June 5, 2013 -- Forget tracking your steps while you walk the dog, a San Francisco start-up wants to track your dogs'.
Whistle is jumping into the smart dog collar market with a new device that tracks your dog's activity and rest patterns. The $99.95 device works a lot like the ones for humans -- a small wireless device with sensors clips to your dog's collar. It passively collects data about the pups' activity and rest throughout the day and then syncs wirelessly with a smartphone or web app.
The idea is to keep an eye on your dog when you aren't home, but not just for fun. The purpose, the creators say, is to help improve and monitor the health of your dog. The creators say they believe the technology can add years' to a dogs' lives.
"While you might be taking your dog for a walk, his ambient activity when you are away is decreasing. That slight decrease could indicate a health issue depending on the dog," Whistle CEO and co-founder Ben Jacobs told ABC News. Jacobs said that Whistle's secret sauce is in the science running in the background, which can analyze that canine activity.
"We can use Whistle to monitor the impact of a treatment, too. Say your dog has a front line tick, you can see if the dog is scratching less, you can see if the dog's rest is interrupted," Jacobs explained.
The company is working with vets and will provide a portal for vets to log in and see information about their patients.
But just as there are products competing to track your health and fitness, the dog tracker market is no different.
Last year Snaptracs, a subsidiary of Quallcomm, introduced the Tagg dog fitness and GPS tracker. Jacobs says the Whistle, however, is focused primarily on health and working with vets to build the database.
"Their core interest [Snaptracs] is the location feature and the carrier tracking so you don't lose your pet. They are providing an important utility, but the core differentiating factor for us is that science," Jacobs said. "The most important thing to do is provide a comparative database with veterinary backing -- that's what we bring to the table."
Snaptracs' Tagg also costs $99.95, but has a $7.95 monthly data service charge.
The Whistle collar will be available for pre-order today and will ship later this summer. The iPhone app will be available first, with an Android app coming soon after that.