How to take holiday photos of your dog that are worth sharing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- cooler temperatures, festive holiday decorations, sugar galore and plenty of family time. It’s also the time of year when family photos flood your social media feeds. Maybe you even still receive some holiday cards via snail mail. If you’re like the BarkHappy family, you’ll want to include your fur children in your holiday photos. Here are a few tips to ensure your photos are top notch.


  1. Grooming – Give your dog a bath, making sure to thoroughly clean trouble areas like paws and faces. If your pup has long hair, brush it. If this seems like too much work, bring your fur kids to the groomer, or better yet, have a mobile groomer come to you. Make sure to plan in advance as good groomers get booked quickly this time of year.
  2. Attire – Ok, this one is a bit controversial. If you’re feeling festive, dress your dog in a holiday sweater. If that is not your style, there are super cute accessories like bow ties, scarves, hats and collar decorations. A pop of color is always fun. Make sure it doesn’t clash with your outfit and try it on your dog before picture day. Of course, your fur kids also do a lot for your two-legged kids besides improve their health.
  3. Location and lighting – Getting Fido to pose isn’t always easy so chose your location wisely. Avoid crowded outdoor areas with lots of distractions. Make sure the location is well lit. Natural light is best. Early morning and late afternoon usually offer the best light without shadows. Can’t make it outdoors due to weather? Turn your home into a studio by draping a solid colored or holiday themed sheet over your couch. Place this setup near a window for the best natural light and no shadows. Prefer a more relaxed look? Follow your pup around your home, yard or park and wait for the best shot in their natural habitat.
  4. Props – Holiday related props are a great addition, but be sure to avoid anything dangerous to dogs. This includes tinsel, ribbons, mistletoe and fragile ornaments.
  5. Say cheese – Bring cheese. Just kidding, any snack or dog treat your pup likes will work. Use it as needed to get your dog to look at the camera, and as a reward for good behavior. If you have an excessive drooler, skip the snacks. You could also bring a squeaky toy or whistle to encourage your dog to look at the camera.
  6. Have fun! – Don’t be too concerned with getting the perfect photo. Sometimes it’s the imperfect ones that capture the moment the best. On the flipside, if you are a perfectionist like me, consider hiring a professional to photograph your fur kids.


Have any tips for capturing a holiday photo of your pup? Share your ideas and your favorite holiday images on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by tagging #BarkHappy.

Seven ways your dog is improving your health

It’s no secret that owning a dog is totally awesome. But did you know being a dog parent also has some majorly marvelous health benefits? There are several proven benefits, including physical, mental and emotional improvements. Here are a few of the great things your dogs do for your health.

  1. Dogs boost your mood and lower stress. It only takes 15-30 minutes with your pup to feel more relaxed and calm. Studies have shown that playing with dogs can elevate serotonin and dopamine levels, which have pleasurable and calming properties. How amazing is that? This is why dogs are utilized for rehabilitation and to help patients who need a mood booster.
  2. Pups lead to healthier kiddos. Several studies have shown that children growing up in homes with dogs are at less risk for allergies and asthma, and will also have a better immune system. It also no surprise that kids with dogs at home have fewer sick days as they get older. Of course, your fur kids also do a lot for your four-legged kids besides improve their health.
  3. Dogs are great for meeting people. Furry friends are a great way to make human friends. They are a natural conversation starter, whether at the dog park or eating at your favorite dog friendly restaurant or bar. Not a social person? Don’t worry! Dogs can be great icebreakers, even when you’re meeting new people. There are lots of places to explore with your dog and people to meet at all of them.
  4. They are good for the heart. Research has shown a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In addition, studies have also shown male heart attack patients who have a dog survive longer than those without. Not to mention your dog makes your heart feel happy everyday.
  5. Pups build our immunity. Dogs are dirty…sometimes very dirty. Although this isn’t always the best part of being a dog parent, it’s not all bad. The extra dirt and allergens your pup brings into the house, actually boost immune system chemicals in their human owners. So next time you’re wiping off those muddy paws, say thanks to your pup for boosting your family’s immunity.
  6. Fido helps you stay fit. Who is going to walk the dog? It’s one of the questions frequently asked before a family brings home a new pet. Dogs definitely encourage you to exercise more. Walking, hiking, swimming, jogging and running are all more fun with your pup by your side. For the more adventurous, some dogs enjoy stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing and doga (yoga for dogs). No matter which activity is your favorite, dogs give you motivation to get moving.
  7. Dogs teach responsibility and compassion. Being a dog parent is fun, but also requires commitment. You have to make sure fur kid has food and water, train them to behave, and provide some mental and physical stimulation. Taking care of a dog teaches humans, old and young, how to be responsible. Dogs also teach you how to be patient and selfless. No matter your age, everyone can benefit from that lesson.

What is your favorite way your dog keeps you healthy? Share your photos on social media and tag them #BarkHappy to be featured.

Keeping your dog safe at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. You get to spend quality time with family (four-legged included) and enjoy a delicious meal. Following a few simple guidelines will ensure your dog has a terrific Thanksgiving too.

  • Tasty turkey – If you give your dog a bite of the main dish, make sure it contains no bones and is well cooked. If not, the turkey could contain salmonella bacteria.
  • No bones about it – Don’t give dogs the leftover carcass. Bird bones are hollow and break easily. This means pieces of bone could get lodged in your dog’s digestive tract. Dispose of bones carefully so that your dog isn’t tempted to eat them.
  • Drunk doggies – Obviously don’t give your dog caffeine or alcohol, but did you know raw yeast bread is also a no-no? When a pet eats raw bread, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This results in bloated drunken pets, which is potentially life threatening.
  • Dangerous desserts – Dogs should not consume desserts containing raw eggs. Salmonella could lead to food poisoning. Pups should also avoid nutmeg and nuts- specifically walnuts and macadamia nuts.
  • Fido’s feast – Give your fur child their normal food with a little turkey and veggies, maybe sweet potatoes or green beans. You could even give them some food in a puzzle toy to last all through your meal. Puzzle toys also encourage dogs to eat slowly and avoid overindulging.
  • Travelin’ tails – If you’re away from home, make sure your pup is wearing their collar and tag with your current information. This is also a good time to make sure microchip info is up to date.
  • Good guests – Talk to your guests about your pet. If your dog likes to explore, make sure they know not to let him out the door. Also ask friends and family not to feed your pup table scraps. If there are children visiting, supervise your dog, especially if he isn’t used to little ones.
  • Get movin’– Just like humans, dogs need to exercise to work off a big meal. Enjoy the fall weather and take a nice long walk. It will be beneficial to more than just your pup.

We look forward to seeing your dog celebrating Thanksgiving in Austin, Portland, Seattle and beyond on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to tag #BarkHappy to be featured on our page. Everyone at BarkHappy wishes you and your dog a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

How to Deal With the Summer Heat With Your Dog

By Sheilah Villari

  • Exercise your pooch during the coolest parts of the day, dawn and dusk.
  • Avoid Pavement during the warmest part. The sidewalk can get extremely hot burn their paws.
  • Cut their hair short and keep from having heavy layers of fur insulating heat.
  • Never leave you dog in a car no matter how long.
  • Always have water and take frequent breaks if it looks like they are getting tired or panting too much.