We all want our pets to live forever. The Dog Aging Project isn’t promising eternal canine life, but it is working to find ways to increase the canine lifespan.
Jointly operated by the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Dog Aging Project is looking to create “a national community of dogs, owners, veterinarians, researchers, and volunteers, all working together to advance knowledge about how genes, habits, and the environment influence dog aging,” according to a news release about the project.
The Dog Aging Project is through its preliminary stages and is now looking for their pooch participants, 10,000 of them. To have your dog considered, nominate your canine as a potential candidate for the Dog Aging Project at the project’s website.
“Nomination involves creating a secure user portal and providing comprehensive health and lifestyle information about the dog through questionnaires and the sharing of veterinary medical records,” per the release.
This project is looking for dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds and sexes, and wants dogs of all healthy levels from locations across the globe to participate.
“All owners who complete the nomination process will become Dog Aging Project citizen scientists and their dogs will become members of the Dog Aging Project ‘pack.’ Their information will allow us to begin carrying out important research on aging in dogs,” biology of aging expert Daniel Promislow, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and one of the project’s three directors, said in a statement.
The project will run for 10 years, with researchers gathering information from the 10,000 enrolled dogs throughout the decade. All of this information will be put in an open data platform, so it is available to scientists around the world to use in a variety of ways.
“Aging is the major cause of the most common diseases, like cancer and heart problems. Dogs age more rapidly than people do and get many of our same diseases of aging, including cognitive decline,” healthspan researcher and project lead Matt Kaeberlein, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a statement. “They also share our living environment and have a diverse genetic makeup. This project will contribute broadly to knowledge about aging in dogs and in people.”
The projects leads are excited to work on this study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, and to see what the research reveals.
And while the possibilities are endless, the Dog Aging Project is heading into this endeavor with four main goals in mind: finding predictors of disease, conducting genome sequencing on all of the canines, creating standardize assessments for canine aging, and trying to create safe medication options to improve a dog’s quality and length of life.
To learn more about the project and to nominate your dog as a canine candidate for this groundbreaking study, visits the Dog Aging Project’s website.