The average lifespan of a dog is 12 years. The average lifespan of a human is 79 years. The problem with these numbers is immediately clear… dogs need to live longer and human beings need to find a way to make that happen. One human’s life is almost 7 times the life of their beloved pet and that’s not to mention the last several years of a dog’s life when they have slowed down and their temperament has changed. It’s no wonder they slow dog – they may be only 10 or 11 in human years, but in dog years they’re already 70 to 80 years old! That leaves us with a mere 10 years to enjoy our dogs as their most happy and active selves.
Read also: “Having A Dog Relieves Stress“
Fortunately, a few years ago a new study called the “Dog Aging Project” was released. This study focused on creating a pill that could extend the lifespan of a dog and enhance the dog’s vitality during its lifetime. The drug being tested is called rapamycin, an immunosuppressant that has already shown great results in lab animals. The drug expanded the lifespan of a mouse by 25% and increased the function of the old mouse’s heart. Of course, the drug has also been tested on humans but does not seem to have the same effect. The biggest question of all, however, is will the drug work on our dogs? If anyone deserves to live longer, it’s man’s best friend.
According to the project research, approximately 70% of dogs taking the pill were noticeably more active at an older age. “If the drug works, it could mean that veterinarians may one day prescribe rapamycin to healthy older dogs, increasing not just the length of their life but also the quality,” says Matt Kaeberlein, a co-director of the study. Unfortunately, before this drug is made available for your dog, more research is needed. For example, the study is currently in Phase 2, which tests how the drug affects a dog’s eagerness to cuddle. This, and many other factors, will continue to be tested on 10,000 dogs over a span of 10 years before the drugs is released to the public.
One case study is Lola, the chow chow. Lola’s owner Herb Krohn says it best when he says “from the day you get your dog, you worry about the day you’re going to have to say goodbye.” That’s why Krohn agreed to volunteer Lola in the study. Unsure of whether he was giving his pup a placebo or the real drug, Krohn administered the drug three times a week for 10 weeks. Krohn was very pleasantly surprised to find out he was giving Lola the rapamycin and the effects were positive – Lola became even more affectionate than she was prior to the study. Krohn has recently agreed to let Lola proceed to Phase 2 of the study, along with thousands of other dog owners and lovers. We can all agree with Krohn when he says, “it’s worth it to try to help man’ best friend be their best friend a little longer.”