5 Fantastic Pet-Friendly Communities in and Near Charlotte

pet-friendly communities charlotte couple with dog

Known for its Southern charm, you already know that Charlotte is a rapidly-growing, bustling city. But did you know the city is also becoming incredibly dog-friendly? If you are looking for a place to live in Charlotte, consider one of these pet-friendly communities. Those with children often look at factors like school districts when selecting a home, so why wouldn’t you do the same for the furry member of your family? Amenities ranging from nearby dog parks to pet groomers have a major impact on your four-legged friend’s quality of life. Check out these top five pet-friendly communities in Charlotte and the surrounding area:

Ballantyne

This neighborhood south of Charlotte is a spectacular place to live for those with pets. The nearby William R. Davie Park contains Davie Dog Park. There are two separate fenced-in, off-leash areas for large and small dogs. Check out the full list of dog parks in Mecklenburg County for additional information and rules. Bring your dog to dinner at a dog-friendly eatery, such as Burger 21 or Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant. If your pooch needs a new ‘do, check out Pampered Paws at The Fountains. In addition to major chains like Petco and PetSmart, you can shop at Pawtique Holistic Pet Shoppe for your dog’s everyday needs. Remember to take your pet for his or her annual checkup at the Ballantyne Veterinary Clinic.

Cornelius/Lake Norman

This area to the north of Charlotte provides a number of fantastic services for your pet. Swaney Pointe K-9 Park at Ramsey Creek Park provides four acres of fenced-in, off-leash space. Tuesdays are Beer and Bath Night at the Lucky Dog Bark & Brew. Kick back with a beer while your pet gets a bath for only 15 dollars.

There are a number of groomers to choose from, including Impeccable Paws, Tazzy & Boo Pet Foods & GroomingLake Norman Pet Grooming, and Puppy Luv Dog Grooming. Whether you’re feeling like a curry at Sangam Indian Cuisine or BBQ at Mac’s Speed Shop, there are multiple dining options to choose from that allow pets. Concerned about the health of your pet? Take him or her to one of the nearby animal hospitals, including Main Street Veterinary HospitalNorth Mecklenburg Animal Hospital, and Animal Hospital of Cornelius.

Dilworth/South End

With a number of amenities for both dogs and people, Dilworth seems like an obvious place to live. Close to both Latta and Sedgefield Park, Dilworth will make you forget that you are just over two miles from the center of Charlotte. Need a birthday cake for your dog? Check out the Canine Café where you can pick up a number of supplies for your pooch. K9 Playland Dog Training will help you make sure your dog is well-trained and ready to hit the town. Choose from nearby veterinary clinics such as Dilworth Animal HospitalSouth End Veterinary Clinic, and Long Animal Hospital to take care of your dog. When the sad day comes when you have to say goodbye to your furry friend, Paws, Whiskers & Wags offers compassionate cremation services.

NoDa

Known for its art, this neighborhood also boasts numerous pet amenities. Visit a hiking trail or throw a frisbee on the field in North Charlotte Park. Looking for a place to relax with your pup? Grab a beer at The Dog Bar where well-behaved dogs can be off-leash inside a fenced-in area. Other establishments that allow pets include JackBeagle’s and NoDa Brewing Company. Stop by Four Dogs Pet Supplies and be sure to visit the art gallery when picking up some premium food and other doggie gear. Whether you are taking your pup in for an annual or sick visit, Uptown Veterinary Hospital and Stand For Animals Veterinary Clinic are nearby and ready to help.

South Park

Don’t confuse this location with the cartoon. South Park is a great area for pet owners. Visit nearby Ray’s Fetching Meadow, which is a one acre, off-leash dog park located at McAlpine Creek Community Park. Stores like Pet Supplies Plus and Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming have everything that you need for your pup. Whether you are looking for a simple Bath & Brush or a Fancy Hair Cut, Canine Carousel Of South Park will deliver the grooming your pet needs.

From chains like California Pizza Kitchen to local spots like Sushi Guru, there are a number of dining establishments that allow well-behaved dogs. Choose between four nearby veterinary clinics for your pet’s health needs: South Park Animal HospitalAAA Pet ServicesBanfield Pet Hospital, and Cotswold Animal Hospital.

No matter where you decide to live, be on the lookout for amenities that your four-legged friend can enjoy. If you are looking for pet sitting services, consider us at Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking. We service all of the locations listed here and many more in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Contact us today for more information about our services, which include Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Home Care, Pet Taxi, Errand Service, and Key Pick Up/Drop Off for your convenience.

Living and Working in Pet-Friendly Charlotte

In beautiful Charlotte, companies in all industries are interviewing and hiring personnel, and people continue to move here from all over the country. As these new Charlottetonians find a place, put down roots and embrace the area they build a life. Single folks with or without children, married couples, those with partners and entire traditional families, are all flocking to Charlotte. Most of these are young movers and shakers who dive headfirst into both active work and social lives.

A huge consideration when moving is how short can I make my commute? Another major concern is will it be pet-friendly? Many transplants bring along their best four-legged friends, and many others will be adopting a fur friend in the near future.  Luckily, Charlotte is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the nation with 6 off-leash dog parks and a general trend of being very welcoming for pets and their owners.

Dog Parks in Pet-Friendly Charlotte 

  • William Davies Park
  • Barkingham Park as Ready Creek Park
  • Frazier Dog Park
  • Fetching Meadow at McAlpine Creek Park
  • Shuffletown Park
  • Mallard and Clark’s Creek Greenway

We love to take our pups of all ages to play in the open air, socialize with other dogs and exercise their hearts by running their little legs off. As the old saying goes “a tired puppy is a happy puppy.”

Why Hire a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter?

The problem is, we moved here to work and have jobs we like, but this can be demanding. Our best friend is home alone while we are gone 8 to 10 hours each day. The guilt weighs on us. Maybe a neighbor can be persuaded to take your buddy on a walk in the afternoon, though that can create a lot of other issues. Are they reliable? Will they treat your pal right? Do you trust them with someone you love?

Perhaps you are a cat lover. Your little meow mix may not require quite as much attention as a dog, but cats need ear and chin scratches too. If you are only home to sleep because you are burning day and night hours in order to meet a deadline or have to go out of town, who is giving your little whiskered one attention?

Little Friends is the Ideal Solution

Thankfully Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking has an experienced staff to take up the slack when you just can’t. You can schedule your pet sitting times so that your fur buddies receive one on one attention in increments of 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 minutes. The longer the visit, the more the sitter can do. Of course your baby gets more attention, but they will also do things like get your mail, rotate blinds and  water your plants.

Dog walking has the same increments of 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 minutes including a potty break, fresh water and snack you have provided.  The staff and sitters are all insured and bonded and all have been through a thorough interview process and background check. All pet sitters must love pets, and also have to prove a history with pets. All of the sitters have either owned pets, previously sat for them, worked with animal rescue groups or even worked in a veterinary clinic. With over 70 sitters providing services to over 1000 clients, the reputation of Little Pets speaks for itself. Here is a guide to the sitters who will love and take care of your pets.

Little Friends has a big footprint covering a lot of real estate. In fact, if you find they don’t already cover your location you are invited to call them to see if your location can be added to their coverage area. Established in 2009, Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking has long been serving Charlotte’s pet needs with excellent service and has gained a great reputation. They truly do make your pet a priority when you are unable to.

 

Why You MUST Have an In-Home Consultation With Your Pet Sitter

If you need someone to watch your pet while you’re out of town or if you are looking for a dog walker to visit your dog while you are at work, then an in-home consultation is crucial. You will be bringing this new person into your home and into your pet’s life. For that reason, the two of you should meet before they begin working for you. Here are some reasons a consultation is so important:

You Get a Sense of the Sitter

Your pet sitter is going to be coming into your home when you are not there. If you are going through a reputable agency, you should have some reassurance that this person has had background checks and been thoroughly vetted. Even if that’s the case, you should still meet to get a sense of this person. An in-home consultation gives you a good idea of how comfortable you will be allowing this person into your home to care for a cherished member of your family.

Your Pet Gets to Know the Sitter

It is so important for any prospective pet sitter to meet your pet ahead of time. Sometimes cats can be skittish when it comes to strangers, but dogs may be even more of a concern. If your dog is territorial or just anxious, he will definitely need to see that this person has your seal of approval. Letting the pet take his time to check the pet sitter out while the two of you talk can help to alleviate fears. This means your pup will be much more comfortable with the sitter the next time they meet.

The Sitter Can Be Introduced to Routines

Obviously, the sitter is going to be caring for your pet, so it is a good idea to introduce them to your pet’s routines. Show them where your pet’s supplies are kept. Let them know when and how much to feed your pet. You may even show them the route you take your dog when you go walking, and of course where their harness or collar and leash are kept. This is also a good time for the sitter to understand what rules your pet is expected to follow, like not jumping or sitting on the furniture. Your sitter will also have the opportunity to see what commands your pet is familiar with like “sit” and “stay.”

How to Introduce Your Pet

When the pet sitter comes into your home, the two of you may just sit and chat, initially. This will give your pet the chance to check out this new person without any pressure. Here are some things you can try when introducing your pet to someone new:

  • Keep him in another room until the sitter has settled in. Once the pet sitter is seated, you can release your dog or cat.
  • Let your pet make the first move. While the two of you talk, your dog or cat may come to investigate. Your dog may sniff or your cat may rub up against her. The visitor should not make any eye contact or attempt to touch your pet until the pet has made the first overtures. This indicates that they are open to being touched.
  • Allow the sitter to offer your pet some treats. This will help to build a bridge. Do not allow treats to be offered if your pet is behaving in a shy or fearful manner. This could actually reinforce the anxious behavior.

Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking offers in-home consultations free of charge. This allows you to meet with a sitter who is experienced, bonded and insured and whose background has been thoroughly checked. This gives you peace of mind and allows your pet to acclimate to a new caregiver while you are present. This also gives you and the sitter the opportunity to discuss your pet’s needs and routines. For more information or to schedule your consultation, visit our website or give us a call today. You can also fill out the new client paperwork here.

Ready to handle your pet’s heath emergency?

I once walked a dog who had a nose for finding food on the ground.  We came upon chicken bones someone had thrown out.  He was a very strong dog and proceeded to pull me over to those bones.  Thankfully, I was stronger and able to move us along past the bones.  Had he been able to get to the chicken bones and eaten them it could have been a really bad thing.  They could have gotten stuck in his digestive track and ripped it open and many other terrible things.
Health emergencies for our pets are scary.  We don’t always know what to do or how to do it and our pets need help immediately.  Of course, getting them to a vet ASAP is extremely important. But what if you can’t wait and they need help NOW.
Why not create a Pet First Aid kit to keep in your car and one for your home as well?  Below is a list of items the ASPCA suggests.

Another idea is to sign up for a Pet First Aid class.  The information and life saving techniques you learn in these courses are invaluable.  The courses we have taken and recommend are:
  • PetTech – PetSaver Program is an eight hour course that will cover the following topics. Additionally, the class includes our PetSaver handbook, and upon successful completion each participant will receive a certificate. click here
  • Red Cross Dog and Cat First Aid Online – In this course, you will learn the basics of providing first aid care for your cat or dog, and will learn how to best give care for common emergency situations. This 35 minute online course covers understanding your pet’s vital signs, breathing and cardiac emergencies, wounds and bleeding, seizures, and preventative care for cats and dogs. This course is desktop and tablet compatible. click here
You never know when an accident will happen.  Being prepared is the MOST important thing.
Stay safe out there!

Daily Dog Walking, does your dog need it?

Speaking of dog walking……how frequently do you walk your dog?  Do you know how long your dog needs to walk per day?  Do you know how many times per day your dogs need to walk?  Do YOU have the time to walk your dog based on their walking needs?

I have 4 dogs.  One is a senior dog and just not into it any more and has some health issues.  We try to walk her a bit because she has gained a bit of  ‘girly’ weight, but she is really feeble.  So not much walking for her.

The other three dogs, we can’t even spell the work ‘walk’ or say ‘w’ and they are bouncing off of the walls wanting to go NOW for their walks.  And honestly, we could use the walks ourselves!

So, how many walks per day does YOUR dog need?  And how long should each walk be? Depends.

As the following article in Dogtime.com indicates, “a walk around the block is not going to cut it for most dogs. A range of between 30 to 60 minutes per day is ‘necessary’ for health, good behaviors, etc.”  But it truly depends on your dog, so take a look at this article and see if you can ‘map out a plan’ for your pup.

What Are My Dog’s Exercise Needs?

Ok, now that you have a ‘plan’ for your dog’s walks…. are you available and willing to carry out that plan?  Have you got the time?

If not, that is where a dog walking service provider is your ‘go to’ option.  Seriously, there are a ton of them.  And some really good ones.  But how do you know which ones are the best?

I own a dog walking service, Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, so of course my advice matches what we offer and the reasons we think you should choose us. But seriously, what are the characteristics you should look for with ANY dog walking service provider?

How do you know you have the BEST Dog Walker?

  • How many time options are available for you to choose from? 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes?
  • Are packages of walks offered so you can save a bit of money if you will be requesting a lot of walks?
  • Does the service provider have a lot of pet sitters for your area so there are backups for your primary walker?
  • Is a GPS tracker used so you can track where your pup is at all times in the care of the walker?
  • Will a ‘report card‘ be sent each and every time your dog is walked showing potty activities, pics of your pup on their walk, and any thing walkers noticed like limping or potty problems?
  • Are the dog walkers qualified , background checked, bonded and insured?
  • Is it EASY to do business with the office staff and online scheduling tools?

If you can answer yes to ALL of these questions, then you have chosen the BEST dog walking service provider for your area.  Choose Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking and you will be able to answer YES to all of those questions.

Don’t wait. Make a 2018 plan for your dog’s daily walks.  And either get out there and walk your dog OR contact Little Friends. We would LOVE to walk your dog!

Let’s Get Tied Up into Buying Leashes!

Need a new dog leash and other supplies?  Want to buy local?  Don’t feel like doing your research?

Have no fear!  I’ve done the hard work for you!  Here’s my favorite 10 places in the Charlotte area.  Check it out:

Dublin Dog
1435 W. Morehead Street, Charlotte 28208
http://dublindog.com

Dublin Dog originated in Hawaii, and with the owner/creator being very outdoorsy, he wanted to create products that are waterproof, dirt-proof, and durable.  Their products are fun and eco-minded, and they look as good as they perform!  You can order their products online as well.  If you and your furry friend like to hike and swim and be outdoors, Dublin Dog is the place to buy your supplies.


Pet People Highland Creek
10018 Benfield Road, Charlotte 28269
https://www.petpeoplestores.com/highland-creek.html

Locally owned, Pet People has been around the area for years.  The owners support local non-profit animal-related charities.  They have everything you need: food, treats, supplies, training accessories, etc.  One cool thing they also offer is a self-service dog wash, called SPAW.  It makes it easy for customers to bathe their dog, and not get their own homes and bathrooms all messed up!  Amazing place, and great prices!

Neighborhood Feed and Tack
1900 Moore Road, Matthews 28105
http://neighborhoodfeed.com

Don’t let the name of this place throw you off!  They have SO much to offer for all different kinds of pets!  Family owned since 1983, they offer something for every furry friend!  Not only do they have collars and leashes that light up for night walks and runs, they have thunder shirts, heated bowls, auto feeders and waterers, and a TON more!  Not only that, but they offer home delivery as well!


Reigning Cats and Dogs
2 locations!  700 N. Broome Street, Waxhaw 28173
& Monroe Crossing Mall
http://www.rcandd.com

This mother/daughter team started their business in 2004.  Now, with 2 locations, their popularity in the area has grown quickly!  They offer great products, all natural snacks and food, and grooming services.  They always find time to participate in local events, and offer welcome treats for pets when you come in the door.  The community loves them!  It’s definitely worth checking out what they have to offer.

 

Pet Supermarket
1408 East Blvd, Charlotte 28203
https://www.petsupermarket.com

This is more of a chain store, with a neighborhood kind of feel.  Pet Supermarket has the same kind of vibe as Tractor Supply.  They have GREAT prices!  They also offer in-store vaccinations and cat adoptions!  Another wonderful thing they offer is online interactive pet care training for kids!  Definitely worth not passing this place up!


Four Dogs Pet Supplies
2630 N. Davidson St, Charlotte 28205
https://fourdogspetsupplies.com

Located in NoDa, the 4 owners of this place are self-proclaimed “big dog” people, and what a cool place it is!  They are also very active in large breed rescues.  Don’t let the name fool you, they carry supplies for cats, chickens, a bunch of your other furry friends, not just dogs.  They offer holistic all-natural food, snacks, and supplements.  They also have pet-related art and literature, even a small gallery in store!

 

Last Place on Earth
5655 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte 28213
https://www.lpoecharlotte.com

This independent and family-owned store has been open since 1981.  They offer products for dogs, cats, reptiles, fish, birds, and small animals.  Along with every pet supply you would ever need, they have all-natural dog food.  They also offer puppy adoptions!


Woof Gang Bakery
4810 Ashley Park Lane, Charlotte 28210
woofgangbakery.com

This bakery was founded in Jupiter, Florida in 2007.  It is a small franchise with a hometown feel.  It started out as only a bakery, with everything baked on site.  Now they offer so much more.  Toys, collars, leashes, leads, dog spa products.  They also have a self-service grooming area, doggy day care, and a vet clinic!  It’s like a one-stop shop, with homemade baked goods for your fur babies!

 

Pawtique
12206 Copper Way, Charlotte 28277
http://www.pawtiquepetshop.com

What a cute place!  They have a variety of high-end pet products: holistic food and treats, homeopathic products, everything you could ever need.  There’s special shampoos, and adorable clothing for your fur babies for every holiday and season.  They offer a full-service grooming salon as well.  Their pet supplies are wonderful as well.


Canine Cafe
125 Remount Road, Charlotte 28203
http://caninecafe.net

This bakery was started in 1995, and in 2004 they extended what they offered to the community and added pet supplies and toys.  They have so many great things!  Outdoor and travel gear, collars, leashes, harnesses, toys, bowls, grooming supplies.  Food and supplements, of course, and wonderful homemade treats.  All baking is done onsite as well, so you know it always smells delicious there, too!

 

Hope I’ve helped you out!  Check these places out, let us know what your favorite is!

Pics from:
dogsaholic.com
dogtrainingsecret.com
dogwatch.com
labradortraininghq.com
puppyleaks.com
vetstreet.com

How to Wrangle a Dog on the Loose!

Catch me if you can!

You’re on your way home from work, and you see a dog running down the street, zig-zagging through traffic. Your heart skips a beat. You have to save it! Your instinct is to pull over and run after it. Make kissing noises, whistle, talk in your baby voice, you know. That’s what all of us would immediately think to do! But, how often has this worked for you? Think about it…

The more you chase a dog, the more likely they are to run away from you!

Here are some other options:

(Keep in mind, before you try any of these alternatives, assess the situation:  Does the dog seem aggressive?  Is the dog acting sick (maybe rabid)?  Don’t put yourself in a risky situation!)

  • Display non-threatening behavior, such as not making eye contact, yawning, or pretending to eat.  If the dog doesn’t feel threatened by you, it is more likely to come willingly to you.  Try not to call them to you, or pat your legs to get them to come.  Those noises could be interpreted as threats.
  • Ask the dog if they want to go for a ride!  The dog might love taking rides in the car, and get excited and jump right in!  And then you may have the opportunity to check their tags, get them to a vet to see if they have a chip, things like that.
  • Lie down!  Get on your hands and knees, lay down completely, or even curl into a ball.  The dog may be curious at your odd behavior, and will most likely view this as non-threatening.  They will be more likely to come up to you, sniff you, get comfortable with being close to you.
  • Run in the opposite direction!  The dog may think you’re playing and start running after you!  This will possibly build comfort as well!

While these are suggestions for a dog you don’t know, it’s worth trying for your dog as well!  You know that look your dog gives you?  When they freeze and look at you, and you say to them, “Don’t!”  And the second you say that, they bolt!  Then you run after them, screaming their name, and embarrassing yourself in front of your neighbors, apologizing to them as you sprint past.  Try these!

Have you already tried any of these suggestions? If so, share your experiences with us! How did it go? Did they work? Not work? Do you have any other things you’ve tried that worked? Let us know!

Good luck!  And happy hunting!

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.