Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos with Pets

Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos with Pets

Getting your dog (and any other family pets) to sit still and look nice for a holiday photo can be a challenge. And they never end up looking like those photos in the pet calendar. Sure, you can hire a professional, but there is no reason why you can’t recreate those stunning photos yourself with just a bit of practice and these secrets from a professional photographer.

#1 – Preparation

First make sure your dog is groomed and brushed prior to the photo. If they are going to wear a collar, a new one always looks the nicest. Otherwise, at least wash their old collar. Having a hungry dog can help too. If they are hungry, most dogs will sit and look at the camera if there’s a treat in it for them. Have an active dog? These types of dogs often do better if they have a bit of exercise first, not so much that they are panting in the pictures, but enough to make it easier for them to sit still.

#2 – Perfect Background

Natural backgrounds can make lovely sceneries, and of course so does the Christmas tree or the fireplace. No matter where you shoot, keep in mind that your main subject is the pet, and shooting with a shallow depth of field will help them stand out in your image. If you really want your pet to “pop,” use a solid background like a grassed area, blank wall or hang a sheet up.

#3 – Color Coordinate

Think about what colors coordinate with your dog’s coat and make sure those are in the background, or if you are going to be in the photo, wear colors that coordinate with your dog but don’t make him blend in with you. So for example, don’t wear black pants and then have your black Miniature Schnauzer sit on your lap. Red or green pants would be more festive and will make your dog stand out without clashing.

#4 – Preventing the Blur

The hardest part of taking pictures of dogs is the movement. If you are using a camera and not a phone, make sure your shutter speed is fast to prevent the blur. With dogs that are highly active, you’ll probably need to take more photos in order to get that perfect shot.

#5 – Time of Day Tips

If you are shooting outside, pay attention to the different lights at different times of day. Different lighting will really affect how your dog looks, especially those with bright coats, such as an all white Maltese. All white dogs get washed out in bright light, an overcast day works better for them. On the other hand, avoid dark times of day if you have a dark dog.

#6 – Have Helpers

Having someone to wrangle your dog is always helpful, especially if you have more than one. That way, you can stay posed at the ready to capture the shot as soon as the other person or people get your dog(s) into position.

#7 – Pricked Ears

Be prepared to get a little silly and make some strange noises. Squeaky toys work from some dogs, though some get too excited and will want to take the toy.

#8 – Get Low

Getting low to the ground can give you some interesting angles and make the shots much more dynamic since you are at your dog’s level.

#9 – Special Tips for Black Dogs

With any black animal, overexpose the shot. This will bring out the details in the fur, and should prevent their eyes from becoming black holes. Professional photographers rarely ever use flash with pet photography, but almost always use reflectors to bounce some light onto their fur and into their eyes.

#10 – Photo Editing and Cropping

If you have any type of photo editing software on your computer, take some time to learn the basics, this can make pet photography much easier. For starters, you can keep your dog leashed and just erase the leash in editing. Cropping is available on all computers, even in Paint, and is very simple to do learn. No professional editing skills required. Cropping lets you cut out the stuff on either side of the photos so your perfect shot isn’t ruined because you didn’t notice you got the mess next to the Christmas tree in your haste to snap the perfect pic.

These tips will help you take amazing pet photos for the holidays, or any time for the year. Just remember to have fun and snap away – sometimes you get the perfect picture without even realizing it. And sometimes, the candid photos may not be what you were planning, but end up being the best ones. Finally, make sure your dog gets plenty of breaks so he has fun during the shoot too.

Why We Put Inulin in Stay Loyal Dog Food

Why We Put Inulin in Stay Loyal Dog Food

Looking over the Stay Loyal ingredients, you should recognize almost everything in the list because we use natural items and no chemicals or vague things such as “meat meal.” But there is one item on there that you might stop and say, what is that? And that is Inulin.

What Is Inulin?

Inulin is a powerful soluble fiber found in many plants. Some of the main plants that are used as Inulin sources are: asparagus, chicory root, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama and yacon root. Due to the way its molecules are linked together, inulin is not digested by the small intestine. Instead, it travels into your lower gut where it acts as a prebiotic.

What does Inulin do for the body?

A prebiotic is a food source for the beneficial bacteria that you want to have in your intestine. Studies have even shown Inulin can help stimulate the growth of those beneficial bacteria.

Those good bacteria convert inulin into fatty acids that provide nourishment to colon cells. Also, because it’s increasing those good bacteria, it helps with immunity, improved digestion and overall health.

Inulin can also help relieve constipation and creates more consistent stools.

In short, inulin helps with overall digestive health that will keep your dog regular – something every dog owner who has to pick up their dog’s poop can appreciate!

But that’s not all! Inulin also:

Controls Diabetes

Interestingly, Inulin can also help control diabetes by improving blood sugar control. With all the overweight dogs that are heading in that direction, this could be a very important part of all dogs’ diets.

Improves Mineral Absorption

If that’s not enough to make you think this is a great ingredient, there’s more! In studies, inulin has also been shown to improve mineral absorption and bone health by increasing bone density. This is especially important for growing puppies and aging dogs.

Prevents Colon Cancer

Incredibly, inulin has also been shown to help prevent colon cancer. An animal study showed that 88 percent of the animals given inulin saw a reduction in precancerous colon growths. While the research is still being conducted, preliminary findings suggest it does reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Makes food more Palatable

Have a dog that isn’t interested in his food? Inulin is sweet, making food taste better which can help those picky eaters stay interested in their food. Unlike sugar, however, inulin is low in calories – 25 percent less than sugar and 10-12 percent less than fat.

So as you can see, there are many reasons to have inulin in a dog food, yet one study found that only 8 percent (approximately) of dog foods on the market contain inulin. We are happy to report that Stay Loyal is one of those because we carefully selected our ingredients to give your dog the best health possible.

7 Health Problems Caused by the Wrong Dog Food

7 Health Problems Caused by the Wrong Dog Food

“You are what you eat” is an old adage and it really is true. What we put in our bodies – and our dogs’ bodies – has a direct effect on the health of the entire system. It makes sense if you think about it, after all food is what fuels our functions. However, not all bodies are the same and therefore, they don’t all need the same fuel. If your dog is not eating the correct diet for him, there can be many health consequences. And when we say “wrong food,” we don’t just mean low quality. Even high quality food can be wrong if it doesn’t have the right ingredients and nutritional make-up for your dog. Here are just a few of the things that can be caused by your dog eating the wrong food.

#1 – Skin Issues

One of the most noticeable things that the wrong food can cause in your dog is skin issues. And sometimes it’s easy to forget this and think our dog must be allergic to his shampoo or the grass (which they can be as well), because those actually come in contact with the skin. However, many food allergies in dogs manifest themselves as skin issues.

In addition, food that does not have the right balance of amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals can also cause skin issues because the body isn’t getting enough nutrients to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

#2 – Obesity and Pancreatitis

Feeding foods that are excessive in calories from fat can lead to obesity or a painful condition called pancreatitis in predisposed dogs. Of course, this depends on many factors. Some dogs need more fat than others depending on age, activity level, genes and even breed. But it’s good to know in case you have a dog that already has pancreatitis, as an example, to be aware of the food you are feeding.

#3 – Diabetes

More attention is being given to foods that have a high glycemic index such as those high in processed carbohydrates. Grains and high amounts of processed carbohydrates can cause problems in pets just like they do in us, in particular diabetes.

#4 – Gastroenteritis

If something in your dog’s food does not agree with him, it can cause ongoing stomach upset. In addition, some brands of dog foods have frequent problems with bacteria, which can also cause your dog to be sick. Avoid brands with frequent recalls for E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium. These are all bacteria that can lead to bloody diarrhea, and in severe cases, hospitalization or death. The transfer of Salmonella and E. coli to humans (from your dog) is also a concern.

#5 – Metabolic Diseases

These can be caused by deficiencies in important nutrients such as calcium. Too little calcium could lead to nutritional diseases such as nutritional hyperparathyroidism and developmental bone disease. See our article on calcium for more information about the importance of the right amount.

#6 – Bladder Stones

Thought not as common in dogs as they are in male cats, dogs can suffer from bladder stones and if they do, their food can make it worse. If your dog keeps getting stones, you may want to think about a food that is low in calcium and phosphorus. Be sure to ask you vet before you switch.

#7 – Heart Disease

If your dog’s diet isn’t properly balanced, it can lead to heart problems. Too much salt is a key factor in heart disease in dogs. It causes water retention in the blood vessels leading to high blood pressure. If your vet believes your dog is at risk for heart disease, watch salt content in his food and treats.

If your dog is experiencing one or some of these and nothing the vet has thought of has helped, you may want to consider trying a new food. Again, it’s not necessarily just about quality, it’s also about the ingredients. What’s right for one dog is not always right for another. That’s why we offer several formulas here at Stay Loyal, so you can pick the formula that is right for your dog’s health.