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.

 

How to Wrangle a Dog on the Loose!

Catch me if you can!

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

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

Here are some other options:

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

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

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

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

Good luck!  And happy hunting!

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.

 

 

 

 

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!