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!

4 Fun Ways to Keep Your Fur Baby From Being Bored

bored dog little friends

Think about the last time that you were really, incredibly, unbearably bored. Perhaps you got restless and paced around the house, turned on Netflix and cycled through a dozen possible choices before tossing the remote in frustration, searched the refrigerator even though you weren’t really hungry. Boredom has a way of gnawing at us and sending us scrambling for something—anything!—to help us feel engaged and entertained.

Now imagine that you have that feeling, but you can’t turn on Netflix or go outside for a run. You’re stuck in the house with no one to play with and nothing to do, but the need to do something is boiling up inside you.

Put into this context, it’s suddenly a lot more understandable to see the couch cushions torn to bits, the trash strewn all over the house, the lamps toppled from the end table, and your favorite pair of slippers in pieces. When your fur baby is bored, there aren’t many outlets available, and your beloved possessions often take the toll.

The best way to deal with unwanted boredom behavior is to nip boredom in the bud. Here are four ways to keep your fur baby entertained—and your stuff safe!

1. Busy Toys

When you have to be away from your home and leave your furry friend behind, make sure you leave some toys that are safe for chewing and cannot be easily destroyed. The best ones are toys that will keep your dog entertained for long periods of time. You can try toys that have to be turned like mazes in order to dispense a treat. Other toys have a hard chew in the center that is difficult to reach. For the best results, mix up which toys you leave out so that there is always something new on hand.

2. Hit the Dog Park 

Just like us, our furry friends adjust better when they have a chance to explore the great outdoors and get some fresh air. Luckily, Charlotte boasts a number of great dog parks that can give your pup the exercise and engagement she needs. Frazier Dog Park offers walking trails and separate areas for big and little dogs to help keep playtime safe for everyone. Reedy Creek Park features a separate play area for pups adorably named Barkingham Park. Bring your dogs for some fun in the sun (or the mud)!

3. Get a Dog Walker

You can tire your pup out all you want on the weekends, but if you’re going to be away for long stretches of time during the day, there’s no way to get your fur baby the stimulation he needs without calling in some reinforcements. Finding a trusted dog walker who can become an extended family for your pooch is a great way to get him the exercise he needs even when you’re busy. You can come home to a happy pet who is ready to give you some love at the end of the day instead of an anxious pup—and a destroyed house.

4. Stay Connected

Technology is advancing in just about every area of human existence, and our furry friends aren’t getting left out of the equation. Why not equip your house with cameras and speakers that let you see and talk to your pet while you’re away? Connect the devices to your phone so that your pet never has to be alone for long.

Keeping your pet entertained and engaged isn’t just a way to keep your stuff from getting shredded. It’s a necessary component of being a good pet parent. Beat the boredom and provide your pet with the mental and physical stimulation necessary to stay happy and healthy today! At Little Friends, we help keep your dog happy with our dog walking and pet sitting services.

8 Ways to Keep Your Dog Hydrated this Summer

dog hydrated tips puppies drinking

Summer is the perfect time to get out and enjoy family and friends. Not only for you but for your furry family as well. Dogs enjoy getting out playing with other dogs and just having the freedom to roam and explore their surroundings. However, the summer months in the South can be detrimental to the health of your pet. It is important to learn how to keep your dog hydrated and safe during these hot months.

Recognize Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

Help your pet by learning the signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include loss of energy, excessive panting, and your dog’s eyes might appear sunken. Your dog might also have dry and sticky gums. If dehydration has reached this level in your dog, call your veterinarian immediately. Your pet will need to have their fluids replenished and be monitored to avoid their condition deteriorating.

Know Daily Water Recommendations

Your dog needs one ounce of water for each pound they weigh. If your pet weighs 30 pounds they will need 30 ounces of water a day. It does not hurt them to take more water in during hot months. Keep a close eye on how much your pet is drinking each day. It is a great idea to measure out their water to ensure they are getting the proper amount. Check your pet’s water bowl a few times during the day and refill it with fresh water as needed.

Provide Shade for Your Pet

Furry pets need a lot of shade in the South during hot months.  If you are relaxing in the shade or air conditioner, your pet should have a cool spot they can retreat to as well. At times, you might have to encourage your pet to go to their shaded area and relax.

Add Water to Dog Food

Consider offering your dog more wet food during summer months. If your dog is not drinking enough water on its own, you might also consider adding a little water to their dry food. Dry food is not high in water, so adding a little is a genius way to get more water into your furry friend.

Keep Water on Hand

Since summers in the South are extremely hot, most people keep cool bottles of water on hand. When planning a trip outside the home, always take extra bottles along for your pets. Just as easy people become overheated riding in a car with no air condition, so can your pet. If your pet does become overheated or slightly dehydrated, with bottles of water on hand, you can act quickly.

Provide Frozen Treats for Your Pet

Everyone loves frozen treats whether its ice cream or popsicles. Your dog will love them too. You can purchase these treats in just about any store that sells dog food. Also, consider making your own frozen treats for your pet. Frozen broth is a great treat for dogs. It is a great way to give your pet something tasty and keep them cool and hydrated.

Keep Your Dog Groomed

Keep your dog well-groomed during the hot months. Not only will they look better, but they will feel better too. Your dog’s undercoat is actually part of their natural cooling system, but if not properly maintained it can become matted and prevent the necessary air flow across your pet’s skin.

Purchase a Kiddie Pool

Set up a kiddie pool in a cool and shaded area for your dog. Fill it with water so that your pet can take a cool dip when needed. If your dog has no problem with being in water, it will appreciate you showing love with this quick and convenient way for them to splash around and cool down.

To find out more about keeping your dog happy, safe, and healthy in the hot South this summer visit us.

 

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Now, lets compare some veterinary prices around town:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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