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Dog Science: New Scientific Discoveries About Dogs

Dog Science: New Scientific Discoveries About Dogs

For as long as there has been scientific research, dogs have made for one of the most fascinating areas of study. We love dogs and they love us right back (or, do they?).

At K9 Magazine we want to connect you with the latest, most interesting dog science and canine focused research.

You'll be able to learn more about the science of dog health, nutrition and canine behaviour. All areas of the human / canine relationship, the evolution of dogs and the science behind illness and disease affecting dogs.

This page is our new dog science hub and from here we'll constantly add new research, studies and data on scientific dog topics.

So, if dogs with a healthy serving of science on the side sounds like the sort of thing that rings your bell, you'll want to bookmark this page.

Dog Science & Canine Research: Updated March 2021

The role of companion animals and loneliness during the global pandemic

Published: 19/03/21 - Source: MDPI

This study assessed the relationship between pet ownership, pet attachment, loneliness, and coping with stress before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contrary to our hypotheses, results did not support the presence of a buffering effect of pet ownership on loneliness, with pet ownership predicting increases in loneliness from pre-pandemic to during the pandemic.

Dog owners showed lower levels of loneliness prior to the pandemic as well as higher levels of attachment, suggesting possible species-level differences in these relationships.

Pet owners also reported spending time with their pet as a highly used strategy for coping with stress, suggesting that future research should explore the role of pets in coping with stress and social isolation during the pandemic. These results indicate that the relationship between pet ownership and adolescent loneliness during the pandemic is complex and warrants further research.

In short: This study says that dog owners are generally less lonely with higher attachment; but this did not make dog owners feel any less alone during the pandemic related lockdowns and isolation than non dog owners.

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Dogs recognise dogs when watching videos

Published: 19/03/21 - Source: Springer

Several aspects of dogs’ visual and social cognition have been explored using bi-dimensional representations of other dogs. It remains unclear, however, if dogs do recognize as dogs the stimuli depicted in such representations, especially with regard to videos.

To test this, 32 pet dogs took part in a cross-modal violation of expectancy experiment, during which dogs were shown videos of either a dog and that of an unfamiliar animal, paired with either the sound of a dog barking or of an unfamiliar vocalization.

This study provides the first evidence that dogs recognize videos of dogs as actually representing dogs. These findings will hopefully be a starting point towards the more extensive use of videos in dog behavioural and cognitive research.

In short: This study reveals that yes, dogs can and do recognise dogs on screen and they tend to be more interested in watching their own species than other animals.

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Similar studies

TITLE SOURCE
Dogs ( Canis Familiaris) Recognise Our Faces In Photographs: Implications
For Existing And Future Research | Springerlink
link.springer.com
Dogs Recall Their Owner'S Face Upon Hearing The Owner'S Voice | Springerlink link.springer.com
Visual Discrimination Of Species In Dogs ( Canis Familiaris ) | Springerlink link.springer.com

Dogs provide clues for treating cancer in humans

Published: 03/17/21 - Source: Nature

Research using pet dogs as animal models of cancer is helping to inform treatments for human patients — and vice versa.

Researchers at the Sanger Institute are launching a study sequencing about 100 known cancer genes in multiple canine tumours in order to look for similarities in molecular profiles that can then be compared with human cancers.

In short: Dogs are proving to be man's best friend once more as they provide evidence of cancer treatment approaches that could benefit humans.

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Dogs can detect coronavirus in seconds

Published: 03/17/21 - Source: Reuters

Thai sniffer dogs trained to detect COVID-19 in human sweat proved nearly 95% accurate during training and could be used to identify coronavirus infections at busy transport hubs within seconds, the head of a pilot project said.

Six Labrador Retrievers participated in a six-month project that included unleashing them to test an infected patient’s sweat on a spinning wheel of six canned vessels.

“The dogs take only one to two seconds to detect the virus,” Professor Kaywalee Chatdarong, the leader of the project at the veterinary faculty of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, told Reuters.

“Within a minute, they will manage to go through 60 samples.”

In short: Dogs are able to detect the presence of coronavirus (covid 19) . The aim is to deploy the dogs to detect coronavirus as passengers move through airport security.

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The effects of dog domestication on gut microbiota

Published: 03/23/21 - Source: PubMed

Living inside our gastrointestinal tracts is a large and diverse community of bacteria called the gut microbiota that plays an active role in basic body processes like metabolism and immunity. Much of our current understanding of the gut microbiota has come from laboratory animals like mice, which have very different gut bacteria to mice living in the wild. However, it was unclear whether this difference in microbes was due to domestication, and if it could also be seen in other domesticated-wild pairs, like pigs and wild boars or dogs and wolves.

The results showed that while domesticated animals have different sets of bacteria in their guts, leaving the wild has changed the gut microbiota of these diverse animals in similar ways. To explore what causes these shared patterns, Reese et al. swapped the diets of two domesticated-wild pairs: laboratory and wild mice, and dogs and wolves. They found this change in diet shifted the gut bacteria of the domesticated species to be more similar to that of their wild counterparts, and vice versa.

In short: In the future, these insights could help identify new ways to alter the gut microbiota to improve animal or human health.

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Breed disposition toward obesity

Published: 23/03/21 - Source: PubMed

A retrospective study to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for overweight status in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK.

There were 1580 of 22,333 dogs identified as overweight during 2016. The estimated 1-year period prevalence for overweight status recorded in dogs under veterinary care was 7.1% (95% confidence interval 6.7-7.4).

After accounting for confounding factors, eight breeds showed increased odds of overweight status compared with crossbred dogs.

Breeds at highest risk of being obese were:

  • Pug (OR 3.12, 95% confidence interval 2.31 to 4.20)
  • Beagle (OR 2.67, 1.75 to 4.08)
  • Golden Retriever (OR 2.58, 1.79 to 3.74)
  • English Springer Spaniel (OR 1.98, 1.31 to 2.98).

Being neutered, middle-aged and insured were additionally associated with overweight status.

In short: Targeted overweight prevention strategies should be prioritised for dog breeds that are more predisposed toward obesity, such as Pugs and Beagles. The findings additionally raise questions about further preventative efforts following neutering. The prevalence estimate suggests veterinary professionals are underreporting overweight status and therefore could be missing key welfare opportunities.

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An additional study on canine obesity was conducted in February 2021, the key findings were:

Attachment theory posits that patterns of interaction derived from the attachment system provide a starting point for understanding how people both receive and provide care.

Extending this theory to human-animal interactions provides insights into how human psychology affects pets, such as pet obesity. The goal of this study was to determine how attachment anxiety and avoidance might contribute to pet obesity.

Findings suggest that attachment plays a unique role in shaping the pet-caregiver relationship and influences various elements that contribute to pet obesity, particularly in dogs. As such, the findings may lend a novel perspective to strategies for reducing pet obesity and provide a framework for future research into pet health.

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