Send ‘dog self­ies’ to help im­prove your pet’s health

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

PET own­ers across Greater Manch­ester are be­ing asked to send in their ‘dog self­ies’ as part of a ma­jor re­search study by the Univer­sity of Sal­ford.

All peo­ple need to do to help is take a snap with their pooch and email it to sci­en­tists.

The Dog’s Life Project hopes to find out what fac­tors af­fect dogs’ health, so that it can be im­proved.

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence will be used to ex­am­ine the pho­to­graphs, look­ing for any tell-tale signs of stress or age­ing, such as col­oration of the fur, sag­ging jowls and bright­ness of the eyes.

Sal­ford PhD re­searcher Luisa Du­tra said the re­search team had al­ready col­lected more than 400 pho­tos from GMP’s dog unit and the Dog’s Trust, but they need a lot more.

“The more we can col­lect, the bet­ter we can work out the fac­tors lead­ing to pre­ma­ture age­ing and early death in dogs,” she ex­plained.

Luisa added: “It’s as­sumed that res­cue dogs die ear­lier be­cause they have had a hard time in early life but that is not al­to­gether proven.

“What is cer­tain is that dogs be­come stressed quite eas­ily, for in­stance they may howl when sep­a­rated from their owner – which is a sig­nal of anx­i­ety.”

Pro­fes­sor Robert Young, study lead, said: “The more we know about what con­sti­tutes ‘the good life’ for our pets, the bet­ter our interventions can be to im­prove their care.

“Our dogs can’t es­cape wear and tear but, like hu­mans, we can help them limit the dam­age.” »»Self­ies need to be face-on with both the dog’s eyes vis­i­ble and in­clude your dog’s gen­der, age, and own­er­ship type – i.e. adopted, first owner, res­cue dog, or other. Send pic­tures to dogslife­pro­ject@gmail. com.

●»Sal­ford Univer­sity PhD re­searcher Luisa Du­tra with her four-year-old bor­der col­lie-cross Cali.

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