updated 06/27/2011 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/27/2011 AT 1:45 PM ET
“He has become a dog lover,” says Hough, who is mom to Cavalier King Charles spaniels Lexi and Harley, her constant companions. “He has to!”
When it comes to caring for the pooches, the American Idol host is also an equal partner. He pitches in with feeding and walking – “He loves it,” Hough says – and he gave his girlfriend a shoulder to cry on when Lexi ended up at the emergency vet recently with an upset stomach.
“I think that separation anxiety made her get a little sick,” says Hough, who had been apart from the dog for a few days. “It worried me though, even though I’ve seen her get sick sometimes, she had this glaze over her eyes, that I was like, ‘That’s not Lexi. Where’s my Lexi?’”
After a little recovery time, Hough’s little “prima donna” is back to her old self – kissing mom “to death” and being a “mother figure” to new the pup, who she brought home in April.