As amazing as our pets are, one thing they can’t do is tell us what they’re feeling—if they’re sick, hurt or simply tired. But we’ve imagined a world where pets can better communicate with us, allowing us to better care for our four-legged friends. The idea is now fueling the largest tech-driven pet health study to date.
Through the Pet Insight Project, we’re working to uncover the link between pet activity, behavior and health by studying more than 200,000 dogs over the course of three years. Pet owners--or citizen scientists as we call them--put a Whistle FIT on their dogs and the pet activity monitor is able to track the dog’s behavior, including activity and calories burned. That information is then synced with the dogs’ health data from Banfield Pet Hospital where veterinarians, data scientists and researchers can observe if any behaviors signal a change in a pet's health.
This data will allow us to map the way behavior patterns relate to pet illnesses, resulting in more precise detection and diagnosis. Additionally, it will allow pet owners and veterinarians to better collaborate on personalized treatment plans. The study is especially timely as obesity remains an epidemic among pets worldwide, with research from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention showing that 59 percent of our dogs and cats are overweight, and more likely to suffer from additional health problems and shorter lifespans.
In just a few months, 10,000 pet owners signed their dogs up for the study, putting us on track to father the volume of data we need to give us a more holistic view of pet health.
Veterinarians agree the study has the potential to change modern veterinary care, since it provides a new piece of technology that allows pet owners to be more involved in their pets’ day-to-day lives.
With this research, our 85,000 Mars Petcare Associates can provide proactive and preventive health care and services that ensure your pets are healthy and happy now and into the future. And creating a better world for our four-legged best friends, is exactly what keeps us motivated each and every day.