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Category Archives: Pet Advice

How to take better photos of your pet

Patience. The first thing to remember is that pet photography requires patience. It doesn’t matter if you want a posed photo of your rabbit or a action shot of your dog, you’re probably going to get rather frustrated when your models are not behaving in the way you want them to. So arm yourself with patience, and never force your pet into doing something the don’t feel comfortable doing.

Get help. If you have a family member or a friend at hand, it’s always useful to ask them to assist you. They can use toys or treats to get the attention of the pet and direct their gaze while you focus on getting a great photo. If you’re by yourself you’re going to have to find other ways. Sometimes making a sudden noise can get the attention of the pet, but probably only for a second or two, so make sure you’re ready. Depending on the type of photo you’re after it might be easier to have the photo session after you’re played together for a while and the pet is less excited and bouncy.

Use natural light. If you’re not a professional photographer with access to different lenses and flashes, you’re probably going to want to take advantage of the natural light. Try starting outdoors, or if you’re indoors, by a window. The light will make the photo look better, and will give you more freedom to experiment. We would suggest going somewhere where both you and your pet feel comfortable, maybe a place that means a lot to you and where you have created lots of memories together. Try to choose a place with a relatively clear backdrop, like a while wall or a grassy field, as a messy background can be distracting.

Try to focus on the eyes. If the eyes are blurry or out of focus the photo will look slightly off. The camera will automatically focus on what is closest to the lens, which in most cases will be the nose of your pet rather than the eyes. This is especially important when you’re taking close ups.

Get down to their level. This might mean you have to crouch down in the mud or crawl on the floor, but in return your photos will be significantly more unique and interesting. Try taking photos from different angles: from above, below, in front of your pet, behind it. You’ll get to see your pet from all sides, and sometimes the photos from the weirdest of angles are the ones you will love the most.

Have their personalities in mind. The whole point of taking photographs of your pets is to try and capture their personalities, so try to make sure that their characters are showing in the photo. If you cat is the lazy ruler of the house you probably want to capture it yawning in their favourite spot on the sofa, and if you have a dog that bounces around the house and is impossible to tire, you probably want to capture its liveliness in the middle of a jump or running towards you in the park.

Quantity is key. The more photos you take, at different times and locations, the more likely you are to get that one amazing shot. This will also mean that you get loads of photos of your pet in different places, moods and positions. Get used to taking photos when you’re out on walks, playing in the garden, or just relaxing at home, and try to spy on your pet to catch what they’re doing when you’re not around. And remember to always take 20 photos instead of just one.

Use treats. If you’re trying to have a properly arranged photo shoot, try using treats. Depending on what pet you have, and their personalities, offering treats can make them sit still and look at the camera. Others will just walk up to you to get the treat, or ignore the treat completely, but it’s worth trying. Make sure that you reward your model throughout the shoot.

Add humans to the photo. Having family members in the photos with your pet makes the pictures even more special, and they are the ones that you will come back to and look at. A photo of your child playing with your dog or feeding the chickens will capture their characters in a way that a posed photo very rarely do.

Have a go at these tips, and make sure to tag your photos on social media with #OmletPets – we love to see what you’re up to!

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This entry was posted in Pet Advice


Help your cat lose weight!

Did you know that it is becoming more and more common for our pets to become overweight.

Overweight cats are at a greater risk of developing serious problems, like cardiac diseases, cancer, diabetes and arthritis. Obesity is normally caused by the cat’s sedentary lifestyle in combination with over-feeding and too many treats.

Helping your overweight cat lose weight is the best thing you can do to improve their general well being and make sure they live a long and happy life!
It is not always straightforward to tell if your cat is overweight, especially if they have long hair and are of a generally stockier breed, but a healthy cat should have a well-proportioned body with a defined waist and neck. You should be able to easily feel your cat’s ribs and hip bone, and it should have minimal abdominal fat. You can also do a search for ideal weight for the breed of cat you’ve got and compare it to the weight of your cat. If your cat is 15% over the normal weight it is seen as overweight.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you need to put your cat on a diet you can always consult with your vet.

It is generally always good to have a chat with your vet before you make any changes to your cat’s diet, as weight gain could actually be caused by an underlying health problem, rather than over-eating.

If you have decided that your cat needs to lose weight, have a look at our best tips:

Control calorie intake

Look for canned, high quality, meat-based, and highly digestible food to give your cat. Canned or raw food contain a large percentage of water, which can help a cat feel full on fewer calories, and also allows you to control how much food you give your cat every day. Canned wet food is also better than dry food, as it does not allow the cat to nibble on food throughout the day and eating just for sake of eating rather than because they are hungry.

Measure out how much food you’re going to give the cat in a day, and make sure you stick to it. Dividing the food into smaller and more frequent meals can help if you feel your cat is struggling with hunger, but keep track of what and how much you are giving them. If you’ve got more than one cat it might be worth trying to feed the overweight cat separately to stop him or her stealing food from the others.

Limit the treats

Get rid of all high-calorie treats and titbits, and make sure everyone in the family knows the rules! It might seem unfair to completely stop giving your cat treats, but the nicest thing you can do for them at this stage is to help them lose weight.

Try substituting treats with a nice cuddle or a toy, as most cat will respond just as well to the attention. If you still feel like you want to treat your cat with something edible, look for low-calorie treats in your local pet shop, or give the cat healthy nibbles, like a piece of broccoli or green beans.

Don’t hurry

Weight loss should be done slowly and steadily to reduce the risk of several health issues, like fatty liver disease. The cat should not lose more than 3-4% of their total body weight per month.

If you are changing the cat’s diet, make sure you do this gradually to not upset the stomach. Substitute more and more of the old food with your new, healthier choice every day, or reduce the amount of food little bit little, until you have reached the desirable level.

Play more

Introducing new toys and games into your cat’s life can not only decrease boredom, help cats bond with each other and their owners, and improve agility and coordination, but will also help your cat lose weight. The increased movement will burn calories, and take the cat’s mind off eating.

Try to find out what types of toys your cat likes, and switch them around every now and then to make sure the cat doesn’t get bored. Different cats like different toys, but feathers and catnip-infused toys will be a hit with most! Make up games that forces the cat to move around and use their whole body, like searching for hidden things or chasing toys.

Try walking your cat on a leash

Although some cats absolutely hate going for a walk on a leash, others will really enjoy it, as they get fresh air and are able to spend time with their favourite human. Let the cat get used to the harness at home, and start with a short walk in the garden or around the block. If that works you can increase the distance gradually.

Don’t worry if it proves a real challenge – some cats will never accept the leash, and you should not force them, but if you’re able to take the cat for a walk once a day it can be a great way of exercising (for both you and your cat).

Add dietary supplements to your cat’s diet

Depending on what food you are giving your cat as part of his or her new diet, they might not be getting enough of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and active. Check the new feeding routine with your vet, and they can recommend supplements that might be good for your cat, such as Omega 3 or multivitamins.

Create an exciting and enriching environment for your cats

You want to make sure that your cats are encouraged to move around in the home even when you’re not there to play with them. Give them scratching trees, climbing posts and stimulating toys, both to prevent boredom and make sure they stay active.

If you’ve got an indoor cat, you might want to consider giving your cats the possibility to play outside in a run.

Help with grooming

This is not so much a tip as a general thing to think about. Overweight cats can sometimes struggle to keep their fur nice and tidy, as they might not have the mobility to reach everywhere. While you’re helping your cat lose weight, make sure to stay on top of grooming!

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This entry was posted in Cats


Dogs and Hay Fever

Hay fever is a type of inflammation which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Hay fever (or Allergic rhinitis) is typically triggered by environmental allergens such as pollen, pet hair, dust or mold. The condition can make feel people who are prone to it feel really miserable. But did you know dogs (and cats) can suffer from hay fever too? However, their immune systems are not the same as ours, so sneezing and runny noses aren’t usually the presenting symptoms. Pets with hay fever are often very itchy all over their bodies. The most commonly affected areas of the skin include the armpits, the groin, the base of the tail, the feet and the sides of the face. Signs of canine hay fever involve:

• Itching and scratching

• Bold spots

• Rash on the face and paws

• Redness

• Ear infections

• Scabs and lumps in the skin

Hay fever is a seasonal allergy, so the greatest problems will be during the summer and early fall. Some dog breeds seem to be particularly prone to hay fever, including terriers, poodles, schnauzers and the Dalmatian. Like humans, dogs can develop hay fever at any age although symptoms often begin when dogs are 1 to 3 years old. It can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your dog’s allergies, since the symptoms of hay fever are similar to many other things. Your vet can do allergy testing to identify if hay fever is indeed causing the problem.

 

CAN CANINE HAY FEVER BE TREATED?

With hay fever it’s not possible to remove the source of the allergy and unfortunately there is no cure for it. But there are a few things you can do for your dog to make him feel better:

Keep your dog indoors as much as possible on days when pollen counts are high, especially on windy days.

Wash your dog’s bedding weekly with hot water and vacuum regularly to remove the pollen your dog picked up during walks.

Choose the areas where you walk your dog carefully, keeping him away from longer grass and vegetation.

Wipe your dog’s coat over with a damp towel immediately after a walk to remove any pollen. Start with the face and end with the legs and paws (your dog may have been running on grass, coming into direct contact with pollen).

Boost your dog’s immune system. By improving the general health of your dog allergic reactions can be helped. Make sure your dog has a healthy weight and a balanced diet.

Give your dog oatmeal baths frequently to sooth the skin and remove pollen. Oatmeal can give your dog temporarily relief from dry and itchy skin. Just poor one cup crushed whole oatmeal in a tub and stir. You can also use an oatmeal shampoo for dogs or other shampoo’s designed to reduce skin problems (although not so frequently that it dries out the skin).

For the rare cases where pollen allergy does provoke sneezing and runny eyes, eye and nose drops supplied by the vet can be effective.

 

If none of the mentioned treatments prove effective, your dog might be a candidate for hay fever medication or allergy shots. Consult your vet for further information.

sources: www.vetinfo.com, www.pets4homes.co.uk, www.kingsteigntonvetgroup.co.uk, www.selfselectionforanimals.co.uk

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This entry was posted in Pet Advice