Country Collar Club 31st January 2021

By Andrew, Country Collar Club owner, 31st January 2021

Sophie 3

I stumbled across a quote that made me stop and really think about it’s meaning the other day.  “A dog is only in part of your life, but for them, you are their whole life”.  I had never really thought about it like that before.  It’s so true, and if you have the honour of seeing a dog grow from the smallest pup in the world, through the growing pain years, all the way to the end, then that saying takes on an even deeper meaning.  For our recently lost Holly, we only had the pleasure of being her Mummy and Daddy for a short space of time before she took the peaceful journey to rainbow bridge.  When we now look back at just 9 months of memories with her, it’s difficult to know whether you should laugh or cry (we’ve been doing a lot of that in our house when remembering the old girl).

The end of a dog’s life is always on the horizon for all dog owners out there, like the most beautiful setting sun you see on a late Summer evening.  As the time slowly ticks away, the anxiety of imagining your beloved pooch’s end becomes ever more focussed.  It’s only natural.  In a way this can be a positive, as it helps prioritise spending that extra quality time with them.  These days don’t last forever so be sure to take advantage of every moment you have with your companion for life.  If you know you have made their time the absolute best it could have been, then trust me – you shall take an enormous amount of solace in the efforts you made, when you bring out the memory box you will have after their time comes. 

The most beautiful part of being your dog’s world is that apparently dogs don’t need that much from us, to give them the best life they could hope for.  Shelter, food, water, playtime, exercise and the odd treat every now and again.  Oh sorry.  I completely forgot the Christmas presents, birthday presents, social engagements to the pub to meet up with their fellow furry friends to sink a couple of bowls, Valentine’s Day card from the local cassa-rover, a bed fit for a Cavalier King, duck feather pillows to help them sleep, blankets (electric in the winter), an ill-fitting Christmas pudding outfit for the family Christmas photo, raincoats, LED collars fit for a Boeing 747 coming into land, 5 star Amazon rated squeak toys, a cheeky glass of paw-secco at New Year and don’t forget exclusive rights to your sofa.  Sometimes when I walk into our lounge, I find my 9 year old Labrador Rosie sprawled out covering every possible inch with a certain look that she gives me on her face.  That look the maître d’ would give you if you just strolled into The Dorchester with a Primark bag in hand, donned in your favourite lockdown lounge wear getup…. Did you book Sir?  Yes, that’s exactly the look I get from Rosie when attempting to find some space on the sofa.     Don’t worry, I’ll turn around and just hover around in the kitchen until I hear her move.

For a lot of dog owners, I think wanting the absolute materialistic best for your dogs is ever more prevalent.  Heck, if you’ve got the cash then why not.   Go ahead and buy them that brand new neon orange £80 float coat for swimming in the local lake on a Sunday morning.  It’s a completely overinflated price in my opinion.  My question to you though, is this.  Will the dog love you any more for it?  Granted, if the dog can’t swim, they probably will be grateful.  But seriously, will the new Michael Phelps of the canine world love you any more than the lonely man’s dog who only have each other for company during this pandemic?  When your dog looks back at you over that rainbow bridge, will they be content knowing their own Instagram profile reached 2,000 follows?  Or will they look over that bridge and remember the beautiful walks with their owners, where they ran through the meadows in the summer, heather in the Autumn and snow in the Winter?  I’ll let you decide the answer to that question. 

Must dash, apparently Rosie needs her glass topping up.  Maître d’ signing out.

Until next week.

Andrew 🐾🐾

Cat microchipping could become compulsory in England next year after consultation with vets

Government launches consultation to find out the opinions of vets, cat owners and members of the public.


Inews reports that compulsory microchipping for cats could be introduced in England next year after the Government launched a two-month-long consultation with vets, owners and members of the public.

The move comes after Government research found that 99 per cent of the population supported mandatory microchipping of cats.

Around 2.6 million cats in the UK – around 26 per cent – are not microchipped, according to estimates by the animal welfare charity Cats Protection.

It reported that eight out of 10 stray cats handed in to its adoption centres in England during 2018 were unchipped, leading to longer and sometimes unsuccessful efforts to reunite them with their owners.

How it works

The process involves inserting a chip, generally around the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of a pet, which has a unique serial number that can be read by a scanner.

Stray cats lost this way include Larry, the brown and white tabby who was found in London without a microchip and taken to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home before being adopted as ‘Chief Mouser’ to 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.

“Having a microchip gives a lost cat the best chance of being quickly reunited with their owner.

We regularly hear heart-warming stories of the huge joy and relief when a missing cat is returned home thanks to the details of their microchip,” said Cat Protection head James Yeates.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s deputy chief executive Peter Laurie also supports compulsory microchipping.

“We see strays being brought to us every day, many of which have clearly been much-loved pets that have perhaps just wandered too far from home. Unfortunately we are often unable to trace their previous owners as they have either not been microchipped or the details on the chip are not up to date,” he said.

Since compulsory dog microchipping was introduced in 2016, around nine million dogs are now microchipped.

British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos said that any legislation around compulsory microchipping of cats must be clear in its aims and that enforcement must be given sufficient investment.

“Although we strongly encourage all cat owners to microchip their pet, the delivery and enforcement around compulsory microchipping of cats is complex and would need adequate resource. Before making it compulsory, the government needs to address the difficulties caused by multiple national databases and consider how feral cat populations would be managed.”

(Story source: Inews)

Homeless man runs into burning animal shelter to save 16 dogs and cats

A homeless man put his own life at risk to run into a burning animal shelter and rescue 16 dogs and cats.

animal rescue

Metro reports that Keith Walker, 53, kept his own pit-bull called Bravo at the W-Underdogs centre overnight, and was on his way to pick him up when he saw the flames on December 18.

But he didn’t stop with just rescuing his own pet – he made sure all the animals were safe. He told CNN: ‘I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie. ‘I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke.

But God put me there to save those animals. ‘If you love a dog, you can love anyone in the world. My dog is my best friend, and I wouldn’t be here without him, so I knew I had to save all those other dogs.’

Shelter founder Gracie Hamlin said that the shelter was left uninhabitable by the fire, which was electrical. But luckily, they were about to move into new premises so there was still somewhere for the animals to live.

She told the broadcaster: ‘(Keith) is my guardian angel. ‘Even the firefighters didn’t want to handle the dogs.

They called animal control, but Keith was already in the building pulling out the cats and dogs until they were all safe.’ Keith, who has been homeless since he was 13, has now been hailed as a hero after saving the six dogs and ten cats.

Well-wishers have raised almost $40,000 for him on GoFundMe. In a separate fundraiser for the shelter itself to rebuild after the fire, Grace said: ‘We are so grateful to CNN for posting our story.

‘Please know we are in contact with Keith Walker, who worked tirelessly to bring our animals to safety, and are working to assess the best way to assist him. ‘He is refusing all offers of help but we are determined. He is a vital part of our community and we will continue to work with him so he is appropriately rewarded for his selfless efforts.’

(Story source: Metro)

My unexpected working-from-home problem? The noise from my husband’s oversexed tortoises

Before hibernating, these reptilian Casanovas have been at it like there’s no tomorrow. Now I’m having to lie to my colleagues about the sound.

Tortoise sex

After the eerie silence of lockdown, city centre life is back, judging by the nocturnal soundscape outside my window.

There’s a constant, happy burble of chat, occasional singing and, last night, a proper fight – broken up by a waiter wielding a fire extinguisher.

My consolation – apart from the fact it’s quite nice to hear the city becoming a city again – is that the worst sound of autumn has stopped.

You’re expecting me to say “leaf-blowers” aren’t you? No. This is a more esoteric pet hate, “pet” being the operative word: it’s tortoise sex. My husband’s tortoises come into the house in October for hibernation preparation and it is, frankly, harrowing.

From the moment their heat lamp clicks on in the morning, my productive hours are numbered. First they rustle, maddeningly, as they wake and eat.

Then, hopped up on dandelions, one of them will start ramming its shell repetitively into the walls of the wooden enclosure: thunk, thunk, thunk, audible across several floors. It goes on for hours: there are four tortoises and they appear to operate a thunking relay.

This is merely a warm up (literally) for the main event. Tortoise sex doesn’t sound how you might expect: it involves high-pitched squeaking, the kind a dog toy makes.

Blue Peter didn’t warn us about this. “Oh, is that your whippet?” someone asked on a work call recently. “Yes,” I lied. “He’s very playful, sorry.”

I have been pleading with my husband for weeks to put his scaly Casanovas in the fridge (they hibernate in the vegetable drawer; Blue Peter didn’t warn us about that, either) with no joy: more dandelions needed. “Just eat, damn you,” I took to muttering as I walked past them, rutting tirelessly.

Finally, either they had sufficiently fattened or (my hunch) they interrupted one of his meetings. After a last cooling phase – which did not cool their ardour – they have been consigned to the fridge in individual plastic containers. I’m ready for hibernation myself now.

(Story source: The Guardian)

Pet travel after Brexit: What the rules are for pet owners travelling to Europe when transition period ends

From 1 January, people travelling from the UK with pets and assistance dogs will need to ensure they have an animal health certificate.


Inews reports that as the end of the Brexit transition period looms, the question of how the UK leaving the EU affects holidays abroad will once again be on people’s minds.

From visas to health insurance, little is expected to stay the same after 31 December. But what about the rules for taking pets to the continent? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the animal health certificate?

From 1 January, people travelling from the UK to the EU or Northern Ireland with pets and assistance dogs will need to ensure they have an animal health certificate (AHC) 10 days before making the journey. This will replace the pet passport scheme that is currently in place. It means dog, cat and ferret owners must follow new rules, including owners of assistance dogs. This is because the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. The Government is continuing to press the European Commission to secure Part 1 listed status however, stating that the UK currently meets all the requirements for it. There will be no change to the
current health preparations or documents for pets entering Britain from the EU or Northern Ireland.

How do I get an animal health certificate?

The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet no more than 10 days before the planned travel date. To obtain an AHC, check with your vet to see if they issue the certificate.

You must take proof of:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • your pet’s vaccination history

Your pet will need a new certificate for each trip to the EU or NI. If it has an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history, you will not need to repeat this.

The health certificate is valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU or NI
  • onward travel within the EU or NI for four months after the date of issue
  • re-entry to Britain for four months after the date of issue

What other precautions must be taken?

Owners will also have to ensure their animal is microchipped, and protected against certain diseases. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said dogs, cats and ferrets will need to be vaccinated against rabies 21 days before travelling, and dogs must be treated against tapeworm if they are travelling to some countries. If you’re travelling with your dog directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, it must have treatment against tapeworm. Your dog will need to receive treatment one to five days before arriving in any of these countries. For more information on vaccines against diseases click here. Owners have been advised to check the Government website for guidelines.

How do I get across the border?

Pets and assistance dogs will also need to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE), which includes all the major French ports such as Calais, Caen and Dunkirk.

At the TPE, you may need to present your pet’s original health certificate along with proof of:

  • your pet’s microchip
  • rabies vaccination
  • tapeworm treatment (if required)
(Story source: Inews)

Giant dog is 14 stone and 6ft 5 inches tall – but he hasn’t stopped growing yet!

Meet Marley the Russian bear dog – he weighs 14st and stands at 6ft 5inches but is still growing.

giant dog

Metro reports that the two-year-old pooch lives with his owners Nigel Carver, 63, and partner, Linda Bowley, 60, in a small cottage in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

He’s already taller than both of them when he stands on his hind legs and needs six mile walks per day. They have estimated that in just 12 months, they’ve walked the distance between Land’s End to John O’Groats three times.

Marley’s daily diet consists of raw mince meat, boiled chicken, fish with vegetables as well as dog biscuits – which costs the couple over £120 per month. Nigel, a builder, said: ‘Marley is taller than me when he’s stood on his hind legs and I’m 6ft 2inches.

‘He’s huge and he towers over my head when he’s on my shoulders. ‘He won’t be fully grown until he’s three or four years old but is likely to gain more muscle weight so could eventually weigh around 16st. ‘When he was a puppy he would have massive growth spurts in the night and we’d wake up to a bigger dog every day.’

The breed is used to hunt wolves in Russia but is very unusual here so Marley gets lots of stares when he’s out and about. Nigel added: ‘He gets so much attention when he’s out on his walk as it’s not every day that you see a dog of this size.

‘It’s rare in the UK to see a Russian bear dog but in Russia it’s their main breed of dog. ‘We walk him for around 168 miles per month, he needs a lot of exercise as he’s such a large, active dog.’

Marley has gone viral online several times due to his tall stature. Nigel added: ‘I enjoy taking photos of Marley that illustrate his huge size.

‘I haven’t yet posed him up with a short person but I’m hoping to do that soon. ‘Whenever I post an image of Marley online he gets thousands of likes and shares as people are fascinated by him.’

He is covered in thick fluffy hair and needs constant brushing due to his excessive moulting. Nigel said: ‘We fill half a bin bag of his hair per day he moults that much.

‘We could do with attaching a vacuum to him. ‘But he’s worth all the effort it takes to care for him, we feed him a varied diet from a local butchers.

‘Marley has three meals per day, from giant breed chicken Kimble biscuits mixed with boiled chicken to raw mince beef, fish and vegetables, including carrots, peas, broccoli, and cabbage.’

(Story source: Metro)

American biker destroys dog fight rings and rescues animals from violent owners

You might say Angels doesn’t look pretty, about these tattooed bikers, however they saved countless animal lives all over the country.

animal rights

Hamrokhaber reports that they set up an organization, Rescue Ink, and their goal is to save as many animals as possible, they save pets from their violent owners, investigate cases of animal abuse and help the animals to find new homes. Rescue Ink is a non-profit organization who fights for animal rights, all volunteers, the team members are bodybuilders, bikers, police detectives, former military personnel, and even lawyers.

“Some people like to think of us as superheroes. The truth is, we are super animal lovers. Through the years, and through many caseloads, obstacles, and downright challenges, we remain strong and dedicated to our mission,” they said. They cooperated with the authorities to reduce and even stop animal abuse, so they made agreements with animal shelters and public organization. These kind people managed to offer a much better life for a lot of animals, as dogs, cats, horses, pigs and even fish. Regular people and even famous artists joined their cause. If things goes in different direction, they call the police. “We specialize in getting the abuser away from the dog. We truly work with the abuser. We go to a house; if it’s really cold out, we see two dogs in the back, we build them a doghouse,” Mr. Missari, a member of the team told NY Times.

The most important thing is that they all are so kind-hearted, on of them had to carry a little kitten for 10 days , because the kitten needed to be feed every 2 hours. They try to prove and to teach everyone that animal abuse is wrong and needs to stop, and they teach children to be kind and lovely with animals all the time. “Let’s just say an official goes to an abuser’s house, he pulls up in a cop car and, immediately the abuser knows the cop’s limitations, he has certain boundaries. But when we pull up, they don’t know what we’re going to do, they don’t know what we’re capable of doing. So it helps out big time,” the team said in an interview with People. These guys are real heroes!

(Story source: Hamrokhaber)

Coronavirus: Planning for your dog’s care if you become ill with Covid-19

While some members of the population are more at risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 than others, it is still a virus that anyone can catch, and which can make even some younger people in seemingly good health very ill.

Dog Care

If you have a dog, even if you’re fully healthy and take all possible steps to avoid contracting Covid, you should still make a theoretical plan for your dog’s care in the event that you did become ill, and so were unable to leave home to walk your dog and potentially, were unable to care for their other needs too.

This article will tell you what to think about when it comes to planning for your dog’s care in case you became ill with Covid19. Read on to learn more.

Keep two weeks of food and meds in (but not more than a month)

First of all, it can be difficult at the moment to know how much of your essentials (ranging from toilet paper to your dog’s food) you should keep in reserve.

On the one hand, Covid restrictions and the Brexit transition is resulting in some products becoming unavailable or seeing supply chain disruption, but on the other hand, people panic-buying and stockpiling goods out of perceived and unfounded fears of shortages messes up the supply chain and limits availability far worse!

Coupled with this, we’re being asked to go out as infrequently as possible and so when we do shop, to get enough to keep us going without needing another trip soon; but also once more, not to buy more than we need.

Knowing then how much dog food and how much of any medication for the dog should be kept at home can be complicated anyway, but factor in planning for potential illness due to Covid, and also the expiry date of foods and medications, and it can be really hard to know what do to.

A good balance that will ensure you never run short but also don’t hold too much of anything is to keep two to four weeks of your dog’s food and medication on hand at all times, so that if you developed Covid-19 and either couldn’t go out or needed someone else to care for your dog, you’d be prepared and not have to worry about how to source their essentials while you were unwell.

Consider the logistics of how someone could help with your dog if needed

It can be hard to think about what you might need if you became ill in the future when you’re feeling just fine, but it is a good idea to run the what-ifs and consider the logistics of how things would work if you did become ill and needed help with your dog.

For instance, who would be able to walk them and how could you arrange this, how could you hand your dog off to them without contact and risk of exposure, and who could care for your dog if you were too sick to even feed or provide their care at home, or if you were taken into hospital.

Options to consider include things like dog walkers, kennels, friends, family and neighbours, local community care and volunteering groups (many of which have only formed in the last year due to Covid-19) and dog sitters who might be able to care for your dog in their home.

Draw up comprehensive information about your dog and their needs before you need it

If you fell ill with Covid and were feeling very poorly and this came as a surprise to you, you would no doubt struggle to try to let anyone who might be helping with your dog know the fine details of what they need and how they’re cared for.

It is important to draw this up while you’re healthy and hope you never need it! Include things like what and when your dog eats and how much, when they usually get walked and for how long, how they behave on the lead, if and how they are allowed off the lead, and vitally, any behavioural issues, fears, or potential problems someone else might face, even if that’s really unlikely.

Cover other things too like when they usually need the toilet, how they ask to get out, if they tend to scavenge or try to steal food, and what they’re allowed and not allowed to do; like sleep on beds.

Include information on who your dog’s vet is and the details your dog is registered under, any health issues or concerns, if they need grooming and brushing and how, and if they need to see a groomer at all as a welfare issue.

The more information you can provide, the better.

What if you don’t have friends or family that could help?

All of this is moot if you’re worrying your socks off over finding someone to help you if you needed it; perhaps because you don’t know who or where to ask, or have asked the people you thought might be willing to be on standby and found them unable.

Looking up local support and community groups as mentioned earlier can be really helpful, and your local vet and also rehoming charities can usually help and advise too. Many dog owners are reluctant to contact charities and shelters for advice, but doing so does not mean you intend to give your dog up; just make use of their insights, and potential network of contacts that might be able to help you, advise you, or foster your dog if you became ill.

Make provision for your dog in your will

Finally, the topic of wills and what night happen to your dog after your death is never a comfortable one, but particularly given Covid-19, is something that many people are actively avoiding; and it shouldn’t be. Whether you’re very vulnerable or would likely weather Covid-19 infection with very little concern, if you have a dog, even when you’re young, fit and healthy, it is a very good idea to have a basic will.

This should indicate by whom and possibly how you’d like your dog cared for after your death (with said party informed and asked first!) and perhaps allocating some money to their care or needs. If you find that you would need to surrender your dog to a shelter if the worst happened, talking to your shelter of choice and agreeing this, and leaving directions and a donation for your dog’s care and rehoming in your will is a good thing to do too.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Give a dog a bone? What are the most popular dog treats in the UK 2021 – and why?

Virtually every dog owner gives their dog treats of some form at some point, whether that be commercially bought dog treats, homemade ones, or table scraps, and the majority of dogs get treats in some quantity every single day.

Dog Treats

While it isn’t good for dogs to be fed too many treats and the treats that you do give to your dog should be measured out and accounted for in their daily food intake, feeding treats is not bad for dogs per se, and serves a number of purposes.

Training treats or treats given as rewards for good behaviour, to occupy a dog while they’re left alone, to get the dog’s attention, or simply to feed to reinforce the bond between you all have their place!

What type of treats dogs like can be really variable too, and many dogs have an absolute favourite they go wild for, even if they would ultimately eat more or less anything that was on offer.

Of course, whether or not a dog gets a taste for a certain type of treat in the first place depends to an extent on what their owners choose for them and offer to them; and knowing what type of dog treats to buy can be complicated.

Whether you simply pick up what’s cheapest or what you know your dog likes or if you spent hours researching the best type of treats for your dog, knowing what other dog owners pick can be quite enlightening.

Based on the best-selling dog treats overall as shared by huge national online retailers like Amazon that showcase a huge number of brands and that theoretically any seller or brand can use to get their products out there, this article will share with you the top five most popular dog treats in the UK as of January 2021; and some theories on our part as to why people buy them. Read on to learn more.

Wagg “BBQ Bangers” Dog Treats

What are Wagg BBQ Bangers” Dog Treats?
“Wagg” is a brand name, and their BBQ Bangers are semi-moist dog treats each a similar size (and shape) to Wotsits crisps, and which come in a range of flavours.

What type of dogs are they suitable for?
BBQ Bangers are suitable for dogs of all breeds from the age of eight weeks onwards.

How should they be fed/what are they used for?
BBQ Bangers are designed to appeal to all dogs including fussy eaters, and they’re advertised as being suitable for use as training treats; although they’re slightly larger than the type of training treats you’d feed very freely, and so might be better suited to being used as a higher-level reward. They are pliable enough to break in half though to portion out in smaller amounts.

Why are they popular?
The claim that they appeal to potentially fussy dogs, and their ability to be used as training treats are likely to be part of their general appeal, as are the wide range of flavours.

Pets Purest 100% Pure Beef Air Dried Treats for Dogs

What are Pets Purest 100% Pure Beef Air Dried Treats for Dogs?
“Pets Purest” is the brand, and their Pure Beef Air Dried Treats are made of 100% air-dried beef, and nothing else; no colours, preservatives, or literally anything but beef. They’re reasonably chewy but not particularly tough or hard.

What type of dogs are they suitable for?
Pets Purest 100% Pure Beef Air Dried Treats for Dogs are suitable for adult dogs, usually taken to mean dogs of one year of age or older.

How should they be fed/what are they used for?
These treats are too chewy to make for good training treats, and they’re more of a general-purpose treat, to divert, occupy, or reward your dog; and the product information for them says that they can also help to some extent to clean the surfaces of your dog’s teeth, although this is no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth.

Why are they popular?
The fact that these treats are natural and made from just beef means they’re popular with many types of dog owners, including those that want to feed their dogs a more natural diet, those that own dogs with food allergies, and those whose dogs can be picky, among many others.

Pedigree Schmackos

What are Pedigree Schmackos?
This is the second entry for a “Pedigree” product in the list, these being their “Schmackos,” which is one of the most well-known and enduring dog treats of all, and one that most dog owners know well. Schmackos come in strip form, and they’re fairly moist and not too tough to chew, being moderate for their size in the calorie stakes at 30 calories each.

What type of dogs are they suitable for?
Schmackos are suitable for adult dogs of all types.

How should they be fed/what are they used for?
Schmackos are too large when whole to make for good training treats, but they’re not tough and so can be used as training treats if torn into smaller chunks; or as a high-value reward. They don’t take ages to chew and are a versatile size, so can be given as a general treat, although they won’t really keep dogs occupied for long enough to use as a diversion when leaving your dog alone.

Why are they popular?
Schmackos are relatively low calorie for their size, and most dogs can be tempted by them; they’re also fairly soft and so suitable for even older dogs and those whose teeth aren’t in great condition.

Pedigree Dentastix Daily Dental Care Chews

What are Pedigree Dentastix?
Pedigree is the brand behind three of the entries on the most popular dog treats list, including coming in at the number one spot with their Dentastix. While a huge number of brands now make dental sticks for dogs that emulate Pedigree’s branded version, this is the original brand-named dental stick for dogs, and still the best known; and best-selling. Dentastix are hard chews in a stick shape, with grooves along their length.

What type of dogs are they suitable for?
Dentastix are suitable for adult dogs (over one year of age) and they come in different size options to suit dogs of different sizes. It should be noted that dogs with weak teeth, sore gums, or many missing teeth might struggle with Dentastix, due to the hardness of the treats.

How should they be fed/what are they used for?
Dentastix Daily Dental Care Chews for Dogs are advertised as being designed to prevent and reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar on dog’s teeth, and to help counteract bad breath. However, they are not a substitute for proper dental care, and should be seen as a supplement to help with good dental hygiene rather than to be given instead of brushing your dog’s teeth and getting them regular dental check-ups at the vet.

Why are they popular?
Dentastix are possibly seen by many buyers as a “good” or “healthier” dog treat, due to their perceived dental benefits. When used in combination with proper dental care, this is true; however, there is the possibility than some buyers think Dentastix can replace teeth cleaning and even reverse existing dental problems, which is not their intended use and not the case.

(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)

Dogs’ brains ‘not hardwired’ to respond to human faces

Study of brain activity shows no difference when dogs see back or front of a head.

human faces

Dog owners might love their pet’s endearing puppy dog eyes and cute furry features, but it turns out the doggy brain is just as excited by the back of our heads as the front.

For despite having evolved facial expressions that tug on the heartstrings of owners, researchers have found that unlike humans, dogs do not have brain regions that respond specifically to faces.

“It’s amazing dogs do so well when it comes to reading emotions and identify from faces, despite the fact that they seem not to have a brain designed for having a focus on (them),” said Dr Attila Andics, co-author of the study from Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Andics and colleagues report how they scanned the brains of 20 family dogs, including labradors and border collies, and 30 humans with each shown six sequences of 48 videos of either the front or the back of a human or dog head.

The team found particular regions of the dog’s brain showed differing activity depending on the species shown, with a greater response to dog videos. However, there was no difference in any region when dogs were shown a human or dog face compared with the back of its head.

By contrast, regions of the human brain showed different activity
depending whether a face or the back of a head was shown, with faces generally generating a stronger response.

A small subset of these regions also showed a difference between species, in general showing a stronger response to humans.

Andics said the further analysis showed the dog brain was primarily
focused on whether the animal was looking at a dog or a human, whereas the human brain was mainly focused on whether there was a face.

While previous work has suggested that dogs have separate areas of the brain for processing human and dog faces, Andics said the new results suggest these studies might be picking up on responses to other differences in the images, such as the breed of dog.

Andics said the new results suggested dogs did not rely strongly on faces when it comes to communication – but that did not mean dogs completely ignored them. Rather, he said, dog brains were not designed to specifically focus on faces, something that might be linked to the animals taking in many body cues.

Prof Sophie Scott, director of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, said it was known that different networks in the human brain processes different aspects of information in faces. But the study suggests the canine brain works differently.

“The dog face system just goes ‘it’s a dog or a human’ and it doesn’t really care about the faces,” she said, noting the findings contrast to research showing both dogs and humans have particular brain regions involved in processing voices.

The results, Scott added, suggests dogs may be rely less on faces than other information. “One of the main ways dogs know who their friends are and how they are doing is their smell,” she said.

But Dr Daniel Dilks, an expert in the human visual cortex from Emory University, said the study did not conclusively prove there was no face-specific brain region in dogs. “The finding of a(brain) region in dogs (that only responds to images of dogs) is intriguing, but only 50% of the dogs tested showed such a region,” he added. “It will be important to understand why half of the dogs exhibit such a cortex, while the other half does not.”

(Story source: The Guardian)