Category Archives: pets

How to Take a Great Photo of Your Pet


By Suzanne Alicie

Our pets are an important part of our lives, and we naturally want to include them in our photo albums. Taking a great picture of your pet requires some preparation, some skill, and a whole lot of luck. Occasionally a snapshot of your pet will turn out wonderfully, but more often than not you have lost the personality of the moment in the photo. Your gorgeous pet looks as if it’s in the middle of the road and caught in the high beams. Glowing green and red eyes ruin even the nicest photo of your pet. So unless you are a professional pet photographer, how can you take a great photo of your pet?

Avoid Glowing Eyes

The glowing eye problem, whether red or green, is caused by the same thing that causes this problem in human photos. The flash reflects off the back of the eye. To avoid the glowing eyes when you take a photo of your pet, the best thing to do is eliminate the flash entirely. Try shooting your pet outside or in an area with a lot of natural light.

Utilize Props

We all know how hard it can be to get a pet to sit still long enough for the shutter to close on the camera, but to create a really unique photo of your pet you will want to incorporate some aspect of his personality into the photo. This is where props come in handy. Prepare the props in the area you want to take the photo before you call your pet in. If your dog loves a certain chew toy, place it in a well lit area in preparation for the photo. Does your cat have an affinity for walking on your keyboard? Place an old keyboard where you want to take the photo. Clean up the background or use a solid colored blanket as a backdrop and you have the setting for a great pet photo.

Timing

When it comes to getting a great photo of your pet, a digital camera is your best option. Call the pet in, and play with it near the props you are using. Once your pet is relaxed and seems content to be in the area you have selected, offer a treat or wave a toy at the pet to get it to look at you, and snap as fast as your finger will move. Often times the photo that you thought would look great will be one of those you will discard, and a random shot will turn out to capture your pet’s personality perfectly.

Much the same as taking photos of children, you have to work around their quick loss of interest and easy distraction, using those very qualities to get them to look at you and stay where they are. Having a second person on hand to help play with the animal or get it to move to a certain area while you snap photos is a sure way to get a great photo.

It may take a few tries, and you may find yourself discarding many more photos than you keep, but eventually you will get a shot of your pet that you can’t wait to share with everyone.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How Well Do Dogs and Cats Hear?


By Linda Cole

Dogs and cats and are in a special category when it comes to hearing, or not hearing, their human companions. They can be nowhere in sight, yet never miss the careful opening of a bag of potato chips or cookies. But just try and get their attention when they are in the same room with us – it’s like talking to the wall! Cats definitely have selective hearing when it comes to us, but a quiet mouse sneaking up on a missed piece of cat food on the kitchen floor can be heard loud and clear. Their sense of hearing is phenomenal; so it would seem that most dogs and cats only hear us when they want to.

Cat ears are amazing little radar antennas that have the ability to focus in on two different sounds inches apart from each other three feet away. They can distinguish these sounds so precisely and hone in on where the exact sound is coming from that a cat can tell if you are getting into a cupboard that has no food in it versus the one where you keep her favorite treats. They can detect the size of prey and the distance of a sound in just six one hundredth of a second, and can hear five times farther than we can hear.

Cats hear higher frequencies than dogs or humans. Because of that, a woman’s voice can be more soothing to a cat, especially if it’s upset. Our sense of hearing is in a range of 20 hertz up to 20 kilohertz, but dogs hear up to 40 kilohertz and a cat’s hearing jumps into the higher pitched range of 60 kilohertz. However, a cat’s range starts at 30 hertz which means they probably don’t hear lower tones as well as we do, and that could be why cats don’t always respond to a man with a deep voice. Since mice have a tiny high pitched squeak, it’s bad news for any wayward mouse in a cat’s domain.

Because of the upright and erect shape of their ears, cats can hear with amazing accuracy. Thirty different muscles allow them to rotate their ears 180 degrees independently of each other which helps them focus in on any interesting sounds they hear. These sounds are then funneled down through their ears and picked up by extremely sensitive hairs located in the base of the ear. From there, the sound is transmitted to the cat’s brain via the auditory nerve. Even though they are experts at selective hearing, a cat does hear extremely well and knows exactly what is going on in his world.

Dogs can hear with the same kind of accuracy as cats, and their ears also rotate to pinpoint the exact location of where a sound is coming from in less than a second. They can quickly decipher pertinent information to determine if they need to be on alert. If it’s a sound coming from another animal, the dog can even determine the height of the animal and know if it’s prey or predator.

A dog with floppy ears can’t hear as well as those with ears standing erect. Like cats, dogs hear and pick up on our tone of voice as well as the pitch in our voice much better than we realize. As they listen to what we say, they are able to distinguish what we mean by our pitch and tone more than by our words. If we are trying to train a dog, his response is determined by how well we convey a command to him. A sharper tone will get his attention and if you are training a puppy, using a whistle or an abrupt noise will tell him to pay attention to you.

Dogs can move their ears independently too, and have 15 muscles that help them locate and pick up sounds. We can pick up a sound 100 yards away, but a dog can hear a sound that’s a quarter of a mile away. Dogs have a unique ability to actually close off their inner ear so they can weed out distracting noises and focus only on the sound they are interested in. I guess that’s what they must be doing when they ignore us. And the next time they refuse to go outside in the rain, it might not be because they don’t want to get wet, but because the falling rain may actually be hurting their sensitive ears.

Since dogs and cats can hear so well, sirens, loud music and raised voices are annoying to them. We will get their attention better with a softer voice. It’s also important to pay close attention to their ears to make sure they are not infected with ear mites or other bacterial or yeast infections that can cause permanent hearing loss if left untreated.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Trade-Offs of Having Pets


By Julia Williams

I’ve heard it said many times that “when you have children, your life changes forever.” Having a child does significantly alter the way people live, on a daily basis as well as long term. To a lesser extent, the same can be said for having pets. Bringing a companion animal into our home requires that we make lifestyle changes. There are things we have to choose between, and sacrifices we may need to make for the sake of our pet’s wellbeing, and sometimes our own. So what are some of the trade-offs of having pets?

Freedom

Responsible pet owners give up the ability to leave town on a whim. If our animals are staying behind, then before we hit the highway or hop a plane to Cancun, we need to make arrangements for their care. In my opinion, that goes for cats too. I was once called sanctimonious for saying that cats shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves while their owners go away on vacation, but I stand by my belief. Dogs and cats are not capable of calling 911 or seeking emergency care in the event of an accident; as such, our duty as primary caregiver is to make sure they are looked after in our absence. I trade the freedom to take off at a moment’s notice, with the good feeling that comes from knowing my cats are well cared for while I’m away.

Time

Having pets requires that we give up a lot of this precious commodity. Our animals rely on us to feed them, shop for their food, clean up after them, play with them and groom them. Dogs also need regular exercise in the form of walks, runs, or trips to the dog park. Very often, our lives can be so busy that these things feel more like a “chore” instead of a labor of love. Be that as it may, they aren’t optional. Responsible pet owners willingly trade their time in order to properly care for their animal companions.

Money

There is no denying that pets are expensive. Some cost more than others, but all require that we trade money for the privilege of having them in our life. When adopting a pet, many people fail to consider just how much money it takes to care for them, and they are caught unawares. Add in unexpected expenses like accidents, illness or an aging pet, and you can quickly see that pet ownership does not come cheap.

A monetary trade-off I recently made involved my pet door. Because it’s drafty, I close it off in the winter, and my cats stay inside 24/7. However, Mickey gets rather irritated with that arrangement and he scuffles with Rocky, particularly late at night. One night while I was in bed, a cat fight took place on my face, so after examining my scratched cheek I made a decision: I opened the drafty pet door so I could have two cordial cats. This seems like a pretty good trade-off to me.

A spotlessly clean house

Dogs and cats shed, and they make messes. They track in mud, dirt, plant debris and other unsavory things that muck up our floors and soil our carpets and furniture. Choosing a short haired breed lessens the shedding problem somewhat, but not entirely. You can religiously vacuum, scrub and dust, but the reality is that a home with pets is not going to be spotlessly clean all of the time. Sometimes this can be embarrassing, such as the time a delivery person sat in a chair my cat had slept in. When he turned to leave, I saw that the seat of his pants was entirely covered in cat hair! (And no, I didn’t brush it off, nor did I say a word).

Many pet owners also choose to forego expensive furnishings and/or fragile items that can’t be placed where they won’t get knocked off by a wagging tail or a climbing cat. I don’t put a cover on my couch and I let my cats sleep on my bedspread, because I choose not to buy overly pricey things. This way, it’s not a big deal to me if they get wrecked by cat claws or gastric “accidents.”

Certainly, pet ownership is not without trials and tribulations. But then, isn’t that the very nature of our existence? My own life so far has been a series of happy times entwined with sad and challenging times. Having pets, or not having them, wouldn’t change this. It’s true that over the years, I’ve made many trade-offs in order to have pets. I’m sure you have too. But when I think of all the things I’ve given up or had to forego, there isn’t a single one I would choose over the love and companionship of my feline friends.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Michigan Pet Expo is a “Doggone Purrfect” Event!


By Julia Williams

If you love dogs and/or cats, and you live near Detroit, Michigan, then the place to be November 20 to 22 is the 2009 Michigan Family Pet Expo. In fact, this three-day showcase for pet products and services is so big and promises to be so much fun, you might want to attend even if you don’t live in Michigan! Besides being a one-stop shopper’s paradise for all things pet-related, the Michigan Pet Expo is slated to offer a great mix of entertainment, artwork, demonstrations and attractions, including a cat show, a Petting Zoo, and a “Dancing with Dogs” competition.

CANIDAE will be at this exciting event (of course!), handing out free pet food samples and helping to raise funds for cancer research in pets. As part of their ongoing mission to foster Responsible Pet Ownership and aid animals in need, CANIDAE will once again hold a charity raffle, with a fabulous Felt Bicycle as the grand prize. Proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit cancer research projects at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

One of the highlights of the Michigan Family Pet Expo is sure to be the Dock Diving competition, where CANIDAE-sponsored Team Air Gunner will participate in the Ultimate Air Games. In this sport, dogs run down a 40-foot dock and into a swimming pool to retrieve a toy that’s tossed in by their handler. “Dock Diving” dogs can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour and jump over 28 feet.

Also scheduled to appear at the Pet Expo:

Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix will amuse pet lovers of all ages with their comical canine routine. Johnny Peers performs as a Charlie Chaplin-like clown with a personable pack of mutts that skateboard, walk the tightrope, climb ladders, jump rope, knock Johnny down and walk all over him (in a lovable sort of way).

Rock-N-Roll K-9′s Performance Team will enthrall crowds with their amazing athletic dogs and trainers. Cheer on your favorite canine as they race around, over, under and through the custom-made agility course, perform a hilarious musical mat routine or try their paw at flyball and high jump. Combining energetic dogs with rock-and-roll music and incredible tricks, this show is sure to leave audiences begging for more.

Cat Show & Seminars hosted by G.L.A.C.E. (Great Lakes Area Cat Enthusiasts).The club will have a special display of cats, seminars and exhibits, along with cat agility, a parade of cats, cat presentations, cat grooming and care seminars.

Paws With A Cause will demonstrate how this national agency serves people with disabilities through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS staff and their clients will demonstrate some of the many tasks dogs can be trained to do, which provides invaluable help to those with disabilities.

First Aid 4 Paws will present pet first aid & CPR training demonstrations.

Animal Adoptions: many local rescue groups are planning to participate in the Michigan Family Pet Expo. You can view different breeds of dogs and cats that are available for adoption, and speak with educated volunteers to find out which animal would best suit you and your family.

Now in its second year, the 2009 Michigan Family Pet Expo takes place at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, Michigan on November 20 to 22, 2009. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12); parking is $5. Please visit their website for more information, including a complete schedule of entertainment and a list of vendors.

If you’re in the area next weekend, you won’t want to miss this family-friendly event – and while you’re there, come by the CANIDAE booth to say hello and buy a raffle ticket to support cancer research in pets.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

CANIDAE Helps The Pongo Fund Feed Pets in Need

By Julia Williams
Now that The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has officially opened its doors in Portland, Oregon, it’s safe to say there will be a lot more wagging tails and smiling faces in this city. Portland’s first food bank for pets opened yesterday, November 8th, handing out CANIDAE dog food and FELIDAE cat food to anyone who needed it. Further, to commemorate this important occasion and honor CANIDAE for their part in making it happen, the mayor of Portland proclaimed November 8, 2009 as “CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods Day.” How cool is that?
What started as one man’s heartfelt desire to help the homeless feed their hungry animal companions, has become what could well be the largest pet food bank in the United States. Indeed – thanks in large part to the generous donation of $125,000 worth of pet food from CANIDAE, The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank is poised to hand out around eight tons of dog and cat food every month, says its founder Larry Chusid.
Larry had been providing pet food to animals living in Portland’s homeless, transitional and underprivileged communities since 2007. Through The Pongo Fund, a charity he formed and named after his beloved dog, Larry was helping not only animals, but the humans who loved them. Still, he always dreamed of doing more, and he never stopped thinking about how he could turn his dream into reality.
Fate stepped in and gave Larry a leg up last April, when he met some CANIDAE folks at a pet-product trade show. You see, CANIDAE has a long history of supporting charities that help people and their pets. They had been supporting The Pongo Fund with food donations, but when they heard about Larry’s vision for a pet food bank in Portland, CANIDAE immediately offered him $125,000 worth of food to get the ball rolling.
Now that Larry had been promised truckloads of premium-quality dog and cat food, he had work to do! He secured a nice facility for The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank to operate out of, and lined up volunteers, grants, and fundraisers. The end result is something that both Larry and CANIDAE can be very proud of. Because one man dared to dream, and a caring pet food company answered the call, Portland’s companion dogs and cats will have full tummies now.
Sadly, many communities in our great nation have no pet food bank to help them. Although most cities and even some small towns are fortunate to have food banks that provide groceries to the needy, most have little (if any) pet food to give out. People who receive food stamps cannot use them to buy pet food either.
With our economy still struggling, the need for more pet food banks grows larger every day. And it’s no longer just the homeless and low-income people who are affected. Jobless middle-class and white-collar workers, senior citizens and even college students are having trouble making ends meet nowadays.
Thank you CANIDAE, for helping The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank make sure that the residents of Portland are able to feed their cherished animal companions. Perhaps one day soon, every city in America can say the same. Until then, we can all dream, and do what we can to help.
If you’d like to help The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, their website is set up to receive cash donations through Paypal. If you live in the Portland area, you can volunteer at the pet food bank, and/or buy some CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food and drop it off during their business hours.
Photo: “Man and dogs” Courtesy Brian Foulkes © 1989
Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Winter Care for Pets


By Linda Cole

October is quickly coming to a close, and for those in the northern part of the country, chilly winds are stripping red, orange and yellow leaves from trees and leaving only memories of a warm summer sun. The first freeze withers garden plants, flowers and grass. Winter will be here all too soon, and it’s time to start thinking about winterizing the house, the car and your pets. Winter care for pets can help them endure the coldest days ahead and help keep them safe.

Cold and snow can be rough on pets who spend most of their time inside. Dogs need to go outside, and it’s easy to forget they aren’t used to being in the cold for extended periods of time. They may have fur coats, but what nature gave them isn’t always suitable against freezing temperatures. I had a dog who would get so cold, his teeth chattered. If you see your dog shivering, he is cold. Hypothermia and frost bite are real possibilities for a pet who has been outside too long, and they are affected by a wind chill and cold.

Include coats or sweaters on a winter care list for dogs. Don’t be afraid to put coats on your dogs when they go outside. Unlike some people, dogs don’t have a macho ego that prevents them from being practical. My dogs want their coats on because they have learned they are warmer with them on. You can find a good selection of coats online at most retail pet sites.

It’s been my experience that more than one coat is needed. I dress my dogs in layers when they go outside in winter, because that’s the best way to help them stay warm. I have sweatshirts that go on first, then homemade quilted fleece jackets and finally, a waterproof, windproof dog blanket that goes on top for the really cold windy days.

Dogs lose heat through their paw pads and ears. When it’s really cold, quality dog booties will help them stay warm and ward off frostbite. However, it’s hard to find ear muffs or hats for dogs. I’m not a seamstress, but have learned how to make quilted fleece coats with hoods that help keep their ears warmer.

If you live in an area where the temperatures fall below zero with wind chills that can make it feel even colder, your dog will appreciate booties and coats once they get used to them. A combination of extreme cold and snow can quickly freeze unprotected feet. If you see your dog or cat not moving, or picking up one leg and then another, you should get them inside immediately. This is a sign that their feet are too cold.

Dogs and cats who spend most of their time inside should always be supervised when they are outside. Winter care for pets requires our watchful eye whenever they are outside. Coats and booties help, but our pets can’t tell us when they are cold. We need to pay attention to them and watch for signs like shivering, standing in one spot and not moving, or limping. A good rule to go by is if you are cold, your pet probably is too, and it’s time to go inside. Prevent frostbite or hypothermia before it happens.

Older or sick pets are affected by cold weather more than healthy ones. Pets who suffer from arthritis will usually feel more stiffness and move slower during winter months. It’s important to make sure they have soft, warm bedding they can lay on, away from drafts. Walks with an older dog should be kept short. Make sure they don’t slip on ice or snow which could put unnecessary stress on already stiff joints, and could injure them more.

Snow, ice, rock salt spread on sidewalks and chemical deicers used on city streets can collect in and on the pads of cats and dogs. Clean their paws once they are inside, because licking the rock salt and chemical ice melt from their paws can make them sick, as well as cause painful chapping and cracking pads.

Cats prefer warmth over cold. Make sure their bed is in a warm room away from drafts, fireplaces and electric space heaters. Unnecessary fires can be avoided by making sure your cat is not allowed near fireplaces or allowed to lay on or next to space heaters. Be careful using candles – a cat’s curiosity can end with an overturned candle that is still lit.

Winter care for pets is important. Don’t let cold temperatures stop you from going outside with your dog or cat and enjoying the beauty and fun of a new snowfall. With appropriate cold weather precautions, the fresh air and romps in the snow are good for our pets and us.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.