New research is trying to map out how dogs age. The old thought that a dog's age can be roughly calculated by taking a human age times seven is not accurate anymore. It is more complex than that.
Work at the University of California San Diego is looking into epigenetic marks in canine DNA. Epigenetic marks are not genes, but turn on or off the gene expression. If DNA is like the alphabet then epigenetic marks are like the punctuations and accents. An example would be: TAG! GAT? Tissues have specific patterns of epigenetic modification.
The study of the particular epigenetic marks that are important to the aging process is called methylation. These epigenetic marks due change as we age, and as your dog ages. The research is telling us that these changes are predictable. Researchers have found that dogs age very quickly at first and then their aging drastically slows down. Dogs reach puberty around 10 months of age and die by 20 years of age. There is a gradual increase in methylation as dogs and humans age. This research project has come up with a new formula to help you understand your dog's age as it relates to you:
The new formula, which applies to dogs older than one, says that a canine’s human age roughly equals 16 in (dog age) + 31. (That’s the natural logarithm of the dog’s real age, multiplied by 16, with 31 added to the total.)
What you need to know before you head to the lake for a swim with your dog:
This is the time of year where the warmer temperatures and nitrogen rich stagnant waters are the perfect ingredients for a toxic algae bloom cocktail.
Harmful algae blooms are caused by the perfect storm of warm, slow moving water and nutrient pollution. Most of Oregon's mountain reservoirs have all three ingredients. Because the high Cascades are rich in phosphorous, human activities such as logging and forest fires cause erosion and these nutrients end up washed into our rivers. Nitrogen based fertilizers used on agricultural lands also end up in our waterways. These conditions feed recurring algae blooms.
Lake Billy Chinook is a prime example of a heavily used recreational body of water that is plagued each summer with toxic algae blooms. This is a man-made reservoir that is popular for water sports, with poor circulation and warm temperatures. If you or your pet ingest the water you could become ill.
The Oregon Health Authority reports, "Over the past 12 summers, Oregon Health Authority has issued 14 advisories for algae blooms in Central Oregon, spanning five lakes and reservoirs in the region. With increasing summer temperatures and warming rivers, more blooms are likely to occur." So check the website for current cyanobacteria (blue-green) advisories: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYENVIRONMENTS/RECREATION/HARMFULALGAEBLOOMS/Pages/Blue-GreenAlgaeAdvisories.aspx
The vast majority of us buy commercially prepared diets for our dogs and cats. However, pet owner surveys tell us that handing table scraps to our dogs is common. So if you are sneeking morsels off the table to Fido then you are giving him food that is not formulated for a dog's digestive tract or his nutritional needs.