Say cheese – hints and tips for capturing the perfect pet photo

Pet photography We’ve all been there. A camera roll filled with dozens of the same photo as we try to capture the perfect pet moment in time. And thanks to digital photography, we can just keep snapping away until we get the exact photo of our pet we’re after.

With entries for this year’s Face of Rooke’s now open, a Rooke’s discount card and the much-coveted title at stake, getting that perfect pet photo has never been more important! (lol). So to help you out, we’re offering a few simple hints and tips so that you can capture that winning shot…

Photographing your pets1. Capture Character 

The best photos are those that capture the subject’s character perfectly. The wry smile, open mouthed laugh, caring glance… the same is true of your pets. You know your pet best, so will know when he or she is at their most natural; whether that’s capturing a few ‘zees’ on the sofa, clawing at that cat post, tongue out after a frantic walk, or giving you the classic puppy dog eyes. If you aim to capture their character, you’ll instantly add interest to your photo.

2. Aim for the eyes Photographing your pets

The eyes are the windows to the soul – whether you’re taking about your prized pug or your spouse or partner. Taking a photo against a plain background allows you to focus in on the eyes and capture more of that expressive character that adds so much depth to your photo.

Photographing pets3. Get down to their level. 

When you get down to their level, you get to appreciate your pet in context. You get to see their world from their perspective, which can create quite a dramatic effect. Playing with different settings and backgrounds also allows you to capture different moods.

 

4. Avoid that flash Photographing your pets

There are a few reasons why you don’t want to use a flash if you can avoid it. Apart from the fact it can scare smaller animals, it can also do funny things to dogs’ eyes and even wash out the paler colours found in feathers for example. Pets with white fur can also end up looking completely washed out. Rather, try to go for well-lit spaces so that you can get some real contrast in your photo

Photographing pets 5. Make it fun

While we channel our inner David Bailey to get the perfect shot of our pooches, remember that it can be a little boring for them; especially if they are being made to stay still and pose. Keep lots of treats and toys to hand to capture their attention and reward their patience.

Face of Rooke’s is open to pets of all shapes and sizes. It’s open for entries now and will close on 4thAugust 2019 at 4pm. You can enter online at www.rookespetproducts.co.uk/faceofrookes.

The winner will become the Face of Rooke’s for 2019/2020. After a winner’s photoshoot,  their photos will be used across all promotional activity for the year. You will also get a Rooke’s discount card to use for 12 months every time you shop in store. What are you waiting for? Get entering!

 

Easter 2019 at Rooke’s

Why not pop in store over the Easter weekend and support a couple of very worthy local charities?

Good Friday – 19th April & Saturday 20th April 

10am – 4pm

Lincs Ark at Rooke'sLincs Ark

From big to small, canine, feline or small and furry, Lincs Ark – a small local charity – helps to rescue and re-home animals of all shapes and sizes around South Lincolnshire.

Why not pop in to speak to the amazing team about their fantastic work –  and have a go on their tombola while you’re there!

Easter Monday – 22nd April 

10am – 4pm

Jerry-Green-Dog-RescueJerry Green 

Every year, approx 130,000 dogs go into rehoming centres around the UK. Charities, like Jerry Green, are instrumental in helping rescued dogs receive the care and support they need in the transition from one home to their new, forever home.

On Easter Monday, they will be in store talking about the amazing work they do, the dogs they have available to rehome. They’ll also be running a fun tombola for you to win some prizes while supporting a very worthy cause.

Hope to see you in store!

Everything you need to know about feeding your puppy

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time. But it can also be overwhelming with so much new information to take on. One of the biggest areas of concern for new puppy owners is food. In addition to worrying about what to feed, there are questions around how much to feed and for how long. In this article we’ll coverall the key points you need to know:

  1. How often you should feed your puppy based on their age 
  2. How much you should feed your puppy based on their weight, age and breed
  3. What to feed your puppy based on your lifestyle and preferences
  4. What to consider when making any changes to your puppy’s diet 

French Bull dog puppy with food

How often should you feed your puppy?

Puppies develop at a rapid rate. Between the day they are born and 8 weeks of age (the earliest a puppy should leave its mother) they go from not being able to walk or see to eating solid food.

They will then, depending on their breed, go on to reach their fully-grown size between 6 and 12 months. (Some very large breeds aren’t fully grown until they are 2 years of age). So, you can see how important their nutritional needs are.

As a rule of thumb however, you should be feeding as follows:

  •  2 – 3 months:  4 meals a day
  • 4 – 6 months:  2-3 meals a day
  • 6 + months:  2 meals a day (depending on breed)

Puppies are known for overeating, so it is important that you carefully measure out and keep track of what you do feed. Don’t be tempted to over feed. Their frame is quite delicate, and you could put undue pressure on it if they gain weight too quickly.

How much you should feed your puppy?

Puppies need to be fed little and often. They have small stomachs so need to spread their calorie intake across the day.

How much you feed them will be based on their weight, age and breed. Larger breed puppies need fewer calories per unit of body weight compared to smaller breeds because they grow at a slower rate.  Over feeding them can go on to cause issues with their skeletal structure in later life.

As a rule, stick to the feeding guidelines outlined on your choice of food’s packaging. This will be a suggested weight amount between a particular range based on the puppy’s age and weight. For example, 3 – 4 months and 5 – 10 kg.

When working out what to feed, also consider any training treats and other food you may be feeding in addition to their set meals per day.  In fact, using your puppy’s food for training can be a great way to get some puppy training in while not over feeding on additional treats.

What should I feed my puppy? 

You’ll be inundated with choices for what to feed your puppy. Most popular is a good quality dried complete food. These are easy to store, easy to measure and contain the perfect balance of nutrients your growing pup needs.

Some people prefer to feed a wet complete meal – either from a tin, a pouch or a tray. These can be particularly good for smaller breed puppies who may struggle to chew biscuits with their smaller puppy teeth or fussier eaters.

In recent years, there has been an increase in popularity for a raw fed diet – or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) as it is otherwise known. Based on a more homemade diet, it consists of raw meat, bones, vegetables and fruit, it avoids all processed foods and grains. You don’t have to make it yourself either, there are a number of top-quality raw food producers (and available in store).

Your choice of food should be based on what suits your your lifestyle and your dog best. If in doubt, pop in store to speak to the helpful staff.

 Before you make any changes to your puppy’s diet, read this. 

 When your puppy is about 90% of its expected adult weight, you can move him or her over onto an adult diet.

As mentioned earlier though, while most breeds will be fully mature at 12 months, it is relevant to size and smaller dogs will mature quicker and large/giant breeds much, much slower.

 Whenever the time comes to switch, do it gradually as you will almost certainly upset its stomach otherwise.

If you wish to introduce a new food (even if it’s the same brand but a different food), do it gradually over the course of a few days – reducing the amount of the old food and substituting it with the new food. This way your puppy’s stomach will have time to adjust without upset.

 If you have any questions about the food options available, why not pop in store and have a chat with our friendly and knowledgeable staff? 

And remember, if you are at all in doubt or have any concerns about your pet’s eating, physical development or weight, please speak to your vet. 

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Halloween

Halloween is a whole lot of family fun; scary costumes, trick or treating, and pumpkin carving!

However, there are some members of the family that might not find it so enjoyable and there are a few simple things to beware of;

Trick or Treat?

You’ve probably stocked the house full of human treats to hand out to any ghosts or vampires that come knocking at the door but with all that extra chocolate lying around make sure that it’s kept out of your cat and dog’s way at all times! Chocolate (not to mention other sweeties, especially those containing xylitol) can be deadly.

Knock Knock

There are probably very few occasions during the year that your front door sees so many visitors in one night and with the door being open and closed often to greet trick or treaters, it can offer a unique opportunity for your pet to make a run for it!

Close your animals in another room before opening the door, and remind your excited children to check the pets are safe before answering the door.

Ghosts & Ghouls or Vandals & Hooligans?

It’s unfortunate, but true that some people take advantage of Halloween to do more damage than yell a friendly ‘BOO’ across the street. Keep your beloved family pets safely locked up at home to avoid becoming victim to any vicious pranksters.

Back To School; Top Tips for Cat Training

Here at Rooke’s we talk a lot about training puppies and dogs, equally important however is training for your kitty!

Rooke's Cat Training

Cats are often marked down as ‘too smart’ for training, i.e. they’ll do as they please regardless of your training efforts but there are definitely some major milestones you’ll want to achieve with your cat and perhaps a few fun tricks too.

Here’s how you can begin;

Get started as early as possible

Even better if the cats breeder has introduced the basics like manners, social skills and some toilet training as kittens tend to be more open to new experiences between 3 and 8 weeks old.

Of course, the training doesn’t stop there and once your new addition comes home you’ll need to familiarise the cat with your own house rules and introduce them to all kinds of people, including children, and experiences; like travelling in a cat carrier and by car to make future vet visits less stressful for the whole family.

Treats are king

Most cats will likely give you a look that says ‘you must be joking’ if you try any training without treats in hand so make sure you’ve got something that really motivates your cat and training is best done before mealtimes.

A full bellied cat probably won’t be so driven by treats.

One at a time please!

Unlike dogs, cats aren’t fantastic at trick combinations so work on mastering one trick at a time. Plus, keep training sessions consistent, a few minutes everyday will be much more effective than sporadic sessions.

What’s my name again?

To teach your cat their name, they must associate the sound of their name with positive memories (namely, food related ones) so be sure not to use their name if they’ve been naughty if you want your cat to come when he’s called!

Scratching post vs the sofa

Once a cat has left his scent on something having scratched at it, it’s attracted back to that spot which is why you’ll often see one particular area of carpet or one corner of the sofa repeatedly scratched.

You want to encourage kitty to scratch at a designated post and not at your precious furnishings so you can try dangling a toy or string at the scratching post to encourage play (followed by a reward or treat ideally) or add a little catnip to the post to make it more tempting!

To stop any scratching in unwanted places, give the furnishing a thorough clean, use scented sprays or plug-in scents in the area and ideally, cover/block the area. Make sure though, that your cat has a new designated scratching place as suggested above, otherwise you might simply lose the other sofa arm…

 

Back To School: Top Tips For Dog Training

Hurray! It’s September. We’ve all made it through the Summer Holidays so big well done to all those parents who are breathing a sigh of relief now that School is back in session.

It’s not just human children who are going back to school though, your number one furry companion(s) will also have to adjust to a new routine and sometimes need a little training refresher. We recommend you put aside some time to spend with your dog on remembering the basics and learning some new tricks to help curb boredom and destructive habits.

Here are some general tips for Dog Training to help make this transition easier.

Consider joining a class

Even though training your dog is a lifetime 24/7 task, a structured class with a professional can really help teach both you and your dog some basic techniques for learning new things.  Classes are great for both puppies and more mature dogs.

Decide on the house rules ahead of time

Dogs could be compared to toddlers; let them get away with something once and it’s hard for them to understand why they did something wrong the next time.

If jumping on the couch or sleeping on the bed are hard-no’s for you; decide this ahead of time and stick to your guns every time.

Sometimes rules get bent over the Summer Holidays so figure out if there are any new bad habits that need to be ironed out first

Always reward good behaviour

A simple ‘Good Boy!’ could do the trick but it’s important to remember to always reward good behaviour to prevent training regression – especially in the first couple of years of a dogs life.

Grab some treats

Treats are key for learning new things, there is no faster way to a doggo’s brain than through his stomach!

If you are training a breed that can be particularly stubborn to breed, like a Husky for example – figure out what kind of treats really drive his focus. Sometimes a little steak bite or tiny cube of cheese mixed in with your other treats during a training session will keep his attention on the training task at hand.

Stay positive

Sometimes training can be frustrating but it’s important to keep every session positive. Your frustration will be picked up on by your dog and can turn training into a painful experience for you both.

If it’s not going well, end the session early on a positive note (even if it’s just a sit command) and come back to it later.

Eliminate boredom

The key to a happy, focused dog is one who has been mentally worked out (not just physical exercise) each day. Bored dogs tend to become destructive. Plenty of play time with you and other dogs, try to mix up your walk routes and use lots of interactive toys (like a stuffed kong) when you are out to keep them entertained.

 

6 Facts About Guide Dogs

For many of us it can be a challenge just to get our beloved pooches to sit so the mind truly boggles at the idea of a guide dog being so well trained and responsible for the safety of a human, and yet over 1000 new guide dogs are trained every year in the UK!

We take a look at a few interesting facts about these wonderful service dogs and their training;

It takes at least 18 months to train a guide dog.

After graduating doggy basics 101 each guide dog goes into formal guide dog training and between the ages of 12 months – 18 months the guide dog will meet his guide partner so they can get to know each other and train together before they are sent off into the sunset of companionship and care!

He’s not a know-it-all

It might look like the guide dog has it all figured out and knows exactly where to go but in fact the dog is listening and reacting to instructions and clues from their blind partner. Using Intelligent Disobedience, the guide dog will then refuse a command if it’s deemed unsafe.

Humans are bigger than dogs

Guide dogs are trained to understand height and width, not just direction, to make sure that their blind person can safely get through spaces.

Why did the guide dog refuse to cross the road?

Ever wondered why the blind person with their guide dog won’t cross the road at a crossing, even if you’ve stopped your car to let them pass? Guide dogs know that roads and cars are unsafe and therefore may not lead the person across the road until the way is clear, even if the car is stationary.

Distractions are dangerous!

You should never pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking the owners permission because the dog is hard at work protecting his human, distractions can be dangerous – especially in newly qualified guide dogs.

Guide Dogs are not just for the Blind!

In this post we’ve mostly referred to the Guide Dog’s owner as blind but in fact, there are many reasons that a person might have a Guide Dog including hearing impairment, mobility issues, chronic illnesses and mental health issues.

Reasons to adopt, not shop.

Adopt, Don’t Shop.

A campaign slogan used by a large and growing number of animal rights organisations and businesses alike.

Adopt Don't Shop - Rookes Pets Spalding

Last year, 2017, the RSPCA alone rescued and collected over 100,000 animals and re-homed around 45,000 which is a great feat, but it means that more animals are coming into shelters, than being re-homed.

At Rooke’s, we fully recommend that anyone considering owning a pet first considers adopting one before buying from a breeder and there are a few reasons for this;

1. Avoid Puppy Farms

Whilst there are a large number of registered and responsible breeders in the UK, there are even more breeders that have little regard for the welfare of the breeding animals or the offspring and are focused on profit. Often conditions are poor and usually the health of the animal is at risk both in the short term and long term.

2. By adopting, you’ll be saving a life.

Space at Rescue Centers across the country is limited, and by adopting you are making room for another in-need animal to come into the shelter.

Plus, your newly adopted pet is going to have a fabulous life at home with you and soon forget all about the days in the kennels.

3. You’ll save £££

Rescue centers do require a donation fee per animal you re-home, but this is much cheaper than the cost of buying a puppy or kitten from a breeder and usually, the animal will have been vaccinated, micro-chipped, neutered/spayed and given a health check so those are all costs you get to avoid!

4. Get yourself a fully trained pet

You get to pick yourself a fully-trained, happy chappy! Avoiding those toilet training months is a big plus and although every pet needs plenty of your time, it’s not as much as a puppy or kitten needs during those critical first few months.

5. Pick the pet that’s right for you

It’s really difficult to tell what kind of personality your pet will have when picking at a few weeks old, choosing a rescue animal however means that the rescue center staff will be able to tell you all about each animal in detail and you can take home the purrfect pet!

 

Every month at Rooke’s we sponsor a dog who needs a new home at The Jerry Green Dog Rescue and share with you our Dog Of The Month and thanks to your help, Jerry Green have been able to re-home 3 of our sponsored dogs!

For more information about visiting Jerry Green Dog Rescue please call;  01205 260546.

 

Preparing for Summer Days

Each wonderful season in Britain brings a new set of challenges for everyone; travel considerations, heating bills and more. The same goes for our lovely pets and the wildlife who inhabit our gardens so with warmer weather in mind, here are 5 tips to prepare your animals for those long awaited Summer days.

Summer at Rooke's

1. Protect the skin

Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer in Dogs and the 2nd most common in Cats. Although their fur doesn’t need Sun Cream, other sensitive areas like the belly and ears do.

In cats, the eye area is very prone to tumours and special protection should be considered; speak to your vet for advice on this.

Make sure to pick up some Sun Cream that is specially formulated for pets because regular Sun Creams can be toxic to animals.

2. Long Hair, Don’t Care

You might be inclined to clip fur coats short during summer but this isn’t necessarily the best way to keep them cool. Animal fur is designed for good circulation and helps regulate body temperature as long as it’s well brushed.

3. No amount of time left in the car is safe

Summer at Rooke'sTemperatures in cars, even with windows open, can soar to impossible heats within minutes.

Do not leave any animal in the car for any amount of time.

4. Beware of lakes & rivers

Lakes and ponds with lots of algae growing may be toxic, while Rivers can carry strong currents. Your dog might love a cool dip but be aware.

5. Consider your garden friends

Winston Face of Rookes Pets Spalding

Worms tend to dig deeper into the earth during drier weather, so food for birds might be limited. Try to put out extra bird feed during summer months and consider a bird bath/watering hole for your garden friends like the hedgehog.