Tag Archives: companion animals

Doggy quote of the month for October

In 1859, Florence Nightingale wrote, “A small pet is an excellent companion for the sick, the long chronic cases especially.”

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, 1820 – 1910

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Pets save UK National Health Service

Pets account for millions of pounds worth of economic activity in the UK and may reduce National Health Service (NHS) costs by nearly two and a half billion pounds, according to a new report. companion-animal-economics

Drawing on multiple sources, and written by internationally respected animal welfare and business experts, Companion Animal Economics comprehensively documents the economic impact of pets in the UK – the first time such an assessment has been made for nearly 40 years. The study directly examines available evidence on the direct and indirect benefits and costs of companion animals to society, including their influence on human mental and physical health, illness prevention and well-being.

Published by CABI, Companion Animal Economics was developed by Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at the University of Lincoln UK, and Dr Sandra McCune, Human-Animal Interaction expert at Mars Petcare’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition. Mars Petcare UK provided sponsorship towards the cost of producing the report. Other authors include Dr Sophie Hall from the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, Professor Ted Fuller and Luke Dolling from the Lincoln International Business School, and Katie Bristow-Wade of Dogs for Good.

“Vets are well aware how important companion animals are to their owners, but it is important that they appreciate the impact that they can have on the physical, mental and social health of both individuals and society more widely,” says Professor Daniel Mills. “This book should help raise awareness of this and their economic importance in times of economic uncertainty.”

First major study since 1988
“Almost half of households in the UK share their homes with animals cared for as companions – a relationship we consider to be valuable and enriching,” says Dr McCune. ‘This important report provides a modern day update on the impact of companion animals on the UK economy and society, without reducing the discussion to a simplistic cost-benefits ratio. Critically, it aims to raise awareness of the need for research to evaluate the complex routes by which pets make an economic impact on UK society.”

Relatively little information on the economic impact of pets has been published since the 1988 seminal Council for Science and Society (CSS) report on Companion Animals in Society, which inspired Companion Animal Economics. Since then, trends in pet ownership, and associated industries, have changed a great deal. The report’s methodology sought to capture this new context, including issues like pet tourism, pet obesity, and expanding veterinary services, identifying clear gaps where further high-quality data and additional research are needed.

Costs as well as benefits
When evaluating the contribution of companion animals to the UK economy, both positive and negative aspects were considered. The cost of NHS treatment for bites and strikes from dogs is estimated at £3 million per year. At the same time, the report also estimates that pet ownership in the UK may reduce use of the UK health service by up to £2.45 billion per year. This conservative conclusion is drawn through examining healthcare savings through reduced number of doctor visits.

Given the scale of the potential impact, the report concludes that research into companion animals and their economic impact on society needs further investigation and should be supported by government. While UK data were used in the report, many of the points raised relate to other industrialised nations, demonstrating the global nature of this issue.

Book details & Link:
Companion Animal Economics. The Economic Impact of Companion Animals in the UK.  S Hall, Research Fellow. University of Lincoln, UK, L Dolling, PhD student. University of Lincoln, UK, K Bristow, Dogs for Good, UK, T Fuller, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Foresight. University of Lincoln, UK, D Mills, University of Lincoln, UK

Source:  Waltham.com

Companion Animals in New Zealand 2016

The 2011 study into companion animals in this country has been updated and the 2016 report is now available from the NZ Companion Animal Council.  Download it here.

 

Companion Animals in New Zealand 2016

There are lots of facts, figures and data quoted in the report.

Things I noticed in my first reading include:

  • 13% of dog owners prepare homemade food specifically for their animals (yes!)
  • The vast majority of people who have companion animals view them as members of the family.  As such, many trends seen in human wellness and wellbeing are mirrored in pet care.
  • The gender and age profiles of the veterinary profession are changing.  Younger veterinarians are more likely to be female than male.
  • Visits to the vet represent one of the most significant areas of expenditure for households with companion animals (that’s probably not a surprise to most of you).
  • Expenditure on pet insurance has increased by 133% from 2011.

If you are interested in the care of your animals, then this report is well worth downloading.  See how you stack up in terms of the statistics and trends.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Animals in Emergencies – book review

AnimalsinEmergenciesCover

I have just finished reading Animals in Emergencies:  Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes by Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne.  This was a must-read book for me.  Why?  I’m in it!

Published in late 2014, this book is largely a compilation of stories about people and animals caught up in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.  However, since it is also a text produced by university academics, it aims to serve a purpose as “an introduction to the specialised area of animal welfare management during emergencies.”

I found the first 90% of the book the most enjoyable.  Filled with stories of rescue, sheltering and individual owner’s tales of the earthquakes, the book serves to document – largely in the first person – the historical accounts of the days, weeks and months following the quakes.  And I like the fact that the book doesn’t just focus on companion animal dogs and cats, but also includes stories about horses, fish, hedgehogs and other species.

But the last 10% of the book is rather disappointing (and it hurts me to have to say this).  Since New Zealand is a production-based economy, this book had to focus on the fate of production animals.  But this is also where the book loses its tone and momentum.  Either the authors asked for interviews with farmers and researchers and were rejected, or they simply didn’t ask – we’ll never know.

Perhaps because of the lack of firsthand accounts, the book becomes too formal in its approach to describing the impact on farm animals and animals used in research.  The text uses citations from newspaper articles at this point and becomes ‘preachy’ in terms of animal welfare.  As someone with a personal interest in animal welfare management, the issues raised in the book are not new but the distinct ‘lessons learned from Christchurch’ is very much lost on the reader.

I’m pleased this book has been produced and I’m very honored to have my story told although I know that I’m a very small contributor to the overall efforts to assist animals following the quakes.

Animals in Emergencies has been distributed to booksellers worldwide and a paperback version is available on Amazon.com.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

In memory of a Schnauzer

When Dave Duffield started a software company named People Soft, he promised his beloved Miniature Schnauzer named Maddie, “If we ever make some money, I promise we will give it back to you and your kind so others can be as happy as we are today.”

Maddie's FundWell, People Soft did make money and Maddie enjoyed ten happy years with Dave and his wife, Cheryl.  They endowed Maddie’s Fund with more than US$300 million and have spent nearly US$136 million through FY2012-13 to save the lives of homeless animals.

Photo courtesy of Maddie's Fund

Photo courtesy of Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund has a simple mission:  To revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.

The fund supports a range of activities through grants and also organizes special pet adoption events.

Not a bad legacy for a little Schnauzer!

 

 

 

 

An obesity clinic for pets

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine based at Tufts University in Grafton, Massachusetts has opened the first obesity clinic for pets in the United States.

Studies have suggested that up to 60 percent of dogs and cats are obese or overweight.   However, a recent survey of client-owned animals at the Foster Hospital, one of the busiest teaching hospitals for pets in the US,  suggests that that figure may be higher at 70 percent.

Dr Deborah Linder, who will oversee the clinic, says that the clinic will employ sound, research-proven principles in assisting pets to lose weight.

‘We hope to effect change in the obesity epidemic among companion animals.’
Source:  Tufts University media statement