Category Archives: News

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Sea Treats – Making waves in the dog treat market

As facultative or scavenging carnivores, our canine companions have evolved to eat a diet of primarily meat and choosing a wholesome, species appropriate food for your pet can be one of the best ways to keep them fit and healthy.  But what about treats?

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There are many treats on the market that contain unhealthy ingredients and while as people we have the choice to consume unhealthy treats, our dogs do not.  Luckily for them there are also some incredibly wholesome treats that are both tasty and healthy and I was recently thrilled to learn about the Sea Treats range of fish based dog treats.

Having a background in zoology and conservation, I was extremely pleased to learn that the Sea Treats products have full Marine Stewardship Council Certification. This certification guarantees the fish used to make these treats comes from sustainable fisheries.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on three of their products  – Premium fish skin and kelp seaweed treats, Salmon, whitefish, potato and seaweed biscuits and Small fish skin cubes.

Firstly, I was extremely impressed to see each product contained very few ingredients:

The Salmon, whitefish, potato and seaweed biscuits contain (as the name suggests) just salmon, whitefish and  potato.

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The Fish skin and Kelp seaweed treats also contain just whitefish skins and Irish kelp seaweed.

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The Fish skin cubes contain just fish skin!

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It is a wonderfully refreshing change to discover a range with such wholesome ingredients and the fish skins in particular and perfect for those who choose to raw feed their pets.  Knowing the protein source we feed our pets is very important, particularly if a pet is on an exclusion diet or if a pet is on a protein rotation diet.  Many pet parents choose to rotate protein sources, for example, feeding fish for a few months and then turkey for a few months. There is a train of thought that feeding the same food for an extended period of time can cause food sensitivity, therefore, changing proteins regularly can be helpful.

But the key question is, how do they taste?

Today’s taste tester is the beautifully quirky Roxy. A Cornish dog through and through, she knows her seafood (it’s hard to avoid it when your daily walk includes running on beautiful beaches and exploring rock pools!).

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All three treats went down a treat (excuse the pun) but Roxy’s favourite was the Salmon, whitefish, potato and seaweed biscuits.  All three have a satisfying crunch that can be tricky to perfect if using a home dehydrator to make homemade treats.

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All three have a wonderfully fishy smell which for many dogs makes them super high value. Many training scenarios, such as recall require super high value treats and the fish skins in particular may be perfect for persuading wayward canines that coming when called is far more rewarding than chasing squirrels!

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Not only are these treats tasty, they also contain Omega 3 and 6. Omega 3 has been shown to have a host of health benefits, from being anti-inflammatory in older animals, to aiding in puppy brain development. Puppies fed Omega 3 were even found to be more easily trained (Kelley et al. 2004).

With all these benefits, there’s nothing fishy about these treats and it’s clear that Sea Treats are making waves in the vast ocean of unhealthy pet products.

For more information and to order online, please visit www.seatreats.co.uk

References

Kelley R., Lepine A., Burr J., Shyan-Norwalt M. & Reinhart G. (2004). Effect of dietary fish oil on puppy trainability. In: Proceedings.

 

Sneezing

Sneezing staffie not angry staffie!

Spike's World

 

 

 

Following on from my earlier post about breed specific legislation, I read the interesting truth about one of the most familiar ‘dangerous dog’ photos used by the press.

This photo of a beautiful staffie is often reported to be a ‘dangerous’ dog, but look a little closer and the truth is much less threatening.

This photo was taken at a dog show and the dog in question is about to do a huge SNEEZE!

Doesn’t seem so angry now does it?  It just goes to show you should never believe what you read, apart from my posts of course!

 

 

Cockerpoo

Breed not deed

Spike's World

An interesting story hit the papers yesterday of a 6 year old girl that was bitten on the face by her neighbour’s cocker spaniel cross poodle (often known as a cockapoo).

While the details of this particular story are certainly interesting (the child wandered unaccompanied on to her neighbour’s property where the bite occurred), of equal interest is the public and police response.

It has become usual practice for a statement to appear in the press from the police after such incidents mentioning ‘ascertaining the breed of dog involved’.   For example, this dog bite that occurred in Liverpool mentions the breed of dog several times:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/girl-attacked-dog-waterloo—9143691

However, in the case of the cocker/poodle mix, there seemed to be no urgency from the police and no mention of banned breeds. The criteria for being a banned ‘pit-bull type’ is based on a set of phenotypic measurements and has no genetic basis. This leads many of us to question, does one bite incident deserve greater police investigation, simply because of the potential measurements of the dog involved?

The readers comments following the bite by this ‘fluffy’ dog seems to be very much in support of the dog. Most agreed that the child should not have been on the property and that the dog must not be blamed. I wonder if the comments would have been the same if this was a banned breed-type?

Breed specific legislation is outdated and not fit for purpose and this story shows that any dog breed or cross breed can cause injury in the wrong circumstances.

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Do you really know what’s in your pet’s food?

Spike's World

 

 

 

 

Deciding what to feed your pet is one of the most important decisions pet parents can make. As humans, we have the freedom to choose what we put in our bodies, and as such, food labeling is strictly controlled to ensure we have all the information we need to make informed choices. Our pets on the other hand, rely on us to make this decision for them, and thankfully there is a huge array of pet foods on the market to choose from.

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Do you know what goes into your own dog food? Every pet parent should read the ingredients list to see exactly what they’re feeding their pet

However, it would appear pet food labeling may not be as transparent as its human counterparts, as was highlighted on a recent episode of BBC’s ‘Rip Off Britain – Food‘.

This show reported the difficulty many pet parents have with identifying exactly what ingredients go into the pet foods we see on the shelves. For example, a food may be advertised as ‘chicken and rice’ but in fact, may contain just a minimum of 4% chicken.  That leaves a whopping 96% of the food that can be composed of any number of animal and plant proteins.

This flexibility helps to keep costs down for the manufacturer and potentially the customer, by allowing the recipe to be changed depending on which meat and meat meals are cheapest at that time. However, for diligent pet parents that want to control the protein source they give their pet, such foods may be totally unsuitable.

Pets with a range of conditions, may need to be placed on an elimination diet to discover if they are sensitive to consuming a particular substance, and such foods may be purchased in all good faith, without the knowledge that ‘chicken and rice’ doesn’t necessarily mean the food is composed of just those two ingredients.

Many pet parents prefer to give their pet a varied diet by rotating the protein source they feed to their pets. In doing so, it is believed that the development of food sensitivities can be avoided.  There is a train of thought that if an animal is fed one food for a long time, the body can become sensitised to those ingredients and therefore by offering for example, chicken for a few weeks, and then fish for a few weeks, and so forth, food sensitivities can be avoided.

Thankfully there is hope, and I was so pleased to come across two foods that totally buck this trend.

AATU dog foods contain a single animal protein source, either free run duck, chicken or fish and an amazing 80% meat. As facultive carnivores, this high meat content is evolutionarily appropriate for our canine companions.  It also contains some great herbs and botanicals.        

Challenge pet foods have a great range of single protein salmon based dog foods that allow pet parents to be confident in the source of their dog’s nutrition. Their sister company, Sea Treats offers MSC certified fish treats so even your pet’s treats are free of unknown ingredients.

That both of these companies have such clear, transparent labeling is a sign that the pet food market is changing and I hope that pet parents will start to demand clearer pet food labeling information.  In the meantime, I believe we should all show our support by voting with our pockets!

 

The tragic loss of Speckle the pigeon

A few weeks have now passed since the world learned of the sad passing of Speckle the pigeon and his mate, Miss Pretty.

While some may not understand why this news was so tragic, to many it was truly devastating. Speckle was no ordinary pigeon as through his public outreach and love of socialising in the pub, he helped change the perception many have about these beautiful, intelligent birds.

Speckle

Poor Speckle and Miss Pretty appeared to have succumbed to fumes from a neighbour’s house and there was nothing that their dedicated guardians could have done to prevent what happened. However, it highlights that all bird owners should be aware that bird are extremely sensitive to fumes, be that from household chemicals, cigarette smoke, and even non-stick cookware.

Cooking pans, drip trays and other cookware coated with Teflon, is not safe to use with birds in the vicinity. While under normal use Teflon is safe, if the pan overheats, such as if warming a dry pan or accidentally letting a pan boil dry, toxic fumes can be emitted.

Teflon can release fumes if allowed to get too hot

These polymer fumes can cause flu like symptoms in people, but quickly kills birds due to the extremely efficient way the bird respiratory system exchanges gasses from the air into the bloodstream and muscles. This efficiency is necessary for the high energy demand of flight, but means that any airborne toxins are rapidly absorbed, leading to toxicity.

While too late to save Speckle, we should all heed this warning, particularly those living in communal buildings, to make sure such a tragedy never happens again.

Dr Sophia Yin

It was with a heavy heart that the world learned of the tragic passing of Dr Sophia Yin. Dr Yin was a true ambassador for evidence based dog training and her work in teaching stress free handling for dogs and cats should be high on every veterinarian’s reading list.

It is true that we all too often impose our will on our animal companions through force, simply because we can and because our animals are forgiving enough to allow us to do so. However, Dr Yin’s philosophy of developing a relationship with our animals based on trust is one that can benefit both veterinarians and their patients.

As an example, here we see desensitisation to used to make the process of nail trimming a far less fearful experience. It would have been just as simple to muzzle this dog and perform the procedure yet it would have likely resulted in a greater battle in the future.

Dr Yin was known for her tireless effort in educating the public on the misconceptions surrounding dominance theory. Most modern dog trainers and behaviourists understand that the classic view of pack theory and a strict dominance hierarchy has been disproved and her work was likely instrumental in developing the huge community of evidence based dog trainers we have today.
In the below documentary we are fortunate enough to hear her valued thoughts on this emotional subject.

Dr Yin’s passing also highlights the pressure of working in a compassion-hungry environment in which veterinarians must care for both their animal patients and their human guardians. While the world mourns her passing we must all strive to continue her mission in every human/animal interaction we are lucky enough to be involved with.

Welcome

Welcome to the blog of AdamTheVet – the diary of a prospective vet student.

Here I’ll be blogging all about my experiences leading up to and during my time at vet school at the University of Kosice in Slovakia.

I can only continue my journey with your valued support.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you.