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James Watts

BSc Bioveterinary Science. Editor of PetSci. When I'm not writing, learning, discussing, or reading about animals, you know it's the weekend! Currently developing PetSci HealthTrak, the fast and easy way to monitor your pet's weight and calorie intake. HealthTrak offers a simple way to track your pet's progress, helping them achieve a healthy weight and a long, happy life.

Are Bigger Dogs Smarter than Smaller Breeds?

dog-brain-intelligence

Correlation between brain size and intelligence isn’t straightforward. Humans are the most intelligent lifeform on the planet, yet our brain is smaller than that of an elephant or whale. Relative to body weight, humans still don’t have the largest brains, we have a similar relative brain size to mice! Even comparing sizes of human brains to one another, intelligence and …

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Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Dog in lavender field

With the field of holistic and complementary medicine gaining popularity we’ve gathered some advice for pet owners looking to try animal aromatherapy in their homes. Always follow the advice of your veterinarian, only they are qualified to prescribe the use of alternative medications such as essential oil aromatherapy. Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs and Other Pets? Essentials oils are …

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A Pet Owner’s Guide to Surviving Firework Night

dog and fireworks

Bonfire night can be a stressful time if your pet is scared of fireworks. A PDSA report from 2015 found 39% of pets have a fear of fireworks. Although we know the colourful explosions in the sky are perfectly safe, our pets don’t understand. Their heightened sense of hearing also makes fireworks more intense. For dogs, cats and other pets …

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Pet Ownership Reduces Allergies and Obesity in Children

baby and dog

Research from the University of Alberta has found pet ownership could reduce obesity and allergic diseases in children. The study conducted by Anita Kozyrskyj, a pediatric epidemiologist, looked at 746 infants. They found babies from households with pets had higher levels of certain microbes in the gut. These microbes are linked to a reduced risk of obesity and allergic diseases …

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Myoclonic Epilepsy Gene Discovered in Dogs

rhodesian ridgeback JME

A gene potentially linked to epilepsy has been discovered in dogs. A study investigated juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) in Rhodesian Ridgebacks in search of its genetic cause. The genome wide association study (GWAS) revealed DIRAS1 to be a strong candidate gene. The gene has previously been linked to neurotransmission, making it a good entry point for future research into myoclonic epilepsies. DNA testing …

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Dogs Enjoy the Sounds of Soft Rock and Reggae Music

dog wearing headphones

Researchers at the University of  Glasgow explored how different music genres affected the behaviour of kennelled dogs. In the study ‘The effect of different genres of music on the stress levels of kennelled dogs’ soft rock and reggae had the most beneficial effect on behaviour. The study follows on from previous research that investigated the impact of classical music on …

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Children Have Closer Relationships to Their Pets than Siblings

Child hugging dog

A recent study compared the relationships children have with pets to those with their siblings. The findings revealed that kids got greater satisfaction from relationships with their pets. The study also provided further evidence that pets are important in the social development of children and early adolescents. It’s no surprise that pets are considered a fully-fledged addition to the family. We …

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Cats Can Learn About the Nutritional Value of Their Food

Cats can get a bad rep for being finicky eaters, but research by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition suggests otherwise. A study looking at the flavour, aroma and nutrition of cat foods found that even unappealing flavours can be a cat’s preferred choice if the nutritional content is right. The study by Mars Petcare showed that cats are able to …

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