Wouldn’t it make a great Christmas card for next year: Bowser in front of the fireplace wearing a Santa Claus hat?
Most pet owners, be they kitty fanciers, canine lovers or both will have great opportunities for pet photos during the holidays.
You can set up the photo just where you want it. Declutter the area so the background isn’t confused. Catch your pooch in a calm mood. Ask someone else to hold a toy or a treat in order to get that special glint in your pet’s eyes.
But the glint you don’t want is the dreaded green eye.
The green eye is like red-eye in human photos. With humans, light strikes the retina’s blood vessels, reflecting red. But many animals have an eye membrane called tapetum lucidum that lets animals see better in the dark. When light strikes an animal’s eye, the membrane can reflect green, blue, white, or yellow, depending on the animal. Most dogs and cats reflect green or blue. Blue-eyed cats are the exception and they reflect red. Raccoon and deer eyes glow yellow.
You get green eyes when your pet’s pupils are dilated at night, or a built-in camera flash shines directly into the pet’s eye.
To avoid green eyes, distract the pet to look slightly away from the camera. You can also change your shooting angle to a slightly higher or lower position than the pet’s eyes. If you are using a traditional camera with a separate flash, tilt the flash to bounce light from the ceiling or wall.
What you need to know about head pressing in pets
If your cat or dog suddenly starts to press its head compulsively against a wall, it’s not because it wants to play hide-and-seek with you. This behavior is known as head pressing and indicates a serious health problem that shouldn’t be ignored.
When pets press their heads against a wall, they’re often trying to soothe a severe headache or are very confused. In fact, this behavior may indicate that your pet is suffering from a brain tumor, encephalitis, or a stroke.
Your pet may also behave this way if it has a liver problem or sodium imbalance. Alternatively, your pet may have taken a blow to the head or been exposed to a toxic substance.
One thing is certain. Head pressing requires prompt intervention. If in doubt, consult your local veterinarian.
Can you teach your dog to speak?
Bunny and Stella are stars — just two of the many social media dogs who seem to talk.
Using floor sound button kits, owners can train their dogs to tell them what they want with words. The dogs select talking buttons on floor mats to say they want to play, eat or go out.
Stella the dog in San Diego taps Stella, Stella, Stella, Walk, OK. And then Stella walks to the door and scratches. That seems pretty obvious.
The question is whether the dog actually connected the sound to the meaning of words. A behavior (hitting the play button) has a result (she goes for a walk). Researchers in Neuroscience News points out that rats can be taught to hit the right lever for rewards.
Dog soundboards are an idea that flips the script on dog ownership. Whereas in the past, owners were supposed to learn dog language, these dogs are supposed to learn human language.
It is weirdly compelling. Not only do the dogs seem to say what they want, they also seem to ask existential questions.
“Dog. What dog?” taps out Bunny, a sheepadoodle owned by artist Alexis Devine of Tacoma, Wash. Devine takes this to mean that the Bunny wants to know the very nature of dogs, maybe in comparison to humans. But it is also possible that Bunny is pressing buttons to get a reaction.
Whatever the truth may be, these talking dog videos reveal the immense amount of time people put into their button projects. Some dogs look a little tense with the demands to press buttons.
Other dogs look bored. Some look confident.
No authoritative scientific studies have verified whether dogs understand language, and it’s impossible to know if they even want to learn more. They’ve been around humans for 30,000 years, after all. They already know a thing or two.
Adopting a pet duck: what you need to know
Ducks make adorable pets. Their characteristic gait and cheerful quacking are irresistible. However, they have unique care requirements. Here’s what you need to know before adopting a pet duck.
Recently, it was trendy to take funny videos of ducklings and post them on social media. However, once the buzz was over, many owners couldn’t care for their ducks and abandoned them or put them up for sale.
This unfortunate situation is comparable to giving a puppy or kitten to a child as a Christmas or birthday gift. Many people regret this decision once the baby animal grows up and requires a lot of care and attention.
If you’re serious about adopting a pet duck, you must ensure you can meet its needs. Here’s what you need to do for your duck:
• Reserve a large portion of land where it can roam freely
• Provide it with a comfortable shelter
• Give it access to an aquatic space like a pond so it can swim
• Provide it with a healthy and varied omnivore diet
• Keep its environment clean by regularly removing excrement from the ground and making sure the water it drinks and bathes in is clean
• Take it to the vet at the first sign of illness
Do you want your duck to live a long and healthy life? Visit your local farm supply store to get the equipment you need.
“I need to eat every three hours”
If they could talk, your ferret could teach you some amazing things.
Although you play with me and tell me I’m adorable all the time, there are some things you may not know about me. For example, did you know that you should never let me play with my toys unsupervised? If left to my own devices, I could shred, destroy or choke on a piece of my toy.
You may have noticed that I love to move around and hide. In fact, I can squeeze through openings as small as one-inch wide. I love climbing but can be a bit clumsy and could fall and injure myself. Therefore, it’s best to block off any openings, like cabinet doors, that I might be able to open.
Similarly, you need to be very careful when letting me out of my cage. It’s a good idea to double-check that I’m not stuck inside the washing machine, dishwasher, or hide-a-bed. If you’re worried about losing track of me when you let me roam free, put me in a harness with bells on it.
Finally, you should know, it’s not because I’m greedy that I eat several times a day. I digest food very quickly and must eat something every three hours. Otherwise, I could suffer from low blood sugar and face serious health consequences.
Enough talk! Will you come and play with me?
Dook-dook! (That’s the sound I make when I’m excited!)
“Despite my name, I’m not from Guinea!”
If it could talk, your guinea pig could teach you some amazing things.
Even though we live under the same roof, there are probably some things about my species you don’t know. For example, did you know that I’m a strict herbivore and must eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day? But be careful not to feed me the same thing all the time, and don’t feed me just anything. Learn which ones best suit me, and then surprise my taste buds.
Something else you should know is that I don’t sleep as much as you think. According to experts, I only sleep an average of four hours a day in total. Although you may see me lying down, that doesn’t mean I’m asleep. When I’m awake, I like to be active, so I need a large cage and plenty of outings.
While we’re on the subject, don’t take me for walks on a leash or harness. These items aren’t suitable for my body type and could make me panic and hurt myself. The same applies if you give me an exercise wheel or a ball designed for a hamster; using them could hurt my back.
Unlike my name implies, I’m not related to pigs and don’t hail from Guinea. There are many theories as to how I got my name. For example, guinea pigs were likely brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Around this time, the word guinea was often used to describe things that came from across the sea.
Thank you for giving me everything I need, including your affection.
(that’s the sound I make to get your attention)!
What you need to know about canine distemper
Distemper is a potentially lethal virus that attacks dogs and other domestic animals like cats and ferrets. It can also affect wild animals like raccoons. If you have a dog or want to adopt one in the future, you should know about distemper.
Distemper is a highly contagious disease. It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets expelled from the nose and mouth by coughing and sneezing. It can also spread through contact with eye secretions.
The symptoms of distemper vary from animal to animal because the virus targets both the nervous and respiratory systems. If your pet is infected, it could exhibit some of the following symptoms:
• Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
• Nasal discharge
• Loss of appetite
• Excessive salivation
• Spasms or convulsions
Many infected dogs don’t exhibit any symptoms but are still contagious.
Unfortunately, there’s no antiviral cure for distemper. However, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, anticonvulsants, or intravenous fluids to treat your pet’s symptoms.
Veterinarians recommend all dogs should be vaccinated against distemper. The sad truth is that many unvaccinated dogs needlessly die from the infection or develop serious and irreversible side effects.
You can protect your faithful companion by following the advice of your veterinarian.