The new at-home pet health tracking apps and tools
New tools for managing your pet’s health at home
Life with pets is often complicated, regardless of whether they’re healthy or not. Providing routine preventive health care is already a big task, but when you couple that with the numerous vet visits required for a pet with a chronic illness, it can start to feel like a full-time job. Going back and forth to multiple vet appointments just to track basic vitals can be taxing on both you and your pet.
Recently available apps and diagnostic test kits allow you to collect, log, and monitor information about your pet’s health at home. While these apps are not a replacement for regular vet appointments, they can help you track your pet’s health and alert you to any changes that may require medical attention. You can also share data from the apps with your vet, allowing everyone to see the big picture about your pet’s condition in real-time. Some of the apps require just a smartphone and tablet, and others are integrated with additional devices such as glucose monitors. Accurately logging and tracking information about your pet is the foundation for optimizing the outcome for a pet with a chronic illness, and these apps make that easier.
Are pet health tools and apps a replacement for the vet?
Don’t use an app or home testing kit as a replacement for regular vet appointments or in place of obtaining an official diagnosis for your pet. These health tracking tools should be used to help you monitor your pet’s symptoms and vital signs to assist you in managing their illness in the manner instructed by your vet. If your pet is experiencing symptoms of ill health and has not received a previous diagnosis, don’t attempt to diagnose your pet yourself. Book an online virtual care appointment to get advice and make a plan for your pet’s health.
When you are tracking your pet’s health data, it helps to have the most accurate information. Some diagnostic tests can now be performed at home with a convenient at-home testing kit to give you a more accurate picture of your pet’s health.
Home diagnostic test kits
MySimplePetLab (MSPL) offers a variety of tests for dogs and cats that have a quick turnaround time to help you keep tabs on your pets' most critical health markers. MSPL diagnostic kits can test for various causes of skin irritation and ear infections. MSPL is currently developing home test kits for several other ailments. You can get the MySimplePetLab fecal test today through Vetster.com. Book a virtual care appointment and work with one of our top-rated vets to treat any potential parasites by starting with a test. Consistent testing is often the key to identifying a problem and stopping it before it escalates.
Blood glucose monitors
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in dogs and cats, and monitoring blood glucose levels at home can be very beneficial for optimal management. A variety of blood glucose monitors for pets are available. Talk to your veterinarian if this type of monitoring is right for you. They can help you choose the right monitor and learn how to use it correctly.
Our favorite pet health tracking apps
Here are our top picks for tracking your pet’s health:
1. Pet Diabetes Tracker
This app by Merck Animal Health is available on Apple and Google and is designed for use in both dogs and cats. You can use a phone or tablet to track your pet’s diet and nutrition as well as monitor their blood glucose levels. Pet Diabetes Tracker keeps track of the amount of insulin administered to your pet and lets you set alerts for their next dose so you don’t forget.
This app by Zoetis is available on Apple and Google and is designed for pets who have diabetes. PetDialog’s Apple app is designed to use with an iPad. PetDialog can be used with the Zoetis AlphaTrak 2 meter to record the blood glucose levels of a dog or cat. Using a compatible device saves you time over inputting glucose data manually because it automatically syncs with the app. This also prevents human error that is bound to occur when frequently recording data.
3. FitBark Dog GPS & Health
This app is available on Apple and Google and lets you track your dog via GPS from your mobile phone as well as monitor their activity and sleep, much like a FitBit for humans. Note that you will need the required FitBark devices to monitor your pet with this app. FitBark helps you track your dog’s mobility, anxiety, and skin conditions. FitBark may be helpful for dogs who have:
Atopic dermatitis (“allergies”)
Osteoarthritis or other mobility conditions
Cardalis is available on Apple and Google and is for pets who have heart disease. This app monitors your pet's respiratory rate and turns the results into a graph. Tracking a pet’s sleeping respiratory rate over time can help your vet assess their heart condition when they are at risk of heart failure.
5. RVC Pet Diabetes
This highly-rated app by the Royal Veterinary College is available on Apple and Google. The RVC Pet Diabetes app enables pet owners to record changes in appetite, thirst, and urination output as well as blood sugar levels and weight. It allows users to set alerts for food and medication and comes with a library of instructional videos. The app also gathers anonymous data that contributes to further diabetes research and ultimately improves options for treatment, so pet owners can know they are helping to make a difference.
DogLog is available on Apple and Google. DogLog tracks your pet’s health and activity and lets you set reminders for errands and medication. Plus, you can coordinate with your friends and family members about your pet. With this high-tech app, you can track trends with your dog to spot patterns and analyze their behavior.
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