On October 25th and 26th, ROYAL CANIN® hosted its third annual PRO Experts Forum, a remarkable event aimed at elevating the knowledge and expertise in dog breeding.

The forum, held as a 100% live virtual experience, offered insights in nine languages to a global audience of 4,000 participants from 80 countries. A replay is available to view until the end of December on www.proexpertsforum.com.

A Global Gathering of Dog Breeding Experts

The PRO Experts Forum brought together 10 renowned experts from diverse backgrounds, sharing their expertise with a global network. Notable participants included Prof. Ann Van Soom, Dr. Juliette Roos-Pichenot, Dr. Tabitha Hookey, Prof. Sylvie Chastant, Dr. Angela Hughes, and Dr. Helen Zulch, among others. The event presented a valuable opportunity for attendees to delve into a wide range of topics, from optimal dog breeding practices to puppy socialization and finding the ideal pet family.

Olivier Reymond, Vice President of Pet Professionals Business & Corporate Affairs at Royal Canin, described the PRO Experts Forum as a platform for discussing both the personal experiences of breeders and the latest cutting-edge research.

Exploring the Science Behind Dog Breeding

The first panel of the forum featured Dr. Angela Hughes, a Royal Canin Veterinary Geneticist, who delved into the role of genetics in preventing puppy health issues. A healthy genetic diversity is key to improving kennel productivity, as well as maintaining the health of puppies across generations. Professor Anna Van Soom emphasized the need for genetic testing in male dogs to assess semen quality, which can be affected by factors such as trauma and heat exposure.

Dr. Tabitha Hookey, a member of Royal Canin’s global R&D team, stressed the significance of nutrition during the breeding phase. Diet plays a vital role in the health of future puppies and mothers, with lesser-known elements like Vitamin A contributing to embryonic development and heart health.

A Hands-On Approach to Neonatology

The forum took a practical turn with Professor Sylvie Chastant, an expert in puppy and kitten neonatology. She demonstrated hands-on techniques for prenatal resuscitation, a critical factor in the survival of newborn puppies. Professor Chastant also introduced recent research highlighting the placenta’s essential role in providing nutrients during the resuscitation phase.

Dr. Helen Zulch, a specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine, emphasized the unique profiles of each dog, shaped by genetics and early life experiences. Education during the puppy’s early stages significantly impacts its entire life. Additionally, Leslie Deacon and Lucie Holbrook – from the WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute in the UK – shared insights into socialization, explaining the WALTHAM approach that includes five key areas: tactile stimulation, interactions with various people, exposure to auditory and visual stimuli, and exploration of the world.

Matching Puppies with the Right Families

The concluding segment focused on the breeder’s responsibility to find suitable homes for their puppies. Antonio Palladini stressed the importance of making the right match to prevent dog abandonment. Open communication between breeders and potential owners ensures a fruitful and loving future together. The event also featured a visit to Royal Canin’s partner foundation, ONCE, where dogs are trained to assist the blind, highlighting the significance of a perfect match between owner and dog.

Antonio Palladini said: “Raising a dog breed is a great responsibility. Dogs have accompanied humanity for more than 40,000years. Dog breeds are a gift we received from the past. It is our ethical responsibility to translate andpass this gift to future generations.”