I hope you had a pawesome weekend!
Today’s guest post is by Dr. Asaf Dagan, DVM, the Chief Veterinary Scientist of PetPace, the smart collar which monitors your pet’s well being. So what is “well being” all about really? Let’s discover…
“Well-being” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. The meaning of this definition is obvious when it comes to people but how does well-being translate to the animal world? Can Fluffy be happy in the same way a human can? Is he healthy and prosperous? How can we tell?
The human psyche is undoubtedly a little more complex than that of a dog or a cat (well maybe not a cat, but definitely a dog’s psyche…). For example, a human state of happiness is not necessarily based on objective criteria. That is why some people may “have it all” but still remain unhappy. Pets, on the other hand, don’t need much to be happy or to achieve “well-being”. If a dog is healthy, free of pain, receives his meals on time (plus the occasional treat), gets regular trips to the park, and most important of all – a little bit of attention from the owners, I’m pretty sure you can check “happy” next to its Facebook status.
However, herein lies the big question – how can we say for sure that our beloved dog is indeed healthy or free of pain?
Pets, despite their strong connection with their human family, are still animals driven by natural instincts and reflexes. In the wild when an animal shows signs of weakness or illness it becomes vulnerable and may lose certain privileges like mating or a prime spot in the line for choice foods. Therefore, animals’ survival instinct calls for concealing any weakness or deficiency.
One of the ways in which this instinct is manifested in our domesticated canids is that dogs do their best to hide their ailments or discomforts. Even the most devoted and observant of owners won’t notice the subtle symptoms that develop in the early phases of a chronic disease. When owners do notice that something is wrong with their dog, it means that it can no longer hide the symptoms, or in the veterinary jargon, the animal had decompensated. Usually, by the time the pet is presented to the veterinarian the disease is already at an advanced stage. It is essential to understand that this fact is due to these remnants of wild nature in our pets and not because of negligence or lack of awareness by the owner.
Too many pet owners are lured into a false sense of confidence that because they know their dog so well (and in fact they do!) they will immediately know when he or she is sick. A recent large-scale study showed that roughly 30% of pets suffer from a significant health condition while their owners report that they are healthy.
The same goes for pain. Pain is probably the most common, under-diagnosed condition afflicting pets. In addition to the dog’s efforts to act as if all is ok, many owners erroneously think that if their dog or cat doesn’t cry or wail then they are not in pain. The result is that we don’t have the capability to accurately assess our pets’ well-being.
That is precisely the problem that we at PetPace set up to solve. The PetPace collar is a unique, patented, high-tech collar that continuously (and non-invasively) monitors a pet’s well-being status. Through continuous measurements of a range of physiological and behavioral parameters, smart analytics and a huge database for comparison, PetPace can achieve early detection of diseases. The collar can spot those early changes, which go unnoticed and alert the owner or the veterinarian that some problem is brewing and action needs to be taken. This early detection means saving Fluffy unnecessary suffering and ensures its consistent (and scientifically confirmed) well-being.
Dr. Asaf Dagan, DVM, DABVP, CVA, LLB
Chief Veterinary Scientist