There has always been a gap between what veterinary doctors can see in his office and what’s really going on with a dog.
And here comes Whistle, a new gadget that tracks your dog’s activity, hopes to solve that problem. It’s a small circular device about the size of a watch face that attaches to the dog’s collar. It uses an accelerometer to tell if the dog is walking, playing or sleeping. Whistle sells for $99.95, including a companion app and free web service. The unit relies on Bluetooth for the mobile app and Wi-Fi for remote monitoring. Like Fitbit and the Nike FuelBand, it measures daily activity and charts changes in exercise. If there is a sudden change, it alerts the owner, who can share a detailed report with their vet.
There are competing products on the market, like the Tagg tracker from Qualcomm, but they are focused primarily on your individual pet. Whistle not only shows the average weekly routine for your dog, but compares that to the activity of dogs of the same weight and breed, so owners can tell if
their pooch is keeping up with the pack.
Dr. Werber hopes having activity data on hand will help to confront another common problem for vets: pets’ owners. “A lot of the time, if the dog is obese, so is the owner. Many vets are embarrassed to say the dog is getting fat if the the owner is too. But when you have the data right in front of you, telling the story of a decline in activity that makes it much easier.”