Doglogbook helps owners and vets better understand their furry friends

- September 20, 2016 3 MIN READ

Startup Daily last year brought you the story of Maitland startup Smart Sports Solutions, which was working on a data tracking and analytics app for football players, aiming to provide grassroots and amateur teams with the kind of analytics usually reserved for the big leagues.

With the app, StatsOne, going strong, the startup has been able to branch out and apply its technology and expertise to a new area: dogs.

Led by CEO Pierre Malou, the startup has over the last few months been working with a team at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science to create doglogbook, an app helping dog owners gather and review data about the health of their dog, its management, and its likes and dislikes.

Dubbed by the University team, led by Professor Paul McGreevy in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, as a ‘citizen science’ app, doglogbook aims to support evidence-based assessments of a dog’s quality of life in order to enhance dog welfare in clinical practice, under-researched areas of veterinary science.

Essentially, by having owners log their dog’s activity, the app wants to help them better understand their dog and give their vets a greater amount of information from which to make decisions.

The app first asks an owner to input basic information about their dog, such as age and breed, their favourite activities, how they often spend their day, any health symptoms, and other interesting behaviours they may have. After this initial setup owners can choose how much time they spend logging their dog’s activities.

As well as sharing the information with their vet, owners will be able to see how their dog compares to others of the same age, breed, or location.

Malou said that once the “dogmanship team” at the University,, saw the parallels between StatsOne and their initial idea for doglogbook, they were eager to work with the startup.

“Through our contacts with academics and researchers, we heard of this project and decided to approach doglogbook tender with our strengths: data management and ranking algorithms similar to the ones we developed for StatsOne, our soccer stats app,” Malou explained.

“Put simply, if a dog is a soccer player, a dog owner or handler a soccer coach, and a vet clinic a sports club, then our data structure would be similar to StatsOne.”

However, Malou said the differences between analysing football players and analysing dogs still posed some challenges for the team. For example, there were challenges around making the app easy to use for owners of working dogs, for which the assessments were made up of hundreds of questions and activities.

“Although we draw a lot from our StatsOne expertise, we had to develop a new software architecture to cater for doglogbook’s specificities, such as cross breeds. We decided to offer only quarter, or grandparents’ lineage, otherwise it would be nearly impossible to compare dogs if not from the same breed,” Malou explained.

Himself an owner of three dogs, Malou said entering activities, feeding habits, and health information for the three at least once week to generate enough data for it to be valuable is time consuming, but he believes the rewards are worth the effort.

“After four to six weeks of entering data, the app can finally unleash the dog joy rating algorithms. From then on, every time the user enters an activity, the app compares it to the previous entries and sends a notification about how much enjoyment – or not – your dog is having. The app also recommends a visit to the vet if the results are concerning,” he said.

With the free app now available to dog owners around Australia, Malou said the startup will continue to work with the University to develop the second version of doglogbook, which will incorporate pre-loaded data gathered from the users of the current iteration.

“It would be fantastic if a new user could get ‘recommendations’ from the word go. Using doglogbook when a new puppy joins the household, the activities would be compared to standards and would generate messages such as ‘Your puppy needs more sleep’, or ‘your puppy needs more dry food’ based on all the data generated through doglogbook 1.0,” Malou said.

Meanwhile, a new version of StatsOne is also set for release. Its adoption growing steadily in the UK and US, with a number of American scouts making it compulsory for aspiring pro players to collect their stats through the app, Malou said StatsOne 2.0 will include a new team-wide feature, allowing users to break down the collected stats of all players on a team.

Image: Pierre Malou, Neville, and Professor Paul McGreevy. Source: Winnie Stubbs.