Scientists are launching one of the largest studies ever on dog lifespans – and they need 10,000 Very Good Boys to complete it.
Called the Dog Aging Project, the study will look at 10,000 dogs over the course of 10 years to learn more about how they age and how to improve their quality of life.
If you’d like your pooch to be part of the study, it’s easy – just answer some questions at the project’s website and send in a saliva sample.
Researchers are hoping to study dogs of all shapes and sizes from all 50 states.
The Dog Aging Project will have four key endeavors:
1. New metrics of canine aging: The research team will develop tests to measure each dog’s changes in physical function as it gets older. There are such tests in older human adults, like moving from seated to standing, grip devices, or age-specific normal ranges on blood chemistry values. For dogs, however, aside from owner observations, there are few standardized assessments.
2. Genetics of aging: Genome sequencing data from all 10,000 dogs will be integrated with health measurements and behavioral traits in comprehensive genome-wide association studies.
3. Systems biology of aging: Scientists will look for molecular predictors of disease, decline or longevity.
4. Medication intervention study: About 500 middle-aged dogs will be part of a trial to assess the effects of rapamycin on cognition, heart function, healthspan, and lifespan.