A recent study in the Journal of Experimental Biology looked at food choices by dogs and cats [1] when foods were equally palatable, a term we will return to momentarily. 17 beagles and 27 cats were given four bowls of different foods daily and the amounts eaten noted to determine which foods were preferred over a 28 day period. 

  • Cats consume carbohydrates (43%) and protein (30%). When protein was increased, both carbohydrate and fat intake decreased, and cats had more variation in the range of their protein intake. Fat increases had no effect of carbohydrate intake. 
  • Dogs consume fat (41%) and carbohydrate (36%). When protein was increased, fat intake decreased, but unlike cats, carbohydrate intake remained the same. Dogs varied less in their protein intake. Also...

It's difficult to imagine what life must be like for people who work in public relations at United Airlines. If the crew isn't dragging a medical doctor off of a plane or killing a giant bunny, they are suffocating a puppy in the overhead compartment.

Just how dangerous is it for a pet to fly on an airline? Not very. But it should be kept in mind that transporting animals can be trickier than transporting people. Rabbits, for instance, can get so scared that they literally die of fear. Unfamiliar settings can greatly stress animals.

The U.S. Department of Transportation keeps statistics on the number of pets that are injured, lost, or killed by airlines. One report (...

Genetic diversity or lack thereof can have real consequences for our diets, and more importantly, for our health. 

Genetic diversity refers to both the vast numbers of different species as well as the diversity within a species. The greater the genetic diversity within a species, the greater that species' chances of long-term survival. This is because negative traits (such as inherited diseases) become widespread within a population when that population is left to reproduce only with its own members.

Source: biology online dictionary

Here, I'm talking specifically about within species diversity...

This year's flu season is going to be bad. So far, at least 30 children have died from the flu.

But, as it turns out, influenza won't be bad just for humans; it will be bad for our canine companions, as well. According to news sources, canine influenza ("dog flu") has been reported in 46 states.

Dog flu is incredibly infectious. Though there is no "dog flu season," the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that nearly all dogs that are exposed to it will become infected, with 80% showing signs of illness. Symptoms in dogs are similar to those seen in humans: fatigue,...

In the 1996 film Multiplicity, Michael Keaton plays an overworked construction worker who gets cloned so that he can spend more time with his family. Eventually his clone gets cloned, but this clone is defective, with a low IQ and weird personality. As might be expected, the movie was a total flop at the box office*.

Silly as it was, the movie does raise an interesting question: How healthy are clones? What about clones of clones?

Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned animal, died young at the age of six. This, along with other data, suggested that cloned animals may not be entirely healthy, specifically that they may have shorter lifespans. However, a follow-up study that...

It's been one of those days where the truth is stranger than fiction.

House of Cards has been cancelled because of sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey. MSNBC fired journalist Mark Halperin for similarly bad behavior. The long-anticipated Russia investigation has resulted in its first charges. And a dog bit my dad in the butt.

In exchange for free golf, my retired dad volunteers at a Boise area golf course. As he was gathering golf balls out of a pond, a man with dementia and his German shepherd service/therapy dog were sitting nearby. My family has owned many German shepherds over the decades (some wonderful, some slightly unhinged), so he was quite comfortable with a big, strange dog in his vicinity.

"Hi boy, how ya doin'?" he shouted, as the...

Writing in Scientific Reports, Dr. Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth, UK and colleagues studied the facial reactions of dogs when a stranger faced them and when the same person faced away from them. In addition, in each position the person also held food in their hands.

The experimental subjects were 24 pet dogs of various breeds that were comfortable with strangers. They ranged in age from 1-12 years, with an average of about 5 years old. After they were allowed to explore the experimental room, they were leashed and exposed to a stranger who either faced towards or away from them for two minutes. Video cameras recorded the animals' facial reactions and any body movements under each...

Spend enough time with another person, and you begin to pick up their mannerisms. Such behavioral "synchronization" is a mechanism by which we build social cohesion. It operates as a positive feedback loop: the more you know somebody, the more synchronized you will be and vice versa.

Synchronization occurs to be a general phenomenon among all social creatures. People tend to walk in step and sway together in separate rocking chairs. Even dolphins have been observed to breathe in sync.

This raises the question of whether synchronization occurs across species. And what better interspecific relationship to test than that between man and his best friend, the pooch? So a team of researchers did just that, examining behavioral synchronization between 48 dogs and their owners....

Are you your dog? Is your dog you? Or, elements of your personality traits anyway. Researchers set out to explore these and other queries.

Can we extrapolate from this new science to apply these questions to your human children?

Faculty from the University of Vienna’s Department of Behavioral Biology in Austria sought to explore the human-dog dyad (aka a group of two -units, entities, humans, animals) suggesting owner and dog social characteristics impact each other’s stress responses and thereby influence coping capacity. Recognizing the human role is more influential, they investigated “intra-individual cortisol variability” (iCV) which is regulated and adjusted by interactions that range from contentious to emotionally supportive. Heart rate (HR) and its fluctuations...

Your dog loves rawhides - that's a fact. But someone may have told you to stay away from them. Why? Take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Debunked about your pet's favorite chew bone.