Frequently Asked Questions


Is Morris Animal Foundation a nonprofit organization?

Yes, Morris Animal Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization headquartered in Denver, Colorado, USA. Since our founding in 1948, we’ve invested over $118 million toward more than 2,600 studies that advance the health and well-being of animals around the world.

What does Morris Animal Foundation fund?

Morris Animal Foundation funds the best animal health research taking place around the globe to benefit and improve veterinary care for dogs, cats, horses and wildlife and save animal lives. Our scientific advisory boards review grant proposals received from scientists worldwide. At any given time, we are funding 200 to 250 projects.

Do you conduct any research at your facility?

We have internal and external research projects. Our Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which began in 2012, is the largest study ever conducted in veterinary medicine and is the first study established and run by the Foundation itself (and currently our largest internal research project).

The majority of our funded studies are conducted at accredited veterinary schools around the world by researchers who are experts in their field. Other funded research also is conducted by zoological parks, aquariums and established animal health-focused organizations, including conservation groups.

Can I get veterinary advice for my pet from Morris Animal Foundation?

Legally, we cannot diagnose or recommend treatments for your pets. However, we do share breakthroughs resulting from our funding with veterinarians and the general public. You can sign up to receive these updates via email.

For veterinary advice about a specific animal health problem your pet may be experiencing, contact your veterinarian, a local veterinary organization or the nearest veterinary teaching hospital.

I need a new veterinarian. Can you recommend a veterinarian in my area?

The resources below can help you find a veterinarian in your area:

Can you help me pay my veterinary bill?

Unfortunately, no. The money the Foundation raises through donations solely funds veterinary health studies at accredited institutions around the world. However, there are many other organizations that can help cover the costs of veterinary bills.The Humane Society of the United States lists national and state resources for pet owners in need.

For international resources, please contact your local shelter, veterinary organization or veterinary college to find a reputable charitable group near you.

How do I find and enroll my pet in a clinical trial?

To find a clinical trial about a specific pet health issue, visit the Searchable Clinical Trials Database by the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database (AAHSD). Morris Animal Foundation-funded clinical trials are included on this site.

I am having a difficult time with the death of a pet. What resources are available to me?

If you need immediate support dealing with the loss of a pet, call the ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline at (877) GRIEF-10 within the United States. 

For international resources, contact your local shelter, veterinary college or veterinary organizations for a list of pet grief counseling groups in your area.

Learn more about understanding how we grieve and how our surviving pets grieve.

Can I contact Betty White through your Foundation?

Betty White cannot be contacted through our Foundation. But you can write Betty at the address below. Note that due to the overwhelming amount of requests (up to 1,000 letters a day), not all letters will be answered:
P.O Box 491965
Los Angeles, CA  90049

If you would like to honor Betty, please follow in her footsteps and make a donation to Morris Animal Foundation so together we can help even more animals in more places have longer, healthier lives. Every animal is Betty’s favorite!


How is Morris Animal Foundation funded?

Morris Animal Foundation is funded by public support – from individuals, corporations, breed clubs and foundations – as well as earnings on our endowed funds.

What is Morris Animal Foundation’s annual budget for funding studies?

The budget for funding studies for FY17 is $8.7 million, which includes funding for traditional studies, pilot research and educational opportunities in veterinary research.

How much is Morris Animal Foundation’s endowment, and what is it used for?

The endowment is about $76 million. Our endowment is used to support Morris Animal Foundation’s mission to advance animal health and well-being. The Foundation’s staff and Board of Trustees identify the greatest areas of need on an annual basis. Maintaining an endowment is also critical to ensuring the Foundation’s financial stability and ability to continue its work into perpetuity.

How much of my donation goes to help the animals?

Morris Animal Foundation is committed to using contributions wisely and responsibly. To ensure that we accurately portray how donations are spent, the percentage of donations is reported each year based on our annual IRS Form 990 filing.

Looking specifically at donor dollars outside of our endowment, 95% of all donations go toward scientific programs. Every gift advances the health and well-being of the animals we all love.

Can I donate to a particular study, disease category or species?

Our goal is to put your donation to work immediately to help animals in the best way possible. Unrestricted gifts allow us to put your dollars to work – and limit our administrative costs – thus allowing your donation to do the most good.

We do allow restricted gifts in the following limited ways:

If a study doesn’t receive full sponsorship, will it continue?

Yes. When Morris Animal Foundation commits to funding a study, the commitment is for the full length and cost of the study. Money from sponsorships and unrestricted funds will be used to ensure that the study continues in its entirety, as long as the study continues to meet the Foundation’s requirements (e.g. budget responsibility, impact, required research updates).

How are donations distributed to specific research focus areas?

Donations are distributed based on the advice and input of Morris Animal Foundation’s scientific advisory boards and the Vice President of Scientific Programs. Their goal is to review all submitted grant proposals and recommend funding for those that have the greatest impact on improving the health and well-being of companion animals, horses and wildlife.

How can I spread the word about Morris Animal Foundation?

Check out “Share" options located throughout our website, particularly next to our stories & news and in the footer of each page. You can use these tools to send a message to friends via email or through a number of social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

Can I still enroll my dog in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study?

No. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is a closed cohort. Enrollment began in 2012 and ended in 2015 when we reached full enrollment of 3,000 dogs (the actual number was 3,044). We are now collecting data on our enrolled dogs – our cohort – until the end of the study.

Will Morris Animal Foundation do a similar study in other breeds of dogs or in cats?

We currently have no plans to do a similar study (a long-term, prospective study) in other breeds of dogs or cats. Morris Animal Foundation funds many other types of health studies, including clinical trials and genetic studies, in other dog breeds as well as general canine health studies and many feline studies, too.

When can I find out about study results?

Two scientific papers have been published. One paper focuses on the structure of the study, and the other on the baseline demographics of the cohort. As scientific/epidemiological findings develop over time, we will publish this information in scientific journals and share on our website, through email, in press releases and on social media.

How do I keep up to date on what is happening with the study?

You can sign up to receive the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study eUpdate. This quarterly digital update gives you the latest information on the study, as well as scientific highlights and a chance to meet some of our enrolled participants.

I am a study participant. Who do I contact with questions regarding the study?

The study team – 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647) – is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. EST. Or, send an email with your question to

If I have missed any of my dog’s annual exam visits, can I still participate in the study?

Yes. Any and all data collected on these dogs is beneficial. Please contact the study team at 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647) or as soon as possible to learn how to resume study participation.

I am unable to take my dog in for the annual study exam on our anniversary date. May I change the date of the exam?

Once a dog is in the study, the annual study visits should occur at approximately the same time each year. It is possible to request a change to the dog’s study visit annual target date by contacting the study team at 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647) and requesting an, “anniversary date change.”

We recommend not changing your dog’s anniversary date frequently, but establish a time of year that sets you up for success in completing your study visit requirement. Please discuss any schedule changes with your veterinarian to determine the best scheduling option.

How long does my dog need to fast before going in for the annual study exam?

Dogs may not have any food for 12 hours prior to the annual study exam. They may have water during that time.

Where do I go to see the results of my dog’s annual study laboratory tests?

Laboratory results from each annual study visit are uploaded to your veterinarian’s study account within three to five business days. You also can view these results on your dog’s Lab Results tab at once the veterinarian has shared the results with you.

I don’t know if my dog and I are currently compliant. How can I find out?

You may review your dog’s annual appointment questionnaires (owner and veterinarian) in one place under the Appointment History tab of your dog’s online record at Please contact the study team at 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647) or and we can help you check your compliance status.

Grants & Scientific Programs

Do you accept proposals from outside the United States and from non-U.S. citizens?

Yes. Morris Animal Foundation funds companion animal and wildlife scientific health and welfare projects all over the world. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply. For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

Does the Foundation contract with individuals if I want to do a research project on my own?

No. The Foundation cannot accept submissions from individuals. Applicants must apply through an institution that can enter into a legal contract (Grant-in-Aid Agreement) with the Foundation. For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

Does the Foundation support animal shelter or rescue work?

No. The Foundation does not award grants to fund the costs of administration, training programs, educational outreach or operational structure of animal shelters, rehabilitation centers, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. However, the Foundation does support animal health research projects that may have a shelter component. For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

Does Morris Animal Foundation fund health studies for agricultural animals (e.g. cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens)?

The Foundation does not provide funding for agricultural animal health studies. For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

Can an award be made to a government agency, for-profit company or veterinary clinic?

Yes. While most of Morris Animal Foundation grants are awarded to veterinary schools and conservation organizations, other types of groups or organizations can receive awards if they adhere to our guidelines and are pertinent to our mission. For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

When can I apply for a grant?

Morris Animal Foundation has three recurring calls for proposals in small companion animal, large companion animal and wildlife health studies. On occasion, the Foundation may make a special call for proactive proposals for a topic of interest when we receive a significant, restricted gift from a donor or in emergency animal health situations.

The Foundation is unable to receive and review project descriptions outside of our grant application process and review cycle. If you are unsure whether a research proposal would be appropriate to submit, please review our current studies.

For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

What types of grants are available?

Grant types include Established Investigator, First Award, Fellowship, Pilot Study and Veterinary Student Scholar.

Can I submit a proposal to both the Fellowship Training (as a fellow) and First Award (as the principal investigator) programs?

No. It is not possible to qualify for both awards. For more information about criteria and submitting proposals, visit For Researchers.

I have received an NIH K award or other training/fellowship award for greater than $20,000. Can I still apply for a First Award grant?

No. To be eligible for a first award, you must not have received previous funding as a principal investigator for more than $20,000 for any single extramural award. This includes training and fellowship awards.

When will I be notified about the status of my proposal?

If your proposal does not advance to full review, you will be notified approximately three months after the proposal submission deadline. If your proposal advances to full review, you will receive a written review by our Scientific Advisory Board, along with a notification of funding status, approximately five months after the proposal submission deadline.

Should wild horse health studies be submitted in the wildlife or large animal call for proposals?

Morris Animal Foundation, in keeping with the opinions of experts in both wildlife and equine health, considers wild horses to be feral domesticated horses. Therefore, proposals pertaining to wild horse health should be submitted during the Large Animal call for proposals, which opens each April and closes in July.