7 Tips for Keeping Your Charlotte Pets Warm This Winter

cat and dog wearing caps to stay warm in the cold outside snow

As the temperatures drop, it’s time to start thinking about all the ways you should be protecting your precious pets this winter. Different dogs and cats react to cold weather differently. Some breeds such as German Shepherds love to roll around in the snow, while small breeds such as Chihuahuas love hibernating in warm blankets for hours on end.

Even if your pet has a thick, heavy coat they can still get chilly in the winter months. Their ears are completely exposed, their paws are directly on frigid concrete, and their noses stick out in the fierce wind. Pets are also at risk for getting frostbite or hypothermia just as their humans are.

Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your pup from the cold weather! Many of the same safety protocols you take for yourself will also keep your best friend safe and cozy. Here are some great tips for you and your favorite pet sitter to follow this winter in Charlotte:

1. Limit Outdoor Time

This may seem like common sense, but it’s very important to follow. No specific breeds are meant to spend a large amount of time outside on the coldest days of winter, not even Alaskan sledding dogs! A quick 20-minute walk for exercise and potty time is perfect. Raise or lower this depending on the temperature and wind chill. If it’s extremely cold, have your dog do their business and get back inside as soon as possible.

Also, make sure to inform your pet sitter that it’s okay to skip a long walk for the day if it’s too frigid outside.

2. Know the Dangerous Warning Signs

If you and your pet are outdoors and you notice any of these signs, get them inside immediately as they could be symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.

  • Completely stops moving or slows down noticeably
  • Whines or acts nervous/anxious
  • Can’t stop shivering
  • Seems weak
  • Starts rapidly looking for places to borrow for warmth
  • Has ice anywhere on their body

Once indoors, wrap your dog in blankets and call the vet if necessary. Any animal lover should know this information! Be sure to pass it along to pet sitters, neighbors, family and friends who may be watching your furry little friend.

3. Dress Warmly

Dogs and cats with short hair or small bodies need extra help to control their body heat in the winter. Puppies, kittens, and older dogs/cats also have harder times keeping warm. A sweater or coat can be a quick and great idea to help keep your pet more comfortable while indoors or outdoors.

4. Pump Up the Nutrients

Simply adding more protein and fat into your best friend’s diet will help keep their fur coats healthier and plentiful. The more fur they have the warmer they will be! Most pets will also need extra food and water in the winter since they’re burning many more calories to stay warm. It takes a lot of energy to increase body heat! Increase the times and amounts they’re fed each day to help keep them properly “fueled up” and ensure their pet sitter is aware of the feeding changes.

5. Don’t Leave Them Alone in the Car

You know the drill when it’s hot outside, not to leave your pet in the car. Well, the same goes for cold weather too. People don’t realize how quickly cars can cool down when it’s freezing outside. It turns into a refrigerator-like atmosphere very fast. Even if it’s for a short period of time, your pet will likely be very uncomfortable and it could result in a negative outcome. Leave them at home where they are safe and warm.

6. Provide Cozy Options

Just like you love cuddling up with a nice, warm blanket or bed, so does your pet! Leave them with a comfortable bed with a pillow or blanket to relax and sleep in. Make sure to provide these spots away from any drafts in your home and leave a note for the pet sitter to add more blankets if needed, especially for very small pets.

7. Put the Clippers Away

Your dog or cat’s coat provides an incredible amount of warmth. Be sure not to shave them down to their bare skin during the winter months. If your pet needs a haircut, make sure to leave a layer of fur so they can retain warmth properly. If your pet needs a bath make sure to dry them completely before taking them outside.

Don’t let your pooch shiver in shock from the weather this winter! By following these helpful tips and passing them along to your pet sitter, you and your pet will have a much more enjoyable winter. Contact Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking today for more information!

5 Tips to Help Your Pup with Separation Anxiety in Charlotte

Shaggy terrier dog looking out window with sad expression

Have you recently adopted a new dog to be part of your family? Once you brought them home have you discovered some behaviors that might indicate that they are experiencing separation anxiety?

Your neighbors might start telling you that as soon as you leave your home your new pup barks, howls and whines the whole time. Perhaps you have noticed scratching at doors or windows or destructive chewing of furniture or objects in the home that are not intended to be dog toys.

Becoming part of a new home can be a very stressful time on a dog. Imagine if you have been put up for adoption one or more times and you can’t understand why the people around you don’t want to stay with you. Charlotte is a very dog-friendly place, and we have a lot of ideas for your new family member to feel more at home. These tips will help your new dog feel okay about being home alone for periods of time without suffering from separation anxiety.

Give Them a Den to Feel Comfortable In

Dogs feel comfortable when they have a den that they can call home. Giving your dog a crate is an in-home equivalent of that kind of home. Allow your pup time to get used to being in the crate while you are home. This way the crate doesn’t become an automatic signal that they are going to be left alone.

When you see your dog getting sleepy, encourage them to go into their crate and curl up for a nap. When they wake up they will see that you are still at home they start to feel comfortable that this new den is safe for them. When you put them in their crate when you are about to leave, do it with the same sort of actions, encouraging them to go into their den to get some rest.

Skip the Goodbye Routine

Just like humans, dogs can get caught up in routines, and they start to see the signs of your going away actions. They watch for things like: you getting dressed, brushing your teeth, grabbing your keys, putting on your coat and starting up your car. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety all of these things start to ratchet up their fear of being left alone and not knowing when or if you will be coming back.

Sometimes we even want to make them feel better and start to tell them goodbye and I’ll be back which become more audio clues to them that they are in for a period of separation. Help your pup by breaking up those routines so the pattern is not so obvious. Try taking your jacket out to the car, and then returning to them so they know you are coming back. Another idea is leaving out of a different door so they don’t attach the front door with fear. Most importantly, make your actions unimportant. Leaving should be just a normal part of the day instead of something to get anxious about.

Give Them Plenty of Exercise

Dogs can be a lot like kids. Go ahead and tire them out with exercise and they will be ready to take a nap instead of getting into something they should not be doing. Charlotte has so many options for you to choose when you want to spend quality time together. If you love to hike, take your new pup to the U.S. National Whitewater Center or  McDowell Nature Center and Preserve where they can join you on a 6 foot leash or shorter. If you are looking for a dog park option you can try Frazier Park which offers a fenced in 1.3 acres and even contains a sectioned off area for smaller dogs. Then if you are not too tired, you can stop by Canine Cafe for some special treats and a chance to meet new friends.

Get Extra Companionship With a Pet Sitter

If you are going to be gone for a long period of time, your dog will benefit from getting a visit to take them out for a walk. At Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking we can provide long walks as well as play time or cuddle time to make your pet less anxious.

We feel it’s important to get to know your dog personally and we do this with unlimited, free in-home consults. So when we come to pet sit, your pup is already familiar with us and will be looking forward to the social interactions.

Give Them a Smell of You

Dogs use their sense of smell to understand and process the world around them. They feel comfort when they smell your scent. So, if your dog has separation anxiety it may help them to have access to something that smells like you during your time away. Think about leaving them with your pajamas that you wore last night, or an undershirt that you wore the day before. Make sure it’s something that you are okay if they chew on, if their anxiety is severe.

As you and your new pup start your life together there will be a lot of things that you will learn about each other. You have the opportunity to help your new friend feel confident and relaxed in their new home. Please let us know if there are any questions you have about separation anxiety and how we can help either of you.

December is National Cat Lovers Month

A cute little girl with brown hair wearing a santa hat, hugs her kitten. They both look loving and sweet.

December is National Cat Lovers Month, but most cat lovers know that cats expect appreciation every day of the year. For those of us who love cats, it’s a good time to remember that we should show some extra love to our feline friends this holiday season. Here are some great ways to celebrate cats in December:

Contribute to a Cat Cause

If you don’t have a cat friend of your own at home, consider volunteering time or making a donation to local cat shelters. Volunteering is especially important during the holiday season, because shelters can be understaffed, with regular volunteers having other commitments or needing to travel for the holidays.

The Charlotte Animal Care and Control Department needs volunteers, foster families, and donations. They make it easy with an Amazon Wish List that can easily fit in with the rest of your holiday shopping, and you can know you are helping cats in need.

Winter is especially hard on feral and wild cats, and Feline Urgent Rescue and Rehab can really use your support in December. You can help by volunteering, fostering, or sponsoring a kitty in need. Sponsoring helps support the cost of taking care of a cat until it is adopted, and you also get monthly emails and pictures with updates.

Foster a Furry Friend

Fostering cats is a wonderful way to help them find forever homes. Foster families help shy cats become more comfortable and sociable, or help ill or injured cats recover safely, so that they are ready for their next adventure. Fostering is a critical part of the adoption process, and opening your home to cats in need is a wonderful way to give them a better life. Foster opportunities are available with:

The Humane Society of Charlotte

Catering to Cats and Dogs

Adopt an Adorable Animal

Adopting a pet is a big responsibility, and should not be taken lightly. And you should never give pets as a holiday gift, however tempting it may be. If you want to bring home or give a pet during the holiday season, it’s best to discuss it first with your family members, and adopt a pet after the holiday season.

It’s better to adopt an animal when your home has calmed down, and your schedule is less busy, and you have more time to devote to a new pet. When considering giving a pet as a gift, consider giving a “gift certificate” instead, and offering to help them adopt a pet after the holidays. Let them choose the pet that is the best match for their lifestyle and personality. When you are ready to adopt, here are some great ways to do it:

Precious Paws Rescue has a lot of great programs, including special support for seniors adopting older pets, sponsorship opportunities, and you can even donate gently used pet supplies to their program. They also have a wonderful “foster to adoption” option, where you can foster a pet and potentially adopt it. This is a great way to find out if a new cat is a good, permanent, fit for your home.

Visit Mac Tabby. At Mac Tabby, you can enjoy coffee or tea and a snack, and hang out with one of their beautiful, adoptable cats at the same time. Not only is it just a great way to spend some quality time with cats, but it’s also a good way to find a cat that you may want to take home and live with forever.

Care for Your Constant Companion

Finally, you can continue to show your own cat the love, care, and appreciation they deserve. If you are traveling during the holidays, Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking would be happy to care for your cat just as lovingly as you do. Contact us to learn more, and have a fantastic December!

Anxious Cat? Giving Your Kitty a Calm and Happy Holiday Season

an anxious cat near a sack full of Christmas gifts

The holidays are a busy time full of new experiences. This can make for a stressful time for your kitty and, in turn, for you. Luckily, there are ways you can help your anxious cat remain calm and happy this holiday season. Let’s take a look at the important things in a cat’s life, and how you can maximize their comfort by understanding their point of view.

Sense of Smell

Your cat’s sense of smell is much more acute than humans’. In fact, they mark their scent on objects and people to help them feel safe and secure. This is also how they place boundaries on their space. When you are cleaning your house, try to leave your cat’s favorite area somewhat undisturbed so their natural pheromones will remain a comfort to them. Think about things like their tree, scratching posts, bedding, even their carrier. This way, when things get stressful for them, they will have a place to retreat to and feel calm and safe.

Sensitive Hearing

Your cat’s hearing is also better than a human’s. In fact, it’s approximately four times more sensitive than ours. Cats also hear higher frequencies than we can, but they have a harder time determining where sounds are coming from. This is why your kitty can be startled when we think we are using a normal tone of voice.

A nice quiet volume will help to keep your cat calm, whether it is a low soothing voice when you are petting them, or some soft music playing in the background. When the volume is up, like when you are having a party, provide a hideaway that can mute the sounds. This may mean placing towels or blankets over their bedding or carrier so they can block out some of the uncomfortable noise.

Importance of Routine

During the holidays it is important to keep up a routine to help your kitty feel relaxed and happy. Routines can include their wake up tactics, feeding schedule, nap times, getting brushed, having their favorite treats, and play times. Each of these events have a meaning and purpose to your cat, so maintaining these normal behaviors will help you keep their holidays happy.

Keep Essentials Convenient

You know your cat’s behavior better than anyone, so work with them to make things as stress-free as possible. For example, if you know that they run to the master bedroom when they get scared or nervous, you might expect that they will spend the entire day of the big party in there.

As you are cleaning, cooking, and getting ready for the big event, they know that something new is coming. Then the actual party itself will bring new challenges for them to face. Prepare this space with an easily accessible litter box, food, treats and toys to keep your kitty comfortable and able to control their environment.

Let Them Stay Home With Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking

We love our pets, and we want to include them in the important parts of our lives as well as the day-to-day living. However, sometimes we need to consider what would be best for our friends and make appropriate arrangements. If your cat hates any kind of car trip, perhaps it’s time to think about having your cat stay at home while you make your holiday trip.

Little Friends Pet Sitting & Dog Walking can help you out over the holidays in a number of ways. During our cat visits, we make sure to keep your kitty happy and cared for by providing fresh food, water, and litter box maintenance. We also get to know your kitty ahead of time with our free in-home consults, so we will be able to spend some quality time with their favorite type of play or special grooming time.

You’ll receive an online report card update about your cat while you’re away. We will also help you with mail retrieval, rotating blinds and lights and even watering plants. Your cat will be well taken care of while you are away for the holidays, and both of you will have time to enjoy the season. Instead of returning to an anxious cat, you’ll come home to a calm kitty!

We hope that you and your kitty have the happiest of holidays!

 

 

First-Time Cat Owner in Charlotte? We’ve Got You Covered

Congratulations on becoming a first-time cat owner! You are going to have so much fun getting to know your new friend. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, that’s normal, but we have some great advice and resources for you. So read on and we can give you tips on everything from great local shops to picking the right people to help you out with your cat care.

Tips for the First-Time Cat Owner

Finding the Right Vet

First things first, you will want to choose a vet that you can form a good relationship with. It’s important to find someone you trust. Ideally, they will have a long-term care relationship with your cat so they can advise you on any issues with a good understanding of your cat’s behaviors, medical background, and temperament.

If you have friends with pets, ask them who they use as a vet and why they like them. Local referrals can be really helpful in finding a good fit for you and your pet. You will be looking for someone who is great with animals, but who is also a good communicator with you.

At your first checkup appointment, your cat will receive its first round of immunizations. Work with your vet to set up a schedule for the rest of the immunizations and their needed timing. You will also want to set up an appointment with your cat to be neutered at the age that your vet advises. Write down any questions that you might have, so you are sure to cover everything you need.

Pet insurance is also a consideration for any first-time cat owner. Once you have a vet in mind, if you would like to carry pet insurance, you can call around to find a policy that will work with your chosen veterinarian.

Pet Sitters on Your Care Team

Now that you’ve found a great vet, you will want to find the perfect pet sitter for your cat. Cats are known for their independence, but as they live with us, they become dependent on a regular routine. Working with a pet sitter will assure you that your cat is cared for while you are gone by providing meals, play time, and even some cuddle time.

Getting your cat used to interacting with a cat sitter will give you confidence when you need to be away for a period of time. Little Friends offers unlimited, free in-home consults so you will have a chance to see how your cat reacts and know that you are making a good match for your cat. Setting up pet sitting services is easy, and it gives any first-time cat owner peace of mind to know that their feline friend is well taken care of.

Essentials for Your Cat

Kitten plays with toy mouse

As you are getting started, you will need some basic supplies for your cat. Here is a list to get the first-time cat owner started:

  • Cat carrier or crate
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • Healthy food appropriate for cat age category
  • Litter box and cat litter
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Scratching post
  • Bed
  • Toys

A word about toys: cats, just like humans, have a wide variety of personalities. As you are getting to know your cat, find out what kind of toys they like to play with. Some cats love to dance on two hind feet as they stretch to catch a toy on a cat wand, while others like to bat around a furry toy mouse on the ground. Others are enamored with catnip and some don’t like it at all. Once you know what your cat prefers to play with, you will have many options to keep your cat entertained.

Where to Shop in Charlotte

There are so many great options for cat owners to shop in Charlotte. Here are a few that really stand out for the pet owner who wants to make a special life for their new companion:

  • Pet Wants – You can find healthy small-batch pet food for your cat here. They are made with all-natural ingredients and don’t have any fillers. The staff is happy to educate you on what is in their pet food and help you to make the right choices for your pet. They also sell a variety of other specialty items like treat, balms and sprays.
  • Four Dogs Pet Supplies – (Yes they sell things for cats here). You can find the essentials for your cat like beds, toys, collars, bowls, leashes, and grooming products. What makes this place special is they have an animal gallery that features animal art created by Carolina artists.
  • 4 Paws Holistic – If you are looking for holistic options for your new cat, try out 4 Paws Holistic. They specialize in pet food and treats that do not contain corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, byproducts or artificial colors.

Don’t Worry – You’ve Got This!

This is an exciting time for you and your cat as you get to know each other and form a bond that will last for years to come. You are going to be a great pet parent, and if you have any questions, you can always contact us.

 

 

Pet Sitting in Charlotte: 5 Benefits of In-Home Pet Sitting

One major factor when planning an out-of-town trip is deciding who to care for your beloved pets. In a bustling city like Charlotte, busy schedules require keeping a reliable and animal-loving sitter on speed dial. Animal boarding facilities can be loud, messy, and stressful. Dumping your pets on friends can be an awkward and inconvenient practice.

The solution? In-home pet sitting, where a trusted animal lover stays in your own home and provides care for your four-legged family members. Here are five major benefits of in-home pet sitting:

Built-in house sitter

With in-home pet sitting, you have peace of mind knowing the lights are on and someone is home. While away, you can be sure that your mail is getting checked, plants are watered, and other home maintenance is being performed.

Best of all, chances that your house will be the target of burglary or vandalism are greatly reduced. Though you will be away, your home will continue to operate as normal. The mailman will still get barked at, and the cat will still be providing neighborhood watch services at her favorite perch by the window.

Familiar environment 

Keeping pets at home during your time away makes for the easiest transition. Many pets experience anxiety and nervousness, so yanking them out of their familiar environment can send them into a panic. Anxious pets may stop eating and sleeping, or engage in destructive behaviors.

Your pet isn’t accustomed to the different sights, sounds, and smells that often accompany an animal boarding facility. The drastic change can wreak havoc on their nervous and immune systems. Keeping your pet in the comfort of his home is the best way for him to adapt to your time away.

Keeps routines running smoothly

When you board your furry friend, though the caretakers may be great at their job, you cannot control the way they run their kennel. If Rover is used to his 6:00am potty and 7:00am breakfast, unfortunately, he probably won’t be on such a tight schedule away from home. Disrupted routines can increase anxiety in your pet. With in-home pet sitting, you can be sure that routines will stay very close to what they usually are, and he will get the feedings, walks, baths, and play times that he is used to.

More one-on-one attention

Even the most well-staffed boarding facility does not have enough employees to provide one-on-one attention to your pet. Often, boarded animals spend hours in a cage, and don’t get enough attention from their human caretakers. In-home pet sitting provides ample time for your pet’s sitter to snuggle, play with, and love on your fur baby. When your pet is safe at home, you can rest easy, knowing that they won’t be ignored.

Your baby is already there when you get home!

This is the best reason of all to opt for in-home pet sitting: you don’t have to deal with picking up your pet from the kennel. Sometimes after a trip, pet owners have to wait to be able to bring their animal home, due to staffed kennel hours. But with in-home pet sitting, your beloved pet is right where you left him. No need to make an extra trip through Charlotte rush hour traffic before landing at home sweet home.

Don’t let the stress of finding a sitter for your pets keep you from your next vacation. For exceptional in-home pet sitting in Charlotte, check out Little Friends Pet Sitting. Our experienced pet sitters are here to give your fur babies the love and attention they’d otherwise get from you. Looking for more tips and news for pet owners in Charlotte? Check out our other blog posts!

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

back to school in Charlotte

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

1) Establish new bedtimes 

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

2) Eating habits 

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

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

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

3) Get back to reading

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

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

4) Stay Connected to nature

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

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

5) Make homework a priority

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

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

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

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.