Lindsay Owen has never had a better understanding of her French bulldog Utley.
Thanks to an activity tracker for dogs created by California-based Whistle, the Brooklyn resident can monitor his every walk, nap or trip to the doggie bowl.
“We can tell when he is just walking around, playing around the house, or when he’s outside,” said the Brooklynite, who hires a walker to care for Utley. “It can track a lot that you don’t even know yourself.”
The $129 device, which attaches to any dog collar and pairs with a smartphone app, has been described as a "FitBit" for dogs.
But Ben Jacobs, the founder of the company, says its use goes beyond merely tracking activity.
“The goal of Whistle is really to provide better preventative care for pet owners and veterinarians,” Jacobs said. He claims the data produced by the device can lead to insights about dog behavior that could be signs of illness that a pet wouldn’t be able to communicate on its own.
“Whistle is really giving a voice to these animals for the first time,” he said.
To that end, Whistle encourages dog owners to share the data with their veterinarians. The software also compares the data of dog breeds to determine whether behavior is normal or abnormal.
All of this monitoring can make dog owners act a lot like helicopter parents.
Owen admits she checks up on Utley using the Whistle smartphone app several times a day.
“Maybe I’m just an obsessive dog owner,” she said. “I like to see what my little guy is up to.”