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“Undesirable behaviour” in dogs linked to early death
Among the most common types of "undesirable behaviour" included aggression, conflict with other pets, and attacking other dogs.

Study highlights the importance of owner education

A recent VetCompass study of dogs under the care of primary-care veterinary practices in England that died before three years of age showed that more than a third (33.7 per cent) died because of “undesirable behaviour”.

Scientists found that dogs with the highest risk of death were males, crossbreeds and certain breeds (the cocker spaniel, West Highland white terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier).

Moreover, the study concluded that dogs that exhibit undesirable behaviours may also be at risk of compromised welfare. This is either because of their own underlying emotional states (anxiety or fear) or because of the way owners try to rectify the problem (e.g. the use of electric shock collars).

“Our results highlight the importance of owner education regarding dog behaviour and what is natural behaviour for dogs to exhibit,” explained study co-author Caitlyn Boyd from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. “Human perception impacts whether a behaviour is deemed desirable or not. For example, one owner might not mind a dog who digs but a different owner would find it unacceptable.”

The study was carried out by researchers from several veterinary colleges and published in Animal Welfare by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). Among the most common types of "undesirable behaviour" recorded in the study included aggression, conflict with other pets, and attacking other dogs.

Caitlyn believes that improved education is necessary to enable owners to recognise “normal” healthy behaviour and identify emotional states, such as fear and anxiety. This would also help to improve the early reporting of behavioural concerns.

“Combining this with improved education of the veterinary profession offers opportunity for owners to find appropriate information on sourcing and raising a puppy and guidance concerning the management and potential resolution of undesirable behaviours,” she said.

“It is advised that young puppies are exposed to a complex environment in a controlled manner in order to produce a confident, resilient dog, who can cope with living alongside humans.

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Wales to ban third party puppy and kitten sales

News Story 1
 The Welsh Government has said it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens, after a consultation showed overwhelming public support.

A consultation in February received nearly 500 responses, most of whom called for greater action to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises.

Concerns were also raised about online sales, impulse buying, breeder accountability and illegal puppy imports.

A consultation will now be held on plans to implement a ban. Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said she will also revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions.  

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WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak an international health emergency

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The move comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma - a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.

The committee also reinforced the need to protect the livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open.