Is it Time for My Close-Up?

Are you the type of dog owner that sees those breed books full of professional doggy photos and think to yourself, ‘yeah my dog looks just as good. I could capture that.’

Your sure can, it’s just a matter of getting a few things right (we’ll leave out all the photography jargon and cover the basics.)

Timing

If you’re looking for an action shot, for example, it’s best to capture the photo early in the day before you and your pup hit the trail for a long hike.

Turn off the flash

Getting a good shot of your dog is best done with natural sunlight. Typically, if you shoot in the early morning, evening, or in the shade of a bright day, your photos will turn out the way you’d like them to. If you are shooting indoor, you’ll likely need the flash. In this circumstance, try to shoot the photo slightly upward so that the flash bounces off the ceiling and not off your dog.

Move like your dog

No, you don’t need to get down on all fours; what we mean here is the best photos of your dog will come from down on their level. So, scrunch down to where your pup is and snap away!

Let your dog adjust to the camera

Your dog will likely want to sniff the camera you just brought out, and you should let them get to know it before you start your shoot. Once they’ve adjusted to the camera and have gone about their business, you’re ready to begin.

What’s in the background?

This is an important question, as you want your dog to stand out. Beaches, grassy fields and dense tree lines are great backgrounds to consider when planning your dog’s photo shoot, just be sure you don’t have, say, a tree branch seemingly sprouting from your dog’s behind. Also, color is an important thing to consider. Avoid black backgrounds if you have a black dog, brown backgrounds if your have a brown dog etc. As a rule of thumb, have your dog at least a dozen feet in front of the background you’ve chosen.

Treats

Have plenty on hand during your photo shoot. Need we say more?

Be creative and take lots of pictures!

The more photos you take, the better chance you’ll have of producing a winner, and you’ll want to get creative. Again, get close up to your dog so that he or she takes up the whole picture. Move around to snap all sorts of different angles, tell your pup he or she is doing a great job to excite them; the energy will transfer into the photos. It’s likely that the more spontaneous you are, the better your photos will come out!

These are just some suggestions for your dog’s close-up. Can you offer others? Better yet, share photos you’ve taken of your dog with us on our Facebook page!

Information provided in part by Dogtime.com

Save the Dates: Pet Holidays in April

April is chalked FULL of pet holidays. So many, in fact, that it’s easy to lose track!

Here’s a helpful look at the pet holidays that occur this month.

Holiday

Information

Dates

National Pet Month Pets mean the world to their owners and April is a month to celebrate that.

http://www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/

All month
National Kids & Pets Day A special day created to celebrate the special bond between children and their pets.

http://www.kidsandpetsday.com/

4/26/12
National Pet ID Week One in three pets will get lost at some point in their life. 90% of those will not return unless they have proper identification.

http://itsthedogslife.com/2009/04/national-pet-id-week/

4/16/12-4/23/12
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month http://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-april/ All month
National Pet First Aid Awareness Month http://www.pawesome.net/2012/03/april-is-pet-first-aid-awareness-month/ All month
National Pet Day Show your pet some love with one of our toys on National Pet Day!

http://www.petdayusa.com/

 

4/11/12
Hairball Awareness Day Your cat would agree, hairballs are a serious issue! This day was created to remind cat owners how serious.

http://news.yahoo.com/april-29-zipper-day-national-hairball-awareness-day-225200261.html

4/29/12
National Animal Control Appreciation Week  It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. This week was created to recognize those who serve as animal control officers.

http://www.nacanet.org/aco_appreciation.html

4/8/12- 4/14/12

Do you plan on celebrating any of these pet holidays this month? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Pet Grooming: How Bad Does Your Dog Shed?

Spring is just around the corner, and you know what that means, your dog will start to shed his or her winter coat everywhere and without warning.

Here are some fast facts about dog shedding:

  • There are three types of dog hair. The undercoat, guard hairs and whiskers. The undercoat is the coat that’s shed in the spring.
  • Dog breeds shed hair differently from breed to breed.
  • Nutrition, amongst other factors, can affect the amount of shedding that occurs.
  • Certain breeds of dogs shed more than others, and much of this can be directly linked to the breeds’ genetics.

So, how do you cope with the woes of spring shedding?

Well, for one, you need to have the right set of tools for grooming your pup.

Enter our line of Dog Grooming products:

  Shedding Comb

This comb features metal teeth in two different lengths lift shedding hair from the undercoat and loosen lightly matted portions of fur. The teeth are turned 90 degrees away from the skin keeping them parallel to the skin to prevent “raking” the skin and make grooming more comfortable for your dog.

 

Undercoat Rake

The Undercoat Rake loosens lightly matted parts of the coat and lifts out dead and shedding hair from the undercoat. A row of round-tipped teeth tend to your dog’s under layer of hair. The non-slip, ergonomically correct handle makes grooming a more pleasurable experience for both of you.

 Slicker Brush

Ideal for daily brushing to remove dead and shedding hair, the Slicker Brush brush has a rounded head and slightly angled pins, great for double-coated breeds. The non-slip, ergonomically correct handle makes grooming a more pleasurable experience for both of you.

Shedding Blade Regular

The Grip Soft Shedding Blade Regular is a curved oval shaped blade with tiny teeth attached to a soft ergonomically correct handle. This tool is perfect for removing large amounts of dead and shedding fur. The Shedding Blade also helps to reduce mats when used regularly. The JW non-slip ergonomically correct handle is designed to be more comfortable on the hand making grooming a more pleasurable experience for you.

 

Respect Your Pup’s Pearly Whites: February is Pet Dental Health Month!

That’s right, the whole month of February is dedicated to your canines, well, canines!

Your pet’s dental health is an essential part of their overall health. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) periodontal disease (think Gingivitis) is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. This disease can lead to additional complications like painful infections of the mouth, and in extreme cases, life-threatening conditions.

It’s estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease.

So, to help fight this, pet owners should brush their pets’ teeth regularly and schedule regular visits with their veterinarians to be sure their pets teeth and gums are healthy.

If you’re not used to brushing your pet’s teeth and are saying to yourself, “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” then the video below can help you out.

It features Dr. Sheldon Rubin speaking on behalf of the AVMA.

Dental Health: How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Keeping your pet’s pearly whites and gums healthy is an essential part of being a pet owner.

This February, help spread the word about Pet Dental Month so that others can do the same.

Did you know? Our Chompion and CyberBone chew toys can also help keep your pup’s teeth clean!

Chompion

The idea of a dumbbell-shape has a lot to do with dogs you might call champion chewers. You and your dog will appreciate the Chompion’s durability and its textured nubs to help keep teeth clean, stimulate gums and promote oral health. An exceptional teething, fetch and tug toy.

 CyberBone

 The CyberBone is a strong natural rubber bone. The textured center has tiny nubs to help keep teeth clean and to stimulate your dogs gums. This durable bone is fun to Toss N play, fetch and chew! This small size is a great teething toy for puppies and small breed dogs.

Advice?

Can you provide additional advice on pet dental health?

Let us know with a comment below!

 

Information provided in part by the AVMA.

Valentine’s Day: Show Your Pup Some Love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! If you’re like most pet owners, you’ll be looking to show your pup some love with a new toy.

Here are some great options that Cupid himself would fall for.

Megalast Bone

The Megalast Bone is a tough flexible bone made of Megalastomer, our durable TPR, Thermo Plastic Rubber. These Made-In-USA toys are infused with vanilla and are available in three assorted bright colors and can be filled with treats. They’re mega strong, mega bouncy and mega fun.

Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Jumbo

Hol-ee Roller

An ingenious, patented honeycomb, webbed design, plus natural, tough rubber gives the Hol-ee toys the ability to offer multiple kinds of FUN! It’s a super bouncy, fetch ball, a tough stretchy tug toy, a fantastic treat stuffer toy and much much more! They’re chewy and squishy and, well, provide unending hours of fun, fun, fun!

Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Jumbo

Bad Cuz

The Bad Cuz, has everything our Good Cuz has including a natural rubber ball with feet and the ingenious squeaker designed so it won’t fall out. In addition, the Bad Cuz has a pair of devilish horns, a formidable bounce and a terrific personality.

Sizes: Small, Medium and Large

Petting Your Dog Reduces Anxiety. It’s Science!

You’ve heard that petting your dog is good for you, right? Well, even if you haven’t, it’s good to know that it is and to understand why it is.

New studies show that simply petting a dog can cause us to have a positive chain reaction. Our neurotransmitters start to fire, and we feel good. There’s no stopping it.

How does this work?

When we pet a dog, a hormone called oxytocin is released. This hormone helps reduce blood pressure and decreases levels of cortisol, a hormone that creates stress and anxiety.

What does it add up to?

Some doctors believe that petting a dog can be, to some degree, a substitute for an anti-anxiety medication. This notion has led some doctors to suggest that dogs might be better than, say, Prozac.

Additionally, oxytocin, or the “the cuddle hormone” as it’s sometimes called, has been known to help individuals heal faster. Recent studies have shown that people supplemented with oxytocin recover from injuries and the like faster than others. This might explain, at least in part, the benefits of therapy dogs.

So, the common belief is that dogs help improve human health, but it’s science like this that is paving the way to understanding the ”how” and the “why.”

For more information, see the recent article in USA Today.

Information courtesy of USA Today.

Dogs Do the Darndest Things!

If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably watched your pup perform a number of strange behaviors and have asked yourself, ‘why does my dog do that?’

For example, does your dog eat grass? That certainly seems like a strange behavior doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually very common, and there are a couple of theories behind it.

First, experts believe dogs may eat grass when they have an upset stomach. By eating grass, they’re likely to vomit up whatever it is that’s making them sick. If your dog is eating grass frequently, consider mixing some vegetables into their diet (e.g. unsalted green beans, carrots) to settle what could be an upset tummy.

The other theory behind this strange behavior is that dogs eat grass to improve digestion or to supplement for a dietary deficiency. It’s believed that dogs today inherited this trait instinctually from their wild ancestors who often ate grass incidentally when they consumed their prey.

Here’s another one: does your dog bury his or her bones? The theory behind this behavior is that your dogs’ ancestors needed to hide what they couldn’t eat in one sitting for fear of other predators stealing the meal. So, they hid or buried their leftovers. Now, many dogs today are lucky enough to be well fed, and they needn’t hunt down and hide their meals, but that doesn’t mean their instinctual need to hide or hoard what they can’t consume has gone away. When your dog hides his or her bone, it’s likely he or she is doing this instinctually to prevent another animal from stealing. Think of it like the doggy form of leftovers!

Finally, does your dog roll in poop or dead animals? It’s one of the most unwanted behaviors dog owners deal with, and it’s certainly the smelliest. So, why do dogs do this? One theory is that long ago, dogs did this to mask their distinct scent. By camouflaging their scent, they were able to sneak up on their prey unnoticed and with ease. Pretty clever, huh? The other explanation for this behavior is that it’s another way for dogs to leave their mark, much like they do when they urinate on your neighbor’s mailbox. So, if your pup sees a dead squirrel and rolls in it, it’s his way of saying to other dogs, ‘hey, back off, this here squirrel is mine!’

Dogs really do the darndest things don’t they? Still, it’s likely they would say the same thing about our behaviors if they could.