stuck his tongue out. I was immediately in love.

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Lauren: Where did you get the name Cooper?

Casey: Cooper’s Barb-B-Que in Raliegh (Go Wolfpack!) and everyone in my family has the same intitals CP, so we had to keep it in the family.

Lauren: How was the puppy experience?

Casey: I was in law school at Carolina at the time. I was busy, but studying a lot at home. He was great company. I also had two female roommates at the time. That’s how Cooper came to be such a ladies’ man. He was great at being crate trained, very easy. I think he maybe had one accident in the home. He picked it up quickly.

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Lauren: Describe his personality?

Casey: Happy go lucky, just wants to be loved. I think him growing up with three girls, he didn’t have any other chance but to be super loving and charming. He wants to be best friends with the small dogs and never considers his own size when being introduced. He’s my 80lbs. lap dog.

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Lauren: What do you feed him?

Casey: I think its natural choice. I could tell you what the bag looks like (smiles). I try to do no chicken, just red meat. I also love to use products that will make him shed.  I just bought the automatic vacuum that I got off Woot.com for 1/2 price. Its called the Neato and is set to work at 2am in the morning. Its wonderful! A life saver!

Lauren: His favorite activities?

Casey:He loves to go to my families farm or to the lake.


Lauren: How did he adjust to Charlotte?

Casey: I was really worried about coming to Charlotte, and him having to adjust. I was going to be living on my own and he had never been alone in the day. My schedule was going to be tough at first. Some days I get home at 6pm or 7pm, and some days at 11pm or 12am and that’s a long time without a potty break.  That’s when I decided this southern country girl had moved to the city, and it was time to get a pet sitter! I felt like such a diva!

Lauren: How did you decide on Little Friends Pet Sitting?

Casey: I created a spreadsheet. I compared multiple companies on the spreadsheet, and used deciding factors like who was accredited with Better Business Bureau (BBB) and reviews from Google. Little Friends had a great website. Great reviews. It was the biggest decision I had to make after moving to Charlotte. Looing back I know I made the best decision.  Little Friends was a smooth process immediatly. My pet sitter came over to introduce himself, and perform the consultation. I was immediately put at ease.

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Lauren: Whats your favorite quality about your pet sitter?

Casey: I can tell he really loves dogs. Cooper loves him, and they are daily afternoon walking ‘buds’. I love me sitters notes and texts. It puts a smile on my face right in the middle of my busy hectic day. I know that he is taken care of. I also love how I can email you(office) crazy emails that mostly make no sense, and you do your best to try to figure out my needs.

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Lauren: What is his favorite treat?

Casey: Every night I cut up an apple. Together we eat the apple, he will even eat the core and stem. He eats pretty much anything, celery…, anything I eat, he will eat! He loves the pantry. I better not leave it open when running late to work! Or my pet sitter will walk into a trash surprise on the floor.

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Lauren: What is Cooper’s “style”?

Casey:  Cooper is a good ole’ fashioned southern gentleman. He has a North Carolina flag collar, or a NC State collar. NC State game days he will wear his jersey! He’s a yellow lab, a little preppy man!


Lauren: What are his tricks?

Casey: He knows,”Sugar, almost said like shuga” meaning to give me kisses. He also knows to say his blessings before dinner time, at that time he says thanks for his mom ;) , grandparents, water, toys, and his pet sitter all while lying on the floor with his paws crossed. I’ll show you!

(He really does say his prayers)

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That’s how we concluded the interview. With Cooper bowing his head  crossing his paws, and giving thanks for the day before dinner time.  (what a typical southern boy).

From the beginning it was wonderful meeting Cooper and Casey. Casey is such a fun girl. She has a very demanding schedule and Cooper has adjusted well to living with just his mom and visits from his pet sitter daily. She takes such great care of him and he does the same for her as well.

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In the end, like the the quote goes, “Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend, never owned a dog.” With Casey and Cooper I know this quote is true.

Casey, Little Friends Pet Sitting will continue to make you a satisfied client and we thank you for giving us the support and business that you have in the past year and a half.











Lara, Rudy, Jax, and Lucy


Snazzy September Pet Family

Lara, Rudy, Jax and Lucy

By: Lauren Frank

I had the pleasure of meeting Lara, Rudy, and their pups Jax and Lucy a couple of weeks ago. What a fun pet family!  Lara and Rudy have just moved into a new home, and Jax and Lucy have easily made their way to the top as king and queen of their new palace.

Q: What are your pet’s names and where did you get both of them?

L: Lucy, the black one, was rescued from a Humane Society in Vermont, she was 1 year old. When they found her, she had been wondering around a Wal-Mart parking lot and had just arrived at the facility the day before. Within five minutes of meeting her, we had fallen in love with her. They had originally given her the name Missy; however, she is clearly a Lucy! Strangers often judge her because of the pit bull traits; however she is great with kids and very gentle. She loves food, cuddling and her brother, Jax.  Jax was rescued from the Humane Society of Charlotte, he was 10 weeks old.  It was love within minutes again!  The Humane society gave him the name Chubs which we changed to Jax when he came home.  We brought him home and Lucy accepted him quickly, they have been inseparable since.


Q: Any issues you have had have to deal with in regards to them both being “rescues”?

L: He (Jax) has separation anxiety.

R: We tried to crate him but would bend a crate in and totally freak out. We worried he would hurt himself.

L: We tried a doggy day care and it was a horrible situation. Lucy got bit and Jax hated it. We have since gotten a trainer and Jax is on Prozac twice a day, given through pill pockets.  We also started using Little Friends Pet Sitting,  for two 45 minute visits a day. With age, training and LOTS of PATIENCE and love, he has turned out to be a really great dog.

Q: Most expensive items that they have chewed up?

R: Couches, table, window sills, you name it, he would eat it.  We have eliminated the opportunity of Jax being able to chew things up, by giving them their “dog den”. He is so happy here.

L: They go into their den every morning before work, the pet sitter comes for a visit and playtime mid-day, then back into their den for a couple of hours until mom and dad arrive home. They in essence have their own “apartment”.


Q: What made you decided you wanted a second one

L: Lucy seemed lonely, and we always wanted two

Q:  What is the normal schedule?

L: Wake up, go outside, eat breakfast then go into their room.  Amanda ( Little Friends Pet Sitter) comes for a 45 minute mid-day visit, plays with them for half of time in the yard and goes for a walk for the remaining time.  Rudy comes home around 4:30pm and its more play time, then dinner, chill time and then bed time.

Q: Do they sleep in the bed with you?

R&L: THEY DO! However, they do love their KONG beds.

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Q: What do they eat?

L: (Laughs) Boiled Chicken and dry dog food. They love it. I believe it keeps their coats shiny, we also add a drop of olive oil.

R: A little more chicken than dry food

Q: What are Jax and Lucy’s favorite treats?

L: Hotdogs! Lucy also loves the Just6 Rachel Ray treats and Jax loves cheese.  Their favorite toys are elk antlers.

Q: What are the Certain qualities which you could not live without?

R: The “love-ability” that Lucy has. And the fact they are the cutest and sweetest duo. They are always making sure they are close to one another.

L: Lucy will always greet you with joy and no matter what type of day you have had, Lucy can make you smile.  Also, every day I come home from work, Jax makes this noise, almost like a cat purring, that puts a smile on my face and makes me happy to be home.

R: I love their ears! One of my favorite qualities of our pups.

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Q: Best memory?

R: We are so happy that we have finally gotten to a peaceful point with Jax. It was such a struggle with the separation anxiety and  trying to maintain  a normal life, it took its toll on us. We had to visit with doctors, trainers, and pet care providers and find a solution and we, as dog owners, were not going to be satisfied until we found an answer.  We were adamant on finding the solution, and not making his problem, someone else’s problem, by giving him up.

Q:  Are they scared of anything?

L: Loud noises

R: STATUES! Our neighbor has put up gnomes and other yard statues in their back yard. Every time Lucy goes out back, she will bark out from the fence. It’s random statues that she does not like. She even notices when new ones have been added to the collection.

Q: Do they have a particular style?

R: It changes…

L: Rudy wants Jax to have the leather spike collar, biker boy, tough look all the time

R: I do, I like that.

L: (Smiles) Lucy prefers flowers and pink girlie collars.

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Q: What do they think of their pet sitter, Amanda?

L: They both love her but Jax especially loves Amanda. We think he has a big crush on her. She often refers to Jax as her boyfriend. She does a great job at taking care of our pups on a regular basis, when we can’t.

Q: What do you do when you go out of town?

L: We love boarding them at Wickersham’s K-9 Ranch. Boarding in crates does not work for our pups and Wickersham’s offers family rooms, with no crates.  We bring their beds and toys and they can be with each other.  The staff sends pictures while we are away, and the facility is on 30 acres or so of land including a large pond.  They have it all fenced in, so the dogs can play outside freely. They also offer pick-up and delivery of the dogs from the home.

R: I was never big on putting them in crates and we found Wickersham’s and they made us feel great and at ease.

After doing this interview with Lara, Rudy, I know they are great parents to their pups. They cherish every moment with their pet family and have made it a point to include Jax and Lucy into their everyday lives. Thanks Lara and Rudy, it was a pleasure meeting you face to face. Little Friends Pet Sitting will continue to make you satisfied clients and we thank you for giving us the support and business that you have in the past year and a half.







Before You Travel: Your Dog’s Staycation

Before You Travel: Your Dog’s Staycation

Published May 1, 2013

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Picking the best pet care option for your dog while you travel can ensure a happy staycation for Fido and a worry-free vacation for you.

Kenneling your dog while on travel is a popular option, but it might not be the best fit for your dog. In part two of this “Before you Travel” series, we take a closer look at in-home care.

Home stays can vary from a daily checks-in by a neighbor to a live-in situation with a licensed pet professional. While keeping your dog in his home environment might seem like the best option when you’re away, it’s important to consider how being “home alone” might impact your dog.

How frequently will your dog be visited, and for how long? When I was a young girl my neighbors often hired me to look after their two old Irish Setters when they traveled. They only asked that I stop by to feed them breakfast and dinner as well as a quick visit in the middle of the day to let them out, but even as a child I felt bad leaving them home alone for so long. (Don’t worry, I spent plenty of extra time with them!) A dog on a home staycation should be visited several times a day, not only for the necessary feeding and pottying, but also for the much needed human interaction. Most cats might be content to laze around alone for extended periods of time, but dogs need contact with people to maintain their equilibrium, particularly when their daily routine is altered. And since they’re left to their own devices (or “vices”?) for most of the day, they also need interaction with the pet sitter to burn off pent-up energy, which leads into my next point.

Can you dog-proof adequately for extended time alone? Sure, most of our dogs happily hang out while we leave the house to earn a living. Dogs get used to the patterns of daily life, so our hours away are expected and tolerated without complaint. Being away from you for days at a time, though, can be a stressful change for a dog. Being left alone to deal with the things that go bump in the night (and day) might cause a well trained dog to seek comfort in ways that are atypical, like chewing on the dining room rug or ransacking the mail piled by the door. Dogs often turn to repetitive behaviors like ripping and digging to self-soothe in times of stress. Boredom, too, can play a part in destructive behavior. When leaving a dog home for an extended period, take care to survey the environment for any potential targets, like TV remotes and baskets on the floor, even if they haven’t seemed attractive to your dog in the past. Consider baby-gating or closing doors to limit your dog’s household access as well.

Can you depend on the caregiver? This is hands down the most important factor of home stays. Make sure that you’ve gotten ample feedback about any pet sitting service that you plan to hire. Call every reference they provide, and use social media like Facebook to get additional feedback from your network. If you opt to use a friend or neighbor, make sure that they understand that your dogs needs more than just a fifteen minute fly-by three times a day. (The middle school kid next door might be cheap labor, but can he give your pet the level of attention that he needs?) The New York Times recently wrote about a woman whose cat died when the pet sitting service she hired didn’t show up for a week, so it could literally be a lifesaver to check in with the sitter while you’re away.

Keeping your dog at home is a great option when combined with the right caregiver and a mutual understanding of what your dog needs to stay happy and healthy in your absence. In the final part of this series we’ll look at the method I’ve used with my dogs for years; home away from home stays.

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Victoria Schade Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer for over eleven years. During that time she has worked on…

Everything you need to know to prevent pet dehydration

During the hot summer days, we are all susceptible to dehydration, including our pets. Dehydration is the lack of water in the body and it can cause serious health problems and even death in humans and pets alike. Water makes up 80% of dogs and cats bodies, and helps with circulation, digestion, waste removal and other body processes.

When fluid levels drop below normal, dehydration occurs. Dehydration is caused by a reduced fluid intake and/or an increased fluid loss. Fluid loss occurs due to overheating or illness in dogs and cats. And with the increased heat and humidity, dogs and cats overheat quickly when outdoors or in a location without air-conditioning, such a parked car or garage. Older, young and sick pets are more susceptible to overheating and dehydration; but any dog or cat can become overheated and dehydrated at any time, so it’s important to look for the signs during the hot summer months.

The typical signs of dehydration are:

  • Fatigue or lack of desire to move
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Depression

There is a simple at home test to do for dehydration. Gently lift up your pet’s skin on the back of their neck or between their shoulder blades. The skin should immediately return back to its normal position. If a pet is dehydrated, it will take longer to return to its normal position. This is not the only sign that a pet is dehydrated, and your pet may still be dehydrated even with passing this test. So if you notice any signs, you should consider your pet may be dehydrated.

Test your dogs skin to see if they are dehydrated. Gently pull between shoulder blades and let go. If it takes a while to bounce back, dehydration is supected.

If you suspect your pet is dehydrated, immediately take him or her to your veterinarian. It’s always best to call ahead and let them know you are coming so they can have everything ready for your arrival. The veterinarian will test for dehydration and administer intravenous fluids if dehydration has occurred.

To prevent pet dehydration, always provide plenty of fresh, clean water. You should refill your pets bowl with fresh water regularly and be sure to clean their water dish(es) every other day to kill any bacteria that may have developed in the dish. And when you and your pet go outside, be sure to bring water and a water dish with you and take plenty of water breaks.

A pet should drink one ounce of water per pound of body weight a day, and more when exposed to heat or illness. Monitor your pet’s drinking habits and if you feel he or she is not drinking enough, consult with your veterinarian. There may be a medical reason why your dog or cat is not drinking as much as they should.

Dehydration is a dangerous thing for both humans and animals. But its prevention technique is simple: lots of fresh clean, water! I’ll see you around the drinking fountain!



Fun Activities for Your Pet on the Fourth of July

Fireworks and pets just don’t mix well. So the 4th of July is not a very fun day for dogs and cats. Pets often get overwhelmed by all the people, excitement and loud noises that come with a large celebration. But you can make the day special for your pet too! Here are some great ideas to make your pet happy this 4th.

1 – Take your dog for an early morning walk in the park or go to a dog park. Let’s face it, most dogs love to be outside, sniff around, explore, run and walk. What better treat for your pup than a special trip outdoors? Take your pup to a new park or his favorite park to explore and enjoy. Go early before the crowds and intense heat set in, and be sure to bring you and your dog some water to stay hydrated. If you are going to a dog park, be sure to read over these guidelines to keep the peace in the park.

2 – Buy your pet a new pet friendly toy. It can be something as simple as catnip or a bone, or it can be a special patriotic red, white and blue toy. During the heat of the day, stay inside in the cool air conditioning and play with your pet and his new toy. He will love the new toy and the time spent with you!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

3 – Instead of giving your dog or cat a piece of hotdog or burger as a special treat, buy him a pet treat instead. Human food often upsets pets’ stomachs, and some food is toxic to your pet. (For a list of toxic foods, read this article). Go to your local pet bakery and pick up a special dog or cat treat so your pet can indulge on the 4th.

4 – Create a safe place for your pet to go when he or she gets overwhelmed. If you are hosting a party, all the people, sounds and activities can cause anxiety in your pets. And most pets are extremely fearful of fireworks. So create a safe room for your dog and/or cat to retreat to de-stress. Put their favorite beds, blankets and toys in the room. Keep fresh water and maybe even a special treat in the room. Turn on some soothing music (if that appeals to your pets) to help drown out the party noise. And make sure your guests know that this is your pet’s safe space so they do not disturb them.

For your dog or cat to have a happy Fourth of July, all they need is to feel safe and comfortable. You can do that by giving them a special treat of extra outdoor time in the morning, a new toy or pet snack in the afternoon, and a soothing environment to go to when they are nervous.

Happy Fourth of July!



Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

It’s almost here: barbeques, swimming pools, friends, families and fireworks. We all love going to or hosting a 4th of July party. These celebrations can pose serious threats to our pet’s health. So in order to keep your dog and cat safe, follow these simple tips for your event this 4th.

    • Never keep alcoholic beverages unattended and where a pet can reach them. And remember, if your dog tends to be creative to get to things he or she wants, you need to take extra precautions. Notice where you leave your drinks and take into account if your pet can jump up on a chair and get to a beverage sitting on the table next to the chair. Alcohol is poisonous to pets and if too much is ingested, they can become severely weak and even go into a coma. Keep your beverages up high with nothing your dog or cat can use as a ladder to reach them.
    • It’s a great idea to apply sunscreen and bug repellent to your pet when they are outdoors for an extended period of time. Dogs and cats can both get sunburns as well as nasty bug bites. Always use products approved for pets on your dog or cat. The chemical DEET is often found in popular bug repellants humans use, but DEET can lead to neurological problems in dogs and cats. Never use sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet unless it is labeled safe for animals.
    • Keep party items away from your pets and out of their reach. Things like matches and lighter fluid used for grilling can cause severe respiratory problems in your pet if accidentally ingested. Glow jewelry is popular with adults and kids alike during times of celebration, but never put the jewelry on your pet. The substance that makes it glow is highly toxic to pets. Also popular items to use in the backyard, like citronella candles and insect coils and oils to keep bugs away, are extremely harmful to your pet if ingested. So if you have these items on hand at your gathering, make sure that your dog or cat can not get to them at any time.
    • We all love to pamper our pets and include them in the family fun. But feeding them “people food” that they are not used to eating is not a good way to pamper pets. Dogs and cats have very sensitive digestive systems and any change in their diet can cause digestive distress. Plus, many human foods that we consider either treats or healthy snacks can be toxic to pets. So when your pup begs for a bite of hotdog, just say no. Reach for their normal pet treats instead.

Avoid giving your dog human food this 4th of July. They may be disappointed, but their tummies will thank you!

  • Finally, remember that this can be a stressful time for even the most well adjusted pet. Dogs and cats are often overwhelmed by large crowds, different noises, and loud fireworks. When going to a 4th of July celebration that may be too much for your dog to handle, you may want to keep them home in a safe place instead. And if the party is at your house, make sure your pets have a comfortable and safe room to retreat to when they start to feel a little jittery.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!



How to Ease Your Dog’s Fear of Fireworks

It’s almost July 4th and that means barbeques, parties and fireworks. Some dogs don’t mind fireworks while others are extremely fearful. So for some dog parents, the 4th of the July is less of a holiday and more of a stressful evening with their pup. But there is hope. Try these tips and tricks to help calm your dog during this stressful time.

The reason dogs are afraid of fireworks is simple; it’s because they are loud. A dog’s hearing is extremely sensitive. To dogs, the sound of a firework boom is like an explosion right outside their house. So no wonder a lot of dogs are afraid!

Rule number 1 for calming your dog during this time is for you to stay calm. Many times pup parents get anxious before the fireworks begin because they know that their dog is going to become overwhelmed by the noise. Mom’s and Dad’s start dreading the trembling, whining, panting and pacing that many dogs exhibit when they are fearful. Your pup can pick up on this anxiety and it will make the event even scarier for them. Their logic is much like a child’s; if Mom & Dad are scared or anxious, then something bad is happening. So if you stay calm, you will make the experience less frightening for your dog.

A great idea is to teach your dog to associate loud noises, such as fireworks or thunder, with something positive. If you took any psychology course throughout your education, you will remember the experiment by the scientist Pavlov. He trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell ringing through what is called conditioning. He conditioned the dogs to start salivating by ringing the bell, and then giving them food. He continued to do this for a while and eventually the dog learned that when the bell rang, he got food. Before long, the dog got excited and his mouth started watering when he heard the bell. He associated the bell with a good thing, being fed. So you can start associating loud noises with a good thing, such as treats. Since we don’t have storms and fireworks every day, you can find a CD or DVD of storm sounds and fireworks to work on training your dog. Soon, just upon hearing a loud noise, your dog will begin to salivate instead of tremble!

Finally, make sure your dog is in a safe indoor environment the evening of July 4th. Dogs have a tendency to flee when they are scared, so if left outdoors he or she may try to escape. If they are left alone indoors, make sure things that can harm them are out of their reach. When a dog becomes fearful, they have a tendency to act out their fear in the form of destruction. So make sure all electric cords, small toys, and any other item a dog may easily destroy is out of the way. Make the environment safe and comfortable for them by adding their favorites toys, blankets, and treats.

Other remedies for noise fear in dogs include medications (ask your veterinarian before trying) and thundershirts.

I hope you and your pup have a happy and fear-less 4th of July!



Keeping Your Dog Cool in the Summer Heat: Daily Walks

With the heat wave upon us, most of us are avoiding going outside and staying in the air conditioning during the day. That’s a great way to stay cool, but what about your dog that needs daily walks for exercise and potty breaks? Both you and your pup need to follow these survival tips to beat the heat during your walks.

Beat the Heat this Summer!

Tip 1: Go for early morning and late night walks if possible. Since these times are the coolest parts of the day, make an effort to get your walks in during these times. Usually between 10am and 5pm are the hottest times of the day, so avoid long walks during this time.

Tip 2: Watch your dog for signs of dehydration. Excessive panting, drooling, unusual fatigue and bloodshot eyes are signs of overheating and dehydration. If you notice these signs, get your dog to a cool place and give water immediately. And remember, dogs with thicker coats and darker cooler fur tend to overheat quicker than those with lighter coats.

Tip 3: Keep your dog hydrated! Carry a bottle of water on your walk with a collapsible dog bowl so you and your dog can have water breaks in the heat.

Tip 4: Avoid walking on the asphalt during the heat of the day. Not only is the asphalt hotter than the sidewalk or grassier areas, but it can burn your dogs sensitive paws. Choose the sidewalk or grass instead. If you can not avoid walking on asphalt, invest in doggie booties. These shoes will keep your dog’s feet from burning and help him or her stay cooler since they will absorb less heat through their paws.

Tip 5: If you must take your dog out during the heat of the day, make sure it is a short walk to do their duty only. Try to stay on a shaded path, away from asphalt if possible. Do not give your dog outside exercise during the heat wave. Instead, play with them inside for exercise.

Following these tips will help you stay happy, healthy and cool this summer. See you out early tomorrow morning for a walk!



Heat Safety for Your Pet

June 20th was the first official day of summer and it is hot, hot, hot outside! If you are new to the South, then I hate to tell you, but the heat is just getting started. Temperatures in the 90s and above, with very high humidity levels, are very typical for Southern summer months, which generally last from late May to late September/early October. So you’re in for a treat (if you like heat!).

A lot of people think that pets can survive in any weather. The thought is that since they are animals, nature has taught them ways to survive. Well, that’s true to an extent. A dog or cat will seek shade if they are overheated, water if they are thirsty, and shelter if there’s a storm. However, even the most instinctual pet can not survive the heat wave we are about to begin. Pets can and will get dehydrated, develop sunburns and even suffer from heat stroke if they are not properly cared for during the summer months. But by taking some simple precautions, you and your pet can stay safe and cool this summer.

1. Never leave your pet in a parked car! Even with the windows down, parked cars can get dangerously hot in the summer, leading to heat stroke and even death.

2. Make sure all your windows have screens and that they are fastened securely to your home. During the summer months, there is an increase number of what is classified as “High-Rise Syndrome”. This is when a cat or dog falls out of an upper floor window as they are trying to get fresh air. If you have any windows without screens, or broken screens, leave them shut.

3. If you have a dog with long hair, you may want to shave them down to a shorter length for the summer months. But remember not to completely shave your pup or cat. Pet hair is a natural sunblock, so shaved pets are at risk for severe sunburns. You should not cut hair shorter than 1 inch from the skin.

4. Watch out for asphalt and other outdoor surfaces that heat up quickly in the sun. Pet paws can burn on the hot surface. Walk on sidewalks, gravel paths or in the grass and avoid asphalt during the heat of the day.

5. Finally, always make sure plenty of fresh water is available to your pet. If you are going for a walk, take a bottle of water for you and your dog. You should always keep a bowl of fresh water easily accessible for your dog when spending any amount of time outdoors this summer to avoid dehydration.

It's important for your dog to stay hydrated this summer. Make sure to provide your pup with plenty of fresh water.

Stay tuned for more beat the heat tips. Stay safe and have fun!