4 Frontiers Of Canine Science That Will Lead Dogs Into 2016

Written by: Will Storie

December 22, 2015

Ever get the feeling that we’re living in the future? Incredible advances in science and medicine and technology are opening up a brave new world for life on earth. But we’re not going to the future without bringing our dogs since their lives are transforming too!

From revolutionary new surgeries to “the apple watch of dog collars,” here’s what the future of dogs looks like today.


New Medicine, New Surgeries

Veterinarians are finding incredible new ways to keep your dog happy and healthy. In Indiana, Dr. David Carter is using regenerative stem cell therapy to help heal dogs of their arthritis and other joint related problems.


Bold new strategies are emerging to combat classic dog ailments. The BioMedtrix Company introduced a new prosthetic “hip system” and accompanying procedure to help fix severe hip dysplasia. Mark J. Knapik recounted his Labrador Monty’s experience getting the surgery, which has so far only been applied to 15 dogs worldwide. Although the surgery was not a success for Monty (luckily, physical therapy has helped him improve), we’re still excited to see how these techniques evolve and improve with more practice and research.


In Chester, England, a veterinary neurosurgeon put a stent in a dog’s brain to relieve complications—including severe dizziness and loss of mobility—of the dog’s Dandy Walker malformation. The procedure is usually used on children, and it’s only been performed on 50 dogs worldwide. This successful surgery illustrates new options for treating our dogs’ most miserable illnesses.


Cutting Edge Convenience At Home

Your home life with your dog is about to get a lot smarter. If you’re all about that app life, guess what… So is your dog! The new Buddy smart collar, expected to be available in December 2016, can track your dog’s daily activities, fitness goals, eating habits, location, and more.


A smarter dog food bowl might be on the way, too, and with it the potential to regulate your dog’s diet and attend to her health needs with more precision than ever before. Understanding and tracking your pet’s personalized needs is about to get a lot easier and much more measurable.


New Horizons Of Understanding

For the first time, the technology exists to safely scan a dog’s brain- opening up extraordinary new possibilities for understanding how a dog thinks, feels, and reacts. For example, a study at Emory University took MRIs of dogs to find out that the smell of one’s owner lights up the ‘reward center’ of a dog’s brain. In fact, of all the scents a dog takes in, a whiff of human caught their interest more than anything else.


And a study at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest revealed that dogs react with incredible interest to the sound of a human’s voice. Even more so than a fellow dog’s voice. For the first time, we can scientifically confirm a little something we’ve known all along- our voices are music to our dog’s ears.


Meanwhile, the whole field of canine science is becoming more open and accessible to the curious public. Scientific studies are coming online more often- making it easier for the curious dog lover to do their own homework and read the story firsthand, without having to wait on a news source to interpret the study.

Scientist Dog Presentation - Woof Bark-Bark

Revolutionary New Roles For Our Dogs

In one of the more exciting developments for dogs in recent years- trained dogs are now at work sniffing out cancer. There’s a number of stories about dogs observing their owner’s cancer in its earliest stages- and now this mysterious talent is being organized and enlisted for the good of mankind. At the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, dogs- mostly Labradors and German Shepherds, bred for generations for their impeccable sense of smell- receive positive reinforcement to sniff and successfully identify the barest suggestion of cancers.


It just goes to show that as we get smarter and more able to understand and attend to our dogs needs, they’re getting smarter too. The pace of change can be unsettling sometimes. But the future is exciting too. And as we drive into the great unknown, our dogs will be there with their heads out the window, along for the ride.

Featured Image via PBS

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Written by: Will Storie

December 22, 2015

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