Can your dog help?

Tell us about your dog and food

We want to know about how dogs differ in their attitude to food.  Please tell us about your dog – take the GOdogs questionnaire. It takes less than 10 minutes and will really help our work. All breeds welcome!

The questionnaire is also the best place to start if you would like to donate DNA from your dog or take part in our behaviour or energy metabolism tests – just opt in when you are offered at the end.  We are currently collecting samples from retriever breeds, pugs, and French and English bulldogs, but may well reach out to other breeds in the future so are pleased to hear from everyone.

Measuring metabolism & feeding behaviour

Labrador & Flatcoat retriever volunteers wanted!

One of our non-retriever volunteers playing with the ‘Clever Pet Hub’ – how hard would your dog work to get the trapdoor to open and reveal a treat?

We are looking for enthusiastic owners of Labrador or flatcoat retrievers who would like to participate in our exciting series of tests to investigate how genes affect energy metabolism in the body and food selection.

Any Labrador or flatcoat can take part and no training or special preparation is required.  It all takes place at the Cambridge University Department of Veterinary Medicine (vet school).  It’s easy to get to and park and we can reimburse travel expenses and participants are offered a £25 Amazon or Pets At Home voucher for participating.

For food choice trials, we usually ask people to visit once or twice for visits of about an hour.  The tests and games allow us to measure dogs’ food preference in a set of playful experiments, which are fun for the dogs and interesting for the owners.

The view from the inside: GOdogs researcher Eleanor having her own energy expenditure measured. Chilling out inside a spacious dog kennel was a surprisingly good way to get some work done!

For energy expenditure measurements, we are hoping to find dogs who like to sleep!  While dogs rest in a modified large dog transport kennel, we measure the air they are breathing which allows us to measure their metabolic rate. Visits usually last 4-6 hours and owners are invited to stay throughout.

If you want to help our research and find out more about your dog at the same time, please get in touch with us by email or via the contact us page.  Not sure?  Email us for more information.

We are looking forward to meeting you and your dog!

Energy expenditure measurement is complex for the researchers but very simple for your dog – we hope they will chill out, lie down and even go to sleep. Measurements take about an hour once the dogs have relaxed.


Your dog isn’t a retriever, pug, or bulldog?  We’d still love to learn about your dog and food so take the Dog Eating Behaviour Questionnaire

We are still collecting information about dogs of any breed and how they are with food. Whatever breed of dog you have, please click here to take the survey.

We are interested in dogs of any breed but are focusing at the moment on collecting DNA samples from retriever breeds, pugs and French and English bulldogs.  If you have one of these dogs, read on…

Donating DNA from your Dog

At the end of the eating behaviour questionnaire, we ask if you would consider submitting a DNA sample from your dog.  It’s entirely optional and we will use the eating behaviour information whether or not we get DNA to match.  At the moment we are focussing on collecting from retriever breeds, pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs but in future we may approach owners of other breeds too.

What will it involve if my dog donates DNA to the study?

oragene kit use

Saliva sampling is quick, painless and easy. Two spongy swabs are used to soak up saliva from the cheek pouch.

  • GOdogs will send you a saliva sampling kit.
  • Using the kit is simple and most dogs tolerate sampling very well.
  • The kits are easy to use and have clear instructions:
  • If you try to get a sample but your dog won’t tolerate it, that’s fine.  We just ask that any unused kits are returned in the stamped addressed envelope we provide.