Newly Published Research Shows That Dogs, Similar To Humans, Are Subject To Increased Cellular Damage & Inflammation As They Age

Additionally, an international survey finds that one in five dog owners have older dogs and majority want to understand their dogs’ needs

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Nov. 6, 2017 — Mars Petcare, announced today the publication of a recently published study showing that dogs’ immune systems change as they age meaning they will have a reduced ability to respond to infections or stress. The study is published today in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.

This is the largest prospective study to investigate aging in dogs and offers new insight into the ways in which we may be able to support dogs in their old age. “We now know that dogs suffer from low level inflammation and cellular damage as they get older, similar to humans,” said Janet Alexander, Senior Research Scientist at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and lead author of the study. “The study identified multiple targets for potential therapeutic intervention to defend against or delay the impact of aging and the new insights can help us to provide more effective life stage support.”

A Mars Petcare survey exploring how dog owners around the world and in the U.S. care for their senior pets found that:

  • Around 1 in 5 dog owners currently own a senior dog.
  • Most dog owners change the way they look after their dogs as they get older (76%) either by changing their food (58%) or taking them for shorter walks (54%).
  • While senior dog owners do not find caring for their pets much harder than the owners of younger dogs (29% vs 25%), 65% would value more information from their vet on how to look after their senior dog.
  • Information on nutrition (68%) and amount of exercise (57%) are the areas where they would value knowing more.
  • Two-thirds of dog owners in the U.S. said they would be likely to adopt a senior dog as they believe they’re already trained and better behaved.

About the Aging Dogs Study
The study followed 80 dogs for over 10 years and measured a number of parameters to track their aging process. The study started when the dogs were adults and continued until the end of life.  Some additional findings include:

  • 51 percent increase in DNA damage. The study showed a 51 percent increase in 8-Hydroxydeoxyguanosine (80HDG) levels. 80HDG is a specific marker of oxidative damage to DNA.
  • 30 percent increase in C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP levels will rise in response to inflammation, showing that aging dogs can suffer from increased levels of inflammation.
  • 86 percent decrease in Heat Shock Proteins (HSP70). HSP70 measure ability to respond to cellular damage, and this study shows a significant decrease in this ability as dogs age.

About the Mars Petcare Aging Pets Ownership Survey
The Mars Petcare Aging Pets Ownership survey ran from 4th-12th October 2017, surveying 6,298 adults aged 18+ who owned at least one dog in their household. Respondents came from the following countries: 1,046 from the UK; 1,103 from the USA; 1,049 from Australia; 1,049 from France; 1,050 from Japan and 1,001 from Argentina. In each country, dog-owning respondents were surveyed online and drawn from a nationally representative sample of the adult population.

About Mars Petcare US
Mars Petcare is the world’s leading pet nutrition and health care business. A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS® is the vision statement held by Mars Petcare as we believe that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. In the United States, Mars Petcare food brands include PEDIGREE®, IAMS®, ROYAL CANIN®, GREENIES®, CESAR®, NUTRO® and SHEBA®. Veterinary practices include BANFIELD® and BLUE PEARL®. Specialty brands include WISDOM PANEL® Canine DNA Tests and WHISTLE® GPS Pet Tracker. The company’s WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing. Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide. For more information about Mars Petcare’s vision: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®, visit

About Mars, Incorporated
Mars is a family-owned business with more than a century of history making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love. With almost $35 billion in sales, the company is a global business that produces some of the world’s best-loved brands: M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, MILKY WAY®, DOVE®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, EXTRA®, ORBIT®, 5™, SKITTLES®, UNCLE BEN’S®, MARS DRINKS and COCOAVIA®. Mars also provides veterinary health services that include BANFIELD® Pet Hospitals, Blue Pearl®, VCA® and Pet Partners™. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars operates in more than 80 countries. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire its more than 100,000 Associates to create value for all its partners and deliver growth they are proud of every day.

For more information about Mars, please visit Join us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.

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