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.

 

 

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

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

a sleeping cat at a cat cafe in Charlotte

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

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

Catering to Cats and Dogs

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

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

The Humane Society

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

More Resources and Local Cat Rescues

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

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

Taking Care of Your New Feline Friend

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

Fireworks and Pets: Your 5-Step Guide to Enjoying the 4th of July

4th of july boy dog

As the 4th of July approaches, you may be looking forward to attending one of the many multi-day fireworks celebrations held across the state. Or maybe you’re hosting your own laidback get-together at home. Whether you are planning to attend a festival or host your own event, it’s important to ensure that your pets receive the proper care during fireworks. Below is your 5-step guide to safely enjoying the 4th of July fireworks with your pet without worries:

1) Plan in advance to keep pets indoors 

The single most important step you can take to keep your pet safe during 4th of July fireworks is to plan to keep your pets inside your home or apartment. If you are planning to entertain at your home, you may even want to designate a special room or level of your home for your pet. This measure will help prevent your pet from venturing outside if a guest inadvertently leaves the door open.

2) Secure trusted pet care if you plan to be out of town

It can be challenging to secure reliable pet care on a busy holiday weekend. So make sure you make a reservation with a boarding facility or pet-sitting service as soon as you confirm your travel plans. As you compare options, look for trusted providers like Little Friends.

3) Consider a pressure wrap or medication for anxiety-prone pets

“Pressure wraps like the Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap may help calm some pets. While we do not know the exact mechanism for how they work, some suggest that the light pressure they produce on the body may lead to an endorphin release that could have a calming effect.”

– Amanda E. Florsheim, DVM, CBCC-KA 

46% of dogs and cats are fearful of fireworks. No one likes to see their beloved pets afraid. Some pet owners find that crating their pets helps to alleviate anxiety. Owners of pets with more serious cases of fireworks anxiety find that pressure wraps like Thunder Shirts and medications help to alleviate stress for their pets. Always consult with a licensed veterinarian before introducing an anti-stress medication.

4) Keep your pet occupied

Keeping your pet occupied is a great way to help lessen any minor anxieties your pet might have about fireworks. Here are a few ways to help you keep your pet busy while fireworks are in action:

  • Give your pet a new toy on the 4th of July
  • Play music or a sound machine to help counteract the noise of the fireworks
  • Consider using a pet-sitting service to keep your dog occupied

5) Thoroughly clean up all debris if you are celebrating at home

Pieces of burned wrapper and gunpowder can be harmful to pets and small children if they are ingested.  Before you allow your pet to re-enter your yard, make sure that you have thoroughly scanned your yard and collected all leftover debris. Finally, make sure that you give debris time to cool down before attempting removal or disposal.

The Bottom Line

By following the tips above, you can enjoy the 4th of July fireworks while keeping your pets happy and comfortable. For more tips on enjoying a safe summer with your pets or to learn more about our services, contact us anytime.

Win the War on Fleas in the South!

When spring blows in, especially in the warm southern states, not only do we get warmer, sunnier weather, but we also get armies of pesky, biting, and jumping fleas! Some seasons are worse than others when it comes to fleas, but those fleas will move into to your yard by the truckloads it seems.

Before you know it, here you go again with keeping your dog or dogs flea-free. It’s a never-ending battle, but if you stay one step ahead of the game, it makes things a lot easier for both you and your dog!

What to Know About Fleas

There’s a lot of things to keep in mind when your battling fleas. One thing in particular, is that some dogs are affected more by fleas than others. It’s just like, for example, humans and poison ivy. Some people can wade through piles of it and never get affected, while others can have the wind merely blow some micro-fragments of a poison ivy plant on them and they break out in welts from head to toe. Dogs are the same way with fleas! So, just because you’re dog isn’t scratching like crazy doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have a flea nest riding around on them. Fleas on a dog can be carried into the house, where they can jump on to other things and multiply.

Give Your Pup Extra Baths

A second thing to keep in mind is the importance of frequent bathing during flea season. If you’re using a flea shampoo, another preventative and inexpensive soap to use in-between flea soap baths is Dawn dishwashing liquid. This dish soap is not a long lasting repellent, but if you lather your dog up with this particular soap and let it sit for 5 or so minutes, those fleas will drop dead right before your eyes! For whatever reason, Dawn kills fleas like no other dish soap. It’s just a little tip to remember if you need to give a bath in a hurry.

Keep Dog Bedding Clean

When you are taking part in that war against fleas, you have to pay attention to their bedding, both inside and out. Dog beds need to be washed and cleaned. You could even get a safe insecticide spray to use on them, let it dry, and then wash the beds. If you can afford to get brand new beds and throw the old ones away, well that’s even better. Spring cleaning your dog’s favorite outdoor spots to lounge, like the patio or porch, is also a good habit to get into.

Additional Flea Tips

Monthly flea preventative drops are always helpful. They can be expensive, but adding them into your budget helps everyone out in the long run! These drops, however, are not always a 100% guarantee! Over the years, fleas have evolved and developed a resistance to many of the chemicals, especially in certain parts of the country. Whether the active ingredient is Imidacloprid, or any of the pyrethroid-based products, fleas can sometime tolerate these products and they aren’t as affected as they should be. Additionally, many people prefer to use natural remedies as much as possible, as opposed to chemicals.

When it comes to natural flea repellents, there are a variety of ideas online worth checking out. Make your own DIY flea repellent for dogs using essential oils like peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, or citronella oil. Now you can take these inexpensive oils and make a spray that not only repels fleas, but smells good too! Simply add 15 to 20 drops to a spray bottle filled with water and you have a natural flea spray.

Keep in mind that different natural remedies are needed for cats, as many natural oils are harmful or even fatal for feline friends. One simple flea repellent that’s safe for cats and dogs is apple cider vinegar.

Final Flea Thoughts

Before we wrap up, let’s review a few more things. Certain dog flea products simply repel fleas, while others you kill the larvae and prevent them from hatching. Some flea products are waterproof formulas and others are not. They’re all different, depending on which ones you buy, so make sure to read the labels carefully.

Lastly, focus on tiny proactive steps such as vacuuming your carpets daily. Flea collars are great for added protection. It’s best to keep dogs that are hyper-affected by fleas out of the sand and grass until you get a handle on things.

Remember, staying one step ahead of the fleas and tackling the problem from all directions will get your flea problem minimized in no time! Please remember to read your labels and do not use “dog only” products on your cat. For dog walking or pet sitting by reliable pros in the Charlotte area, contact Little Friends today.

 

 

 

 

Millennial Dog Owners Love Charlotte!

There’s a lot of reasons why millennials are flocking to Charlotte, especially those millennial dog owners! Charlotte is one of the fastest growing big cities in America for millennials, and it has so much to offer, from affordable housing to fabulous pet-friendly restaurants, patio bars, parks and much more. Charlotte is also home to a lot of big job-makers in the financial and banking industry. So whatever brought you and your pet to Charlotte, we’re certainly glad you’re here. We’re going to share with you a few favorite restaurants, shops, and entertainment locations in Charlotte that welcome both you and your dog!

Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants

The first few stops on our list are some of our favorite dog-friendly breweries in Charlotte. There are so many dog-friendly pubs and breweries in our city, you could visit a different one every day of the week! The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is a German-style brewery, pub and spacious 8-acre beer garden where you and your dog are both welcome. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and umbrellas for shade. Their menu is loaded with delicious German style food and beer favorites!

Another hometown favorite is the Noda Brewing Company where your pet is welcome both inside and out. Their tap-room has a long list of beers that you’ll enjoy trying, so make sure you and your fur friend stop by and check out Noda’s when you need some relaxation time!

A third pet-friendly brewery to visit in Charlotte is the Triple C Brewing Company. Here you and your pet can also enjoy outdoor seating and umbrella-covered tables, endless choices in year-round beers, and free pretzels and dipping mustard!

If you’re in the mood for authentic Latin-style food, Sabor Latin Street Grill is definitely worth checking out. Their tables under the front awning are dog-friendly. With eight locations in Charlotte that welcome both you and your pet, this unique restaurant specializes in dishes from El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, and Colombia. From street food, to tacos, to burritos, they’ve got something for everyone! Don’t forget to try one of their specialty margaritas or mojitos.

For those of you that love pizza, both you and your fur friend are welcome to dine in the outdoor seating area at Pure Pizza. This particular style of pizza is made with the health-conscious person in mind! These self-described “Farm Lovin Pizza Freaks” proudly use organic vegetables and flour to create their healthy pizza pies. So if you’re wanting to try an organically focused pizza restaurant with your pet, you’ll want to try a slice at Pure Pizza. You can get a glass of wine or a pitcher of beer to go with you meal here too!

Dog-Friendly Shopping

And after you and your fur friend have enjoyed a great meal and beer, you can walk the calories off at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. The location in Charlotte has over 50,000 square feet full of antiques, vintage, and unique home decor. Your leashed pet is welcome and you two can spend the whole day wandering their aisles! You might not have anything in mind that you really need, but in a place of this size, and with so much retro variety, we’re sure you and your buddy can find something that catches your eye!

In the market for a new book or a unique gift? The Paper Skyscraper welcomes dogs! For more than 25 years, this now 5000 square foot neighborhood shop specializes in cards, books, gifts, and much more. They’ve got great selections of notebooks and paper, in addition to old-school games and a variety of eclectic items.

Some of Our Favorite Dog Parks

There are so many dog parks in Charlotte. Here are just a few to check out:

  • Frazier Park – 16.5 acres with clean drinking water available for the dogs. A very clean and beautiful park. It’s a great place to walk your dog.
  • McAlpine Creek Park – 114 acres that has a dog park. Nice paths, creeks, and bridges can be found at this park. A dog-friendly park with clean paths and trails.
  • Freedom Park – 98 acres of pet-friendly area which includes trails, ponds, water fountains, and walking paths and trails, in addition to, 5 outdoor shelters with grills.

A Few Closing Thoughts

Currently, Charlotte is ranked the #1 city in America where millennials are moving to. There’s enormous opportunity in Charlotte, and many great places for both you and your dog to visit once you get here! It’s a growing city that’s filled with great places to eat, drink, shop and have fun. Best of all, such a large percentage of these establishments welcome pets! Charlotte really is the ideal city for millennial dog owners.

And for those of you that are new to Charlotte, you and your fur friend will have to make it a point to come meet Terry Richardson, owner of Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking. Terry, a true animal lover and parent to five dogs, opened up Little Friends in 2009. She now employs over 60 pet sitters and the business services over 1000 pet clients. Little Friends has numerous locations throughout Charlotte and they offer a variety of services to help serve as a substitute parent for your best fur friend, when you’re unable to. Their services include pet sitting, pet walking, pet taxi, errand service and many more! Feel free to contact them today with any of your pet related questions that you may have. They look forward to walking your dog and making a new fur friend!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.