Researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Guelph have some news for you about bully sticks.
Photo courtesy of Tufts University
The research team analysed the treats for caloric density and bacterial contamination and they asked owners about their knowledge of the treats through a survey.
The sample size in the study was 26 bully sticks, purchased from different places in the United States and Canada.
The bully sticks contained between nine and 22 calories per inch, meaning that the average sized stick packed 88 calories or 9 percent of the daily caloric requirements of a 5o pound (22.7 kg) dog or 30 percent of the requirement for a 10 pound (4.5 kg) dog.
‘With obesity in pets on the rise, it is important for pet owners to factor in not only their dog’s food, but also treats and table food,’ said Lisa M Freeman, Professor of Nutrition.
The 26 treats were also tested for bacterial contamination. One (4%) was contaminated with Clostridium difficile, one (4%) contaminated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and seven (27%) were contaminated with Escherichia coli including one sample that was resistant to treatment with tetracycline.
Although the sample size in this project was small, the researchers advise all pet owners to wash their hands after touching treats. The risk could be higher for the very young, elderly, pregnant or immuno-compromised dog owners. They acknowledge that research on a larger sample size is also needed.
The survey portion of the study showed that many dog owners are not aware of the ingredients in their dog’s treats, with many demonstrating ignorance of the definition of a ‘by-product.’
The results of the study have been published in the January 2013 issue of the Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Source: Tufts Now media statement
Posted in dog care, dog nutrition and labelling, research
Tagged bacteria, bully sticks, by-product, calories, Canadian Veterinary Journal, Clostridium difficile, Lisa M Freeman, MRSA, Tufts Now, Tufts University, University of Guelph
My mother was never happy when our dog got too close and managed to lick her on the mouth. In the Snoopy cartoons, you might remember when Lucy would run around yelling ‘Get the iodine, get the hot water. I’ve been kissed by a dog.’
It turns out that there is need for caution when considering the mouth-to-mouth contact with your dog.
Researchers from Japan have tracked a microbe that is very common in dogs but rare in humans. In dog owners, 16% of them had the microbe and it appears that they share close contact with their dogs – including kissing.
The researchers also found ten human strains of periodontitis-related bacteria in the dogs’ mouths. And they found that low levels of contact were enough to transmit mouth bacteria either way.
In considering the research, Dr Paul Maza, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, told America’s Fox News: ‘Many of the different types of bacteria in dogs and cats are the same type of bacteria as in humans. If owners practice oral hygiene on their pets, such as brushing their teeth, a pet’s mouth can actually be even cleaner than a human mouth.’
Read the full story in the Daily Mail.
Posted in dog care, research
Tagged animals, bacteria, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, dogs, Dr Paul Maza, gum disease, health, kissing, Lucy, medicine, research, Snoopy, The Daily Mail
I took a course once about personal effectiveness and one of the mantras in it was ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’ The same holds true when cleaning up after our dogs.
Back in July, I posted my column about the public relations nightmare of unscooped poop. This column is about the disposal methods that are and are not acceptable for your dog’s poo.
The nasty things in dog poop
A dog’s poop can transmit bacteria like salmonella (and some studies show that there is an increased risk of this when the dog is fed a raw diet). Parasites like tapeworm, hookworm and roundworms can also live in the feces and exist in the soil for a long time. Other diseases like distemper or parvovirus can be transmitted through exposure to feces from an infected dog.
Don’t compost or bury
Therefore, adding dog poop to your household compost is not recommended. The temperature in the compost heap is unlikely to reach a high enough temperature and you can end up transmitting the bugs to you and your family by handling the compost or adding it to the vegetable garden. Yuck!
Simply burying the poop doesn’t help either. You are basically allowing any of the bacteria and other nasties to live in the soil environment.
Local authorities with kerbside recycling programmes also ask that you don’t add dog poop to your ‘green’ (garden waste/organics) bin. This is a public health issue since most materials from organic collections are composted and then re-distributed back to communities as compost for landscaping and gardens.
Don’t place it in the storm sewer
Some owners think it is okay to place poo in the gutter or storm sewer. It isn’t. Stormwater drains are directed to open water systems in the natural environment. The poo will get washed into local streams and rivers and it is just another way of potentially contaminating the environment.
The better options
- One of the popular methods of cleaning up after your dog is to scoop it up in a plastic bag and dump it in the rubbish. The advantages with this method are that plastic bags are often freely available and it is a way of recycling the bag for another use. This method prevents water pollution and can help control the spread of the nasty bugs. However, plastic doesn’t decompose easily and many owners don’t want to add to the landfill problems in their area.
- This leads us to biodegradable bags like Flush Puppy bags. These bags can be safely disposed of in the rubbish or you can flush them down the toilet as long as you are connected to a public sewer system. For homes on private septic systems, this isn’t recommended because this is an increased load that can overwhelm your disposal system.
- If bags are not your thing, you can carry a shovel or other type of pooper scooper and wrap the poop in newspaper. Disposal in the rubbish is okay and both the newspaper and poop will degrade.
- If you really want to get fancy, you can buy your own composter for dog poop. One brand is the Doggy Dooley. This bin is dug into the ground and then special enzymes are added to help break down the waste.
The Doggy Dooley pet waste composter
- Special bins for worm composting may also work on dog poop. It is best to contact local services in your area about the types of worms available and the types of bins available for this.
Please put poop in its proper place by disposing of your dog’s poo appropriately.
Posted in dog care, dog ownership
Tagged appropriate disposal, bacteria, biodegradable bags, compost, compost heap, disposal, dog poo, dog poop, environment, Flush Puppy, hookworm, inappropriate disposal, pooper scooper, public health issue, roundworm, salmonella, stormwater drains