Thursday, January 5, 2017

Long Living Pets Research Projects

We all agree that the biggest flaw of our dogs is their short lifespan. We all wish they could live way longer than they do. The biggest question is whether it has to be this way.


There are articles out there stating that our dogs should live at least twice as long as they do if we weren't making them die so young.


The question then, is that true? Should our dogs live at least twice as long as their current live expectancy if we did right by them?

Science, of course, is looking for answers after its own fashion, with an anti-aging drug.


Not that I have anything against a drug that could help my dog(s) live longer and healthier. It is, in fact, possible that in our day and age it might be the best answer to the problem. On the other hand, it seems a very "cookie cutter" solution. It is, of course, ideal for the drug industry to produce such drug; can you imagine the profits?

And there is another question that begs to be asked.

If most of what we do leads to shorter lifespans, is such a solution simply an attempt to reverse or slow down the damage we're doing?


It almost makes you wonder whether it's the same principle as in one of the Mission Impossible movies where the big pharma created a deadly virus just so they could then sell the cure.

Now, I don't think the problem is a conscious conspiracy, though one never knows. But I don't think it is. I think it just happens to work out that way.

The biggest questions, though, is whether we could simply stop shortening our dogs' lives instead.


The problem with that is that if we could simply extend our dogs' lives by what we feed them and how we care for them, nobody is going to get rich from it. So who's going to invest in such research?

We can help.

Long Living Pets is presently running three research projects:


1. The Odin Project


Following and documenting 3000 plus raw-fed dogs. The goal is to document health and longevity benefits of feeding raw, natural foods. If you're feeding raw, you too can participate in this project.


2. Cancer Prevention using natural protocol


Cancer is a complicated, multi-faceted disease. There are many factors at play but what role do our dogs' diet and lifestyle play? And could cancer be prevented by adjusting what we feed our dogs, adjustments to their environment, their weight and how they spend their lives? You can participate in the Natural Cancer Prevention project.


3. Cancer Help using natural protocol


What if your dog already has cancer? Could diet help fight it? Join the Natural Cancer Help project.


Is raw feeding the answer to everything?


Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I do believe, though, that feeding species-appropriate, whole ingredients, whether raw or cooked, might be. Likely not by itself but with other environmental and lifestyle changes, but it is still an important factor.

I believe enough that I started feeding Cookie raw two years ago. Before that, I was feeding her home-cooked or freeze-dried food. But Cookie voiced her opinion and who was I to argue? She's been doing very well on her raw diet. In fact, she had her annual wellness exam at the end of December and her vet noted that she has improved since her last visit and that her diet has been an important factor. Yes, I am fortunate to have a veterinarian who believes in whole foods, whether cooked or raw.

Cookie has voiced her opinion on whether she wants to be fed raw


There is not enough data out there


Even though logic and common sense are on the side of raw feeding, data is lacking. We can help with that.

What I do believe is that, however magical, a pill cannot undo all the breeding, dietary, environmental and lifestyle errors we've all been making. And even if it could, that's all it would do--maybe, perhaps, hopefully, add back the years we've taken away.

I am going to participate in The Odin project and I invite you to do the same.


Further reading:
Long Living Pets

38 comments

  1. I'm interested in seeing how this study turns out. We do everything possible to make sure our dogs are fed top quality food, visit the vet, and get exercise. I pray they both live long lives. ♥

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    1. Yes, I'm curious too. I switched Cookie to raw taking cue from her. As I mentioned, I'm not sure whether raw is the answer but I do believe that whole foods certainly contribute to health and longevity.

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  2. I've never heard that dogs could live twice as long as they do — that would be wonderful! I do my best for both my health and Henry's but I'm definitely not perfect. Your raw feeding is inspiring!

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    1. I know about some theories ... but yes, wouldn't that be awesome?

      We can only do our best; the key is knowing what the best truly is.

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  3. What an interesting study! We currently feed our cats a raw food diet and they're doing really well - they have shiny coats and good digestive health. In fact it's the only thing that has helped Charlie will his IBD. I think that whole foods can help a pet life a long and healthy life - but, we'll see.

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    1. So happy to hear your kitties are doing so well on raw diet. I think that whole foods are the answer and it's going to be like some of the other things where science has to catch up to reality.

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  4. Mr. N decided he was going to eat raw too. I'll have to look at their study.

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  5. I do not feed Layla raw as it gave her an upset stomach, so I cook for her and add supplements and since finding what is good for her she acts like a puppy (she is nearly 10) and so healthy that the vet is really happy with her. Through it all I have also cut down with her allergies phew. I just feel that everyone must do what they feel is right for their dog, hey, I had a dog as a kid that lived till the age of 16+ and a cat that lived till 14+ and did not eat the foods we feed our dogs today :)

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    1. Yes, back in my old country dogs lived long and mostly got human left-overs type of food. I think it's mostly whole foods what does it; the advantage of raw being less destruction of nutrients.

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  6. I feel certain that dog's lifespans are much longer now than they used to be because of the food we feed them and the veterinary options available now. I will be watching for updates about the Odin Project.

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    1. I agree that there are more and better treatments that are life-saving. On the other hand, though, I believe that we're seeing much more of chronic and systemic diseases that just a few decades ago. This includes cancer, diabetes and others. So the question is whether we're shortening their lives faster than prolonging them.

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  7. I just went to their site and I will absolutely register one of our dogs - we've been feeding raw for about three years and I know the dogs benefit in a BIG way. I can only hope that this diet will prevent chronic diseases --hadn't heard of this thank YOU for flagging...

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    1. Awesome; I started feeding Cookie raw a bit over two years ago. Jasmine was on home-cooked. I'm glad your dogs are doing well on it too!

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  8. I think we have a lot of things to learn about pets and humans medically. It always seems like we have all of the answers, but we don't. Not even close. One day, people will look back on what we considered to be leading science today and say "what were they thinking?" It will be similar to what we think when we look at the people of the Victorian age and how they thought that it was okay to use arsenic based dyes in their clothes, wall paper, and more. Smoking was said to be healthy at that time too! I hope that cures to cancer will be found soon. I will have to look more into these projects. :)

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    1. I agree. Science is awesome but inherently flawed - because there are people involved.

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  9. Dogs should live twice as long? My dogs eat healthier than me and get plenty of exercise (and sleep). I am very curious to see the outcome of this study. Keep us posted!

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    1. I've heard that theory before--that they should live way longer. It's time to find out whether there is something to it.

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  10. Like humans, the projected lifespan of a dog is in flux. It's impressive to see all of the resources going to help us identify the average lifespan. Every time we put more money into an animals life, we help understand the impact of perhaps them living longer (along with us)!

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    1. While I believe that the issues is way more complex than what we feed our dogs (environmental toxins, lifestyles, over-vaccination, over-medication and other chemical burden ...), I think that whatever we can do to improve on any of these things should have positive impact on quality and length of their lives.

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  11. We home cook and work closely with our holistic vet in being proactive with food, supplements, exercise etc. I can say, since home cooking to treat my dog's disease he has had a huge improvement in quality of life. You are what you eat.

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    1. Jasmine really improved after I started home-cooking for her as well. Cookie is doing well on her raw.

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  12. Science is an exploration and a discovery of new things.

    Some of the best developments come from thinking sideways BUT Science has to start from a logical and systematic basis. Things proceed very slowly because everything has to be checked, triple checked, proven and then sent for field testing. Thnigs go wrong with data every day in every way and developments cannot be rushed. Scientists can't 'wing it' with lives at stake - they need to be 100% right, 100% of the time for development to take place.

    We are dealing entirely with the unknown. Science is the 'border post' of the known and the undiscovered - we stand on an invisible line between the two. The only exact science is hindsight so we push, we discover, we learn, we also make mistakes but we will win against FIP, Cancer and oher diseases that take our pets from us.

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    1. I am not going to taint this awesome comment by adding anything to it.

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  13. Raw feeding is something I'm hoping to transition my dogs to full-time in the future, but for now they get occasional homemade or premade raw meals. I hope it becomes more widespread so the availability of necessary foods becomes easier and more affordable to attain.

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    1. It is hard to get needed ingredients where we live also; I mostly use commercial raw, supplemented with fresh stuffs when hubby goes hunting.

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  14. I'm interested in seeing the results of this project. I'm happy to hear you've found an appropriate feeding protocol that works for your dog and you.

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    1. Yes, it works well for Cookie; just before Xmas she had her wellness exam and the vet noted that she's improved since last appointment and that the diet is working well for her.

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  15. Thank you for this informative post, i only wish this was available years ago when i lost my Prince a healthy dog to cancer at the age of 13. Vets here in India never educated us about the benefits of feeding our dogs a raw diet

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    1. Well, at very old age, cancer is likely to still happen. I think 13 is a pretty nice age, depending on what breed your dog was. But the hope is to prolong and improve our dogs' lives.

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  16. Very interesting study..I'd love to see the results. I'm glad the raw diet is working well for your dog.

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    1. Yes, I'm very curious to see the results as well. I was a chicken about the raw feeding for a long time; then Cookie took things into her own hands ;-)

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  17. I am hearing so many positive things about raw feeding. Whole healthy fresh foods are good for any species. Kilo gets freeze dried toppers and the occasional raw snacks and treats. I may transition him to more raw.

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    1. Freeze-dried is good too. Second best to raw. One issue I found with freeze-dried is that it still uses a lot of carbs; and, for example, Sojos uses chickpeas in the formula, which is fine, but it does not digest AT ALL. Comes out the way it goes in. I liked Orijen freeze-dried, and Cookie did too, but it's quite high in fat.

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  18. Cancer took my dog Riley she 8. I have tried to do better with all dogs since

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    1. At then end, one might do everything right and still have things go wrong. Diet is important but it is not the only factor.

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  19. What an interesting project. We are taking part in the Embark DNA project at present and anxiously awaiting results.

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    1. Ah, interesting; I have to check it out.

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