March 5, 2014 AT 5:00 am

Fido Gets Fit with Tech #WearableWednesday


Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 2.29.41 AM

We’ve got our Fitbits, and now Fido can have his version, Whistle, as seen on CNet. Whistle attaches to a dog’s collar and can monitor movement and who the dog is spending time with. It then transmits this information and makes sense of it in its own app. By the way, the dog in the pic is named Kona, and his owner, Tina Haskins, is able to keep tabs on him throughout the day in New Jersey, even when she is thousands of miles away in Antarctica. It’s pretty impressive stuff.

It’s one of the more colorful instances among Whistle’s users and while it illustrates how Whistle is effective when helping owners feel connected to their pets, it doesn’t show the real magic behind Whistle. Haskins said the big value for her is in the data Whistle gathers. It’s the key to establishing a baseline of data for Kona’s health, something that would be difficult to determine otherwise, given that she doesn’t know everything about Kona’s past.

“Kona’s a rescue. I don’t have any real knowledge of what his life was like before I had him, and I don’t know what his parents were like,” Haskins said.

The app can help its owner see different activities like walking, playtime and rest. The info leads to an understanding of what is typical for that dog. Check out this log of a walk.


There is an even bigger picture with this information gathering. Researchers at the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have been using Whistle to look at chronic pain.

These are cases involving ailment like arthritis or bone cancer. The animals wear the device on their collars for 7 to 10 days and then researchers have them try out various activities, like sitting, walking or running. Understanding how active an animal is — even at night when pain can cause a dog with bone cancer to move around a lot — could understanding how to make an animal most comfortable when dealing with ailments.

In the same way we have seen customized formulas in dog foods, such as puppy chow and senior diet, this data gathering can lead to customized care for breeds. There is the potential to look at epilepsy and asthma in dogs, and offer specific care and products based on those issues. Since people often miss the chance of seeing their dog’s habits throughout the day, Whistle will offer them a chance to be proactive in their dog’s care. This product has just hit the market, but if you want to DIY a collar that helps your pooch stay fit, check out our GPS collar tutorial.

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