Summertime Safety Tips for Dogs in Charlotte

Summer heat in the south can be a scorcher, especially in July and August. Humidity levels can reach 90% and temperatures get well into the high 90s. It’s hot for those of us who grew up in this weather, and even hotter for those who didn’t! Humans and pets need to be mindful of the summer heat- it can zap you before you even realize it.

Often times, transplants from other states aren’t accustomed to the North Carolina heat and humidity. Newcomers to Charlotte need to take precaution when summer rolls around, not just for themselves, but for their pets! Pets that aren’t used to high temperatures and humidity need extra attention during the hot summer months.

So here are just a few helpful tips to get your dogs through a blistering summer weather season:

Don’t Ever Leave Your Pet in a Car, Even With Windows Cracked!

It’s never a good idea to leave your dog in your car, even if you have the windows cracked. In a matter of minutes the temperature can skyrocket to dangerous temperatures. A pet or a human sitting in a car on a hot day with no air conditioning, is like having a belt of steel wrapped around them. And that same car, sitting on asphalt or concrete, gets even hotter. Dogs have a hard time keeping themselves cool- even with windows cracked, they can overheat and dehydrate in no time. Those of you that are new to Charlotte: you may have been able to do this in your cooler and less humid home states, but this is not something that you can do in the south! Please be mindful and help spread the word.

Plan Your Dog Walks in Early Mornings or Late Evenings

If you’re new to Charlotte, you’ll soon learn that you’ll hear a lot of summer weather reports regarding the daily temperature, the humidity level, and the heat index. For lack of better words, the heat index is basically the “feels like” temperature. For example, the temperature may be 95 degrees, which is already hot!…but with the humidity level factored in, the Heat Index, or “feels like” temperature may be 105 degrees! On these super hot days, it’s best to walk your dog in the early mornings or the late evenings. When you and your pet start walking down a concrete sidewalk or an asphalt road, that’s going to make that hot summer weather even hotter on delicate paws! So stay inside as much as you can, especially on those ultra-hot days. Save the dog walking activities for the cooler parts of the day.

Keep a Dog Travel Bag Packed

If you’re the type that frequently brings your dog around town on shopping trips or to one of the many beer gardens in Charlotte, it’s a good idea to have a dog travel bag with you. With all the pet-friendly stores and restaurants that welcome pets these days, it’s nice to be able to bring you best fur friend with you on those little excursions. But when you do, make sure you bring their personal supplies, such as a bowl for drinking, a bottle of water, and maybe a washcloth for cooling down their face.

It’s better to be safe than sorry! If you’re always prepared with your dog’s travel bag then you never have to waste time improvising; we all know what it’s like to have to scramble around and pinch off the top of a Styrofoam cup so your dog can have something to drink out of when you’re away from home. So be prepared with your dog travel bag!

Have Multiple Water Bowls

If you live in a house with a fenced yard, and your dog is primarily an outside dog, it’s also a good idea to have multiple water buckets in areas that stay shaded. One drinking bowl for your dog is never the safest or smartest thing to do; it could always get knocked over, or your dog could drink all the water. So having several big buckets of water in strategic places is the best route to go. The more water the better! Don’t forget to check those water bowls daily! If your dogs stay in at night but romp around in the yard all day, check those water bowls! Make sure they have clean, fresh drinking water. Dogs can spend a day without lunch, but it’s not the same for water, especially in the summer heat.

Make Use of Plastic Kiddie Pools and Shade

You can never go wrong with a hard plastic kiddie pool. When summer rolls around you can find these pools at most big box stores. Putting one of these little pools under a shade tree just gives your dog yet another way to stay cool during the summer heat. Little dogs aren’t always the fastest to jump in a pool, but the bigger breeds love them! For $10 bucks, you can’t go wrong! And in an emergency, it’s yet another drinking source for your dog.

Look for Pet Products Designed For Summer Weather

There are all sorts of specialty products designed for your pets to help tackle the summer heat. One product in particular is the Kool Collar. These cooling collars are filled with ice cubes. Another product that you can buy to help tackle summer humidity and heat is the Cooling Dog Collar Bandana. Remember though, none of this specialty dog cooling gear is intended to take the place of common sense and drinking water. They’re just a little something extra to help take the edge off on the super hot days.

Here at Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, we wish you and your pet a safe and cool summer. We cannot stress enough to keep up with the daily summer weather forecast and have plenty of water available for your pets. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or concerns and keep us in mind for any of your pet sitting or dog walking needs.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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!