Can old dogs teach us new tricks? Scientists are looking for 10,000 pets for the largest-ever study of aging in canines. They hope to shed light on human longevity too.
The project will collect a pile of pooch data: vet records, DNA samples, gut microbes and information on food and walks. Five hundred dogs will test a pill that could slow the aging process.
“What we learn will potentially be good for dogs and has great potential to translate to human health,” said project co-director Daniel Promislow of the University of Washington School of Medicine.
If scientists find a genetic marker for a type of cancer in dogs, for instance, that could be explored in humans.
For the study, the dogs will live at home and follow their usual routine. All ages and sizes, purebreds and mutts are welcome.
Owners will complete periodic online surveys and take their dogs to the vet once a year, with the possibility of extra visits for certain tests. Their welfare will be monitored by a bioethicist and a panel of animal welfare advisers.
To nominate a pet, owners can visit the Dog Aging Project’s website.