NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
THE Taipei Pets Show, billed as the biggest one in Asia, was the perfect venue to find new innovative pet products. After four days of combing the show floor, we narrowed our top product picks to 10 items that should make life better for pets and people.
Mind you out hot picks are not all made in Taiwan and most are not available in the Philippines yet. But there's always Amazon and brand-specific e-commerce sites where you can order the following mouth-watering and snazzy goods for your pets.
OPPO DOG MUZZLE QUACK
Nothing says danger than a dog wearing a leather muzzle. If you must put a muzzle on your dog when walking or grooming time, go for a softer look by using the Quack. The duck bill shaped muzzle is a big hit in Japan and in other countries where dog owners appreciate the combined utility and humor of this product.
It sells for US$38 and was showcased at the Taipei Pets Show alongside another quirky design meant for dogs and cats with short snout. The Quack muzzles are available in three different sizes and colors to match any kind of dog you have.
PET EMOTIONAL MACHINE
You read it right, this product is called the Pet Emotional Machine. But what is it exactly? From Taiwan-based firm Smypet, the Pet Emotional Machine is a device that releases a certain frequency detectable only by pets.
When cats and dogs sense the frequency, it supposedly would help them feel calmer and relaxed. Clingy pets, pets that experience panic or anxiety attacks or have troubles being left alone might benefit from this device. There are different settings to suit different pets' sizes. It retails for NT$12,800 and comes in blue or beige colors.
EVERCLEAN PAW CLEANER & COMB MASSAGER
From PetKit, the Everclean Paw Cleaner and Comb massager gives your dog an instant foot bath and spa right at your home. Inside the canister are round-headed silicone brushes that gently but meticulously cleans the dog's paws. Simply insert your dog's individual paws inside the container to clean them after walking or playing outside. The cover's slotted design conforms with the physiological structure of the paw so dog's won't get hurt using it.
The parts can be dismantled for easy cleaning, especially the Everclean Massage Comb inside which can also be ideal for brushing your cat's fur. The comb can be used on wet fur, too, during bath time. It not only massages and removes loose fur, it also promotes blood circulation on pets.
CHEW ME TURTLE MEAT
This cat treat takes exotic food to a whole new level as it is made of soft-shell turtle meat or eggs. In gel form and green in color, Chew Me is a product of Brimoon Pet Care, the leading Taiwan company that pioneers the use of turtle, from soft shell to meat and bones, for pet food.
The soft-shell turtle is said to be rich in amino acid, omega 3 and other minerals that are effective in promoting good skin and fur in cats. Aside from soft-shell turtle parts, Chew Me is also loaded with broccoli. Chew Me made its product debut at the Taipei Pets Show. A pack of six 12g pouches of Chew Me costs NT$100 as a special introductory price during the show.
PETALS PET COLLAR
A Taiwanese proprietress exhibited her own line of pet e-collar in the shape of petals. Stuffed with pure cotton, the petals are sewn together to form an opening in the middle where the pet's head goes.
It's a bit pricey though with the smallest collar sold for NT$950. The cloth is made from silky soft materials so it doesn't absorb water and get stained easily. Ideal for both cats and dogs of different sizes.
International Cats House Corp., the manufacturer of the No. 1 local brand of cat litter in Taiwan, has a clever packaging concept for its cat litter. Called BoxCat, the litter are contained in a beautifully designed carton box that turns into a cat house or cat sleeping quarter. The Boxcat also comes with free scratch pad that fits perfectly inside the box!
Instead of using the typical bag or sack for its litter, the use of specially designed cardboard box caught cat lovers' fancy who, company officials said, sometimes buy BoxCat first for the box, then the litter.
Would you like to have a drink with your cat and dog? Paw Wine is a non-alcoholic drink for pets based on extracts from peppermint, chamomile, beets and catnip. The peppermint and chamomile flavors are for dogs and are supposed to freshen their breath.
The beets and catnip with silvervine are the cat's “wine” to perk them up during dreary days, perhaps. The Paw Wine can be refrigerate and ideally consumed within three days after opening. A large bottle of Paw Wine costs NT$399 while the small bottles cost NT$299 (for dogs) and NT$199 (for cats).
A wide range of eco-friendly products made from paper were on display at the Taipei Pets Show and one of the companies that brought forward its cardboard-made products is Carton Meow.
From scratch pads to beds, Carton Meow designed them in fun shapes to make them great conversation pieces, too. The cat-shaped scratchpad, for example, looks elegant enough to be left standing in the corner of the living room. It costs only NT$360 while the bed costs NT$760.
YAK CHEESE TREAT
T.N.A., a Taiwan-based pet food company, creates cheesy dog treats using milk from Yaks. The cheese are handmade in Nepal and finished for commercial production in Taiwan.
The finished product is a super hard stick of cheese that can help clean dog's teeth as they gnaw on it. A large stick can cost up to NT$430 while the smallest stick could cost arount NT$280.
ECO PET DISH
Made by Petique, this eco pet dish is a 2-in-1 dog or cat bowl you can take anywhere! It snaps together for easy travel and it doesn't absorb odors. The best part of this Eco-Friendly Pet Dish is it's BPA free, non-toxic and made out of starch based material, which makes it completely biodegradable. It retails for US$28 online.
THE Philippines has successfully convicted a dog killer, a historic first.
The news was shared by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) which helped attain justice for the dog killed by Roberto Olivar from Caloocan City. The decision came last June 14, 2018, with Olivar convicted for violating the Animal Welfare Act. He spent some time in prison and was fined P5,000.
According to PAWS, Olivar was filmed killing his own dog and then feeding it to his other dog. The person who filmed the crime and uploaded it on Facebook was not involved in filing criminal charges, but concerned citizen Emma Manalili did. She saw the video and, accompanied by local police, immediately located Olivar's place. She later testified for the Prosecution.
Part of the Facebook video below was played in court and elicited stifled gasps from the stenographer and other members of Caloocan MTC No. 52, PAWS said.
PAWS added that during the promulgation, Honorable Judge Dorothy Grace Daguna-Inciong warned Olivar sternly that should he be reported for dog-killing again, she would make sure that he will be given the maximum prison term for violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
“I have three dogs myself and I love them. This act that you did is despicable and I hope you know that this is wrong and should never happen again,” the judge was quoted saying.
Animal cruelty is a crime under the Animal Welfare Act of the Philippines (RA8485 as amended by RA 10631). Those witnessing animal cruelty should report it to the police first, before taking photos and videos that can be shared in social media later.
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced that the Japanese government has decided to stop conducting year-long tests on dogs, particularly beagles, to study the potential effects of pesticides on people.
After hearing from PETA U.S. scientists for the past three years, the Japanese government made the decision to end the cruel tests wherein beagles are forced to eat pesticide-laced food or inhale pesticide fumes daily for a year and are then killed and dissected. PETA U.S. repeatedly provided evidence that data from these tests are not used to protect humans.
At the urging of PETA U.S., the U.S. ended this same test in 2007, the European Union ended it in 2013, and Canada followed suit in 2016, sparing thousands of dogs annually. Japan will now join the growing list of countries that have made the right decision for dogs and for science.
PETA U.S. and PETA Asia are urging other countries, including South Korea, to end their requirement for one-year pesticide testing on dogs, and are working to end all pesticide testing on dogs and all other animals. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE Philippine market is sorely lacking its very own locally produced cat food, but that could change if the first set of trials spearheaded by a doctoral student succeeds.
Five cat food flavors, all using squash as major ingredient, are undergoing market tests and could be the start of a local brand that can help farmers and give cat owners an alternative to imported cat food products.
Hazel Alfon, who is taking up Doctor in Business Administration from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, developed her own kitty fare for her research project in functional strategy and business ethics.
A cat lover herself, she wanted to cook up something inexpensive but nutritious for cats and at the same time create an opportunity for squash growers to sell more of their crop.
“What prompted me to do the study is the surplus of squash during harvest time. Lugi yung farmers, halos ipamigay na yung kalabasa nila. (Farmers lose...almost giving their squash away).
With both the cats' and farmers' welfare in mind, Alfon set about baking her first handmade dry kibble. She soon, however, switched to wet cat food as she believes cats need it more to supplement their water intake.
A licensed chemist, Alfon told MetroPets that she did extensive research on the kinds of food that are good and bad for cats. She also took samples of her squash-based cat food to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) for analysis. In addition, she consulted with veterinarians to make sure her cat food is safe. Later on, she used social media networks to invite cat owners to try her products for free.
“My cat food are all-natural, human grade and with no salt and chemical pre-treatment,” Alfon said.
Alfon added that she uses from 80 to 90 percent fish, beef, chicken breast, liver or gizzard. The rest are vegetables, particularly squash.
The results are the following variants:
* Salmon with carrots, green beans and kalabasa (squash)
* Ox tripe with chicken liver and kalabasa
* Tuna with kalabasa
* Chicken with kalabasa
* Beef with carrots, green peas and kalabasa
Sealed silver pouches, each containing 85 grams of any of the five flavors, were shipped to market testers who volunteered to feed it to their cats for seven days. Alfon said the most common feedback she received pertains to cats' poop becoming less stinky or even stink-free!
MetroPets' resident cat reviewers tested Alfon's homemade cat food and while they showed indifference at first, they soon acquired the taste and feel for it. The top hits were the squash with chicken and squash with beef. Used to the texture of paté, the cats set aside morsels of ox tripe. They ate the fish variants with no complain but also with less gusto.
Meanwhile, Alfon told MetroPets that she has started work on another cat food specifically for lactating cats.
If all goes well with her cat food, Alfon said she plans to turn it into a business and share her revenues with animals shelters.
SPOTIFY is getting a spot (pun intended) in the matchmaking business by using its music streaming service to find the right shelter dog for the right person. The program is aptly called Adoptify.
Since it has been established that dogs have their own individual music preferences, Spotify has partnered with an animal shelter in Germany to match people and adoptable dogs based on their song choices.
A brainchild of the agency called Serviceplan, Adoptify makes use of a website that features dogs ready for adoption at a shelter in Munich. Aside from giving out standard information on the dog's gender, age and breed, Adoptify adds the kind of music each dog prefers. A potential dog owner can watch the personalized videos about the dogs and from there choose to adopt the one that sings his or her tune, so to speak. -- MetroPets
#adoptify #shelterdogs #musicaldog #dogsandmusic @spotifyanddogs
THE Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Technological Institute of the Philippines recently launched their own free Android application aimed at improving public awareness about animal rabies.
The Rabies Free 2020 app is available for download in Google Play Store. The app is pretty straightforward and simple in style and function.
The app has five sections that provide an overview about rabies, list of animal bite centers, locations of animal rabies diagnostic laboratories nationwide, hotlines and contact information, and about the app development.
The Rabies Free 2020 app makes a barking sound when a new section is opened. The text are in Filipino and there are links to existing rabies-free campaign videos from the BAI like the one below.
The app gives general information about rabies from symptoms, phases and prevention, among others. It seeks to guide the public, too, on how to become responsible pet owners to help prevent the spread of rabies.
The Philippines aims to become completely rabies free by 2020. By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies completely. -- MetroPets
NOT many people know that there's an old cemetery inside Clark City, in Pampanga that was made for the bravest of dogs.
When Clark was still a US military air base, the 3rd Security Police Group (3SPG) operated there the largest military working dog unit of the United States Air Force (USAF) with hundreds of dogs during its entire history. Canines that died from natural causes or were put to sleep after they became ineffective for the job were interred at this K-9 cemetery.
Despite the passing of time, the violent eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and the redevelopment of Clark into a freeport zone, the K-9 cemetery remained where it is, undisturbed but somewhat forgotten.
The K-9 cemetery lies in a 100-sq.m. piece of land, a mere speck in the map of Clark, which in total is about 32,000-hectare big. The dog cemetery is not a very popular attraction so finding it could be a bit tricky without a tour person or an app like Waze as guide. It is at the corner of Centennial street, near a major intersection and with a big green sign that says “K-9 Cemetery”.
The K-9 cemetery is surrounded by old trees. A short concrete bridge literally connects the K-9 Cemetery to the outside world.
For decades, the K-9 military working dogs and their handlers did a nightly search of the jungles, secured the flight line and guarded the base population. The dogs were trained to secure the base perimeter from intruders and thieves and to detect narcotics and bombs.
As to be expected, a lot of them were German Shepherds.
Based on archived pictures, the K-9 Cemetery in Clark Field looked like it started as a plain field marked by white crosses. In 1978, the crosses were changed to tombstones that look like short obelisks that bear the dogs' names and their officially issued identification numbers.
The tombstones are neatly arranged in rows and columns. Unfortunately, the statue of a dog and its handler at the center of the cemetery no longer exists. It has been removed and sent by the USAF to the Security Forces Museum in Texas, leaving a stump of concrete in the middle of the K-9 cemetery.
Although it is right along a busy street with no gate or walls to hide it from view, the final resting place of the USAF canines is as peaceful as it can be. The tombstones, many with faded letters and numbers, are all that remain of the once proud military kennel.
Based on some of the names, one could guess the personality or character of the dog in the grave. Some of the names that stand out are Pig, Sultan, Duke, Bullet, King, Max and Wolf. There are 284 tombstones so going through each and everyone could take a while.
The K-9 Cemetery is a must-see if you are a dog lover. Clark Development Corp. takes care of the K-9 Cemetery's upkeep and promised not to disturb it in the name of progress. As the only one in the country, the K-9 Cemetery and the dogs it contains can rest in peace...forever. --- MetroPets
MAKATI residents can start availing of free microchipping for their pets under a new city-wide veterinary program to ensure all companion animals are vaccinated against rabies and can be easily identified and recovered in case they are lost or stolen.
Makati is the first local government unit in the country to introduce this kind of program for its estimated 30,000 plus “petizens” from 27 barangays and six villages. A pet cat or dog need only to be at least 300g heavy to qualify for a chip implant.
The plan is to first roll out the program in the affluent villages of Urdaneta, Magallanes, Bel-Air, San Lorenzo, Dasmariñas and Forbes Park. Makati residents from other barangays can avail of the free pet microchipping based on schedules that will be posted by the VSO on the My Makati Facebook page. Mangahas said bonafide Makati residents are also welcome to bring their pets anytime at designated microchipping sites like the Makati Fire Station.
The Pet iChips, sourced from Plaridel Products and Services, Inc., come in small glass cylinders and no longer than a grain of rice. A chip can be quickly and painlessly injected under the pet's skin with no need for anesthesia, said Dr. Jing Mangahas, officer-in-charge of the Makati Veterinary Services Offices (VSO).
The chip will be implanted onto pets by representatives of the city's veterinary office over the next few months. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the pet microchip is implanted between the shoulder blades and will have a unique 15-digit code. The code serves as a permanent pet ID that can be read by a microchip scanner. The code bears the pet's name, owner's name and address and the pet's health and vaccination records. Makati has procured 35 scanners from Plaridel for the 32 barangays and the city veterinary office.
Mayor Abby Binay kicked off the program by having her dogs implanted with the Pet iChip during the launch. She encouraged her constituents, including city government employees to have their pets microchipped, too.
“These Pet iChips are your pets' way back to you. Collars and tags can fall off or be removed but microchips will stay in place for many, many years. This technology will help pet owners like myself monitor the health and safety of our animals. It will help us become more responsible pet owners,” Binay said.
“We launched this to require our residents to have their pets vaccinated. In the process, we will have something like a pet census in our city,” Binay added.
The pet-friendly project will result in a dabatase of Makati petizens that reflect their health records, particularly the validity of their anti-rabies shots. Registered dogs get a printed pet passport that owners can bring when they both travel.
Another beauty of this project is it could prevent redundant and costly rabies shots when a vaccinated dog or cat bites a person because the chip makes it easier to prove a pet's anti-rabies record. The chip is also a deterrent against pet theft.
A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) showed that microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2 percent of the time compared to only 21.9 percent for dogs without microchips. Cats with microchips were also reunited with their owners 38.5 percent of the time compared to only 1.8 percent for cats without microchips that went missing.
Mangahas told MetroPets that dogs caught by the city pound and are being retrieved by their true owners from Makati will also be vaccinated against rabies and implanted with a chip before they are released. -- MetroPets
By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies for good.
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) said the new target provides an annual marker to showcase progress at all levels – from the international to the community – towards every country’s rabies elimination efforts.
The Philippines aims to make the country completely rabies-fress by 2020.
Rabies: Zero by 30, the theme for World Rabies Day, 2017, is being supported by local veterinarians, many of whom went door-to-door in depressed areas where high cases of rabies were recorded.
Reuters reported that Filipino veterinarians, in partnership with the animal protection group Humane Society International (HSI), led the free mass vaccination drive using not just their syringes but also their smartphones to track areas of concern.
HSI launched the rabies tracker smartphone app that records rabies inoculations and geotags dogs by location as a way to control the disease.
The Bureau of Animal Industry placed the canine population in the Philippines at 10 million at least. The World Health Organization (WHO) said dogs without anti-rabies shots are the primary conduits (99 percent of cases) of the disease that spreads to humans.
The HSI said cases of rabies in the Philippines are among the highest globally, with at least 200 Filipino deaths from the disease annually, mainly due to dog bites. Despite this alarming figure, the Philippines was ranked by WHO as among the countries making “great strides” in fighting the disease.
THIS was the question that French researcher Marc-Antoine Fardin asked in his science paper that won him the Ig Nobel for physics this year.
"Can a cat be both a solid and a liquid” at the same time? Fardin explained that a liquid can adapt its shape to the container it is in. It's a condition that seems applicable to cats to some extent. A good example is this cat inside a glass jar.
Aside from boxes of all shapes and sizes, cats are known to try to fit inside the most unconventional vessels such as bowls, glasses and tubes, among others. They also do it almost effortlessly as if they are truly in a liquid-like state.
Pretty much like this cat in the video.
The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize, which is awarded every autumn to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Presented at Harvard University by bemused real Nobel Prize laureates, the Ig awards are not an attempt at ridiculing science, the Ig Nobel website states.
“Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd, so can bad achievements,” it explains.
"A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity."
Aside from Fardin, 9 other researchers who invested time and money in solving life's improbable yet important questions from different fields were also honored in early September with Ig Nobels.
The theme of this year's Ig Nobels was "Uncertainty". -- AFP with notes from MetroPets
* LTFRB says pets can now ride public transport