Archive for March 14, 2012

The Perfect Pussies?

Is vegan cat food natural, safe or healthy?

In 2003 Tina M Gray sent a sample of two American vegan cat food brands to a lab. She found that both were deficient in some of the specified/required levels of nutrients. She concluded that these specific foods “could not be recommended as a sole source of nutrition for cats.” [1] Andrew Knight argued that the results were caused by poor quality control during feed manufacture, but that cats can still be vegan safely [1b]. Three years later, Wakefield, Shofer and Michel took blood and plasma samples from several American vegan cats to look for likely deficiencies. They found most had normal results, a few had poorer than normal results but none were critically deficient [2].

These two studies represent the bulk of research into the effects of vegan cat food, therefore a) decisive answers are impossible and b) debate amongst scientists is polarized and based more on opinion than data. Because of this, the pop-science web chatter is often oversimplified, assumptive or inaccurate. This article will address some of the assumptions about both meat and vegan cat foods.

First of all, are the brands you sell “nutritionally complete?”

Yes

So what does that actually mean?

The term nutritionally complete generally means “does the food fulfil the criteria recommended by the appropriate authority.” Something to consider about this: some, possibly most, of the data used to set these recommendations will have been gathered in an unethical manner. I actually started looking into this by following up references from the Gray 2003 study, but quickly decided I couldn’t face the horror after the first thing I read was “Scott and Thompson (1969) found that the vitamin A concentration in the diet of the [mother cat] influenced the concentration of vitamin A in the liver and kidneys of the unsuckled newborn kitten.” [3]

Please see the tables below for an overview of recommendations and levels across various foods. Diet A and Diet B, refer to the nutritionally incomplete foods discussed in the Gray study; the results for the Benevo vegan food are from a lab analysis [4].

Thats a lot of variance, how do we know what’s best? For example, what do cats eat naturally?

Dr Andrew Knight, a vegan Veterinary Biologist, makes some interesting (and humorous) comments in his 2008 article in LifeScapeMag about about which foods are commonly considered to be natural for cats. He asks if we have ever seen cats “swim 10-20 miles out into the ocean, hunting blue-fin tuna weighing up to half a ton, which they engage in underwater battles to the death” or feral cats in Africa “stalking and hunting large game, notably cows, sheep and pigs.” [5]. Put in this light, even the simple premise “cats eat meat” is not so simple after all; vegan cat food may seem unnatural, but then again, cats certainly wouldn’t naturally “garnish their meals with… species such as salmon, prawns and whitebait.”

The Campaign for Real Pet Food suggests that “good quality natural pet foods only use identifiable, named meats, such as chicken, fish and lamb” and that they should be “free from artificial additives such as colours, preservatives and flavours.” [6] While this great campaign calls for honest labelling, education and the removal of chemicals (all important and worthy aspirations) I am not especially convinced that the cat products certified by them are are “real” or “natural” in any biological or behavioural sense: for example, they contain ingredients such as salmon, prawn, herring, chicken, egg, rice, oats, barley, lactose reduced milk and pork digest [7]. The very fact that they need to reduce the lactose in the milk, for example, suggests it is not a natural food for the cat.

Then we have the Pork Digest: Dr Kight talks about “digest” in a particularly scathing manner, claiming that it is a disgusting result of industry greed and that the word is a “euphemism for a soup of partially dissolved intestines, livers, lungs and miscellaneous viscera of chickens (primarily) and other animals, produced using various enzymes and acids” [8] – the specific recipe being a “closely guarded trade secret.” It’s the thing that makes dry cat food smell that special way when you open the bag.

Suggested and actual protein levels.

“Natural” isn’t just about the ingredients either, even the way we feed our cat is totally unnatural – constant access to dry food and identically sized portions of meat delivered at the same times every day. So, the idea that “commercial meat-based diets allow greater expression of natural behaviour” is also a fallacy. [8]

I have been quickly convinced that the world “natural” is close to meaningless when it comes to food for the domesticated cat; in fact, I will go as far as to say it would probably be cruel to try and feed them in a truly natural way and on what would truly be their natural diet.

But surely meat is still better than no meat?

Not always, and this is where the situation gets a little grim really: both Dr Knight and the Campaign for Real Pet Food (CRPF) would agree – there are often all sorts of nasties in pet foods. CRPF focus mostly on the ingredients disguised with phrases like “EC permitted additives” and derivatives of vegetable origin” whereas Dr Night talks about contaminates too. Meat-based pet foods have been known include, most shockingly, the euthanasia solution Sodium Pentobarbital, which is specifically designed to kill dogs and cats [9]. This was found in 43 randomly selected brands and product lines of (American) dry dog food: the FDA suggests this is because dogs and cats killed in animal sanctuaries were/(are??) “rendered and used in pet food.” [10]

Thats sick…. but cats are obligate carnivores right?

Yes, cats are categorized as obligate carnivores.

So if they didn’t eat meat they would die?

Actually, that’s not what the term obligate carnivore means. In the (very critical) paper by Gray, there are a lot of quite complex factors cited to explain this term. These factors range from a “shorter gastrointestinal tract length” and “fewer premolars and molars” to the need for ready made Lycine, Taurine and Arginine in the diet [1].

So what does this biology tell us?

These biological/biochemical factors tell us that cats are a) more physically suited for the consumption of meat, relative to omnivores and b) dependent, in the long term, upon nutrients needed in concentrations or ratios most likely to occur in meat, rather than in concentrations or ratios most likely to occur in plants. However, this does not therefore mean that a cat requires meat to survive, it means that the cat requires specific nutrients to survive: this can be said of all species.

“For cats, as for all other species, they key requirement is that their diets be nutritionally complete and balanced.” [11] In “the wild” a cat who ate only grass and berries would be unlikely to survive in the long term: it would become very ill, and could die from those illnesses.

But my cat isn’t in “the wild” right?

Exactly! And vegan cat food does not consist of grass and berries either!

If being an obligate carnivore doesn’t even mean that meat is obligatory, are the associated biological features even relevant in a domesticated cat?

Yes, this information is still very important. Take the example of “fewer premolars and molars” – with molar coming from “mola” which is Latin for “millstone.” These types of teeth are important for chewing/grinding food – because a cats have fewer of these they will find it harder to eat fibrous plant material: and so we can prepare the food accordingly.

Another important aspect of “obligate carnivore” is the well cited Taurine issue: humans and dogs, for example, can use Taurine OR glycine to make bile salts (which are later used to emulsify fats). Cats, however, can only use Taurine for this, and because they synthesize Taurine in the liver “at a relatively low rate”, it is important that they attain Taurine from their food. Because Taurine “occurs at low levels in non-animal tissue”, cat food made using only plant ingredients must be supplemented with artificial Taurine. However, meat pet food is very definitely supplemented with artificial Taurine too [12], presumably because meat foods are also often plant based anyway and because Taurine is lost during meat processing [13]. It’s important that the nutritional needs of your cat are met, no matter what kind of food you buy.

It’s all so complicated!

I know! Scientists will be sporadically discussing the relevance of “obligate carnivore” to vegan domestic cats for a long time to come, however, even those who are opposed to vegan cat food cannot find a concrete scientific basis for dismissing vegan cat food entirely. In Gray’s (frankly rather antagonistically written) paper, the most definitive statement made is “When animal tissue is eliminated from the diet of an obligate carnivore, the potential for nutritional deficiencies increases. Various nutrients essential to cats are of potential concern in a vegan diet due to their scarcity in plant material.” [14] Potential. Potential! We should be careful, but not afraid.

So what is the conclusion?

Personally, I am resolutely convinced of only one thing: no more animals should suffer for research in animal nutrition. We all love our pets, and want to give them the perfect diet, but brutalizing other animals in search of the best recipe is just not on. As for the rest? We should all calm down a little bit really – if you feel that the moral and health issues surrounding meat warrant a trial of vegan foods, have a go, take it slowly and see how your cat responds. If your cat is happy on a vegan diet then you will be saving the lives of many other animals and reducing your carbon footprint in the process – I would suggest that it is worth a try… but that is only my opinion. What is yours?

References

[1] Nutritional adequacy of two vegan diets for cats, by Christina M. Gray, DVM Rance K. Sellon, DVM, PhD, DACVIM Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN from The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2004, Vol. 225, No. 11, Pages 1670-1675. I have only read an unpublished version of this paper; there is a good summary here.

[1b] As above and also, see [11]

[2] (2006) Evaluation of cats fed vegetarian diets and attitudes of their caregivers, by Lorelei A. Wakefield, Frances S. Shofer, Kathryn E. Michel from The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2006. 229:1, 70-73 Freely available to download here.

[3] The Gray paper states that “kittens fed a taurine-deficient diet exhibit poor growth” – referenced as 7. I searched for this reference (“National Research Council. Nutrient requirements of cats. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1986.”) and then searched within the book for references to Taurine and kittens. This was the first study which I read about; the kittens were killed before they had even taken milk.

[4] The Benevo levels were sent to me by email on request, the Yarrah levels are available here.  Due to the low level of Taurine described, I rang them to ask some questions; the levels described are what are added into the food, so there will be more occurring naturally in the meat. AFFCO, diet A and diet B levels are from the Gray 2003 paper, FEDIAF are available here and Purina told me the ProPlan levels when I called them on their hot-line, but would not disclose the go cat levels. Yarah were very help full, but I found both Benevo and Purina to be stubborn about disclosing some of the information. I suspect there is some kind of “common knowledge” in pet food manufacture that a) levels will fluctuate from batch to batch and vary depending on storage and b) most foods are supplemented with similar/identical premix. That is my deduction anyway. Also, please note that I removed two very large levels from diet a/b to make the graph easier to read. The graph isn’t really very valid scientifically, please look at the original data for the best information.

[5] Article from Lifesapemag.com, May 2008: available to download here. Well worth a read.

[6] http://www.crpf.org.uk/index.php?section=538

[7] I looked at the linking sites from the page about certified brands.

[8] Article from Lifesapemag.com, marked page 74, third column): available to download here.

[9] http://www.vegepets.info/pages/meat_based_commercial_diets.htm

[10] I found the original article by the FDA here, which is where I got the quote.

[11] From Knight, A. In defense of vegetarian cat food. J. Amer. Vet. Medical. Assoc. 2005, 15 Feb.; Vol. 226 No. 4 pp. 512-513. – available here.

[12] I have head this but not seen it referenced. However, According to a well researched wikipedia article “In 1993, approximately 5/6000 tons of taurine were produced for commercial purposes; 50% [of which is] for pet food manufacture” – the AAFCO required level stated in the Gray study is only 0.1% of each meal… that’s 0.05g of a 50g serving… so sixty thousand million (or 60 Billion in USA speak) 50g pet meals are supplemented a year. That’s certainly not just the vegan foods!! Yarrah have explained that their foods have a supplement added, but I bet you would find it hard to get most companies to even admit this: this really just continues the myth that cats get everything they need from meat based foods.

[13] This is again only from my own understanding and from the non-referenced sources I have read.

[14] From page five of ref [1]

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RESURGENCE: IRREFUTABLE

This is an overview of Animals: A New Ethics, the March/April 2012 edition of Resurgence magazine. It is made up of quotes from the issue, so I named it a Quoverview!! Below that is a traditional review. Happy reading! – Anna x

Very nice! So, what is the magazine about?

Resurgence magazine promotes “ecological sustainability, social justice and spiritual values”. [1] This special issue of the magazine discusses how humans treat non-humans, and how non-humans treat each other. There are some facts and figures, and a lot of ideas too.

By insisting that animals are moral “we are not inserting something human into animals, but we’re identifying commonalities and the using human language to communicate what we observe” – From Wild Justice by Bekoff and Pierce, quoted by Peter Anderson, page 57

Is it worth reading?

From What Might Have Been, page 14

Yes. The writing is clever, interesting and provocative – good enough to preach to the congregation, not just the choir. Send copies to your most sceptical friends. It is also beautifully presented, with a broad focus, providing art, poetry and recipes alongside the articles. There are no graphic photos of suffering animals, which I personally found helpful.

Human treatment of animals was not allays this savage, belief in human superiority didn’t become commonplace till the end of the 13th century, when the teachings of Thomas Aquinas became popular. – Richard Ryder, page 14

So, it isn’t just same old same old?

No. If you are vivisection expert, then you will learn of the plight of the sacred cows. If you know your theology, then do you also know about Franz Marc and the Blue Rider group? Or how to bake Panforte Nero? This magazine is full of surprises. Most of all, it communicates a real sense space and time - I feel less alone and more optimistic, and I see my place, for better and for worse, in the fight for animal welfare and equality.

“A common assumption we make about animals that they only live in the moment” – this has shown to be untrue on a behavioural and biological/hormonal level, because animals, from Starlings to Baboons, experience prolonged emotional states, such as “pessimism, optimism and bereavement” – Jonathan Balcombe, 32.

Sounds impressive!

From "The Animal Manifesto", page 34

Yes, it is. It’s not just the content though, it’s how the content is shaped. The why is discussed, not just the usual what, when and how. The answers are described, not just the problems. The issues are discussed from many different angles, from the scientific to the spiritual – and yet, as you can see from my Quoverview above, there is also cohesiveness. The diversity of voices starts to merge somehow, and in the end, you hear just one voice – spurning you on to be, to do more… and better. It’s hard to tell if this is simply good writing, clever editing and design, or if it’s more than that; an organic emergence of unity among us.

It’s only after the fall that Adam and Eve ate meat – before then, before the first sin, they were vegan. – Tom Regan, 13.

So, what didn’t you like?

The Front Cover

There are no references: this is both dis-empowering and self-defeating. It reduces credibility, increases the risk of shoddy writing and inhibits the propagation of new thought and new argument. It is well past the time for the animal rights/welfare community to learn this and to make an effort to show. their. evidence. If you accuse a “slaughterhouse with organic accreditation” [2] of infringements of the law and of cruelty – name them, shame them: let me make up my own mind! If you describe inhumane experiments in a lab, tell me the titles of the papers! Knowledge is power: so stop playing Chinese whispers!

Soil is the largest carbon sink of all – Juliet Gellatley, page 16

Point taken, so where can I buy a copy?

You can buy on-line here, or search for stockists here.

“It is natural and “animal” to be good, compassionate, empathetic and moral” – Marc Bekoff, page 35

References

[1] From the Resurgence website: www.resurgence.org

[2] Resurgence magazine, March/April 2012, pages 21-23. If Slaughterhouses had glass Walls, by Mark Gold. Quote from page 23. And that is how it’s done!

Photo in Quoverview By Moise Nicu (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Quotes from Quoverview

In order of appearance: Richard Ryder, page 15; Kailah Eglington, page 58; Tom Regan, page 10; Marc Beckoff, page 34; Martin Luther King, as quoted by Ingrid E Newkirk, page 65; Jonathan Balcombe, page 32; Jon Wynne-Tyson, page 27 and Heidi Stephenson, page 5.

“Per hectare a [badger] cull would cost more than a vaccination programme” – Brian May, page 40

Here's me reading the mag with Ivy on my knee, at the park and then in the garden with Bethan, and later on my exercise bike!

 

There is also a great review of this edition of resurgence by Marie Dunnion (Animal Voice)

The Healthy Huskies

A summary of a scientific study into vegetarian animal nutrition.

What’s the short version?

In 2004, two teams of Huskies raced across Australia. One side of each team had been fed a veggie diet, while the other side ate meat. They did not run in circles (or die).

Cool! So tell me more….

This study, lead by Dr Wendy Brown, was deigned to see if hard-working dogs would become anaemic or ill if they ate only plant based food. Sled-racing presents a great opportunity for nutritional research because the dogs run in pairs – i.e. at the same speed, for the same distance, pulling the same weight. This level of experimental “control” is hard to achieve, and desire for it has lead to unethical practices in many types of research. What’s really great about this study is that the dogs were just “borrowed” – they are pets; not “lab-animals.”

Dr Brown explains initially that the difference between meat and veggie food is bigger conceptually than it is nutritionally. Both non-meat and with-meat foods are usually made mostly of grain [8]. She says: “It is only a small step from some of the popular cereal-based dry dog foods to one that contains no meat at all.” [1]

The difference between meat and veggie food is bigger conceptually than it is nutritionally.

So, what happened in the experiment?

In this experiment, 12 Siberian huskies were divided into racing pairs based on ability. One of the dogs in each pair was fed on Pedigree Advantage, a food containing meat, made by Mars Petcare – who test on animals and use battery/barn eggs [2]. The other dog in the pair was fed on a vegetarian food, also developed by Mars Petcare Australia (especially for the experiment). [3] Take a look at Table One for a comparison of the ingredients – note how similar the foods are to each other. Both foods exceeded nutritional requirements/suggestions for dog food [4].

Table1

The racing season lasted 16 weeks, including training and recovery, and the dogs stayed in their usual environment and routine throughout. They were checked by a vet before hand, and then again in weeks 8 and 16. They had a blood test beforehand and then again in weeks 3, 8 and 16. The dog pairs raced in packs of 6 or 4, running 12 or 9 km races respectively.

What were the results?

In the race, the 6 dog team came in 4th place out of 29 packs, and the 4 dog team came in 7th place, from 36 packs….

No, not the race results! What were the blood test results?!

All the blood tests and vet checks showed normal results, for all of the dogs through all 16 weeks.

All the blood tests and vet checks showed normal results.

So, dogs can get enough protein from a veggie diet?

Yes, though scientists actually already knew this. Dr Brown suggests that, when taken in combination with data from previous studies, the results of this experiment highlight “the importance of providing sufficient dietary protein for exercising dogs, irrespective of whether the protein is of plant or animal origin.”

Does this mean that Vegetarian dog food is scientifically proven to be totally safe and complete?

No. It shows that veggie dog food can fulfill all the required “nutritional standards” in chemical terms [4]. It also shows that for short periods of time dogs wont suffer ill effects from eating a vegetarian diet – even if they are under considerable physical strain. This level of evidence, in my understanding, greatly surpasses that provided by most non-veggie pet food retailers, certainly most ethically minded ones anyway – yet it will probably not be considered enough evidence by many dog-lovers who find the concept of veggie dog food strange. For science to “decide” if vegetarian dog food is nutritionally equivalent to meat dog food, it will take many more investors, tests (perhaps inhumane) and dogs (perhaps in labs) – and much more time.

This level of evidence greatly surpasses that provided by most non-veggie pet food retailers.

So… why do Vegetarian pet foods say they are “nutritionally complete” on them?

It all comes down to methods and money. Dr Brown says: “Dog foods are tested for their nutritional adequacy in the first instance by means of chemical analysis. However, not all of the nutrients present in the dog food will necessarily be available to the dog.” In essence, when you grind up dog food, put it in a machine and look at the molecules it’s made from, vegetarian ingredients and meat ingredients are either the same or similar. However, that doesn’t mean that your dog is guaranteed to digest, absorb or use them in identical ways.

The foods can also be tested in a “feeding protocol” for more information – Dr Browns experiment is a very good and ethical example of such a test, however, normally such tests involve lab dogs. Also, these tests are expensive – out of reach for small, interested parties and not an attractive use of funds for large and disinterested parties.

So, if we decide to wait for categorical proof, how much meat will we feed to our dogs in the meantime?

I did a little nerd-calculation - if the average dog eats about 164 kg of meat a year [5]; the average cow weighs about 700kg, and there are 74 million dogs in Europe [6] – meat to the “equivalent” of around 17 million cows will be farmed and killed every year to feed the dogs of Europe. What if it takes another 10, 15 or 20 years for science to reach a verdict? Should we feed the equivalent of another 240 million cows to our dogs in the meantime? Each year these 17 million cows would eat over 200 billion kilograms of vegetable protein [7]… and none of this takes into account the carbon footprint made by all that meat… nor the rain-forests cleared for the feed production… nor all the extra people who could have food if the west produced less meat…

Logically, perhaps we should consider feeding our dogs on a plant-based diet until/unless science can tell us the food is nutritionally-incomplete!

Meat to the “equivalent” of 17 million cows is farmed and killed every year to feed the dogs of Europe.

And the conclusion?

Dr Brown says “[This] is the first study to demonstrate using a short feeding trail that a meat-free diet can be nutritionally adequate for exercising dogs. Whilst longer-term trials are necessary to prove this claim, nutritional adequacy was shown by chemical analysis, and this was further demonstrated by feeding the diet, in a controlled experiment, to actively exercising dogs…… these findings pave the way for commercial pet food manufactures to produce nutritionally adequate meat-free diets for dogs.”

We say… here here!!

I’m convinced! Where can I buy vegetarian food for my dog?

I know a great little place on-line… I think it’s called “Ethical Pets” ; )

 

 

References

[1] This quote is from the first page of the article, which is numbered page 102. You can download the full study here.

[2] Sources for my claim that Mars conduct animal testing:

1) Ethical Consumer Magazine’s report into pet food, page 17/48. 2)  Uncaged – unsure how reliable this source is as there are no references. 3) Mars Candy Kills – a glossy campaign with emotionally manipulative features and no references. This website states “Not one of Mars’ experiments on animals is required by law.” 4) The Mars Website says testing is meet legal requirements and that they “only conduct such animal research when non-animal alternatives are not feasible. Info from document entitled “Mars’ Position on Animal Welfare” dated 08/Sep/2011 accessed Feb 2012. Document is unnecessarily difficult to link to! 5) The Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, owned by Mars. Glossy site, unclear language. Language and imagery seem manipulative, for example they call their test subjects “pets” and have subtle happy pet pictures in the background of their website.

[3] There was a feeding trial done, using the collection of dog faeces to establish “digestibility coefficients” at the university using dogs in their “Quarantine Approved Premises.”  I assume in good faith this is not a lab, but a facility for animals which have been moved into the country as pets and require a legal examination etc. I await confirmation of this as I can find no exact information.

[4] In this case the standards set by the “National Research Council” were vastly exceeded by both foods. I (roughly) checked them against the current European equivalent at FEDIAF; they also surpassed this standard. Also note that it is likely these nutritional requirements have been discovered in experiments using vivisection.

[5] According to New Scientist, from Ethical Consumer Magazine’s report into pet food, page 17/48

[6] According to The European Pet Food Industry Federation: Facts and Figures, 2010

[7] As for each kg of beef produced, the cow needs to eat 17kg of vegetable protein From “saving the world with your knife and fork” by Juliet Gellatley in Resurgence, March/April 2012.

[8] From my understanding, these cereal-based foods need a high grain content for the “extrusion” process which shapes and cooks the biscuits/pellets. According to wikipedia, vitamin A is lost through extrusion – and potentially inadequate Vitamin A provision is one of the criticisms of specifically vegetarian pet food. Is meat pet food supplemented anyway, due to loss in this extrusion process?

Images:

By User Damast on sv.wikipedia (Photo by Damast) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.

By Jjron (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

How not to entertain your puppy…

(ok, and how to as well…)

A guest blog from Alison Clayton-Smith

 

Bobby the Tibetan Terrier is coming up to 5 months old and yes he is very cute but he’s also very tetchy when he’s bored, which is pretty frequent (like every hour). Here are 3 lessons learnt on how not to entertain your puppy:

Bobby

  • Leaving work notes on the sofa
  • Cleaning up wee in the house without removing him from the temptation of waggling tissues
  • Wearing dangling necklaces, scarves, laces. In fact, pretty much wearing any clothing at all, though I have to admit, it would be more painful without the clothing barrier, and a bit chilly what with the doors being open so much to let him into the garden. (Top tip: never get a puppy in the winter months…)

Bobby loves digging up the garden to hide his hedgehogs and crocodiles.

There are better strategies and some of them even come with a good ethical pedigree, for example:

Hedgehog Chew Treat

  • Bobby loves digging up the garden to hide his hedgehogs and crocodiles. He likesme going with him. I tell myself it is in case he forgets and he is relying on me to remember, but I suspect that might be a bit of anthropomorphism going on there. At some point he’ll go back and dig them up, running triumphantly across the garden. He might eat a bit or he might just go and hide it somewhere else.
  • An empty plastic bottle, clean and reasonably firm, makes a good toy to chase around. He had a particularly great time in the snow as the bottles slid across the surface. The only thing we have to watch is his little pincer teeth chewing the plastic off. In fact he’s pushing one round the lounge right now. If you’re outside and got neighbours, I don’t recommend giving them the bottle before 8am, it makes quite a racket.
  • Cardboard tubes from toilet rolls, for example. I reckon he thinks our downstairs toilet is where cardboard tubes are made. Good for chewing, nosing around the carpet and sometimes hiding treats in, though he’s not great on the whole ‘Find’ thing yet.
  • And finally, frozen carrots. I found this one on the Internet. Chop them up into chunks and freeze. Healthy snack, good for teething, and for some reason, fun to hunt. I’ve never thought of a carrot as prey. Works particularly well on a tiled/slippery surface where the carrot ‘escapes’ at every touch. Downside, Bobby does have a tendency to let them go mushy, which isn’t always nice for the carpet.

Ok, well he’s starting to get up to mischief so best be off!

 

Alison Clayton-Smith lives in the first Garden City, Letchworth, Hertfordshire. She is a facilitator and writer focused on sustainable living, ecopsychology and mindfulness. Her back ground in management/personal development has not proved that useful for puppy development! 2012 is the year for a number of exciting new projects – find out more at www.growinginsights.co.uk.