A MAJOR study into healthy ageing in dogs is seeking more help from the public.
Wildlife conservation experts at the University of Salford want people to guess the ages of dogs from ‘pooch selfies’ posted on its website.
It’s all part of a research study to better understand the tell-tale signs of stress in our pets.
The Dogs’ Life Project collected 400 pictures after an appeal to the public in September, with help too from the Greater Manchester Police’s dog unit and the Dogs Trust.
Now, the Project organisers are asking people to look at dozens of pictures of dogs and guess how old they are by their coat,features, colour, body shape and posture.
PhD researcher Luisa Dutra explained: “The idea of the research is to identify anomalies between a dog’s real age – its chronological age – and its’ state of health – its’ biological age.
“Looking older than your chronological age is an indicator of a stressful life as you are ageing biologically faster than you should be.
In humans, we can perceive age by looking atthe physical signs, so doing the same with dogs is going to help us.
“All you have to do is see a dog in the picture and select the age you think the dog is. That’s it!”
The Salford team say that if they can measure the impact of certain stress and anxiety factors on a dog’s longevity, there can be better advice and what to avoid and also what to encourage.
They also believe that a system to gauge a dog’s biological age by facial scan could assist vets and the animal care industry.
Luisa adds: “It’s really simple and you can do as many pictures as you like, and also share the link with your friends and family!
You can access the project at the Zooniverse platform (no registering is needed). Just click on the linkhttps://www.zooniverse.org/projects/luisadutra/dogs-life-project