Well-being in Animals
Well-being is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. Well, I guess the meaning is clear when it comes to people but how does well-being translates to the animal world? Can Fluffy be happy in the same way a human can? Is he healthy and prosperous? How can we tell?
The human psyche is undoubtedly a little more complex than that of a dog or cat (well maybe not a cat, but definitely a dog’s psyche…). Our happiness is not always based on objective criteria. That’s why some people may “have it all” but still remain unhappy. Pets, on the other hand, don’t need much to be happy. If Fluffy is healthy, free of pain, gets his regular meals and occasional treats, a little bit of attention from his owner and regular trips to the park, I’m pretty sure you can check “happy” next to his Facebook status.
However, herein lies the big question – how can we say for sure that our beloved pet is healthy or free of pain. Dogs and cats, despite their strong connection with the human world, are still animals driven by instincts and reflexes. In the wild when an animal shows signs of weakness or illness it becomes vulnerable. That is why dogs and cats do their best to hide their ailments or weaknesses. Even the most devoted and observant of owners won’t notice the symptoms in the early phases of a disease. When we notice that something is wrong with Fluffy it means that he can no longer hide the symptoms despite his efforts. By the time we bring him to the veterinarian the disease is already at an advanced stage. It is crucial to understand that this reality is due to the animal nature of our pets and not because of negligence or lack of awareness by the owner.
The same goes for pain. Pain is probably the most common, under-diagnosed condition afflicting pets. In addition, many owners mistakingly think that if their dog or cat doesn’t cry or wail then they are not in pain. The result is that most pet owners don’t have the ability to accurately assess their pet’s well-being.
That is precisely the problem that we at PetPace set up to solve. The PetPace collar is a unique, patented, high-tech collar, that continuously (and painlessly) monitors a pet’s well-being. Through measuring of a range of physiological and behavioral parameters, smart analytics and a huge data base for comparison, we can achieve early detection of diseases. We can spot those early changes that go unnoticed and alert the owner or the veterinarian that some problem is brewing and action needs to be taken. This early detection means saving Fluffy unnecessary suffering and ensures its consistent (and scientifically confirmed) well-being.
Dr. Asaf Dagan, DVM, DABVP, CVA, LLB
Chief Veterinary Scientist