Did you know that in most of the animal kingdom, larger animals outlive smaller ones? For dogs, however, the opposite is true.
Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas, often outlive larger breeds, like Great Danes, by a number of years. As dog owners, we hate watching our dogs go through the often difficult aging process; we want as much time as possible to spend with them.
These are just a few of the reasons that biologist Daniel Promislow has begun his canine aging study at the University of Washington.
Through this research, Promislow aims to understand dog aging and identify possible medications that could enhance lifespan.
The study will determine the genotype of all of their dog participants and put together measures for aging for dogs that we don't currently have, reports the Smithsonian. While we currently have tests to determine how adults are aging, we do not have tests that do the same for dogs. Additionally, researchers will be testing a compound called Rapamycin, trying to determine if it can help dogs age better by protecting their cardiovascular health.
Make no mistake, Promislow and his team are trying to prolong the best lives for our canine pals.
"To be clear, our goal is to extend the period of life in which dogs are healthy, not prolong the already difficult older years," the Dog Aging Project says on their website.
Not only will this study help dogs, but Promislow predicts it will help knowledge of human health as well. Since dogs are part of our environment, studying environmental effects on their aging will also inform environmental effects on human aging.
“People are really close with these animals, and it’s very hard to watch them aging,” Promislow said. “Pet owners consider the dog a member of the family. That’s partly what excites people about this project.”
We are certainly interested to see the results of this study. For more information on Promislow's research, check out the Dog Aging Project.
To see some of AKC's research into dog health, check out the Canine Health Foundation.
And to learn more about how to keep your dog in his best health, check out our tips here.