Saturday, March 31, 2012

Guess the Genotype #61

Can you guess this dog's genotype? Its breed?

Image is from under a Creative Commons license.

Crazy Plants: Gnetum

One species that is to be found in the genus Gnetum.
Gnetum is the genus with the most species in the Phylum Genotophyta. The phylum also includes such strange plants as Ephedra and Welwitschia. All are strange species that don't really fit into any other grouping. Though this plant is fairly obscure, where it does occur (parts of South America and Asia) it's sometimes cultivated for food. The seeds and young leaves are eaten. Fiber will also be made from the bark. The gum that comes form a species in Brazil is used to treat injuries such as muscle or tendon tears and supposedly reduces swelling. It is also used to treat headaches and those who are thin, weak, and not eating.

Gnetum seeds
They prefer soils that are neutral or slightly acidic. Thought the ground needs to be well-drained, a lot of nutrients are not necessary. The majority of the species are woody vines. The seeds the plants produced are usually rather bright shades of red, yellow, or orange and also usually fleshy. They resemble drupes such as cherries. It appears these species are not very well studied. What species exist today are remnants of a time when the Gentums were more common. amazingly, these plants are known to exchange genetic information with flowering plants such as petunias. How this is done isn't know, but there is likely some sort of vector involved.

Sources are University of Connecticut, Discover Life, and the Gymnosperm Database.  Images are from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses: one, two.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cool Animal Sounds: Raccoon

I know just about everyone in the United States knows what a raccoon is, but have you ever heard one?

That's what an upset baby sounds like. Quite an interesting noise, in my opinion. These animals are known to actually produce a wide variety of sounds. This is usually various sort of chattering sounds, but they can also purr and squeal, among other things. Just remember, though these critters can look cute, never mess with one because they are known to commonly carry rabies. And don't think they won't bite you, because they can and it's likely that they will if cornered.

Reviews: A Few Cans

Earlier this month, I gave you a preview of canned foods I was going to try out. I decided to lump them together into one post, so here we go.

Dog Food Advisor rating: ★★★★★

I purchased one can of the Original Formula Green Beef Tripe. This food is only meant to be feed supplementally since it lacks some of the essentials. For those who don't know, tripe is part of the stomach of a foregut fermenting herbivore (aka ruminant) such as a cow and green tripe is minimally processed and includes some of the stomach contents in the mix. This has a lot going for it. Unlike just giving your dog greens, since the stomach contents have been partially digested there is a lot more nutrients available to your dog. This is partly thanks to the special microbes these animals have in their stomachs that help break down otherwise indigestible material, such as cellulose. Also, the inclusion of other things like digestive enzymes can also be beneficial.

I bought a small can because this was just a trial.
Ingredients: Beef Tripe, Water, Garlic, Vegetable Gum

Nutrition Facts:
Crude Protein: minimum of 11.0%
Crude Fat: minimum of 7.0%
Crude Fiber: maximum of 0.5%
Moisture: maximum of 79.8%

What was inside
When I first opened the can I was surprised it was as packed in as it was. It had that unpleasant look that so many canned foods tends to have, including a jelly layer right on top. The jelly, of course, comes from the inclusion of vegetable gum to the mix. It smelled immediately like cow: that warm, herbivore smell that comes when you aren't smelling cow poop. After I got the stuff out of the can, I was a bit more pleased with its appearance. Once broken apart, it starts to look like the organ meat that it is.

Ebon really loved this stuff! There was a slight downside of making his breath smell like cow for several hours, but overall I was pretty pleased. I don't know if I'll be feeding this again. If I do decide to feed tripe in any frequency, I think I would prefer it fresher than you can even get out of a can. The fresher, the more natural enzymes will be present, and those enzymes are part of the reason people feed tripe in the first place.

Nature's Variety Instinct
Dog Food Advisor rating: ★★★★★

After how pleased I was with the Nature's Variety kibble, I thought I would try out the accompanying canned food. For this trial, I went with the Rabbit Formula, which was picked randomly from what the store had. This food is AAFCO approved for all life stages.

Again, small can for the trial.
Ingredients: Rabbit, Pork Liver, Water, Ground Flaxseeds, Tricalcium Phosphate, Montmorillonite Clay, Peas, Carrots, Calcium Carbonate, Lecithin, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Kelp, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

Nutrition Facts:
Crude Protein: minimum of 10.0%
Crude Fat: minimum of 7.5%
Crude Fiber: maximum of 3.0%
Moisture: maximum of 75.0%

What was inside
This can was another surprise as it's the brothy-est canned food I have ever seen! It had a pleasant, meaty smell, which is always nice. Many of the ingredients were discernible, which I much prefer to the nameless mush you so often see in canned foods. This was another big hit with Ebon and also sent the cats into a tizzy. The ever-sneaky Ash stole some broth. Ebon, as always, is amazingly okay with other creatures taking food from right under his nose. As with the kibble, I was quite pleased with this can. It's definitely going on my list of canned foods for occasional treats.

Weruva Human Style
Dog Food Advisor rating: ★★★★★

This was the first time I had seen the brand, and I find it interesting that they have an entire line of foods that are labeled "Human Style." I chose the Peking Ducken randomly from the choices the store had. The food is AAFCO approved for adult maintenance.

The cans are cute

Ingredients: Chicken (Boneless, Skinless, White Breast), Water Sufficient For Processing, Duck, Carrot, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Spinach, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Nutrition Facts:
Crude Protein: minimum of 10.0%
Crude Fat: minimum of 1.4%
Crude Fiber: maximum of 0.5%
Moisture: maximum of 85.0%

What was inside
This was another food I thought looked beautiful, with basically every ingredient visible. Though you can't really see them, there were actually quite a number of duck chunks that ended up underneath the shredded chicken. It smelled a lot like chicken soup and, like the last can, made the cats crazy with the smell. Ebon loved it, which seems to be a theme with these foods. Ash tried to steal some, but I shooed him away. I might need to start doing some reviews with them just so they won't be so jealous! Anyway, this is another brand going on my list of occasional canned treats.

Ebon's been really loving these reviews, so here' a shot of his happy dance:

Just so happy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Invasive Species: Green crab

The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is also known as the shore crab.
Blue = native range, red = current invasive range, green = at risk
This species is native to the waters off the coast of North Western Europe on down to parts of Northern Africa. It has now become invasive in waters off the coast of Australia, South Africa, Canada, Argentina, and Japan. Many other areas of the world are at risk of invasion. Introduction was through the shipping industry, either through ballast water or fouling organisms.

Many of this species' characteristics makes it an incredibly infective invader. It tolerates a wide range of temperatures, salt levels, and types of habitat. It is an omnivore that will eat just about anything it gets its claws on, including known species from 158 genera at least. It is directly linked to falling numbers of several other species of crab as well as some mollusks. It is even linked to the collapse of the soft-shell crab industry in Nova Scotia and New England. $22 million in damages can be linked to this species in the United States alone. Overall, it has caused decreases in biomass and biodiversity of estuaries where it is found.

This species is currently on the list of 100 World's Worst Invasives at #18.

Images are from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses: one, two.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Types of Evolution

There are three major types of evolution: adaptive radiation, divergent evolution, and convergent evolution. Some modern species are very good examples of these different forms of evolution.

Adaptive Radiation

Four of the species of finch that can be found on the Galapagos islands
This is usually only seen in island populations and is where a single founding species will evolve to a wide variety of ecological niches. One very famous example of this is Darwin's finches on the Galapagos. It's likely that all of the finches evolved from a small group that somehow drifted to the islands many years ago. Now, the numerous species have adapted to eat virtually anything that can be found on the island. This includes some very clever things, including a species that uses cactus needles to spear insect larvae out of trees. 

Divergent Evolution

A hyrax
An African elephant
This is when two closely related species become quite distinct over time. My personal favorite divergent evolution example involved the elephant and the hyrax. These species appear incredibly different in size, shape, and many other characteristics. However, the two groups are far closer than you would suspect. The hyrax is not very close to the rodents it resembles, but its closest living relative is, in fact, the elephant. There are many other examples, including weasels and the red panda.

Convergent Evolution

This hyrax looks like a rodent
Rock cavies greatly resemble the hyrax
Convergent evolution is when two very distantly related species evolve in a similar habitat and end up appearing quite similar. In line with my last example, the hyrax also shows convergent evolution. Though most closely related to the elephant, these small animals most closely resemble rodents such as the capybara. Closer examination reveals numerous differences, but the resemblance is quite startling. There are many examples of this as well, including two snake genera (one Asian, one American) that are nearly identical.

Sources are PBS, more PBS, and Earlham College. Images are from Wikimedia Commons and are under Creative Commons licenses or are copyright free: one, two, three, four, five.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guess the Genotype #59

Can you guess this dog's genotype? Its breed?

Image is from under a Creative Commons license.

Gender and Sex

What do you think of when you hear the words gender and sex? You probably think of yourself and how you identify yourself into the categories of male and female. Do you consider gender and sex to be the same thing? Well, they are not the same thing. Many people assume that they are, but they simply aren't. In addition, while Western society usually groups both gender and sex into a binary system, this binary system has many issues.

Many of these women have Androgen insensitivity syndrome and are genetically XY despite appearing as "normal" women. All of them have disorders of sexual development and as such are on the intersex spectrum.
What is sex? Your sex is determined by what genitalia you were born with. These are designations that everyone is familiar with: boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. The development of these parts is determined by hormones that are present in the womb and this is usually controlled by your twenty-third chromosomal pair. Girls are XX and boys are XY. However, even these seemingly simple definitions can be complicated. For example, there are girls who are actually XY. Individuals who fall into the gray area between the usual male/female binary are known as Intersex, though the older term of hermaphrodite is also sometimes used. An estimated one out of every one hundred births is believed to result in an intersex individual. It's difficult to know exact numbers, however, as many cases go unreported thanks to the lack of societal acceptance of the intersex.

Treatment of intersex individuals is controversial, with the old method being immediate surgical assignment of a single sex at birth based on the appearance of the genitals. This is not only traumatic to the child, but can cause serious psychological issues if the individual does not identify with that gender as an adult. Modern methods still involve assigning a gender, but assignment surgery is not recommended until the individual can make a decision for themselves what (if any) surgery they want. The only surgeries that should be done are necessary, some even saving a child's life. Assignment is also not based on external anatomy, but rather tests such as hormone panels.

A transwoman (male-to-female) who's in the Spanish legislature
What is gender? Your gender is how you identify yourself. The majority of people will indeed identify themselves as the sex they were born with. However, as before, there is far more than just this simple binary. There are the transexual/transgender individuals: women who were born male and men who were born female. There are the genderqueer/androgyne/bigender: people who identify somewhere in between what is culturally considered male and female. There are even agender: those who identify as neither gender, and numerous other gender identities. It is often very difficult for people who fit outside of the socially accepted gender binary since being different can be seen as unacceptable. However, it is usually easier for a woman to be outside of the gender norm than a man, as, for example, a woman dressed in men's clothing is far more accepted than a man dressed in women's clothing.

A transman (female-to-male)
Just as gender has nothing to do with sex, it also has nothing to do with sexual preference. Someone could be born male, identify as female, and have preference for men. Someone could be born female, identify as neither gender, and be bisexual. Someone could even be born female-appearing intersex, identify as male, and have a preference for women. The possibilities are endless. Also, those that identify as a gender other than what coincides with their birth sex don't always want to change their own sex.

The reasons given above are why, in many ways, sex and gender should be defined on a spectrum. This is especially true of gender, since gender categories are far fuzzier and more numerous than sex. There are some cultures that are more accepting of people who are outside of gender norms, including those who accept more than two genders. Hopefully, the cultural trends toward acceptance will continue.

Sources are Intersex Society of America, CNN, TransGenderCare, Transgender Law and Policy Institute, Psychology Today, and All Mixed Up. Images are from Wikimedia Commons and are under Creative Commons licenses or are copyright free: one, two, three, four.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cool Animal Sounds: Beluga Whale

Beluga whales are called "canaries of the sea" for a reason. They make a wide variety of noises, and can even learn to mimic those they hear. This Beluga, named Beethoven, has quite a vocabulary.

There are a number of sources out there that have recordings on Belugas making other noises. This is an Arctic species of whale that is like no other in appearance. Born gray, they turn white as they age. Like most Arctic species, they lack a dorsal fin. This makes it easier for them to swim close to the surface under ice while searching for a place to breathe. They are very unusual among whales in that they have flexible necks, whereas most species have fused neck vertebrae. Their prominent "forehead," which is more properly known as a melon, is filled with fat and helps them make those sounds.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Identifying Merle

After one of my recent Guess the Genotype posts, I though I would discuss in more detail how to identify a merle dog. It seems that many people have issues telling the difference between a dog that is merle and a dog that isn't merle. All of the dogs I will be looking at are often described as "blue" thanks to the pale, gray-ish parts of their coat. So, here we go:

Dogs that are merle
Remember: the merle gene will almost always only affect black pigment in the coat. Merle can also never breed true and thus you can never have a breed that only comes in merle. Breeding two merles together will always produce a little that is half merle, one quarter non-merle and one-quarter double merle. Double merles have a very high incidence of health issues such as deafness and blindness. If a dog's breed always comes in a certain color (i.e. the color breeds true) it's most likely not merle.

Some tips on picking out a merle dog: 

  • The dog has a patchy grey and black coat with clear white markings (i.e. few or no colored hairs mixed in with the white). 
  • Any red on the dog is one even, consistent color. 
  • Dark and light patches on the body are randomly distributed and uneven in size and shape. They will often appear jagged.
  • The dog has loss of pigmentation (i.e. pink spots) to the nose. 
  • Eyes not only one color: part is blue and part is brown.
  • The dog is blind and/or deaf (double merles only)
  • The dog's pupils are of an odd location, size, or shape (double merles only)
  • The dog has abnormally small eyes (double merles only)

Koolie. This dog is a tricolor merle (black with tan points, Irish white, and a single merle gene). Note the clear white markings, even tan, and uneven distribution of black and grey patches.
Mudi. This dog is a solid black merle (dominant black and a single merle gene). Note the random distribution of black and grey patches.
Great dane. This dog is bicolor merle (dominant black, Irish white, and a single merle gene). Note the clear white, uneven distribution of black and grey patches, and the loss of pigment in the nose.
Catahoula leopard dog. This dog is merle and tan (black with tan points and a single merle gene). Note the even tan and uneven distribution of black and grey patches.
Cardigan Welsh corgi. This dog is merle and white with brindled points (black with tan points, the brindle gene, Irish white, and a single merle gene). Note the clear white, uneven distribution of black and grey patches, loss of pigment in the nose, and evenness to what red can be seen.
Catahoula leopard dog. This dog is solid black merle with residual white (dominant black with a single merle gene). Note the clear white patch on the chest and uneven distribution of black and grey patches. There is also a brown spot in one eye.
Miniature smooth dachshund. This dog is a tricolor merle (black with tan points, Irish white, and a single merle gene). Note the clear white, uneven distribution of black and grey patches, and even tan.

Dogs that are not merle
Remember: these dogs do not have a copy of the merle gene. All of the dogs seen below have light areas that are genetically white, but with ticking and/or roaning genes that add color back into that white. These dogs will be born with clear white markings that will have colored hairs added in as the dog ages. Generally, after maturity the dog won't change much more. Unlike merle, this color can also breed true.

Some tips on picking out a non-merle dog:
  • These dogs will never have clear white markings. 
  • Black and red in the coat will be affected in the same way, so red will appear lightened as well. 
  • Dark patches will be in a predictable pattern with crisp outlines and regular size.
  • Dogs will most likely have fully pigmented (black) noses and (brown) eyes.
English cocker spaniel. This dog is black roan (dominant black, piebald white, and the roan gene). Note the lack of clear white markings and the even borders between the dark and light areas. The patches also match with what can be expected on a piebald dog.
Australian cattle dog. This dog is black and tan roan (black with tan points, extreme white piebald, and the roan gene). Note the lack of clear white, the noticeable patch over the eye and ear, and the different in tan between the area around the eye and elsewhere on the body. The patch also matches what can be expected on an extreme white dog.
Border collie. While border collies can be merle, this dog is black roan (dominant black, white Irish, and the roan gene). Note the lack of clear white and the even borders between the dark and light areas. The patches also match would can be expected from a border collie without roan.
Bluetick coonhound. Another black and tan roan (black with tan points, piebald white, and the roan gene). Note the lack of clear white, the presence of variation in the tan, and the clear boundaries between dark and light areas. The patches also match with what can be expected from a piebald dog.

Identify these dogs: Merle or not? 
I've included the answers in white text, so if you highlight below each image you will see your answer.

This dog is believed to be an Australian cattle dog mix and is not merle.
This mix is merle. Though the owner believes him to be part Australian cattle dog, I don't think he is.
This believed Australian shepherd mix is not merle.
This believed Australian shepherd mix is merle.
This believed Australian shepherd mix is merle.
This believed Australian cattle dog mix is not merle.
This believed Australian cattle dog/Australian shepherd mix is merle, but also appears to be roan.
I hope this helps. Remember: wherever I mention black hair, the statements also hold true of the dilutes of black: liver, blue, and fawn. Both merle and roan are commonly seen in liver, though prevalence depends on the breed. Blue and fawn are, generally, more unusual.

Now with more color: Merle or not merle?

This wirehaired pointing griffon is not merle.
This believed Australian shepherd mix is merle.
This believed cattle dog mix is not merle.
This dachshund is merle.
This Australian shepherd is merle.
So, after identifying a dog as merle, it should be a bit easier to identify its breed. For example, if a dog is merle than the likelihood of it being an Australian cattle dog mix is very low. It's more likely the dog has one of the breeds that is known to come in merle, such as the Australian shepherd, many of other herding breeds, or maybe Catahoula leopard dog.  If the dog is roan, it may very well be part Australian cattle dog or another breed with prominent ticking or roaning, such as many pointers.
All images are from Wikimedia Commons or and are either under Creative Commons licenses or are copyright free. Links to sources are available under each image except for the guessing game images. Guessing game images: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interesting Animals: Secretary Bird

A wild secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) in the Serengeti.
A captive secretary bird
This birds is one of the many fascinating looking birds that can be found in the world. The species' rather unexpected common name comes from the feathers on its head, resembling quill pens tucked behind the ear as secretaries would do. It is native to most of Sub-Saharan Africa. These birds prefer areas with unobstructed views, mainly grasslands and savannas. These birds can be up to 1.2 meters tall with an even longer wingspan and can weigh as much as 4.27 kilograms. For a raptor, these birds has quite unusual, especially since they have such long legs. Though they can fly, they are mostly found on the ground.

Since these birds are raptors, they eat meat. The will eat just about anything they can find, though their diet is mostly small species such as insects, other arthropods, and mammals. Secretary birds are also known for killing and eating very dangerous snakes such as cobras and mambas. Their methods for doing so are fascinating to watch since they will actually kick them to death! This stomping action is actually an important aspect of their hunting, being used to either flush out prey and/or to kill it.

Here is footage of one of these fascinating creatures killing a snake.

This species is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Major threats including disturbing habitat, capture for trade purposes, and hunting. Secretary bird numbers are currently decreasing.

References are Animal Diversity Web and IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Images are from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses: one, two.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dog Food Review: Taste of the Wild

This is second of the dog food review series I'm doing.

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Canine Formula
Dog Food Advisor rating: ★★★★★
This food is AAFCO approved for all life stages.

The bag
Ingredients: Lamb, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, canola oil, pea protein, roasted lamb, tomato pomace, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative and source of vitamin E), dried chicory root, taurine, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Items in italics will be discussed later. 

Bag's recommended daily feeding instructions for an adult dog 80-100 lbs: 3 3/4 - 4 1/3 cups
Crude Protein: minimum of 25.0%
Crude Fat: minimum of 15.0%
Crude Fiber: maximum of 4.0%
Moisture: maximum of 10.0%
Calorie content: 338 kcal/cup, 3,661 kcal/kg
Calculated amount to maintain Ebon's ideal weight (82.5 lbs): 4.93 cups or 0.46 kg (1.012 lbs)
Price per pound when buying the largest bag (30 lbs at $46.99): $1.566
Estimated cost of feeding Ebon per year on this food: $578.57 (12.31 of the 30 lb bags)
Ebon receives slightly less than the calculated feeding amount to allow for his daily treats
Ebon's overall health on this food: Rather good. Energy level moderate to high. Coat shiny, though he did have a slight increase in dandruff. Poop usually not as compact and not very consistent.

The kibble
I started transitioning from Ebon's old food on February 27th, and I just started transitioning him off of this food. The kibble itself is relatively large and flat. It has a moderately high meat content, as can be seen in the first several ingredients. Some ingredients are rather telling as, though this food boasts at being grain free and high quality, some ingredients seem a bit unusual. Inclusion of such things as pea protein will boost the protein content, even though a fair amount of the protein is still coming from animal sources. It does make me curious how much protein is coming from peas rather than lamb as vegetable proteins often lack a lot of the amino acids essential to good health and are also not as easily digested. Ebon did got excited at the smell of this food, which is likely thanks to the inclusion of roasted lamb in the mix.

Some nice things to see in this food: chelated minerals and probiotics. Chelated minerals are believed to be more easily absorbed and used by the body than non-chelated minerals, and probiotics/microorganisms help maintain good gut flora to provide for better digestion.

I was actually quite surprised at some of the changes that Ebon went through after starting this food, partly because I've heard quite a number of dog owners rant and rave about the brand. The fact that he pooped more wasn't surprising since he was getting a larger amount of food. Taste of the Wild is not as calorie dense as many other kibbles, and the fact that Ebon would need nearly five cups a day to maintain his weight rather shocked me. The majority of foods I have looked at require servings for Ebon around or below four cups. His poop was really inconsistent, including his first problems with a food transition. When he first started this food his poop became very loose for several days before firming up to a better consistency. Even after that, he would have a random loose stool every third or fourth day. Since Ebon already has issues with stress-induced loose stools, the fact that this food caused him to have basically regularly loose stools was...disappointing. Especially after the complete lack of loose stools when he was on the last test food (Nature's Variety Instinct).

As for his coat and energy, Ebon's energy level didn't change at all and his coat did have somewhat more dandruff than before, making him a bit itchy. It may have to do with the amount and type of fat in the kibble, which doesn't seem to be keeping his skin as oily as it usually is. I cannot, however, say for sure what may have caused him to be more flaky. He has not yet received his monthly bath, which is usually the cause of any dandruff he has.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this food. I don't even know how many people have told me how wonderful Taste of the Wild is, but hearing something is not the same as seeing it for yourself. The changes were overall fairly minor and not that hard to deal with, but they were still frustrating. It's quite likely this may very well just be Ebon's reaction to the food and not a good reflection of dogs in general. I still don't think Ebon will be eating this food again. However, I would be curious to know how other dogs have responded to a switch to TotW.

Will I change foods? We'll see. More reviews are to come. Next up: Wellness.