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Dog owners ‘more likely to meet exercise guidelines’
Sixty four per cent of dog owners said they walk with their dogs for at least 150 minutes per week.

Health benefits should be recognised and facilitated, researchers say

Dog owners are four times more likely to complete the recommended level of physical activity per week than non dog owners, new research has confirmed.

It is recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week, but this is only achieved by 66 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women in England.

Whilst it is expected than dog ownership encourages physical activity, it has previously been unclear whether dog walking results in more physical activity, or simply replaces other forms of exercise.

According to a study by the University of Liverpool, published in Scientific Reports, 64 per cent of dog owners walk with their dogs for at least 150 minutes per week. Dog owners were found to walk more frequently and for longer periods than non dog owners. And this activity was carried out in addition to, not instead of other forms of physical activity.

Researchers studied the self-reported activity of 385 households in West Cheshire, comprising 191 dog owning adults, 455 non dog owning adults and 46 children.

Dr Carri Westgarth commented: “Our findings provide support for the role of pet dogs in promoting and maintaining positive health behaviours such as walking. Without dogs, it is likely that population physical activity levels would be much lower.

“The health benefits of dog ownership should be recognised and facilitated through the provision of dog-supportive walking environments and pet-friendly housing; failure of planning and policy makers to provide these may significantly damage population levels of physical activity.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.