Two leading tech companies hope to prove the link between owning a pet and leading a healthier life by bringing together the data they collect from their activity tracking products.
Whistle, the health and activity monitor for dogs, has integrated with UP, the wristband, app and platform from Jawbone that helps people track everything from their sleeping patterns to coffee intake in order to improve their wellbeing.
"Whistle believes pets have the power to improve our lives, and that we can be happier and healthier the more time we spend with them," said Steve Eidelman, co-founder and head of product at Whistle. "Integrating our data with UP lets pet owners see the impact they have on their pet's wellness, while seeing how it ties back to their own activity for the first time. By collecting this information, we're creating the largest set of data correlating human and pet activity to help us to better understand the true benefits of animals in our daily lives."
Although there is yet to be a full systematic review of existing research into the subject, a number of individual studies highlight a clear link between owning a pet and living a longer, happier life.
For example, thanks to having to walk their pets, dog owners tend to be fitter and more active and more socially integrated as their four-legged friend means they're more likely to encounter and engage with neighbours. Research also shows that dogs and cats can help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and even combat depression.
The Whistle device is fitted to a dog's collar and tracks everything from resting to running and swimming and by adding this data to the UP platform, pet owners who also use Jawbone's human-focused tracking devices will be able to sync both sets of data and analyze the time they spend with their animal and see how those shared activities impact on their lives.
"We are making it easier for people to see the valuable impacts of owning a pet and the improved quality of life that comes from that relationship," said Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy for Jawbone. "People have always had the notion that pets can help individuals live healthier, more active lives, but until now there has been very little access to specific insights around this topic. By integrating data from Whistle, we'll be able to see the trends in healthy habits of dog owners."