Dogs are sometimes referred to as “man’s best friend” and with the increase in urbanization and lifestyle changes, dogs are seen by their owners as family members. Society expresses specific concerns about the experimental use of dogs, as they are sometimes perceived to have a special status for humans. This may appear somewhat conflicting with the idea that the intrinsic value of all animals is the same, and that also several other animal species are used in biomedical research and toxicology. This aspect and many others are discussed in an introductory chapter dealing with ethical considerations on the use of dogs as laboratory animals. The report gives an overview on the use of dogs in biomedical research, safety assessment and the drug developmental process and reflects the discussion on the use of dogs as second (non-rodent)species in toxicity testing. Approximately 20,000 dogs are used in scientific procedures in Europe every year, and their distinct genetic, physiological and behavioral characteristics may support their use as models for e.g. behavioral analysis and genetic research. Advances in the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of experiments using dogs) are described, potential opportunities are discussed and recommendations for further progress in this area are made.
Hasiwa, N., Bailey, J., Clausing, P., Daneshian, M., Eileraas, M., Farkas, S., ... & Leist, M. (2011). Critical evaluation of the use of dogs in biomedical research and testing in Europe. Alternatives to animal experimentation: ALTEX, 28(4), 326-340.