3 Tips to Keep Your Dog Happier this Winter

When the temperature drops we stack layer upon layer of warm winter apparel on ourselves – from turtle necks to scarves and fluffy jackets we make big changes from December to March in Hampton Roads. But what changes are we making for our pets? The ASPCA has a great article on cold weather safety and amazing tips for all sorts of pet-related care. We would like to highlight three easy-to-implement changes that make the most sense for our area!

Extra Treats and Snacks

It’s estimated that we buy twice as many calories in the first three months of the year than any of the others. Part of that could be due to us expending more energy keeping warm! We shiver, our body has to work harder, and we need more calories as a result. Well the same can be true of your pet! The ASPCA says –  “Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.”

We suggest taking this opportunity to try some new fun pet recipes! Here are a few different options for most dog diets from The Dog Bakery!

Freedom From Bath Time

Have you ever noticed that we start needing things like chap sticks, lotion, and other skin treatments during the winter months? When the air outside is cold and dry, the water in your skin evaporates more quickly; this makes your skin feel dry and tight, and makes it look flaky. Again this is also true for you dog! Flaky or dry skin can be made worse when  you bathe your pet frequently. Soaps and shampoos often strip fur and skin of natural oils, leading to more dandruff and flakes.

If you absolutely must bathe your pet it is recommended by the ASPCA to “ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse,” in order to rehydrate your fur babies fur.

Snuggle Up

This tip is simple and easy! Remember how we mentioned us layering up during the winter? Well your pet might need to as well! If you find yourself reaching for the heavy blanket in January, make sure to put an extra pet blanket in your pets sleeping areas as well! We know your pooch will appreciate the extra cuddly space. Or you can also allow your dog to cuddle up with you in your bed from time to time! You may just find that you benefit from having a warm fuzzy friend and the foot of your bed on cold mornings.

Pet Friendly New Years Resolutions

2021 is here and 2020 is in the rearview mirror. It’s the perfect time to make resolutions and set goals – and include your pet in your resolutions! Your pet is an important part of your life, and they should be part of your planning and happiness for the foreseeable future, right? Listed below are three resolutions we think will bring you and your pet closer together in 2021.

“Be More Active”

It is estimated that almost 40% of New Years resolutions are related to cultivating a healthier lifestyle. And while many of these resolutions ultimately fall short of their goal, there are ways to improve your chances and stay on track. One motivator can be a partner! And what better partner than your dog? Research shows that exercising with a partner can increase motivation and extend your average workout time significantly. A 15 minute walk may turn into a 30 minute squirrel-hunting adventure for you and your pet after all!

“Less Screen Time”

Did you know that the average American spends 3 hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices each day. Over the course of a year that adds up to a staggering 50 days cumulatively spent online. And while our phones and devices are useful tools (you’re likely using one right now to read this) they also disengage us from the world around us. What better way to reduce screen time, and be more present than to spend some offline time with your pet? They will love the attention and feel the love, and you benefit by making more memories with them in 2021. Dedicating just 30 minutes a day to being present and available for your pets amounts to almost a week at the end of the year.

“Make New Memories”

Life is short and making and preserving memories is so important. Make the decision this year to preserve memories of your pet with everything from social media photos, personalized mementos, or a classic portrait of you both. We speak to families every week that love the memories made in our studio, and often get emotional during our sessions and reveals. The bond you share with your pet is so important, and it’s important that you cherish it.

5 Things To Keep You & Your Pets Busy At Home:

With so many people working from home and staying home, we understand that while work may keep you pretty darn busy most of the time, boredom will probably hit at some point. Here are 5 relateable (and maybe a tad hysterical) things to do with your pets when you’re stuck at home.

Abigail Brown

1. Movie Nights!

Image result for cuddling pet on couch pictures

Image Via: Countryliving.com

Once you have gotten all of your work for the day done, there is nothing quite like sitting back and cuddling your pet while watching a great movie. While we may not recommend letting your pup pick what you watch… if you’re into 3-hour loops of squirrels running around, go for it!

 

2. The classic “Butt Nudge”

Image result for cat on keyboard
Image Via: Makeuseof.com

This is a particularly fun one! For those who work from home, most necessary items should be at your immediate disposal.

Here’s what you need…

Step 1.

Get to work on your computer. Type your heart out and get into your work groove.

Step 2.

You will need a feline in the house. The sound of you working diligently will beckon your cat closer, and closer until they are eventually sitting right near your face–nudging you for attention.

Step 3.

For the next stage, you simply refuse to give them the total attention they desire. Then soon enough “PLOP” there will be a big furry friend walking across your keyboard, or sitting upon it!

Step 4.

Last but certainly not least… To fully execute the butt nudge, you then push their rear off of your electronic device in horror as you realize how many buttons they managed to push. Bonus Points if it starts a chase around the house, exercise!

3. Playing fetch

Image result for playing fetch pictures
Image Via: Holidaybarn.com

Although this may seem fairly simple, it can be extremely beneficial for a pup who normally goes for frequent walks or may be feeling a little cooped up. If you have a backyard suitable for doing so, consider giving them extra playtime. Animals can go a bit stir crazy like us, so giving them ways to get their energy out goes a long way in keeping them happy and healthy.

 

4. In-depth talks

Get to know your pets a little better. There are so many questions to ask!

Such as:

“Do you like your new food?”

“What do you think of the bows I bought you?”

“Have you ever had a breakup that left a lasting impression on you, Queen FluffyKins?”

“What is your least favorite color?”

You may be surprised by how much you never knew about your furry friend!

(Talking pets not guaranteed) 

 

5.Self-care days

Take some time for you and your pet. It is normal to feel stressed or worried. Giving yourself, and they too, some extra tender love and care– can help ease the weight on your shoulders. Bath them and groom their hair, they’ll be feeling like their best self. In turn, do things that make you happy! Be it watching movies, reading a book, calling a friend or so many other things– take some time to care for yourself. We’re sure your furry friends will be there every step of the way with their love and support ready to be shared.

 

 If you would like to capture the bond you and your pet share in a way you can cherish forever— Click the button below to look into our artwork options.

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6 Helpful Tips For When You’re Having Trouble Bonding With A Pet:

Building relationships can take a bit of effort, with humans and animals alike. If you just can’t seem to connect to your or someone else’s pet, don’t worry! Personalities vary greatly and some can take more time than others to “click” with one another. Here are helpful tips to help you bond with a new pet, a pet you’ve never seemed to see eye to eye with, or the pet of a loved one.

Abigail Brown

Understanding Possible Trauma

Humans and animals both hold onto memories and the impressions those memories have made on their psyche, for long amounts of time. No trauma looks the same, and it is not uncommon for some animals to take a long amount of time to trust humans. Abuse towards animals can be both emotional and physical. Below are resources to help you better understand how to offer support to an animal who has been abused in the past, and how to identify signs that your pet may have experienced trauma in the past.

7 Red Flags That Your Dog May Have Been Abused

Adopting a Pet with a History of Abuse: What You Should Know 

Positive Reinforcement

One great way to show an animal that you notice them behaving positively, and to show that you care for them, is positive reinforcement. This can be achieved by giving your pet a treat when they listen to a command, playing with them/offering physical affection to keep them engaged, and by verbally praising them.

Set Up A “Safe Space” For Your Pet

This is a fun way to help an animal become more comfortable within your home and with those around them. Set up a pet bed for them in a quiet part of the house, make sure it is large enough for their body to lay on comfortably. This safe area should be set up with access to food, water, litter box, etc. It can be helpful to wash a new pet bed with detergents used in your household, so it smells more familiar to them. Additionally, think about adding toys and a blanket to help it become even cozier. To solidify the fact that it is their space, consider giving your pet treats and affection when they are first introduced to their new space– to let them know they are safe and cared for when there. You giving them access to an area of safety helps them not only feel comfortable in the house they are in… but also with you, the human, who gave that sense of security to them.

More tips on setting up a safe place for your pet:

How to Set Up a Safe Space for Your Dog

How to Create a Safe Room for Your Cat

Training Classes

Many pet-related businesses offer training classes that work with dogs and their owners. Going through training classes with your pup has similar results to that of team-building exercises for humans. It aids a sense of teamwork to strengthen and evolve between owner and pet, as well as helping your pup become more familiar with listening to your commands.

One-On-One Time

Never underestimate the power of a little bonding time. Even if you and the pet you are wishing to bond with are not directly interacting, going about your daily routine with them near you can help greatly. It both makes them feel a part of your everyday life, and you a part of theirs.  This establishes a routine for the owners and pets involved and is a large step towards coexisting with ease.

Loving Them Anyway

Not to sound similar to the final stage of grief, but a level of acceptance is important in some cases. Not every animal is the same, and sometimes, pets will only bond to one human–if any. Unfortunately, that one human isn’t always you. It could be a spouse, family member, or friend that they finally connect to. In this case, it is very important to accept this fact and love them anyway. Just because they are not bonded to you, does not mean they don’t care for you in their own special way. Show them love, and take care of them. You never know, that bridge could be built in the future when you least expect it.

 If you would like to capture the bond you and your pet share in a way you can cherish forever— Click the button below to look into our artwork options.

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How To Ease A New Pet Into Your Home:

   Adding a new pet into the mix is undeniably exciting and fun. However, like any transition, it can be a learning process at the same time. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when integrating a new furry family member into your home. 

By Abigail Brown

Be patient and calm

  A new pet is bound to be at least a little nervous when brought into a new environment, more so when there are other pets in the home that they are meeting for the first time. Take it slow and don’t rush them to interact with one another. A great way to help ease this is to have a separate location for your new pet to stay, so they can have some alone time to get used to the house– and slowly interact over time. 

Build a routine

  If your new pet will be the only animal in your home, get a routine set up for their feeding, walking, playtime, etc. to help them get familiar and feel comfortable within your home. If there are other animals in the home and your new friend is separated from them initially, utilize the same schedule for them that you normally use with your other pets. This will ease their transition into sharing feeding time, walks, and attention with another animal.

Example:

-Feed at 8 am

-Walk

-Playtime at 12 pm

-Treats 

-Walk 2 pm

-Dinner 3 pm

-Walk before bedtime

Celebrate the good behavior of any pets within the home

A good way to help your new friend adjust to your household rules is to reward both them and any other pets in the home for things they do well–or for listening particularly well. Even small moments such as coming when told being positively enforced can help greatly. This is especially helpful if you already have an animal integrated within your home who follows directions, as it will encourage your new pet to follow their example. Rewarding all animals in the home whenever possible, rather than only your new animal, helps keep their forming bond in the best shape possible while not causing competition to arise. 

Quality time 

  Get to know your new pet, try your best to bring a new animal friend into your home when your schedule will allow you the time to get to know them. Spend as much time with your new fur baby as possible, and their adjustment into your home will go a lot smoother. This quality time will also help build the bond between pet and pet parent.  

If you would like to capture the bond you and your pet share in a way you can cherish forever— Click the button below to look into our artwork options.

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guinea pigs on a brown fuzzy blanket small pets pet portrait pet photography

The Wonderful World Of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs make for fabulous pets, in so many ways. Being less fragile than rabbits or hamsters, while not being nearly as skittish as other kinds of rodents– they can be a perfect fit for many households. Today we’re going to get into everything you need to know about guinea pigs, and how to choose the right one for you.

5 things that make guinea pigs one endlessly cool pet to have:

  1. In comparison to most animals, guinea pigs are by far one of the ​easiest to care for​ household pets.
  2. Guinea pigs are ​social animals​, so having multiple at one time is a fairly easy thing to do. Once warmed up to their owners, they love to be held and shown affection. Making them great pets for kids!
  3. When a guinea pig is nice and healthy, they have a typically ​long life span. Most of which living 5-7 years, and on occasion making it into their teen years!
  4. “​ Popping”​ Some guinea pigs have a funny little quirk where they ​jump up in the air and ​squeal​ while shocking the first few times you see it– this is something most guinea owners find absolutely adorable​.
  5. Guinea pigs genuinely ​love humans​ and interacting with them. Unlike other rodents, they are very well suited for individuals who love frequent one-on-one time with their pets.

Guinea pig dietary needs:

Guinea pigs are​ herbivores​, this means that their diet is made up of plants,​ fruits​, and ​vegetables​. They eat in the morning and evening, and the base of their diet is hay and or food pellets. A diet of hay or pellets and fruits/vegetables here

and there is a great way to keep your guinea pig their most happy and healthy self.

Tip–​ Keeping in mind the ​sugar content​ in fruits, feeding your guinea pig fewer fruits and more vegetables is ideal. It’s very important for the happiness of their tummy, that you find a balance regarding the number of fruits, vegetables, and treats you give your guinea pig.

For more information, check out t​his link​ to Petco.com’s page on guinea pig care.

Top 10 musts on how to care for a guinea pig:

  1. Your guinea pig will need a spacious cage​, big enough to give them and any other guinea’s you have the room they need. This can be fairly large, depending on how many you intend to home in one cage.
  2. A well-balanced​ diet​,before adding a guinea pig to your family– doing research on the best ways to feed them/what to feed them is a ​must​. Like any other animal, they have a very specific set of needs, but once you get the hang of those needs, owning one is a breeze.
  3. Playtime, guinea pigs are very ​social animals​. Especially if they don’t have a brother or sister guinea to keep them company, make sure that you or a family member can carve a little ​time​ out of each day to love them up.
  4. Toy selection. Buying your pet’s toys can be a very fun process, and every guinea owner should keep in mind a few things: -Getting a little crafty, can go a long way when making pet toys. And although guinea pigs do enjoy chewing on cardboard, it is recommended that you not give your guinea used toilet paper rolls​ to chew. As glues used on the rolls can be harmful, and the cardboard can cause ​digestive issues.​ For a great alternative, click here​.

-When buying your guinea pig wood toys/ structures, be sure to check for splinters​ in the wood before giving them to your pet. And if you see any, just go ahead and tug them off for an ​easy fix!​

-Guinea’s love to hide​, so consider buying them an edible house​ to scurry into. It makes for both a lovely place to nap and a tasty snack.

– Felt based beds and blankets make for super cozy places to cuddle up in, and endless fun for a hide-n-seek loving guinea. As fabrics of any kind + pets often = STINKY.​ Just be sure to use pet-friendly cleaners​ when washing, and to air dry those bad boys.

How to pick the right guinea pig for you:

For a pet lover or family looking into a guinea pig, it can be very important to find the one that fits best with your family and to know your options when buying. Here are a few tips on how to find the best one for you​.

  • Look into​ local shelters,​ a surprising amount of shelters have lovely guinea pigs just looking for the perfect home. So give your local shelter a call, and ask about their availability!
  • Take some time to sit with a guinea pig that you are meeting, so you can get to know their personality.​ It’s a bit scary meeting a new person, so some guinea pigs will be scared or timid. A little one-on-one time goes a long way towards seeing an animal’s true personality.
  •  Keep the possibility of an ​allergy​ in mind. Before purchasing a guinea, go meet and hold a guinea pig at a shelter/pet store if you (or any family members) can. This can be a great way to make sure there’s no​ itchy bumps​ or ​watering eyes​ to come!
  • Find a place in your home suited to house a guinea pig cage, as they’re​ larger than a hamster cage you want to make sure you have ​enough room​ to suit their needs.
  • Trust your ​instincts,​ you know better than anyone what you or your family is looking for in the perfect pet! Every animal has its own unique personality. Go with your gut, and don’t be afraid to take a chance and hold a potential new guinea friend. Odds are they’re just as ​nervous ​as you are, and could turn out to be your very best friend​ :)

How to find a vet that will see your guinea pig:

As guinea pigs are considered ​exotic animals​, not every vet will accept them as a patient. There are a few ways you can go about doing this, we highly recommend the following.

  • Do a quick google search​ of local vets in your area that takes guinea pigs
  • Ask around and see if any guinea owners have a favorite vet to visit, or know of any​ good locations
  • When all else fails, look into a couple of vets nearest to you and don’t be shy! Call​ to ask them directly about whether or not they see guinea pigs.

For additional info check out the links below for more information on Guinea pigs:

Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Make Great Pets

How To Know If A Guinea Pig Is The Right Pet For You

Things To Know Before Adopting A Guinea Pig

And if you’re interested in capturing the bond you share with your pet, feel free to take a look at our website by ​Clicking Here

The Do’s And Don’ts of Dressing Your Pets Up for Halloween:

 

The popularity of dressing your pets up for Halloween has risen dramatically within the last few years. Cute, scary, and everything in between– this is a trend we welcome with open arms. And here are our thoughts on how to find the best possible costume for your pet.

 Watch out, the force is certainly with this feline.

Watch out, the force is certainly with this feline.

Diving in, safety is a very real factor that should be considered when picking out the perfect costume for your four-legged friend. Below are bullet points listing a few things to keep in mind while perusing your options.

  • You want your animal to be their happiest, most comfortable selves; this can be achieved by making sure their costume is lightweight, does not restrict movement, and does not block their line of vision.

  • Keep in mind that any dangling pieces or embellishments can be confused for a tasty snack, and very quickly become a choking hazard— or the cause of a very upset tummy.

  • Animals are often seen as young children and can require an equal amount of supervision. Upon putting your buddy in a costume, be sure not to leave them alone for long periods of time.

We understand that as much as we enjoy to see them all dressed up, our four-legged friends may require a little more convincing. Whether your puppy can’t sit still, or your feline friend Petunia is a tad worried all that fluff won’t fit into her Princess Leia costume–here are a few tips and tricks to help ease your hesitant pet into putting on a costume.

  • Getting dressed up can be a little stressful for an animal who is not used to doing so. Making sure you’re in a calm, quiet environment while introducing your pet to their costume can go a long way.

  • If your pet seems fairly skittish, be sure to give them a good deal of affection to help them calm down throughout this process.

  • Treats, Treats, and more Treats. It is Halloween after all, giving your animal friend a little something tasty will definitely improve their mood and hopefully make them more willing to work with you.

  • When you’ve got a very excited pupper on your hands, getting them to sit still can be tough, to say the least. A toy on hand to distract them with can be the handiest of tools in this situation.

  • And lastly, you know your furry friend best of all. Do whatever you feel will make them the most comfortable, and most of all have fun.

 Taco-Bout rocking your costume, this pup sure knows how to steal the show.

Taco-Bout rocking your costume, this pup sure knows how to steal the show.

Now, here’s the fun part that we’ve all been waiting for. Picking out the costume you feel fits your buddy the best. Below are 10 of our favorite pet costumes for this Halloween. Be it cute, funny, or scary, we’re sure your four-legged pal will truly knock this Halloweens socks off.

  1. For a dog who wants all eyes on them and a more lightweight costume, a saddled cowboy on their back can make them feel like they’re in the wild, wild west. Can you say “Yeehaw”? Click here to see.

  2. Whether they’re a cowardly lion or a large and in charge pup who wants everyone to know they’re king of the jungle, this mane is sure to put a pep in your dog’s step. Click here to see.

  3. For your feline or small dog who likes to keep surround themselves in a little bit of mystery, this vampire costume will simply drive you batty with its cuteness. Click here to see.

  4. And we’d never forget about our smaller friends. This guinea pig costume lets everyone know that they may be prickly or grumpy on the outside at times, but they sure are sweet on the inside. Click here to see.

  5. For a pup who always saves the day, they’ll be flying high with this super look. Click here to see.

  6. With this Ewok costume, you and your pup can let your geek flag fly. Click here to see.

  7. Who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail? Now imagine an adorable canine delivering it. Sounds like a dream, am I right? Well, this costume makes your dreams come true. Click here to see.

  8. For dogs big and small who can’t wait to make like Freddie Krueger, and tear this Halloween up. Click here to see.

  9. A bewitching getup for the kitty who puts the Bubble, Bubble, Toil, And Trouble into your life. Click here to see.

  10. With this bumblebee costume, a buzz will surely get going about how good your cat/dog looks. Click here to see.

If you would like to learn more about how our artwork can present your fur babies in their best light, click Book Now for more information.

Any Pet Guarantee

Here at Bonilla Pet Photography, we pride ourselves on our “Any Pet Guarantee.” What this means is that our professional animal handlers are capable of working with any type of pet and their individual personalities. When most people think of a pet, they usually think of a cat or a dog. However, exotic and unique species of animals are becoming more popular as pets every day. We love to work with all types of animals such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, pigs, and more! Most animals that come to a new place are super curious and understandably, nervous. However, whether your pet is super hyper and fun-loving, or very shy and nervous, we will make them feel right at home and help them to get comfortable in our studio. We work with all kinds of pets and are capable of making gorgeous portraits of them! Our professional pet handlers are experienced in the animal field from pet stores, humane societies, and veterinary clinics. They are able to read an animals body language and figure out what it is that your pet needs to feel more comfortable. If you are nervous about taking your pet to a portrait studio because of their species, behavior, or personality, please reach out to us and we would be more than happy to create your pet’s portraits!

Any Pet Guarantee means that we can and will work with pets that are:

  • Happy
  • Scared/Fearful
  • Shy/Timid
  • Hyper
  • Disabled/Special Needs
  • Laid Back
  • Any Species
  • Anything else!

Contact Us

Pet Photography in Norfolk, Virginia

757.912.5862

300 Monticello Ave,
Norfolk, VA. 23510
Suite 144B.

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Weekends by Appointment Only.

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