New Study Looks At How Dogs Age

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New study looks at how dogs age
9th November 2017

By Karen Pickwick

Mars Petcare UK has published of a new study showing that dogs’ immune systems change as they age meaning they will have a reduced ability to respond to infections or stress. The study was published this week in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences. 

 
This is the largest prospective study to investigate aging in dogs and offers new insight into the ways in which we may be able to support dogs in their old age.
 
“We now know that dogs suffer from low level inflammation and cellular damage as they get older, similar to humans,” said Janet Alexander, senior research scientist at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and lead author of the study. “The study identified multiple targets for potential therapeutic intervention to defend against or delay the impact of aging and the new insights can help us to provide more effective life stage support.”
 
An additional survey by Mars Petcare explored how UK dog owners care for their senior pets and found that:
Around one in five dog owners currently own a senior dog
Over half of senior dog owners surveyed in the UK would value more information on how to look after their pet
While senior dog owners do not find caring for their pets much harder than the owners of younger dogs (29% vs 25%), 65% would value more information from their vet on how to look after their senior dog 
Nearly half of UK dog owners surveyed say that they find senior dogs are better behaved than younger dogs. According to new research, they may just need a little more support in their old age 
Most dog owners change the way they look after their dogs as they get older (76%) either by changing their food (58%) or taking them for shorter walks (54%)
Information on nutrition (68%) and amount of exercise (57%) are the areas where they would value knowing more. 
 
The study followed 80 dogs for more than 10 years and measured a number of parameters to track their aging process. The study started when the dogs were adults and continued until the end of life.