Thousands of Labrador Retriever owners are being asked to help find out how their dog’s lifestyle affects its health.
The Dogslife study is the first project of its kind.
It aims to assess how factors such as diet and exercise can influence an animal’s susceptibility to disease and illness.
The initiative aims to recruit Labrador Retriever puppies less than a year old.
Labrador Retrievers are the most common breed of dog in the UK.
The project is led by University researchers at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute.
If you own a Kennel Club registered Labrador Retriever born after 1 January 2010, you can join Dogslife.
Three-week-old puppies at Eshiels Gun Dogs help highlight the importance of the Dogslife study.
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Labrador Retreiver owners can volunteer to take part in the study during the next 12 months.
Puppies need to be born after 1 January 2010, six months old or less when joining and registered with the Kennel Club after 1 July.
The data from Dogslife will provide valuable information on how dogs are looked after by their owners across the UK.
Each month owners will be asked to input details of their dogs’ lives, such as what they eat, how much exercise they have taken and their health, on to a website - www.dogslife.ac.uk.
Each dog will have its own web page. The interactive site nature of the site is designed to appeal to dog owners of all ages.
Owners will be able to see how their pets compare with other puppies over time as they grow.
The website will also give details on findings of the project in real time as information is collected.
We hope that assessing the lifestyles and health of a large number of dogs will make it possible for us to identify factors contributing to common illnesses. Ultimately, this may enable us to provide owners with advice on managing their dogs and prevent them developing diseases in future
The £100,000 project is funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
It is run in collaboration with the Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research at the University of Manchester, Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool and The Kennel Club.
This study will look at how a dog’s lifestyle and environmental factors affect the dog's health over time and through this we can ensure better treatment through education for owners on the best care for their pets.
Photo credit: Maverick Photo Agency.