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5 ways we’re advancing science to help dogs live happy, healthy lives

The unconditional support dogs offer us may have been particularly valuable for some of us during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. On National Dog Day - and every today - we celebrate our companions’ role in our health and wellbeing, as well as the many ways in which our researchers, in partnership with veterinarians, data scientists and experts from across Mars Petcare, are advancing science to help dogs live healthy, happy lives.

Dogs’ unconditional support

Here are just a few ways our best friends can stand by us when we need them most:

5 ways we’re giving back, through science

We’re advancing science to help veterinarians offer personalised care by preventing and even predicting disease, so dogs can live healthy lives for as long as possible.

  1. Because we want to prevent potential conditions from becoming serious health issues, we’re harnessing the power of data to help dog owners act early. Together with the data scientists and veterinarians at Pet Insight Project, we’ve developed machine learning technology based on real-world data, which can accurately track dog behaviour (eating, drinking, scratching, licking) associated with common canine conditions.


Ultimately, continuous monitoring of pet behaviour and activity could help pet owners identify pets with a range of possible conditions, including scratching, poor appetite, excessive weight, or osteoarthritis.

 

  1. Using the latest artificial intelligence methods, our colleagues at Wisdom Panel™, the world’s leading pet DNA service, have developed a new dog breed detection system offering the most accurate dog DNA test yet.
     

Every dog has unique needs thanks to its unique breed makeup. With this breed detection system update, Wisdom Panel™ can now scan a pup’s DNA for the most breeds and give owners the most accurate answers about their ancestry—more than 98% accurate. By understanding a dog’s DNA, pet parents and veterinarians can team up to create personalised care programmes and take better care of their best friends through every stage of their life.

 

  1. Gum disease is one of the most common health issues veterinarians diagnose, and it’s linked to other serious health conditions. We’re learning more about the bacteria in dogs’ mouths so we can slow down the development of this illness.
     

What's more, we now know smaller dog breeds are more likely to develop gum disease than larger breeds.  Our research has also shown that a good oral care routine (regular tooth brushing, dental chews and veterinary checks) can help prevent dental disease in miniature schnauzers.
 

  1. Data scientists at our Institute teamed up with the Pet Insight Project to develop an algorithm that calculates personalised food portions for each and every dog wearing a Whistle FIT activity monitor.

With more than half of all pets in the US and UK considered overweight or obese, pet obesity is one of the biggest health challenges our pets face today. We know that every dog is unique, so it’s crucial that owners adapt daily food quantities depending on their pups’ activity levels, age, breed, weight and dog food brand.
 

  1. Mars Petcare’s diagnostic laboratory, Antech, developed the first non-invasive diagnostic test for inflammatory bowel disease so dogs can get personalised treatment plans, faster.
     

Read our science stories to learn more about ambition to better understand our pets’ needs through science & data.