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When Is It Too Hot To Walk My Dog?

June 7, 2017 | Charleston, Dog Walking, Helpful Tips, Pet Health, Pet Safety


When Is It Too Hot To Walk My Dog

When Is It Too Hot To Walk My Dog?

Dogs need exercise every day and a lot of pet parents ask us “when is it too hot to walk my dog?” during these hot days. Summers in Charleston (along with spring and fall days) can get quite hot. It can be easy for your dog to overheat, so it’s vital for you to understand what heat your dog can safely handle.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For A Dog Walk?

There is not a hard and fast temperature that makes it too hot, but a good rule of thumb is 90 degrees and higher is too hot. On days with very high temperatures, the best idea is to modify your walk times to be early in the morning or late in the evening. These times of the day are cooler and you won’t have the direct sun beating down on your pup. An even better gauge than just the temperature is feeling the sidewalk or road you will be walking on. We use the 5 Second Rule: Place your hand on the pavement and if it is too hot for you to hold there for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on it.

How To Keep A Dog Cool On A Hot Day

Even on hot days, it’s still inevitable that you’ll have to take your dog outside to go to the bathroom. There are lots of things you can do to keep them cool even when the temperature is boiling. Find shadier paths to walk instead of walking in the direct sun. It’s best to have your dog walk on the grass or dirt instead of pavement so that they don’t burn their paws. Plan out your path so that you can have stops every so often in grassy or shaded areas so their paws can get some relief. It’s also important to limit the time outside, so once they take their potty break, head back home.

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Dogs That Overheat Easily

Every dog is different, but there are certain factors that can make your dog overheat easily. Your dog’s breed can help you determine if they may not do well on a hot day. Dogs that are short-faced, such as Boxers, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, and Shih Tzu’s are dogs that typically overheat very quickly in hot temperatures. Overweight dogs are also much more likely to overheat and have a higher risk for dehydration. Another factor to consider is your dog’s coat color, as darker coats will absorb more heat than lighter coats.

Signs Your Dog Is Too Hot

Most dogs are good at telling you it is too hot for them – you just need to know what to look for! When you first go outside, give your dog a minute or two to adjust to the temperature change. If they act like they want to go back inside, that’s a great sign that they know it’s too hot outside. Once you get going on your walk, watch to see if your dog is high-stepping. When the ground is too hot for their paws, they will be uncomfortable and will try to minimize the time their paws touch the ground. You can also check their paw pads every so often to see if they feel warm or cool. If they are warm, then it’s better to head home and go back out when it’s cooler.

Plan For The Summer

We’re just getting into the crazy hot days of summer here in Charleston, so now is a great time to start adjusting your dog’s walking routine. Plan for walks in the early morning and late evening to ensure your dog stays cool. If your schedule doesn’t work for that new routine, give Charleston Dog Walker a call! We’d love to make sure your dog gets all the exercise they need and still stay cool!

 

Charleston Dog WalkerCharleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!

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5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Car

May 9, 2017 | Charleston, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Safety, Pet Travel

5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Car

My two dogs are like my kids so they go everywhere with my husband and I. We load them up in the car and off we go! Dog car safety is important so you can ensure your dog will be safe anytime you bring them along with you in the car. Here are our top 5 tips for dog car safety:

Top 5 Dog Car Safety Tips

Tips For Dog Car Safety

  1. Buckle Up! Dogs should wear seatbelts, just like people do. Doggy seatbelts don’t work quite the same way, but they will restrain your dog in case of an accident. You can buy a dog seatbelt, which has a buckle on one end and a leash clasp on the other end. Attach the leash clasp to your dog’s harness, rather than their collar. If you’re in an accident, they are restrained by the harness instead of pulled by their neck.
  2. Use a doggy hammock. A doggy hammock is great for your car because it eliminates the gap between the front seat and back seat. Your dog can stretch out without worrying about falling off the seat when you brake. It also protects your car’s seats from dirt, scratches, and pet hair!
  3. Keep everyone’s head inside the car. I know – it’s SO stinking cute when dogs stick their heads out the window. Have you seen their ears flapping in the breeze?! Adorable. Unfortunately, it’s also super easy for debris to hit your pet. They could have something fly into their eye, or the adventurous dog could take the opportunity to try and jump out. Windows up (or at least mostly up) is always the best policy.
  4. Don’t let your dog ride in the bed of a truck. For people with bigger dogs (or dogs who manage to get wet and dirty having fun adventures), it’s tempting to let them ride in the back of your truck. This can be extremely dangerous, though, since they have no protection if you get in an accident while they are back there. They could also easily try to hop out, even if you have them on a leash. The safest place is always in the vehicle with you.
  5. Bring your dog crate along. If your dog’s crate can fit inside your car, the crate is always the safest place for them to stay. It makes for a comfortable ride for them and protects them in case of an accident.

I always think it’s interesting to remember that a dog’s world is confined to where you take them. Most of their life is just in your house or neighborhood. That’s why most dogs love car rides! They have a sense of adventure and love to get out and explore with you. We’re lucky in Charleston to have so many dog-friendly places to go, so load up your pooch and let them explore the world! Just make sure to keep them safe while you’re doing it!

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


Guide To Taking A Road Trip With Your Pet

May 1, 2017 | Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Products, Pet Safety, Pet Travel, Things To Do

Guide To Taking A Road Trip With Your Pet

What’s an adventure without your four-legged friend in tow?  My husband and I love taking our dogs on road trips – even if that means hair all over the car and enduring some dog farts! There’s a lot to think about when you bring your dog or cat along on a road trip, though. That’s why it is super helpful to have a plan in place when you are road tripping with your pets. Here’s our pet road trip guide to help you prepare for your road trip:

Pet Road Trip Guide ChartPet Road Trip Guide

  1. Prepare the car so your pet can travel safely. If your kitty is coming, make sure you have a cat carrier or crate so they can have a cozy bed. This will also keep them contained so they don’t climb or fall all over the car. If you have a small dog, crates are the safest way for them to travel in a car. For the bigger pups, check out a car hammock so they don’t fall off the seat at stop signs. You should also consider a doggy seatbelt. Doggy seatbelts attach to their harness or collar and then buckles into the seatbelt.
  2. Make a pet suitcase (or bag) with all of their supplies the day before. Gather all of their food and medications, favorite toys, poop bags, litter box and litter, treats, and beds. Measure out how much food you’ll need and put it in a gallon ziplock bag. Be sure to bring along a measuring cup so you can easily get food out at meal times. If your pet has refrigerated medications, you should find a small cooler. Bring along some ice packs so it can stay at the correct temperature. Don’t forget to pack some water bottles and bowls for food and water!
  3. Double check that your pet’s collar has tags with up to date information. You never know what could happen and you want it to be easy for your pet to get home to you if they get lost.
  4. Reserve a pet-friendly hotel room if you need a place to stay during the drive. We love using Trips With Pets, which shows you all of the pet-friendly places in the area you’re traveling to. I highly recommend calling ahead and booking your room, as most places only have a few designated pet rooms and they can fill up fast!
  5. Tire your dog out before jumping in the car. Our favorite tactic for having a good road trip with our dogs is to start our trip with a stop at the dog park. Our dogs run wild and play with all of their friends for about 30 minutes and then we load them up and start the trip. They are tired out after all the play time, were able to go to the bathroom, and then they are happy to just lay down and take a nap for the first part of the trip.

This pet road trip guide helps make car trips with your pets fun and easy. Just remember to prepare your car, gather all of your pet’s supplies, book your room, and tire them out. You and your pets are sure to have an awesome road trip!

Pet Road Trip Guide

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


Picking The Right Leash For Your Dog

April 27, 2017 | Charleston, Cool Pet Products, Dog Training, Dog Walking, Helpful Tips, Pet Products, Training

How To Pick The Right Leash For Your Dog

Have you ever wondered how to pick the right leash for your dog?  As someone who walks all breeds and sizes of dogs every day, I’ve learned a lot about leashes. Every dog parent should know what leash options are out there and what is the best fit for their dog.

How to pick the right leash for your dogThe most common types of dog leashes are:

  • Standard Leash
  • Chain Leash
  • Adjustable Leash
  • Multi-Dog Leash
  • Retractable Leash

The Standard Leash

The standard leash is, by far, our favorite type of leash to use when walking a dog. They are typically made out of thick nylon or leather. You can get them in a variety of lengths, normally anywhere from 3 feet to 9 feet long. We’ve found that dogs typically walk better on a shorter standard leash (3 – 4 foot is ideal), which gives you more control over what the dog is doing while you walk. We prefer nylon leashes to the leather, as they are more comfortable to hold. Just make sure that the leash you buy has a sturdy metal clasp to attach to the dog’s collar and that the leash is made of a durable nylon and not a thin fabric.

The Chain Leash

The chain leash is very similar to the standard leash, except that is made of metal instead of nylon or leather. A chain leash has two main benefits – it won’t get smelly, and it is harder for a dog to chew through it. If you have a dog who likes to chew on the leash as they walk, or hold it in their mouth, using a chain leash is a way to train them not to do that since it’s very unlikely they will want to have a metal leash in their mouth. Most puppies go through a phase of wanting to hold the leash as they are learning proper leash training. Make sure to correct them so they know that it’s not ok, and then you shouldn’t have to worry about this problem anyway. Chain leashes can be uncomfortable to hold and they can be heavy for a dog, so we tend to not recommend going with a chain leash.

The Adjustable Leash

The adjustable leash looks like a standard leash, but with extra rings and hooks. This allows you to shorten or lengthen the leash as needed. This could be useful as your dog grows since you can start them out with a shorter leash and work up to a longer leash when they walk well.  We tend to always favor shorter leashes, though, so we stick with the standard leash option.

The Multi-Dog Leash

The multi-dog leash looks like a very appealing option for someone who has more than one dog, as it allows you to have both dogs on a separate leash, all controlled by one main leash. If you have tiny dogs, this may be a good choice, but we wouldn’t recommend this for someone with larger dogs. The main drawback is that a multi-dog leash doesn’t allow you to have direct control over each dog. It also shifts the weight distribution away from you, making it easier to be pulled by the dogs if they both try to pull towards the same thing. If a squirrel runs past, you may be on the ground before you know it!

The Retractable Leash

The retractable leash is one of the most common types of leashes used today, but it is by far the one we dislike the most. Retractable leashes are much easier to break, whether it stops retracting or snaps. Most of them also use a cord for the retractable part, which can cause serious injuries to you or your dog. The cord can easily cut you if your dog starts to run or if it gets tangled around you. Google retractable leash injuries and you’ll see just how dangerous these can be. Retractable leashes also are terrible for leash training. They give the dog too much control and don’t allow you to teach them how to walk properly beside you. While it is important for a dog to stop and sniff on their walks, they can easily do that with a standard leash when they are walking properly.

There certainly are a lot of leash options out there, but our tip pick will always be the standard leash. It allows you to have the most control while you walk, it is comfortable to hold and helps you to train your dog how to walk well beside you.

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm And Relaxed During Storms

April 7, 2017 | Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Safety

How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm And Relaxed During Storms

We’re heading into storm season in the low country, which is definitely going to help my yard look a bit nicer. Unfortunately, my dogs are not going to be happy with the rain and thunder that is sure to be coming our way. My older pup, Indy, is always terrified of storms and it’s just heartbreaking to watch. He can feel the storm long before we even see any clouds and he makes sure to run over and give me his storm whimper to alert me it’s on the way. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years about how to keep your dog calm and relaxed during storms, so I wanted to share them so other pet owners can help soothe their dogs.

Having a fear of storms is very common for dogs. The loud noises, bright flashes, pounding rain, and electricity in the air can definitely put them on edge. Luckily, there are a few things that pet owners can do to help a dog who is scared of storms.

How To Help Keep Your Dog Calm And Relaxed During Storms

Exercise Is The Key

An exercised dog is a tired dog, and if they are tired enough, they might sleep right through a storm. If you know a storm is coming soon, then get your dog out for as much exercise as you can fit in. If you don’t have time – let Charleston Dog Walker help by scheduling a dog walking visit. With lots of exercise, hopefully they will be zonked out when the storm reaches you!

Bust Out The Treats

If your dog has a favorite treat that takes a while to polish off, storms are a great time to whip them out. If they are distracted by chowing down on a treat, then they may ignore the bad weather going on outside. Treats also help create a more positive association with storms, which can help them understand that there isn’t anything scary about storms. We love filling a Kong with peanut butter and tossing it in the freezer. When the storm comes, they’ve got a peanut butter popsicle to lick for quite a while!

Distract Them With Calming Music

Music is a great distraction since it can mask the noises of the storm. Try playing this music medley loudly for your dog so they can’t hear the thunder. The mix is specially designed to help your pet calm down and go to sleep.

Get Your Pup A Thundershirt

They don’t work for all dogs, but we’ve definitely heard Thundershirt success stories from people that say it will keep your dog calm and relaxed during storms. It applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant, to help dogs when they are stressed. The Thundershirt costs about $40 so it’s not a huge investment, but can have a wonderful impact on your pup.

Try Natural Calming Chews

We’re a fan of Happy Traveler, which is a natural, herbal calming chew to ease anxiety. Composure is another calming supplement that creates a relaxed state without causing drowsiness or impaired motor skills.

Hopefully one, or a combination of some, of these tips will help keep your dog calm and relaxed during storms. Most dogs will find a spot that they feel safe in, like a closet, bathroom, or another dark and confined space, to curl up when the storm comes. Go ahead and let them stay in their safe spot – there’s no need to stress them out more by insisting they move. The best thing is to comfort them if they need it, but also allow them to self–soothe, like a baby, so they learn how to handle the storms on their own. When you add in some of our tips above, your dog is sure to have a much better experience the next time a storm passes through.

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!

 


How To Tell If Your Pet Is Overweight

March 29, 2017 | Charleston, Dog Treats, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Health

Did you know that more than 50% of U.S. pets are overweight? That’s not a good thing to hear, especially when being overweight can lead to tons of health problems for your beloved pet. It could mean a shorter life span, it can aggregate joint disease, lead to Type 2 Diabetes, worsen heart conditions, and lead to skin diseases. Who would have thought all those extra treats could cause such awful things?

How can you tell if your dog or cat is overweight? Ideally, when you look down your pet should have an hourglass shape. Dogs and cats should both have a definite waist, or an inward taper between their abdomen and hips. You should be able to feel their ribs, but not see them.

If your pet is overweight, focus on these 3 things to help them lose the extra pounds:

  1. Make sure you are feeding them the appropriate amount of food. Check your dog or cat’s food label to find out the recommended amount of food for their weight range. Use a measuring cup when you scoop out their food so you know you are feeding them the right amount.
  2. Switch up their treats to something healthy. Try giving your dog carrots, fresh green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, apple slices (no seeds), banana slices, or watermelon. My dogs are obsessed with carrots!
  3. Don’t forget exercise! Dogs should get at least one 30 minute walk every day. If walks aren’t your thing, schedule a visit with Charleston Dog Walker for some exercise time! Or you can head over to a local dog park and let them run with some doggy friends. Here are our favorite dog parks in Charleston. For your kitty, spend some time playing with toys that get them up and moving, like a laser pointer or any toy they can bat around.

Your pet’s weight is very important, so take the time to make these simple changes to their lifestyle. They can’t make the changes without you!

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


3 Easy Ways To Give A Dog A Pill

March 24, 2017 | Charleston, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Helpful Tips

Most dogs hate taking pills – and who can blame them? I don’t like taking them either! But there are lots of ways to get your pup to easily take a pill without all the struggle, and without spending a fortune on pill pockets. Check out these common household items you can use as cheap, easy ways to give a dog a pill:

  1. Peanut butter – It works like magic! Put a dollop of peanut butter on a spoon and stick the pill in the middle, so it’s covered by the peanut butter. Most dogs LOVE peanut butter, so they just lick it right up – pill and all!
  2. Cheese – If your dog isn’t a fan of peanut butter, try using a tiny piece of American cheese. The “singles” slices work great. Just tear off a square and put the pill in the middle. Squish the cheese around the pill and make it a little cheese ball. Offer this little cheese pill ball up like a treat and your dog will be begging for more.
  3. Deli meat – Try getting a small slice of deli meat and wrapping it around the pill. This isn’t as secure since the pill can just come out, but generally deli meat is delicious enough that a dog will gobble it up before they notice the pill.

Hopefully one of these things does the trick for your pup and you can make giving your dog a pill a lot easier on you and your wallet!

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


Top 4 Charleston Dog Parks

March 1, 2017 | Charleston, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Helpful Tips, SC, Things To Do

Charleston is such a great city for dog lovers to live in because there’s never a shortage of dog-friendly activities and places to go. When my husband and I moved here from DC, we were amazed at the number of dog parks and we couldn’t wait to let our dogs Indy and Anna run wild and make new friends! We’ve tried all of the Charleston dog parks out and love them each for different reasons. Here are our top 4 Charleston dog parks:

Indy and Anna love playing ball at the Hazel Parker Playground!
  1. James Island County Park Dog Park: The JICP dog park is a huge, grassy field that opens onto 3 sandy beaches and water. Dogs can swim and splash all they want and there’s a doggy water fountain and hoses to clean them off at the end. There is also a small-dog fenced area and a few picnic tables around the park. It can get quite hot for the humans in the summer, since there isn’t shade, and bring your bug spray if you’re heading there around dusk. Don’t forget your towel if your dog is a swimmer or else your car might get a bit wet!
  2. Hazel Parker Playground Dog Park: If your dog does better in a smaller area, head to the Hazel Parker Playground dog park downtown by Rainbow Row. The park has a fenced, gravel area that you can go to any time of the day, or wait until 5pm and the fully-fenced grassy field is open for off-leash play. They have a doggy water fountain and trees around the edges of the park. It’s also in the heart of downtown, so there’s typically a great breeze from the water and plenty of gorgeous Charleston sites within walking distance if you want to take a cool-down stroll. Pro Tip: Find street parking on the side of the park instead of parking in the parking lot. You are only allowed to park in the metered spaces – the rest are monitored insanely closely and you’re almost guaranteed to get a ticket.
  3. Hampton Park Dog Run: This dog park is one of the shadiest you’ll find around Charleston, which can be quite important in the summer heat (and the spring, fall and winter heat, too!). It’s smaller than the others, but still fully fenced and with a water fountain. Sadly the grass is a bit lacking at this park, but there’s a huge parking lot and plenty of room for good games of chase and fetch.
  4. Palmetto Islands County Park Dog Park: If you’re in the Mount Pleasant area, check out the PICP dog park. Your dog will love the long fenced in grassy field where they can run like crazy! There’s a small-dog area at this park and a few picnic tables for the people to take a break at, too. This dog park lacks shade, but it’s perfect for your pup to get some energy and socializing and then you can take them for a stroll around the scenic park. Make sure to take a walk over to Nature Island while you’re in the park – you walk over a board walk to a super cool (literally) path through the trees with great marsh views.

We hope you and your dogs enjoy these dog parks as much as our crazy pups do! There are doggy water fountains at all of them, but make sure to bring a portable bowl and an extra water bottle to keep your dog hydrated as they play. And most importantly – watch your dog the whole time to ensure they are playing nicely and having a safe, fun time.

 

Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!


5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe & Happy on the 4th of July

June 23, 2016 | Charleston, Helpful Tips, Pet Safety

Did you know that more pets get lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year? Fireworks can be scary for your furry pal, so it’s important you plan ahead for to make sure they are safe and happy. Here are a few tips:

  1. Exercise them so they are tired. Take them for a LONG walk, go for a good swim at the James Island County Park, or throw a tennis ball for them to chase at one of the dog parks. The more tired your dog is, the more likely they are to sleep in the evening.
  2. Make sure they have updated ID tags attached securely to their well-fitted collar. The tags should have your current phone number, address, and name. If they do get lose, this information will be their best chance of getting back to you.
  3. Don’t take them to see fireworks – leave them at home. You may think that being with you will help keep them calm, but if a dog is fearful of loud noises like fireworks, leave them at home. They will not appreciate being in a crowded area with fireworks going off – it will just make them more anxious and upset.
  4. Put on some soothing music for them to listen to during the night. If your dog has a certain spot they feel comfortable in (like a bathroom, closet, or their crate), set up the music close to there and turn it up to mask the firework noises. Here’s a great music medley that lasts for over an hour.
  5. Get them their favorite long-lasting treat to keep them distracted and happy. Try putting peanut butter in a Kong and freezing it. Just make sure they have access to water, too… they might be thirsty afterwards!

Make sure you and your pets stay safe this holiday!


Hate picking up poop?

June 9, 2016 | Charleston, Cool Pet Products, Deals and Promotions, Dog-Friendly Charleston, Helpful Tips, SC

Check out our friends at Doody Calls – they’re happy to come de-poop your yard each week! Doody Calls is a great service that has partnered up with Charleston Dog Walker to offer all of our clients a special promotion deal. You will get 2 FREE weeks after your first month of service with them! Doody Calls will help you get a thoroughly clean, safe and pet waste free yard year round without any contracts. Give them a call or visit www.DoodyCalls.com and you’ll have a spotless yard in no time!

Doody Calls


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