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Found 5 results

  1. Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations. It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as to issues around accessing veterinary care. An additional challenge is that the advice and situation continue to change rapidly and what was known, thought or suggested last week may not hold next week. There are some aspects that apply regardless of location... including what we know (a little) and don't know (a lot) about possible transmission to or from animals and humans. As with all information about this novel corona virus there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and pets; basically we simply are leaning as we go. Be very cautious about discussions and dire predictions on Facebook and social media from those who likely do not have the appropriate level of expertise. Putting your trust in the types of sources described below is your best bet. At a local level, dog owners can look for information from their regional veterinary association and even your own veterinarian maybe providing updates. For an example from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, you can see a short video and article here. Prof. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College is referenced in that article and he has a recent blog post where he suggests that, in the face of the uncertainty and with an abundance of caution, "Social distancing and dog walking are compatible… with some common sense". Dr. Weese says, "To me, social distancing is a whole household activity, not just a human activity. If I wouldn’t go and shake someone’s hand, why would I let the same person pet my dog, and then touch the same spot on my dog myself right away? " It is all about doing everything we can to reduce risk. Be sure to keep up to date on recommendations and restrictions in your area. For breeders, there are all the issues as for owners in addition to some major concerns about breeding, and rehoming litters. Many of our partner national kennel clubs have been providing information and updates. We have been sharing these on our channels, as again, some issues are the same globally; others are defined regionally. See, e.g. Breeders and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from The Kennel Club in the UK, or Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders from the American Kennel Club. There are many broader impacts for dog welfare and human-dog interactions that are developing with the COVID-19 situation. Please check out Brenda's Blog: "DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." Within that blog you are also directed to an excellent discussion of unintended consequences from IPFD collaborator Ian Seath. Our IPFD Board member and President of the German Kennel Club, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, has posted a heartfelt statement that discusses many of the current challenges and those that we have left to face, even when we think things are starting to return to normal. (In German, but perfectly understandable with google translator.) Below are some links to sites and organizations that are doing a great job with information at an international level pulled together by our IPFD COO, Monique Megens, a Dutch veterinarian, living in Spain, and former president of FECAVA, one of the organizations on the front lines in Europe. Mid-April 2020: What do we know about dogs and COVID-19 virus? Although several dogs have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans, to date, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the disease. Therefore, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) states there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare. When people are sick with COVID-19, when possible, close contact with dogs should be avoided; the dogs should preferably be taken care of by another member of the household, taking appropriate hygiene measures into account. Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of and risks for other dogs. To stay up-to-date and for more information regarding dogs and COVID-19, go to the OIE website. Can I still visit my veterinary surgeon In many countries, veterinarians are considered to be an essential profession by their national authorities; therefore in most countries you can still visit your vet. However, some vets only see urgent cases; you should always call beforehand. For more information: IPFD’s collaborating partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Practitioners (FECAVA) together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have published advice for pet owners for visiting the vet. Information for veterinary teams can be found locally and regionally at, for example from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and at IPFD’s collaborating partner the World Small Animal Veterinary Association's (WSAVA) website. In all the craziness and concerns of this pandemic, dogs are a great support to their families. Let's remember them in all the changes, planning and considerations we have for ourselves. We are all in this together. Stay safe . OTHER RESOURCES: En Francais - La Newsletter de la Centrale Canine - beaucoup d'excellentes ressources auf Deutsch - und weiser Rat von unserem IPFD-Vorstandsmitglied und Präsidenten des Deutschen Kennel Clubs, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, Präsident des VDH. Corona virus
  2. The wonderful thing about our IPFD collaborator, brilliant person, and incredibly knowledgeable dog person Ian Seath, is that, when major issues are at foot, my procrastination at commenting is rewarded by him posting an article that says almost everything I wish I would have said. All that is left for me to do is to add a few comments and send it out. This is very true for his latest installment on his platform Dog-Ed: COVID-19: A (dog) world of unanticipated consequences Ian does a great job of describing our situation, with relation to other experience of times of disruption: "In the world of business and leadership development, there’s a concept that’s been around for a while that describes the world we’re in. It’s VUCA, which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. ...There are no simple solutions in a VUCA world; we need to understand that decisions made in one part of a system can have quite surprising and unanticipated consequences elsewhere. Often, those consequences will be counter-intuitive." He goes on to describe different possible outcomes and ramifications for dog registrations in the UK - a situation IPFD is monitoring together with our many KC Partners from different countries. As Ian suggests, things could go either way. In Iceland, after the financial collapse in 2008, breeders were worried they would not find homes for their puppies; in fact, demand was higher as people realized they would not be able to travel outside the country as much and embraced the new reality and options. It is clear that there is an uptick in adoptions in North America (and UK as described in Ian's article). And while we totally agree that pets are fantastic companions, we have to think about 'unintended consequences'. Where did your Covid-dog come from? And what happens when life goes back to normal? Ian does an excellent job describing concerns about sourcing of puppies, supply and demand, rescues, and more. In every case it is, at least potentially, a 'for better and for worse situation'. Firstly, being able to determine the quality and welfare of dogs from various sources of dogs is an ongoing challenge, possibly increased during the Covid situation when people are in a rush to get a pet. For example, some sources, especially with online sales, even if promoted as 'rescues', may be re-sourcing puppy-farmed dogs. Beyond that concern - in North America there is a generally positive response to news that shelters and rescues are emptying out... which is great as long as there is not a flood back to shelters when economic hardships hit if restrictions continue, or if, when people return to work, they suddenly remember why they did not really have the capacity to be responsible dog owners. And I saw a report that dogs adoptions were not allowed now in France, for various reasons, no doubt - and that approach may both prevent some and create other problems. Beyond immediate and short terms concerns, animal welfare problems are an ongoing concern throughout the world and may be more marked as we move out of the current crisis and into the new normal. One example - given economics and financial expenditures for the pandemic, many (most?) non-profits will be challenged in the near future with reduced funds and donations. And, will animal welfare programs suffer with the focus on the problems of people? We must work to be sure that does not happen. And, as has been discussed in other blogs, What about the dogs?!? Ian does a great job describing possible impacts on the dogs, themselves. I would add that online training courses are great, but without the opportunity for e.g. puppy classes, dogs might not get the socialization with others of their own kind. One of our IPFD consultants is concerned about similar issues with her 19-month-old toddler - surrounded by adults but deprived of play opportunities with other children. (We feel he may be fine however, as his best friend is their Corgi, who is likely an excellent surrogate for other kids!) Then, as Ian suggests, perhaps being overly-socialized (my term) with people - receiving 24/7 attention now - what happens when that suddenly stops? Ian's main point is unintended consequences - and I might add that in times of stress, urgency, and uncertainty there is likely an increased tendency for impulsive vs. well-considered decisions - about many things, including breeding or acquiring a dog. At IPFD, everything we do reminds us of the inter-connectedness of issues of health and welfare, the role of human-dog interactions, and the roles and contributions of many stakeholders. And everything we do, DogWellNet.com, International Dog Health Workshops, my blogs, etc. tries to remind us of the big picture. As Ian suggests, models are great - but! As an epidemiologist, I have been asked about this frequently lately. And this is the reality: Models are only as good as the data and assumptions on which they are founded. Even with great inputs models inherently output predictions not certainties which should be expressed as such, with ranges ('error' in statistical terms) and as best-case/ worst-case scenarios, never exact proclamations. In the case of the novel (i.e. new to us) coronavirus there are vast unknowns, and therefore the uncertainties for models and decision making are huge. Ian ends with: "There are unanticipated consequences of any decision, but my glass is always half-full and I am optimistic that we will come out of this situation stronger as a dog community. Remember: DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." And that last bit I started with as the title of this blog. Another blog is scheduled to cover the impacts in the veterinary world... including the constantly and quickly evolving world of veterinary regulations in the face of COVID-19, including the expanded possibilities or 'telemedicine'. Let' follow Ian's lead, and try to think about the glass being half-full, look for creative ways to remain positive, and move forward with compassion for all. After note: Since posting this blog, another article has come to my attention. "I Got a Pandemic Puppy, and You Can Too" in The Atlantic. This article is full of wonderful reasons why a dog is a great support and benefit to humans. And does caution, "as long as new owners act intentionally and with long-term planning in mind, the prolonged stretch of time at home might provide a unique chance for owners to bond with new pets." My concern is whether most people, in the rush to satisfy their short term needs, have really planned explicitly for those long term challenges or just think they can figure all that out down the road. And heaven forbid we start a trend where having a 'Pandemic Puppy' becomes a status thing. The authors go on to say, "This difficult period may mean that people become more attached and attuned to their pets than if they were seeing their animals for only a few hours a day, which may help get them through the hurdles of pet ownership with slightly less frustration." Indeed, and yet presumably people will transition rather easily to going back to work and adjust to less time with their dog. As mentioned it the blog above and the other we have cited... how easy will it be for the dog? Remember - that bond goes both ways. Will we have shelters getting inundated with 'Pandemic Puppies' with separation anxiety when their owners return to their busy lives? More unintended consequences? Also pertinent to the discussion above, and with absolutely no reference to specific sources mentioned to the article in The Atlantic, if a retail source can markedly and quickly increase the number of puppies available in response to Covid demand - I would want to carefully determine from where those animals came. Glass half full again - let's hope we end up with more committed, responsible dog owners and well-adjusted healthy dogs in good situations. Let's hope. .
  3. For some time, pet obesity has been recognized as a crucial, widespread issue that impacts the health, welfare, and lifespan of dogs. Earlier in 2019, following the 4th IDHW, IPFD endorsed the Global Pet Obesity Initiative Position Statement, joining 24 International Veterinary Professional Organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, among others. Pet obesity is a studied health and welfare issue that is, presumably, quite straightforward... and under control of owners to fix. However, as for issues around human obesity, in reality the situation can be more complicated; and recent studies have examined some of the complexities, for people and their pets. An IPFD collaborator, Prof. Peter Sandoe (University of Copenhagen), and others published a paper in 2014 on Canine and feline obesity: A One Health perspective that offers a broad coverage of the problem, why it is important, how the Human-Animal Bond impacts challenges, and, importantly, "Why we should care". From the article: "Recent years have seen a drastic increase in the rates of overweight and obesity among people living in some developed nations. There has also been increased concern over obesity in companion animals. In the latest article in Veterinary Record's series on One Health, Peter Sandøe and colleagues argue that the relationship between obesity in people and in companion animals is closer and more complex than previously thought, and that obesity should be treated as a One Health problem." Below, under Recent Research you will find articles that address specific challenges, including perception of obesity and inaccurate assessment of body conditions score (as a measure of obesity). The evolution of obesity: from evolutionary advantage to a disease describes the historical perspectives and the current situation: "Obesity as a disease was first described by Hippocrates" ... and ... "in 1920’s the Insurance Companies, in 1948 World Health Organisation and in 2013 both American Medical Association and The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and The Obesity Society recognized obesity as a disease." As described above, this approach has also been taken in the veterinary world. These acknowledgements are made with the goal of facilitating treatment, promoting research, and with an aim to curb this growing health and public health problem. Obesity can cause or worsen many health conditions, and the risk is enhanced for certain breeds and types of pets. Brachycephalic (flat-faced pets), already challenged in terms of respiratory function and heat regulation, are further compromised if overweight. This can be viewed as not only a health problem, but also as a welfare problem - but many owners remain unaware. See, e.g. Owners' perception of 'responsible dog ownership in our Blogs section. Veterinarians can offer clients sound advice for management of their pet to optimize health. Here, we'll feature work done by IPFD's collaborators as well as provide links to industry reports, research and educational tool kits which have been developed to assist owners and veterinary practices. Check out articles, surveys and other important info at the Global Pet Obesity Initiative's website + see the 2019 Pet Owner Survey - An opportunity to contribute! US Residents: would you like to participate in ongoing research into obesity? The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is conducting the 12th Annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey This survey was opened to US residents on October 9, 2019. To participate, sign up here. Veterinary practice/clinic participation in this organization's 2020 pet weight data collection survey next October is sought as well.
  4. I just listened to The role of client communication and euthanasia for the veterinarian | VETgirl Veterinary Continuing Education Podcasts with Professor Jane Shaw from Colorado State University. What a great explanation of aspects of best practices in communication on sensitive issues like euthanasia and of the gaps there can be across pet owner and veterinarian perceptions. This is worth listening to for both vets AND for anyone who has had, or will have, the experience of humanely letting go of a dear pet. Dr. Jane explains, with examples, some of the complex human issues in these kinds of visits and gives practical pointers on how communication can be improved. Her message is to vets, but I think owners can learn from this as well. Not every veterinarian has had the benefit of 20-plus hours of communication training from someone like Jane. Some veterinarians can struggle with euthanasia discussions. So, a knowledgeable client can be proactive in bringing up their concerns, and should not feel that their personal and emotional issues about their pet, or issues in their life, are irrelevant to the situation. Feel free to ask questions and share with your veterinarian. We know that everything to do with pets is built on human-animal interactions. It can be challenging, but the complicated, complex human side is often as (or more) important than the medical facts. Only good can come from improved veterinary-client communication*. It was my honour to work with the authors of the paper on which this interview was based (see below). And to have personally known Smokey the dog who was the canine patient in the study. Not every dog would say how thrilled he was to go to lots and lots of vet visits in the last months of his life, but Smokey seemed delighted with the outings! The contributions of the animals, their owners, and the innovative approach of the researchers combined to bring this important work to fruition. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019 May 1;254(9):1073-1085. doi: 10.2460/javma.254.9.1073. Comparison of veterinarian and standardized client perceptions of communication during euthanasia discussions. Nogueira Borden LJ, Adams CL, Bonnett BN, Ribble CS, Shaw JR. Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing Matte, AR., Khosa, DK., Coe, JB., Meehan, MP. (2019) Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing Veterinary Record 185, 480. A qualitative study using group and individual interviews involving 10 veterinary hospitals in Wellington County, Ontario, explored how the practices involved in euthanasia-related care impacts the wellbeing of veterinary professionals. *Also see DogWellNet.com's articles: How Can We Improve End-of-Life Care? One Welfare: The Intersection of Veterinary Education and Animal Welfare and Ethics
  5. See Dr. Brenda Bonnett's presentation from the First International Conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare. HBCAW website: www.hbcanimalwelfare.com All presentations from the conference are available from HBCAW's YouTube channel. Also see DWN's Human Dog Interactions Category.
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