Dogs Used in Research

Every day in the U.S., dogs just like those who share our homes and sleep in our beds, are used in harmful and deadly experiments, treated as expendable ‘tools’ or ‘models’ in laboratories. Over the past several years, the number of dogs in research has stayed relatively constant, falling between 70,000-75,000 annually.

While some dogs are still obtained from random source Class B dealers or directly from pounds (a practice called pound seizure), most dogs used in research are bred either in laboratories (to be born either healthy or with a specific genetic deficit) or by private companies that sell strictly to labs. The most common breed of dog used for experiments are beagles, but not because scientists view them as the best ‘model’ for human disease. Rather, beagles are convenient to use because they are docile and small, allowing for more animals to be housed and cared for using less space and money.

Dogs are often used in biomedical research investigating heart and lung disease, cancer, aging, and orthopedics. They are still commonly used in toxicity studies to test the safety of human drugs and industrial chemicals, but are rarely used to assess the safety of personal care and household products. Additionally, some medical and veterinary schools use dogs in student training, particularly for surgery, despite the availability of alternatives that do not harm animals.


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