Scientists have developed a new method for calculating how old a dog is in human years, and they say it’s more accurate than the old way, NPR reports.
The traditional formula is to multiply the dog’s years by seven. But the researchers involved in this study say dog’s age rapidly at first and much more slowly in later years.
The new method is based on an epigenetic marker called methylation. The study, published here, involved drawing blood from more than 100 Labrador retrievers ranging in age from 4 weeks to 16 years.
Based on the new method, dog ages break down like this:
- Juvenile: 2 to 6 months in dogs, equivalent to 1 to 12 years in humans.
- Adolescent: 6 months to 2 years in dogs, equivalent to 12 to 25 years in humans.
- Mature: 2 to 7 years in dogs, equivalent to 25 to 50 years in humans.
- Senior: 12 years and up in dogs, equivalent to 70 years and up in humans.
A calculator based on the researched was published here. Smithsonianmag.com explains that the formula involves multiplying the natural logarithm of a dog’s age by 16, then adding 31 [human_age = 16ln(dog_age) + 31].
Veterinary clinics continue to expand in retail stores nationwide, and market research firm Packaged Facts offers detail on the trend in a new report.
“Today’s pet industry is an ‘omnimarket’ where pet industry players aren’t simply competing across brick-and-mortar channels and the Internet,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.
Omnimarket describes a new era of multiple-front competition that simultaneously crosses former business operations borders between medical versus non-medical, products versus services, food versus non-food products and pet owner demographics. This notably includes veterinary expansion into retail stores.
The trend is described in a report called “Veterinary Services in the U.S.: Competing for the Pet Care Customer, 2nd Edition.”
The new era of multiple-front competition has been fueled by booming e-commerce in pet products, but just as importantly is being shaped by the competitive reactions of traditional pet product manufacturers and retailers. Pet superstores are responding to — and mass-market big boxes are exploiting — the internet’s erosion of the brick-and-mortar distinction between pet specialty and mass market by in turn collapsing the distinction between retail store and vet clinic/pet care salon. That’s specifically because hands-on pet care is the Achilles’ heel of the internet as a pet care provider and pet industry competitor.
Packaged Facts expects that hands-on pet care will remain the calling card of the veterinary sector, but that it will be selectively and progressively expanded in scope and supplemented by internet and digital technologies and communications, notes Sprinkle.
Among recent examples of the pet industry’s omnimarket shift:
- Petco has added Thrive (in-store) and PetCoach (freestanding) clinics. It’s a strategy that echoes PetSmart’s longstanding affiliation with Banfield Pet Hospitals.
- PetIQ is partnering with Walmart to open vet clinics in as many as 1,000 stores by the end of 2023, and subsequently is partnering with Meijer.
- Tractor Supply Co. offers pop-up veterinary clinics at its locations.
Rover.com, a network of pet sitters and dog walkers, unveiled its seventh annual report of the year’s most popular dog names with a new twist — the addition of the year’s most popular cat names. This year’s data reflected pet parents’ appetite for pop culture and what’s trending in the celebrity news scene. Names inspired by star-studded musicians like newcomer Lizzo (up 100 percent) and beloved Beyoncé (up 78 percent) made huge gains, and Taylor Swift’s reputation is on track with a 400 percent increase. Binge-worthy TV shows were also one of the top sources of inspiration for pet parents. The name Maisel of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel rose 1000 percent and Westeros-savior Arya Stark increased by 150 percent. The humanization of pets was another trend for 2019, a survey by Rover revealed. The majority of pet parents (55 percent) said their pet either has a human name or they would consider giving their pet a human name. Pet parents (25 percent) also would consider giving their pet a name they had considered for their child. Trending baby names that inspired pet names included Dorothy, Elaine, and Dennis.
What’s in a name, exactly? Rover examined this year’s data to learn where today’s pet parents are drawing inspiration.
- Who deserves the royal crown? Meghan — up by 42 percent — wins with dog owners compared to other royals of her generation, but nobody beats Diana or Queen Elizabeth. Both are up by 200 and 150 percent, respectively.
- Celebrity baby names are also popular, with Chip and Joanna Gaines-inspired Crew up 411 percent, Kylie Jenner’s Stormi up 364 percent and Kim and Kanye’s Saint up 96 percent this year.
Whether we aspire to healthier habits or crave comfort foods, our pets reveal the quickest way to pet parent hearts.
- Dog parents love pink wine and sweets. Rosé is up 183 percent and dessert-related names such as Cake, Croissant, and Cupcake increased.
- For cat parents, it’s all about caffeine and cocktails. Cats are more likely to be given alcohol-inspired names than dogs, and 8 out of 10 drink-themed cat names were coffee-related such as Mocha, Kona and Latte.
- It’s not all indulgences though; healthy habits are also on the rise for both cats and dogs. Dogs named Kale (up 70 percent) and Keto (up 57 percent) increased, while cats named Chia and Boba are also trending up.
Marijuana-inspired products and services are surfacing at every turn as legalization grows in the U.S.—even in pet names.
- Marijuana-inspired names like Budder, Dank, Doobie, Blaze and Kush are on the rise for dogs and Kush, Doobie, and Blaze are trending for cats.
- New for 2019 — Favorite Felines: Luna, Bella and Kitty came in as the top three names for cats in 2019, a new data set for this year.
- Top dogs stay on top: Bella, Luna, Lucy and Daisy kept the top spots for female dogs, with Max, Charlie, Cooper, and Buddy also keeping their top ranks for male dogs in 2019. The Top Pet Names 2019 report was developed between September and October.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who inspired millions of young people to take action against climate change, has been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2019. Thunberg launched a grassroots campaign aged 15 by skipping school every Friday to demonstrate outside Swedish parliament, pushing for her government to meet its ambitious goals to curb carbon emissions. Her actions quickly captured people's imagination, and in September this year millions of people took to the streets in cities across the world to support her cause.
"In the 16 months since (her protests began), she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike," the magazine said. She is the youngest individual to have won the accolade. "Margaret Atwood compared her to Joan of Arc. After noticing a hundredfold increase in its usage, lexicographers at Collins Dictionary named Thunberg’s pioneering idea, climate strike, the word of the year," Time added.
Thunberg, who turns 17 in January, is currently in Madrid at a United Nations climate summit where world leaders are wrangling over how to implement a 2015 Paris agreement designed to avert potentially catastrophic global warming. She was typically blunt in her assessment of politicians' efforts.
"It seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition," she said on stage, drawing applause from an audience that included dozens of her supporters. "I'm sure that if people heard what was going on and what was said ... during these meetings, they would be outraged." Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a longtime environmentalist, said the magazine made a "brilliant choice" in choosing the reluctant celebrity.
"Greta embodies the moral authority of the youth activist movement demanding that we act immediately to solve the climate crisis. She is an inspiration to me and to people across the world," Gore said.
Thunberg, who said her Asperger's syndrome can be an advantage in her campaigning, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for 20 days to get to the Madrid event in order to avoid traveling by air. "Flight-shaming" has gained momentum, especially in Europe, where some travelers concerned about the environmental impact of flying are seeking alternative forms of transport.
Thunberg's uncompromising stance has brought her into confrontation with some of the world's most powerful people. A video of her giving U.S. President Donald Trump what media described as a "death stare" at a U.N. climate summit in New York in September went viral on social media. Trump has questioned climate science and has challenged every major U.S. regulation aimed at combating climate change. During a speech at around the same time, she bristled with anger. "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?" she told delegates. "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."
This week, the U.S. House voted 259 to 160 to reject a bad amendment that would have placed some of America’s most critically endangered marine mammals at even greater risk for their lives while making it easier for oil and gas interests to conduct offshore development activities.
The amendment offered by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., would have eviscerated core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to fast-track approval of seismic gun surveys (airgun blasts) done for offshore oil and gas development.
“Rushing industry approvals not only puts whale and dolphin species at perilous risk, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for our environment.” said Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States. “Thankfully the House of Representatives put the conservation of marine mammal species above special interests from the oil and gas industry, and rejected this amendment.”
Hood College's Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies has been awarded a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to research methods of mitigating cyanobacteria blooms in the constructed lake at Constitution Gardens, a large catchment in Washington, D.C.
Potentially toxic cyanobacteria grew in high concentrations in the lake in summer 2018, and the lake has experienced other toxin-producing blooms in the past that have killed fish and produced noxious odors. Nutrients and defecation from wildlife are among the substances that enter the lake via runoff from precipitation events. That, combined with stagnant water and summer heating, create an optimal habitat for these cyanobacteria.
Hood College staff will help decide which treatment(s) is best for this lake. After a treatment is deployed, Hood will monitor water quality and algae and cyanobacteria growth at multiple locations in the lake monthly during the growing season from April through October and every other month from November through March.
Drew Ferrier, director of Hood College's Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, said "We look forward to working with the National Park Service to find ways of controlling harmful and unsightly algal blooms in this beautiful garden."
An article was published about Donald Trump Jr’s controversial hunt of a rare argali sheep during his trip to Mongolia this past summer: Donald Trump Jr. Went to Mongolia, Got Special Treatment From the Government and Killed an Endangered Sheep.
Trump Jr. received special treatment during his summer trip, according to ProPublica. The Mongolian government granted him a rare permit to kill the animal retroactively on Sept. 2, after he had left the area. The article says that it is unusual for permits to be issued after a hunter’s stay.
According to Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States: “It’s obvious why the trophy hunting portion of Donald Trump Jr’s summer trip to Mongolia wasn’t shared, and why the relevant federal agencies have no comment on it now. The trophy hunting of argali sheep, an animal listed under the Endangered Species Act and whose numbers are dwindling, is indefensible, and the hasty process of after-the-fact permitting is downright deceitful.
Children around the world received some good news, with officials from the North Pole confirming that Santa’s reindeer have been approved for their Christmas Eve flight, following a health checkup from Santa’s veterinarian. Dr. John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), visited the North Pole earlier this month to ensure that Santa’s team of nine were up-to-date on their vaccinations and healthy enough to make their annual trek around the globe. “After a full examination and review of their medical records, I’m pleased to say that Santa’s reindeer are healthy, in great shape and ready to fly on Christmas Eve,” Dr. Howe said.
The reindeer’s annual exam includes a health check about a month prior to their Christmas Eve flight to make sure they’re healthy and not showing any signs of disease—such as brucellosis, tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease—that can affect their ability to fly or make other animals sick. “We need to make sure the reindeer aren’t harboring any diseases that they could then potentially spread to animals in other parts of the world,” said Dr. Howe. “At the same time, making sure they’re healthy also means that they’re less likely to catch any diseases themselves on that long global flight.” In addition to presents for children around the world, Santa is required to bring with him an official “North Pole Certificate of Animal Export” that allows him to freely cross borders and ensure health officials that his reindeer pose no threat to animal or public health. Dr. Howe will make a follow-up trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to provide a final pre-flight checkup and to inspect the reindeer upon their return on Christmas morning.
For kids who want to help the reindeer on their journey, Dr. Howe recommended leaving a plate of graham cracker reindeer cookies, their favorite snack, for Santa to feed them between stops. Dr. Howe’s work is consistent with the role veterinarians play every day to ensure the health of animals, people and the environment across the globe. Far from just being “dog and cat doctors,” veterinarians work with all kinds of species, in all types of environments, to make the world a healthier place for all forms of life. While unavailable for comment due to his busy work schedule, Santa issued a statement, saying, “Without my reindeer there simply would be no Christmas. Proper veterinary care ensures that, year in and year out, my team and I are able to deliver presents to boys and girls around the world. Dr. Howe is definitely on the ‘nice list’ again this year.”
A proposal in New Mexico would open that state’s medical marijuana program to pets.
The petition being presented to the medical cannabis advisory board would alllow marijuana to be prescribed for dogs with epilepsy, The Associated Press reports.
No state has legalized medical marijuana for pets, though proposals have come up in California and New York, according to the article.
New Mexico’s medical marijuana program includes about 78,000 people with a variety of conditions.
It just got a little bit easier for The Florida Aquarium to keep making coral history. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation ("Great Lakes") (NASDAQ: GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the United States announced their investment in The Florida Aquarium’s coral conservation and restoration work. The Aquarium’s world-renown coral scientists will benefit from a two-year gift underwritten by Great Lakes.
“Conservation efforts rely on research, development and resources to be successful,” Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium remarked. “The level and speed of R&D needed now to save the Florida Reef Tract is unprecedented. “
Since 2014, The Florida Aquarium has positioned their research and resources to protect and restore Florida’s threatened coral population. Five years into the program, the Aquarium’s coral experts led the largest outplanting of genetically diverse Caribbean staghorn coral in Florida’s history. Then in August of 2019, The Florida Aquarium’s coral scientists became the first to reproduce endangered Atlantic pillar coral through lab-induced spawning. These historic events could ultimately help save corals in the Florida Reef Tract, and around the globe, from extinction.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company has been a leader in the building and maintenance of the nation’s navigation system, the protection of shorelines, the restoration of sensitive habitats, and the creation of critical aquatic infrastructure.
New York became the first state to prohibit the sale of giraffe products. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law legislation that “designates giraffe and other certain species as vulnerable species and prohibits the sale of articles made from any part of a vulnerable species." Brian Shapiro, New York senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement: “This is an historic day for animal protection, and we applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this groundbreaking legislation to prohibit the sale of giraffe parts and products. New York will now lead the way for other states to follow in protecting this iconic species. This bill was introduced last year after our undercover investigation revealed the abundant trade in giraffe products thriving in the Empire State.”
Governor Cuomo previously signed landmark legislation prohibiting the sale and purchase of elephant ivory and rhino horn in 2014 and sale of shark fins in 2013.An undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International in 2018 found giraffe parts and products sold online and in stores by at least 51 dealers across the United States, including in New York. Giraffe bones used in knife handles and giraffe skins custom-made into jackets, boots, pillows and even Bible covers, among other items were being sold by New York-based businesses.
- Wild giraffe populations have plunged nearly 40% in the past 30 years, now standing at just over 68,000 mature individuals, and the species is still in decline
- The U.S. is a significant importer of giraffe specimens. From 2006 to 2015, the U.S. imported approximately 40,000 giraffe parts and products, mostly for commercial purposes. Among these imports were about 21,000 giraffe bone carvings, nearly 4,000 raw bones, about 3,000 skin pieces, almost 2,000 raw bone pieces and more than 700 skins.
- There is no federal law protecting giraffes. In 2017 the HSUS, HSI and other conservation groups petitioned the Department of the Interior to list the giraffe as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
- Earlier this year, HSI successfully led the effort to support a proposal by five African countries to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the first international protections for giraffes against unsustainable trade. The increased protections went into effect just days ago.
- On April 25, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that giraffes may qualify for protection under the ESA following the petition and a lawsuit filed also by HSUS, HSI and other conservation groups. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 12 months to decide whether the ESA listing is warranted.