WSU Researchers Study Canine Longevity

Apr 19, 2021

Spokane Public Radio reporter Steve Jackson's 18-year-old dog Griz.
Credit Steve Jackson/SPR

Researchers are looking into all kinds of quality-of-life issues for people as they age. And now that kind of work is extending into the canine realm.

Washington State University researchers are looking into about how your dog can live a better life.

The Dog Aging Project is a joint effort by WSU and several other higher education institutions.

WSU Researcher Dr. Lynne Nelson says the project is investigating questions about genetics, canine cognition, cardiology and age-related mobility.

She says owners can nominate their dog to take part in the program. Participants will be asked to complete an annual comprehensive health survey about their canine companions at the start and a few shorter questionnaires throughout the year.

“A survey about the dog's environment, what they've been eating, how many walks a day, the behavior, the environment the dogs live in, did the owners move? Similar to a human study when they're looking at why certain populations would walk in this area versus that area.”

Nelson hopes the data can provide insights into how dogs can live a healthy, quality lives.

“What things we can intervene with. Are there processes that we should understand that we can slow the aging process, intervene in environmental factors. Things that will help dogs live better lives as well as longer lives.”

The investigators in the Dog Aging Project hope to get 60-thousand dogs participating in the program. So far, they are at about half that number.

If you'd like more information or want to nominate your dog for participation, visit the website dogagingproject.org.