Dog health tracker apps are a perfect fit for modern dog owners who live busy lives and who prioritise their pet's health as much as their own. For a dog health tracker app to be effective, we need to know what they do in order to be motivated to start using one.
As a society, we're used to using apps to keep track of our own health. From what we eat to how many steps we take, most of us have an app, pre-loaded or handpicked, on our phones to help us keep track of our daily activity.
So it makes total sense that a dog health tracker app would fit perfectly into the way we already do things, but with a focus on our dog's health and wellbeing.
Following our article about online veterinary consultations, Qian Huang, founder of PetPanion, tells us about the role dog health apps can play to help keep vets and pet insurers in the loop about our pet’s health and wellbeing - and best of all, they’re usually free.
Dog owners who usually use dog health tracker apps are…
“I am a pet parent of a chocolate Labrador and three cats, two of them also flew all the way from Shanghai to London a few years ago. While I am always keen to stay on top of my pet’s health at all times, I have been struggling with the fact that paperwork and information about all my animals is lodged in so many places.
“Having seen many innovations within human health and wellbeing, I would like to do the same for our companion animals, to help pet parents enjoy a longer, healthier and happier life with our pets.
“What we are essentially doing is using technology and data to make pet care more accessible and affordable, by providing personalised pet healthcare based on their breed, age and any ongoing medical conditions.
“Our customers are responsible dog and cat owners making an effort to learn how to provide their pets with better care – no more hours searching everywhere for the information you need, as we will ensure you have everything at your fingertips solely for your pets.
“Those traditional veterinary clinics that are looking to offer a truly digital experience to their clients are also our customers. There are no big IT costs to build a cloud or telemedicine infrastructure, as our digital platform will be ready to use at the cost of just a subscription fee, on a monthly rolling basis. There will be no need to commit to an annual contract.”
How pet owners typically use the PetPanion dog health app
“Pet parents are able to create a digital profile for their pets and store everything in one place, including allergies, microchip number and insurance details.
“Of course, you can then very simply share the information with others (i.e. a new vet or a pet sitter) and your pet’s details are password protected too! You can check nearby vet clinics based on your location, as well as other service providers like pet stores, groomers and dog walkers. If you are registered with a local vet, you can request both an appointment and your pet’s full medical records via a click.
“If your pet has gone missing, you will be able to generate a flyer and order 50 colour printed leaflets to be delivered to your door. We are glad to see that no user has needed to use the “My pet is LOST!” feature yet!”
Apps will usually be free…
“There are not many petcare apps available in comparison to the number of health and wellbeing apps for us humans. There are a few apps available that enable you to have a video consultation with a digital vet and this is usually free offered by your insurance company.
“But aside from these apps, in general, I believe most pet care apps are actually FREE as the founders who built these apps are all pet lovers - either pet owners or vet doctors who are having or seeing those pain points when it comes to providing the best care for their companion animals.
“Some apps have joined affiliate programmes, which means they are getting a commission from the advertisers or retailers (i.e. Amazon) if the user clicks the ads or makes a purchase via the app. This is why those apps will be totally free for users. Some apps will offer a paid subscription, to compensate for removing the ads as well as additional features or they will have a one-off charge for any on-demand services, i.e. online vet consultations.
“Bear in mind, however, that the online veterinarian knows nothing about your pets and your family vet is not being kept updated either. There is no element of personalisation in any current apps and most apps are being used as a calendar for pet owners to manually set reminders for various things.”
The main benefits of a dog health tracking app are...
“For people who have multiple pets, it has always been a struggle going through tons of paperwork. PetPanion allows pet owners to save all of our pet’s information in one place and share it with others when we need to, so the digital pet profile is definitely the most used feature on PetPanion.
“We see many pet parents starting to save their pet’s microchip numbers, insurance details and all other basic information like breed, date of birth, vaccination date, type of food etc.
“We are also happy to see more pet parents starting to request their pet’s full medical records from their registered vets and uploading pictures, videos and PDFs to the app. This shows more pet owners are keen to stay on top of their pet’s health and wellbeing.
“What is really cool about the PetPanion app is that pet parents will be empowered to take a proactive approach towards their pet’s health and wellbeing with PetPanion Wellness Score based on the individual pet profiles. And guess what? You will also be rewarded with PetPanion coins for being a good pet parent! One option of redeeming the coins is to donate to the charity of your choice, and we are launching our e-shop pretty soon so PetPanion coins can be used as cash ££.”
Dog apps have proven to be useful during lockdown for these reasons...
“Due to the uncertainty of Covid-19, most vet clinics across UK have been closed or are open for emergencies only, and so we have seen more pet parents start to request their pet’s medical records from their registered vet clinics to add to their pet’s profile in case a situation arises where they need to know something and can’t access their registered vets.
“During the lockdown, we have also been pushing personalised feeds recommended by our Chief Veterinary Officer and we can see that more users are finding it very helpful, as they are starting to come back every day.
“To elaborate on this, if you are a cat owner, you will only receive feeds like ‘Covid-19: Don’t start keeping your cats indoors’ and will never receive anything like ‘Coronavirus warning: Is it safe to let dog walkers take your dog out in groups?’. Information will be positive and helpful, rather than alarmist, because it comes from a highly experienced professional.
“We are also currently developing an ‘activty tracking’ feature and we plan to add a ‘report symptom’ function, to create a live Covid-19 heat map based on the data reported by dog owners/walkers.
“The idea is if someone has walked their dog and subsequently reported they have Covid-19 symptoms, everyone who was on the same route or in the same area around the same time will be notified.”
The future of digital pet care: using apps to personalise healthcare
'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'
"We have just launched our Wellness Check and we would love to see every pet on our platform have a wellness score of 100! PetPanion helps pet parents to identify any risks that your pets are prone to and offer preventative guidance by leveraging big data.
“Similar to Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) that are commonly used in human medicine to assess individual risk and develop personalised, patient-centred healthcare plans, at PetPanion we are on a mission to develop a framework for our companion animals to offer bespoke pet healthcare tailor-made for your pets only.”