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David Alderton
Across the Pond
David Alderton, a U.K.-based writer and broadcaster who specializes in all things pet-related, reports weekly on news, views and/or insights on pet industry-related subjects of interest to the United Kingdom and occasionally beyond to the Continent. David has received awards from both the Cats Writers’ Association of America and the Dog Writers’ Association of America, which honored his work with a Maxwell Medallion. David also contributes to a wide variety of trade and consumer publications, as well as editing a herp magazine in the U.K.

May 4, 2012
Dogs React Like Children
Dogs pick up not only on the words we say, but also on our intent to communicate with them, according to recent Hungarian research... More»

April 3, 2012
Dog Ownership Encourages Beneficial Exercise in Pregnant Women
The study of more than 11,000 pregnant women, carried out by the University of Liverpool, in the northwest of England, in partnership with Mars Petcare, indicated that those who owned dogs were approximately 50 percent more likely to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day... More»

March 19, 2012
Belgian and Siberian Finds Shed Light on the Domestic Dog’s Ancestry
Recent DNA studies have tended to suggest that domestic dogs may be descended from a single lineage, but now the latest archaeological evidence from Europe and Asia is challenging this suggestion... More»

March 6, 2012
Iconic Setter Breed Faces the Threat of Extinction
One of Britain’s oldest native dog breeds, the English setter, is now for the first time at risk of becoming extinct... More»

December 22, 2011
A Shaggy Dog Story that Proves to be True
Researchers from the University of York in England recently produced the first clear evidence that textiles made by the indigenous population of the Pacific coast of North America contained dog hair... More»

December 5, 2011
Origins of the Domestic Dog Discovered
Researchers at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm reported they have found further proof that the wolf ancestors of today’s domesticated dogs can be traced to South East Asia—findings that run counter to alternate theories placing the cradle of the canine line in the Middle East... More»

November 21, 2011
Manipulative Female Parrots Can Subdue Show-Off Male Offspring
Choosing the gender of babies may seem totally beyond our control without scientific intervention, but some animals have a remarkable capacity to manipulate the genders of their offspring naturally in a way that is not yet understood... More»

November 9, 2011
Personality Matters
An individual’s personality can have a big effect on his or her life. Some people are outgoing and gregarious while others find novel situations stressful, and this can be detrimental to their health and well-being. Scientists are discovering that animals are no different... More»

October 13, 2011
Austrian Advances in Treating Diabetic Dogs
Diabetes affects not only humans but also animals. While people are generally willing to cooperate with physicians in their treatment, the situation is very different with animals, as they can obviously be far from cooperative, in spite of their owners’ best intentions ... More»

September 29, 2011
Treating Epilepsy in Cats
To most people, the term epilepsy conjures up images of generalized convulsive seizures with salivation and loss of consciousness for several minutes. However, cats are known to show strange types of seizures in which consciousness is usually  ... More»

September 22, 2011
Sniffer Dogs can be Used to Detect Lung Cancer
Sniffer dogs could be used for the early detection of lung cancer, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal. The study, carried out by researchers from Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany, is the first to find that sniffer dogs ... More»

August 10, 2011
Breakthrough in Canine Science Aids Understanding of Children’s Epilepsy
A remarkable discovery in a rare European breed of dog, the Lagotto Romagnolo, has paved the way for a new understanding of epilepsy in children. This came about as the result of the finding of a new gene, designated  ... More»  

July 1, 2011
Expressions of Grief
A new trend is emerging in the U.K., reflecting the way in which animal lovers across the country are becoming increasingly attached to their pets. The House Name Plate Company is the U.K.’s largest ... More»

June 22, 2011
Status Companions
There is rising concern in the U.K. today over irresponsible dog ownership and particularly the use of so-called “status” or “weapon” dogs by street-based youth groups. Youth criminal and antisocial behavior using these dogs ... More»

June 14, 2011
New Computerized Tests for Dog Breeding
Science is revolutionizing the breeding of pure-bred dogs. The first phase of a unique web tool has just been launched in the U.K., helping breeders to find the most suitable mate for their dogs, based on how genetically ... More»

May 31, 2011
Barking for Business
With one-in-eight British households owning a dog, businesses are becoming increasingly canine-canny. Apropos, the Kennel Club has just launched its “Open for Dogs Awards 2011” to honor those who are  ... More»

May 9, 2011
Italian CSI Approach to Tracking Down Those Dirty Dogs
The beautiful, white-washed Mediterranean island of Capri, which lies off the southwestern coast of Italy near Sorrento, has a reputation as a very stylish holiday destination. In the past, it was a favorite haunt of  ... More»

April 29, 2011
Owners Urged to Keep Pet Toys Clean
Dog and cat owners in the U.K. are being advised to ensure their pets’ toys are regularly cleaned, as a new analysis indicated that bacteria levels on these products can be unacceptably high. ... More»

April 20, 2011
Crufts 2011: Part 2
Four additional nominees for the Kennel Club “Friends for Life” award had their highlight at Crufts this year. They were: Echo, Haiti Earthquake Dog: This Labrador retriever, a Search and Rescue Dog with ... More»

March 29, 2011
Crufts 2011
A Flatcoated Retriever, known to his Scottish breeder as Jet, triumphed to take the Best-in-Show award at the 120th Crufts dog show, held recently at The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. SH CH Vbos The Kentuckian, as Jet is formally  ... More»

March 10, 2011
New Genetic Tests for Dogs
Major new breakthroughs in understanding the genetic basis of various canine ailments are starting to be achieved as a result of funding of nearly $2 million over 5 years from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. ... More»

March 3, 2011
Pug Popularity Soars
For the first time ever, the pug has made it into the Kennel Club’s official Top 10 most popular pedigree dog breeds in the U.K. The number of Chihuahuas has soared, too, confirming the general shift away from large breeds toward ... More»

February 24, 2011
New Health Screening at U.K. Dog Shows
The Kennel Club has announced that any dog belonging to 15 high profile breeds that win Best of Breed at the 2012 Crufts Show-and at all Kennel Club-licensed General and Group Championship Shows after that--will need to be given a ... More»

February 7, 2011
Freshwater Fish Conservation: Part 2
In his address to the 4th International Zoo and Aquarium Symposium, held this past November, Dr. Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Species Survival Commission, emphasized that "there ... More»

January 26, 2011
Freshwater Fish Conservation: Part 1
Fifty-five freshwater conservation biologists, research scientists, and specialists from zoos and aquariums, drawn from 21 countries, took part recently in the fourth International Zoo and Aquarium Symposium entitled ... More»

December 30, 2010
The Puzzling Case of Penmead Pride
Back in August 2010, budgerigar breeder Andrew Pooley, who lives in the far southwest of the U.K., in the county of Cornwall, came home from work in August to a scene of appalling carnage in his birdroom. ... More»

December 22, 2010
Crufts Enters the Electronic Age
More than 120 years’ worth of fascinating facts, figures and information about Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, is available online for the first time ever. ... More»

December 16, 2010
Pets & People--Charities Work Together
The many and diverse benefits of keeping a pet have become increasingly clear over recent years, thanks to the range of different scientific studies carried out in this field. This has been recognized in ... More»

December 8, 2010
Open Spaces for Dogs in Peril
KC Dog, the Kennel Club’s campaign group in place to monitor access to dog walking areas and to help responsible dog owners protect their rights, has warned that UK dog walkers will face increasing restrictions in ... More»

November 16, 2010
Unique Updateable Canine Health Guide Launched
The Kennel Club, the U.K.’s largest organization dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs, has launched a brand new guide to canine health aimed at assisting veterinarians. ... More»

November 9, 2010
For the Birds: Successful National Show
There was a real buzz around the National Bird Show of the Year, which took place in October in Stafford, England. Fears over avian flu had subsided and, in spite of the economic situation, many breeders ... More»

October 29, 2010
Agility Rules!
A new attempt to highlight the dangers of canine obesity is being promoted under the banner of Keep Fit with Fido 2010. A survey carried out on behalf of the Kennel Club revealed that a third of dog owners admitted they themselves are overweight and one in five owned up to not giving their dogs sufficient exercise. ... More»

October 22, 2010
Herp Heaven!
The first major herp event in southern England since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act four years ago took place this summer in the grandstand building of Kempton Park racecourse, near Heathrow Airport, London. .. More»

October 13, 2010
Reports from Petindex, Part 2 -- New British Products
The first cat flap was created by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and now cutting-edge RFID technology has led to the latest development in the long history of cat flap design. It is now possible to use an implanted microchip... More»

September 27, 2010
Reports from Petindex, Part 1
There was a real buzz around the just-closed Petindex. In spite of the continuing economic uncertainty, the pet trade remains buoyant and with more than 70 exhibitors offering everything from insurance and pet ID tags to packaging and EPoS (electronic point of sale) systems, quite apart from pet products, there was something of interest for all retailers... More»

August 6, 2010
A Happy Tale
Philip and Jackie Bowman, who live in Warwickshire in the English Midlands, were devastated when their 16-week old Labrador called Becks disappeared from their backyard earlier this year. They searched frantically but she was nowhere to be found... More»

August 6, 2010
U.K.’s Dangerous Dogs Act Overhaul
A new dog control bill, designed to deal with irresponsible dog owners rather than their dogs, successfully passed its second stage in the English House of Lords, and is on its way to becoming law. Liberal Democrat Lord Redesdale outlined the coalition government’s intention to introduce major changes to the current rules set out under the Dangerous Dogs Act ... More»

JuLY 29, 2010
A Happy Ending
A nationwide campaign in the U.K. is currently being spearheaded by the Kennel Club to persuade more dog owners to microchip their pets. The organization, which owns and manages the Petlog database, presents some remarkable accounts of how microchipping can reunite owners with their pets. Case in point: Philip and Jackie Bowman from Warwickshire in ... More»

JuLY 20, 2010
Buoyant U.K. Pet Food Sales
In spite of the recession, the dog and cat food market in the U.K. remained buoyant, with value growth increasing by 4 percent last year to $2.7 million, according to a leading market research group, Mintel. Growth is occurring in the premium sector of the market, particularly in terms of cat food, where luxury single meal pouches and trays are continuing ... More»

June 22, 2010
Finding the Ideal Puppy
Unlike the situation in North America, the vast majority of U.K. pet stores do not sell puppies. Instead, would-be purchasers have to seek out breeders in order to obtain the young dog of their choice. However, being sure that the puppies sold are healthy, is still clearly vital. As a result, Puppyindex, the service designed to bring potential puppy ... More»

June 16, 2010
Interzoo Observations
My lasting impression of Interzoo this year is that small is now considered profitable--at least in the aquatics field. It seemed that wherever I looked, there was a wide range of nano or pico tanks, often housing colorful small crustaceans in attractively planted setups. This trend was perhaps best summed-up by the launch of the Fluval Ebi ... More»

June 11, 2010
European Pet Trade Representation
The European Pet Organisation (EPO) held its AGM recently at Interzoo, with all members of the board being re-elected. This stability and experience should help when it comes to discussions affecting the pet trade in this important trade zone. Board members were also happy with the outcome. Janet Nunn, chief executive of the ... More»

May 20, 2010
Ambitious Plans for UK Trade Body
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with an ambitious plan for the next decade. In spite of the recession, sales of prepared pet foods in the U.K. have continued to rise, to a record level of more than $3 billion. In a novel collaboration--involving some 4,000 members of ... More»

April 26, 2010
Two Definitions of Trade
With the current Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Conference of the Parties having just finished in the Gulf state of Qatar, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the consequences of the ban on the importation of African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) and other birds into the European Union ... More»

April 19, 2010
National Pet Month 
April marks the start of the UK’s National Pet Month, which celebrates its 21st anniversary this year. It’s an event that has grown significantly from the days when it began as National Pet Week, back in 1989. The UK is now home to more than 70 million pets, and although the numbers of dogs and cats have not grown ... More»

April 9, 2010
Switzerland—For and Against Animals 
In Switzerland, it is compulsory for dog owners to sign up for a course to learn how to look after their pets. Behavioral aspects of pet care in Switzerland result in some of the most far-reaching animal rights legislation enacted in any country worldwide. Pets, including goldfish and budgerigars, cannot be kept alone for example ... More»

April 1, 2010
Dangerous Dogs Act Review: For Better or Worse? 
As promised, this week I’ll relate what dog owners and other groups think about dangerous dog legislation reform in the U.K. (See the last two blogs on “Reform of UK Dangerous Dogs Legislation” and “Unnecessary Burdens.”) Many dog owners and others echoed aspects of the Pet Care Trusts response. It is widely accepted that ... More»

March 23, 2010
Unnecessary Burdens 
The Pet Care Trust, the leading pet care education charity, also welcomed the new consultation on dangerous dogs as being long overdue (see last week’s blog on “Reform of UK Dangerous Dogs Legislation”). However, it is concerned that the proposals for compulsory microchipping and insurance will create unnecessary ... More»

March 15, 2010
Reform of UK Dangerous Dogs Legislation 
A new consultation on dangerous dogs has been launched March 9 by the government ahead of the British general election. The aim is to change the existing Dangerous Dogs Act, which became law 19 years ago and has been widely condemned as one of the worst pieces of legislation ever drafted. It was introduced in an attempt to curb ... More»

February 25, 2010
Going the Distance for and with Herps
Specialist veterinary care for herps is advancing at a rapid rate. In the U.K., the British Chelonia Group (BCG) has been at the forefront of encouraging research in this field, offering an annual award commemorating the memory of the late Dr. Oliphant Jackson. His pioneering work led to the development of what has now become widely known as ... More»

February 16, 2010
Survival in the Snow
If you follow international weather news, you’ll know that the United States isn’t the only hit by dramatically cold winter weather, which is affecting various sectors (such as fish farms in Florida) of the pet industry. As Britain shivers through its coldest winter for at least 30 years, with the temperature plunging to a new record low of -22°C (-7.6°F), pet ... More»

February 8, 2010
Piling on the Pounds
It amazes me how perceptions of animal welfare have become so distorted. A recent survey carried out by the U.K.’s leading equine charity, World Horse Welfare (WHW) found that over half the people questioned in a recent poll could not recognize an overweight horse. Most worryingly, however, the charity reported that when its field officers ... More»

January 26, 2010
Cold-Blooded Creatures Take Over Top Pet Slot
With some 8 million such creatures living in Britain’s homes, herps now represent the largest non-aquatic sector in the U.K.’s pet population--ahead of cats (7 million), and leaving dogs well behind (5 million). In the first survey of its type in the U.K., Practical Reptile Keeping magazine revealed that its readers spend nearly $1,620 annually ... More»

January 22, 2010
U.K. Pet Stores Benefit from Climate Change
After a series of mild winters, much of the U.K. was blanketed with snow before Christmas, and this harsh weather has continued into the New Year. Many parts of the country have been left short on grit for clearing paths and driveways, and salt, too, was in short supply in some areas. Consequently, pet stores have been reporting bumper ... More»

January 11, 2010
Close Supervision of U.K. Dog Breeders to be Proposed
In a report commissioned by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, the U.K.’s major canine charity, Professor Sir Patrick Bateson seems set to recommend the imposition of a compulsory registration scheme for all dog breeders. According to comments published in The Times newspaper, his conclusions will call for such premises to be subject ... More»

January 11, 2010
Coming to You From Across the Pond
David Alderton’s World Update monthly news column is now the weekly blog Across the Pond on PetProductNews.com. Every week, David will offer readers news, views and/or insights on pet industry-related subjects of interest to the United Kingdom and occasionally beyond to the Continent. You’ve seen his byline in Pet Product News International ... More»


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