Tag: Royal Veterinary College

Now here’s a thing!

Dogs eating insects and helping climate change.

I had to look twice at this but it wasn’t April 1st and it appeared to be a serious article. It’s from the BBC website.

Will say no more. You have a read of it.

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Climate change: Will insect-eating dogs help?

By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst

10th January, 2019

Do you fret that your pet pooch is blamed by environmentalists for turning rainforests into poo in the park?

Have no fear – you can now fatten Fido on black soldier flies instead of Brazilian beef.

A pet food manufacturer now claims that 40% of its new product is made from soldier flies.

It’s one of many firms hoping to cash in on the backlash against beef by people concerned that the cattle are fed on soya.

These soya plantations are responsible for the release of greenhouse gases in significant quantities.

Is it good for the dog?

The key question is whether a diet of 40% soldier flies meets the nutritional needs of your beloved canine.

We put the question to a pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, Aarti Kathrani. Her conclusion was a cautious “yes”.

“Insects can be a very useful source of protein,” she told us. “More studies are needed to show how much of these nutrients can actually be absorbed by a dog’s body – but some studies suggest that insects can provide nutrients for dogs.”

Does it help the climate if dogs eat flies?

At first sight it seems obvious that feeding your dog meaty food is bad for the environment. The link between humans eating meat and the allied emissions of CO2 and methane is well established – and pets are estimated to eat 20% of global meat.

It’s also true that flies produce protein much more efficiently than cows – using a small percentage of the water and land.

But actually the analysis is more subtle than that – because as societies become more wealthy, people often turn to muscle meat and reject the animal’s offal.

The flies are brought to maturity in about 14 days

That offal is just as nutritious – and it gets made into pet food. That means that dog food is just as sustainable – or unsustainable – as humans eating meat.

In fact, if dogs were weaned off meat and on to insects, the industry would have to find another purpose for the offal. More sausage, perhaps? Or more humans eating insect protein. Or more going vegan?

Could cat food be made out of insects, too?

Dogs are omnivores – they eat more or less anything. Cats are much more choosy, because they can’t make an essential amino acid, taurine. They find it instead in meat and fish.

But Dr Kathrani says studies show that insects do contain taurine, so it’s possible that insects could also form a useful part of the moggie diet.

The new product is from Yora, a UK start-up. The insect grubs are fed on food waste in the Netherlands.

There are several competitors which also produce pet food incorporating fly protein. They include Insectdog, Entomapetfood, Chippin and Wilderharrier.

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Now I have heard of some strange things but in essence this does make very good sense.

Happy Birthday to Pharaoh

Our lovely old German Shepherd is 10 today.

Yes, Pharaoh was born back on June 3rd 2003.  So today, in human years he is 10.  In the old traditional ‘dog years is seven times times human years‘ he would be 70.  But according to a recent item on BBC News there is a more accurate way of calculating dog years.

Longevity secrets of readers’ pets who lived past 100 ‘dog years’

Thanks to our dog age calculator, people have been reassessing the age of their furry friends.

It put a new spin on the old saying that the age of dogs could be better understood by multiplying the number of years since their birth by seven.

You can read more here.  That dog age calculator is here.

Dog years: The calculator

Working out your dog’s true age used to be a case of simply multiplying it by seven. But it’s more complicated than that, and here’s a handy calculator to do it for you.

A recent Magazine feature explained that:

  • Different breeds of dog age at varying speeds
  • Dogs age at varying speeds at different stages of their lives

With that in mind, we’ve built a calculator for you to work out your dog’s true age – its age in “dog years”.

Alternatively, you can find out how old you would be if you were a dog. You can choose to be a labrador, a spaniel, a whippet, or any one of 20 breeds.

The calculator uses these multipliers for the first two years of a dog’s life:

  • 12.5 for small dogs
  • 10.5 for medium-sized dogs
  • 9 for large dogs

Then, for the third and subsequent years of the dog’s life, each human year has to be multiplied by between 4.3 and 13.4 years, depending on the breed:

Small: Dachshund (Miniature) 4.32, Border Terrier 4.47, Lhasa Apso 4.49, Shih Tzu 4.78, Whippet Medium 5.30, Chihuahua 4.87, West Highland White Terrier 4.96, Beagle 5.20, Miniature Schnauzer 5.46, Spaniel (Cocker) 5.55, Cavalier King Charles 5.77, Pug 5.95, French Bulldog 7.65

Medium: Spaniel 5.46, Retriever (Labrador) 5.74, Golden Retriever 5.74, Staffordshire Bull Terrier 5.33, Bulldog 13.42

Large: German Shepherd 7.84, Boxer 8.90

The calculator does not work for cross breeds, sadly, but on average these live 1.22 years longer than pure breeds, according to Dan O’Neill (from Petts Wood in London…) who is researching the subject for a PhD at the Royal Veterinary College.

Nor does the calculator work for cats. What we can say is that the average life expectancy of a cat is 12.1 years, which equates to 64 human years.

Guidelines issued by the American Association of Feline Practitioners say that cats reach 10 human years in their first six months and are approximately 24 at the age of two years. After this their age increases by four “cat years” every year.

So dear Pharaoh is the equivalent of an 80-year-old human! The breed has an average life expectancy of 9.73 years. (Source: BBC calculations on data from UK Kennel Club and US Veterinary Medical Database.)

Going to leave you for today with three photographs of Pharaoh taken the day I first saw Pharaoh as a puppy, back on the 12th August 2003.  The woman holding Pharaoh is Sandra Tucker who runs Jutone Kennels in Devon, England., where Pharaoh was born 10 years ago this day!

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More pictures tomorrow.