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The Dog Aging Project: What it is and how you can get involved

Updated: May 12, 2023

Modern veterinary medicine and the standard of animal healthcare have caused our furry friends to live longer than ever before. However, as we know from looking at aging in the human race, age and health span are often disparate.


In a bid to understand the foundations for healthy longevity in dogs, the Dog Aging Project - comprising more than 45,000 dogs - is a landmark initiative designed to measure the biological and environmental factors at play.

What is the Dog Aging Project?

The Dog Aging Project is a research study focused on improving our understanding of aging in dogs. It is a collaborative effort between universities, research centres and philanthropic organisations such as the University of Washington, the U.S. National Institute of Aging and the Annenberg Foundation. The Project aims to identify the biological mechanisms of aging in dogs and develop interventions to extend their health span and avoid chronic disease - the period during which they are healthy and free from significant chronic conditions.


The Project has already published data in the acclaimed journal Nature - where they have already evaluated the baseline characteristics associated with cognitive function in dogs.

How can you get involved?

The Dog Aging Project is always looking for new canine participants, and if you are a dog owner, you and your furry friend could take part. Dogs will be ostensibly healthy and willing to partake in examinations, including blood collection and echocardiography without sedation, and will have normal diagnostic clinical pathology test results. Dogs must be at least 7 years old and weigh at least 44 pounds.


To participate, you can visit the Dog Aging Project website and fill out an application form where you will complete a survey about your dog's environment, health and medical records.

What will the Project involve?

By nominating your dog, you can collaborate with the Project's research team as a "citizen scientist", where you'll be asked to complete surveys about your dog's health and life experiences. Additionally, you will provide data for genetic testing through a kit you'll be provided, and there may be opportunities for you to engage in special activities with your dog and report back on their performance.

Why is the Dog Aging Project important?

The Dog Aging Project is essential because it will provide valuable information on the aging process in dogs. By understanding the biological mechanisms of aging, scientists can better understand the mechanisms responsible for extending a dog's health span and prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases.

Conclusion

The Dog Aging Project is an exciting initiative that aims to improve the health and well-being of our aging furry friends and can also provide parallel insights and understandings into the way in which humans can extend their healthspan too. By participating in the Project, you can help scientists gain a better understanding of aging in dogs and, in turn, improve the lives of dogs and their owners.

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