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