Smile! February is National Pet Dental Month

Is your pet ready to flash those pearly whites? February is National Pet Dental Month — the perfect time to brush up on health, wellness, and oral care for your pet. Dogs, cats, and even exotics need plenty of TLC when it comes to their teeth. Consider these dental hygiene tips and deals to keep your best friend smiling brighter.

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Strike Back Against Plaque: Preventative Pet Dental Care At Home

From tug-of-war to scarfing down their favorite treats, our pets’ mouths get quite the workout. A wellness routine is highly important when it comes to preventing tooth decay, dental disease, and detecting signs of illness early.

Need a Mint?

From abscesses to plaque, dental disease is no laughing matter. Know the signs and symptoms of illness in your pet, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Reddened or irritated gums
  • Lumps and bumps around the gum and jaw area
  • Difficulty eating or picking up toys
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Yellowed or discolored teeth
  • Overgrown teeth (in exotics)
  • Pawing at the mouth and exhibiting signs of distress

If your furbaby is experiencing any of these persistent symptoms, it’s a sure sign that a trip to your friendly neighborhood vet is in order.

Fortify and Protect

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but brushing your dog’s teeth can keep the vet away! Dogs and cats both benefit from routine brushing. Avoid pet foods that are high in chemical additives. Junk foods can wear down the enamel in your pet’s teeth, making them more susceptible to dental diseases. Instead, spoil them with love and healthy fare! Dental treats and chews are a great option for daily oral upkeep. 4 Paws Holistic has a huge selection of all natural, grain free diets, toys, chews, and treats designed to benefit overall dental health.

Little guys need love too! Rabbits, hamsters, and chinchillas have teeth that are constantly growing. Malocclusion can pose a serious health risk if your small friend’s fangs aren’t kept at bay. Be sure to provide chew toys made from safe woods, along with a variety of hay and a wholesome diet. Pumice stones are a great option for exotics, such as chinchillas. Toys help mimic wild behavior and keep your jungle creature happy and mentally stimulated as well as healthy.

The Buzz Around Town: Dental Deals in Charlotte

While preventative care is crucial to your pet’s well-being, no amount of brushing can replace regular pet dental cleanings.

West Ballantyne Animal Hospital

If you’re new to the Charlotte area or just new to parenting a furchild, West Ballantyne is currently offering $20 off your pet’s first exam. A caring team of professionals offers comprehensive dental care, cleanings, and early detection of periodontal disease.

Charlotte Natural Animal Clinic

Looking for a holistic alternative? Charlotte Natural Animal Clinic offers a range of services including non-anesthetic dental cleanings and dietary coaching. Check out their blog for monthly deals and alerts.

Uptown Veterinary Hospital

Uptown Veterinary Hospital is currently offering a pet dental cleaning package, complete with a full blood panel, half off during the month of February. Take advantage of this great offer while it lasts!

Griffin Exotics

Need a teeth trim for a bunny or a dental check-up for your hedgehog? This facility specializes in caring for avians and exotics. A knowledgeable and caring place to take your wild ones!

Looking for more ways to stay smiling in Charlotte? Give our friendly dog walkers a call and book your best friend’s next adventure! Our compassionate, dedicated staff of professional animal lovers are available for outings, home care, pet sitting, and so much more. New pet owner? Check out the first time cat owner’s guidebook and let us know what makes your furbaby smile!

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month

By February, winter is winding down and we’ve all got our minds turned to warmer weather and the brightness of spring. Unfortunately, spring can also bring tons of unexpected litters in cats and dogs, causing the overpopulation problem to grow. That’s why February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month.

woman-sitting-on-ground-outdoors-petting-yellow-labrador-retriever-with-grass-in-background

Why does it matter? 

Did you know that by just the fourth year of fertility a single cat can have 20,736 offspring? A dog can have 4,372 puppies and grandpups by its seventh year of fertility. That’s a lot of paws on the ground and mouths to feed, and sadly, too many of them do not find suitable homes.

In fact, an estimated 6.5 million unwanted companion animals enter shelters every year. Stray and feral cats and dogs can also cause health hazards and nuisances in communities, making it difficult for responsible pet owners to take their pets outside and costing lots of money and volunteer hours to try to manage the problem.

What can be done? 

The best way to reduce the number of unwanted animals is to take responsibility for our pets and get them spayed or neutered. This ensures that our furry friends won’t be contributing to the overpopulation problem.

Spaying and neutering procedures are common veterinarian practices with straightforward recovery routines. Both kittens and puppies can be spayed or neutered at around 8 weeks of age, and juvenile procedures are preferred because younger pets heal faster and have fewer complications. However, adult animals are also eligible.

Why choose to spay/neuter? 

Many people think that spaying or neutering is unnecessary because they don’t intend to let their pet outside unattended and that there is no risk of reproduction. However, there are plenty of benefits to spaying and neutering even for pets where reproductive activity is unlikely.

Without the procedures, both females and males will have behavioral and physical conditions that many pet owners find undesirable and inconvenient. Female cats and dogs that have not been spayed will go through heat cycles. During this time, the animal may experience behavioral changes, appetite changes, and bleeding. Heat cycles can last 2-3 weeks. Dogs may experience a heat cycle up to three times a year (especially smaller dogs). Cats can experience very frequent heat cycles, with some going into heat every three weeks.

Male dogs and cats that have not been neutered will also have behavioral conditions associated with their drive to reproduce. Roaming, attempts to escape the house or yard when a nearby female is in heat, aggression, urine marking, and mounting (of objects, other animals, and even people!) can all be seen in unneutered male animals.

In addition to eliminating these unwanted behaviors, choosing to spay a female animal has health benefits. Both dogs and cats that are spayed have much lower incidences of uterine infections and breast tissue cancers. When the spaying procedure is performed before the female cat has had her first heat cycle, the risk is lowered even more.

Where can you go? 

If you are looking to take a responsible step and get your pet spayed or neutered during the month of February, keep an eye out for specials.

Residents of Mecklenburg County can get on the waitlist for free spay and neuter services from Animal Care and Control.

If you live outside of the county boundaries or don’t want to wait, there are some other local options as well:

The Humane Society of Charlotte offers services for dogs ($85 spay and $65 neuter) and cats ($50 spay and $35 neuter), pricing that includes post-surgery pain management.

Stand for Animals Veterinary Clinic offers monthly specials that often include spay and neuter services. Be sure to check out their February deals!

Wherever you choose to go, make sure that you take the time to schedule this important procedure for your furry friend. It’s the responsible thing to do to ensure that your pet has a long, healthy life and to keep your community safe as well!

Little Friends offers a wide variety of pet sitting and dog walking services in the Charlotte area. Contact us today for more information or to set up a free in-home consultation.

Healthy Eating Tips for Pets and the People Who Love Them

Beautiful tabby cat sitting next to a food bowl, placed on the floor next to the living room window, and eating.

Leap into the new year with a new perspective on health and wellness — for you and your pets! Looking for an accountability buddy? Look no further than your own furry best friend. Get in gear with these healthy eating tips for pets and the people who love them.

Ditch the Filler, Love the Fluff

Wholesome is healthy for both people and pets! If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Steer clear of chemicals and preservatives, such as BHT and BHA. These additives are harmful, known carcinogens to both people and pets. Food dyes are often added to pet food to create the red and yellow tint in dog or cat kibble. You might be surprised to find many of our favorite chips, cookies, and candies also use this trick. Be sure to read the ingredients on every bag to ensure your choices are healthful — not colorful.

Other fillers to avoid include rendered fat, blood and bone meal, corn, grain, and meat by-products. A healthful diet should be rich in essential fatty acids, protein, and nutrients. Switching to a natural diet will leave your fluffy friend glowing with improved coat and skin wellness. Keep them — and you — shining from the inside out!

Goodbye Gluten 

Yes, we said it. The “G” word. The grainy truth is that going gluten-free is a great way to detox, cleanse, and shed pounds. In humans, a gluten-free diet has been linked to overall improvement in immune system function. Gluten can cause bloating and fatigue, providing limited nutritional value in return. Even a gluten-limited lifestyle is dramatically beneficial in promoting wellness.

Making a change on your own is never easy. That’s why your furbaby is here to help! In dogs, gluten can cause or exasperate allergens, leading to red, itchy skin and ears. Most often found in low-quality dry food, gluten is a filler in disguise, taking the place of ingredients naturally found in the canine diet.

Cats are strict carnivores and should ideally be fed both a grain-free and gluten-free diet. High protein and low starch is key to kitty health.

Even the smallest furry friends, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, aren’t safe from cheap pellet mixes with added cereal, treats, and — you guessed it — gluten. Opt for quality over fun colors or shapes when it comes to selecting the right diet for your tiny companion.

Pack in the Protein

You may have heard of the Ketogenic diet, but did you know pets crave a high protein, low carb diet too? A balanced ratio of quality protein with minimal carbs promotes energy and wellness. Test the protein boost out with an extra lap around the park!

Sensible Helpings

It’s easy to treat ourselves — and our pets — during the holidays. A little indulgence is fine every once in a while, but the new year is a great time to check in on portion sizes. Read nutritional information on the back of each bag and check in with your veterinarian for recommended feeding guidelines. Keeping a food journal can be a helpful way to track calories and stay on track.

Exotic Focus

There may be a wealth of options when it comes to feeding your cat or dog a natural, healthful diet, but exotic pet owners may need a little help when it comes to feeding their jungle beast. Birds, sugar gliders, and reptiles all require fresh food in their daily routine for kidney, liver, and overall wellness. Consulting an exotic pet veterinarian is the best way to determine which diet is right for your wild child. A host of fruits, vegetables, and yogurt on standby can provide encouragement to eat clean, fresh, and healthy alongside your pet!

For more sensible treat options, check out Charlotte’s First Cat Cafe.

Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking is here for your pet when you can’t be. With petsitting options for all creatures great and small, pawsitively outstanding dog walkers, and GPS tracking for your on-the-go pup, we’re here to help everyone stay on target in the new year! Contact us today to schedule your dog’s first adventure!

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

Make Going Back to School in Charlotte Easy for the Whole Family

back to school in Charlotte

Summer is coming to a close and soon everyone will be getting ready to go back to school in Charlotte. Getting prepared for this can seem overwhelming when schedules change for your kids and your pets as well. Starting early to get back into a comfortable routine can make the transition back to school easy. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1) Establish new bedtimes 

Starting about 7-10 days before the start of school, have everyone in the household start going to bed and waking up according to their school schedules. This will give the kids a chance to get their bodies used to waking up earlier, so the transition isn’t so rough. Although it will be tempting for kids to stay up late for the last few days of vacation, being consistent as the parent will help to make the first weeks of school much more pleasant for everyone.

2) Eating habits 

Another good habit to start 7 to 10 days before school begins is developing a good eating schedule. As everyone goes back to school they will need to consider breakfast, snack, lunch, and an after-school snack to keep their energy up for optimal learning.

A family trip to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is always a fun way to include some locally grown treats. Start planning what foods would work best for your family. Remember to take into consideration taste preference, packing considerations, self-sufficiency for packing one’s own daily needs, and budget. Start eating on a schedule that will match everyone’s day so their body can get used to the new routine.

If you need help during this busy time- whether it’s running out to get a bag of your dog’s favorite gourmet dog food, getting groceries for the kids’ lunches, or helping with other errands please let us know how we can help!

3) Get back to reading

If the kids haven’t spent as much of the summer reading books as you planned, it’s time to get back into the reading habit before school starts. Visit your local library or shop in your favorite store. If you visit the Main Library, in the Arts and Education district, you can show your kids all the quotes from historic figures about reading and learning to get them inspired. Set time aside to read for pleasure and practice at the same time. If your children like to be read to, make that part of your bedtime routine.

If you have noticed that your kids are shy about reading out loud, you have the perfect family member to help them out! Research has shown that kids are more confident about reading out loud to a dog because they love sharing time with their human friend. They don’t care if it takes a few tries to sound out a word they don’t know, and they won’t say the word too quickly in an attempt to be helpful. They will simply lay quietly and enjoy the excitement of your child reading out loud. Your child will gain confidence reading to a trusted friend.

4) Stay Connected to nature

Enjoy the end of summer by taking some family walks outside to enjoy the pleasant weather. Your pup will especially love to go along for a walk at McAlpine Creek Park. On your walks, talk about goals or hopes that each family member has for the upcoming school year. After school begins, this outdoor time can be great to discuss what everyone learned throughout the day.

As the weather changes your pets will continue to need scheduled time to get out during the day when their human friends are away. We can schedule walks that include a potty break, GPS tracked walking route, fresh water (and a treat if you would like) and a message update. You can schedule these online at Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking and see the details of our different options.

5) Make homework a priority

Set up a special study area for each student. Make sure they have the school supplies they need, and that the area is free from distractions such as social media and television.

Teaching them to concentrate on their school work when they are at their study area will make a great habit. Check in with your kids at the end of doing their homework. See if they had any questions that they need help with. Encourage them to try and figure out the answers first by themselves, knowing they have your help if they need it.

As the new school year begins, we hope that all of your family members get into a comfortable routine.  Use these tips to make back to school in Charlotte a breeze. Please contact us if we can make things easier with our dog walking, pet sitting, or errand-running services!