HOW TO READ YOUR PET'S HEALTH DASHBOARD
Now get even deeper insights into your pet's well-being with Whistle health monitoring
Your Whistle subscription includes a personalized health dashboard that gives you unprecedented insights about your pet’s well-being and access to talk to our televets. Your Whistle tracker documents your dog’s health-related behaviors, then the app compares it to the behavior of tens of thousands of other dogs from Pet Insight Project.
The Pet Insight Project the world’s largest pet health study, and our data grows more every day to give you more accurate comparisons to your dog. Because we collect more insights every day, categories and thresholds are subject to change as we deliver the ‘latest greatest’ knowledge. See the algorithms in action.
Note: Keep in mind your health inisights are not designed to identify illness. It supports you in keeping track of your dog’s habits and provides data that will help drive a conversation with your vet.
TIP: It’s easy to share your pet’s Health Report with your vet. In the app, look for “Email Vet or Copy Link.”
Scratching is one of the strongest indicators of skin infections or allergies. It’s also the #1 reason people bring their dog to the vet!
While some scratching is 100% normal dog behavior, excessive scratching might mean your dog is uncomfortable. When left untreated, skin conditions could lead to additional problems such as dermatitis, infection, and lower quality of life.
UNDERSTANDING SCRATCHING LEVELS
Less than 52 seconds of daily scratching, 7 day average
Less scratching than 50% of other dogs
Infrequent scratching probably means your dog does not have an allergy or infection. However, even low levels of licking, rubbing and scratching should be taken into account as indicators of potential skin discomfort.
Between 53 and 119 seconds of daily scratching, 7 day average
More scratching than the average dog.
Occasional scratching is an ambiguous indicator—your dog may have a skin problem or may just scratch a bit more than most other dogs. By keeping track of your pet’s history, you’ll probably know which of these it is.
What to do: Continue monitoring the behavior for any increase in frequency, which may be an early sign of dermatological issues.
Between 120 and 299 seconds of daily scratching, 7 day average
Scratched more than 85% of dogs.
Elevated scratching can be a symptom of skin problems such as an allergy or infection. Continuous scratching can damage the skin.
What to do: Consider making an appointment to get your dog’s skin checked. Describe the behavior to your vet and share your pet’s Whistle health data and insights.
More than 300 seconds of daily scratching, 7 day average
More scratching than 97% of other dogs.
WHEN YOUR DOG’S SCRATCHING IS ELEVATED OR SEVERE
Elevated or Severe scratching is a good indicator of a possible dermatological issue.
What to do: Severe scratching is almost always a sign that your dog’s skin is irritated. At this level, it’s easy for your pet to cause further damage, resulting in more discomfort. Take a close look at your pet’s coat—look for red or irritated skin. Do you see any matted hair? Bumps or rashes? Dry or discolored skin? If yes, can you think of any change in the last few days that may have caused an issue? Over the next few days, pay close attention to your dog's scratching behavior. If the scratching does not subside, contact your vet to identify the most effective treatment. Describe the behavior to your vet and share your pet’s Whistle Health Report.
It is possible that the scratch detection algorithm mis-categorized your dog’s behavior. Sometimes behaviors like petting can be detected as scratching.
“The scratching and licking tracking feature of the Whistle FIT has been amazing. Shortly after getting it, it alerted us to him scratching at an elevated rate and it kept going up. We ended up finding that he has severe food allergies.”
“Whistle detected an abnormal amount of scratching on my 9 month old Samoyed, Ivan. The flea & tick medication actually burned his skin and we didn’t know, but Whistle did.”
“We got an alert that his scratching was highly elevated so we thought we'd take him to the vet. It turned out he had a pretty bad ear infection! We would have never caught it without the Whistle notifications because he wasn't displaying any other symptoms.”
Licking happens for all kinds of reasons, from self-grooming to cleaning wounds.
The average dog spends over 7 minutes each day licking themselves. This could be to display social order, soothe inflamed skin, relieve joint pain, clean cuts and wounds, cope with stress and boredom, or—you’d better believe it—to lap up that gravy that hit the floor. Whatever the reason, pet parents can get great insights into their dog’s physical and mental well-being by monitoring licking.
Note: Whistle only monitors your pet licking themself and not licking you or objects.
UNDERSTANDING LICKING LEVELS
Fewer than 7 minutes of daily licking, 7 day average
Less licking than 50% of other dogs.
Dogs with less than 7 minutes of licking per day have lower risks of skin infections or allergies. However, elevated levels of scratching, rubbing and shaking behaviors may still point to skin irritation.
What to do: Continue monitoring your pet’s behaviors to note any changes in patterns and frequency.
Between 8 and 19 minutes of daily licking, 7 day average
Licked more than the average dog, but less than the top 85% of dogs that have a higher prevalence of skin issues.
Occasional licking can be an ambiguous indicator – your dog may or may not have a skin problem.
What to do: Continue monitoring your pet’s behaviors to note any changes in patterns and frequency.
Between 20 and 43 minutes of daily licking, 7 day average
More licking than 85% of other dogs.
Elevated licking can be a symptom of skin problems such as an allergy or infection. Continuous licking can damage the skin.
What to do: Consider making an appointment to get your dog’s skin checked. Describe the behavior to your vet and share your pet’s Health Report.
More than 44 minutes of daily licking, 7 day average
More licking than 97% of other dogs.
WHEN YOUR DOG’S LICKING IS ELEVATED OR SEVERE
Severe or persistent and repetitive licking are almost always signs that your dog’s skin is irritated. At this level, it’s easy for your pet to cause further damage and increase the chance of skin infections, resulting in more discomfort.
What to do: Carefully examine your pet’s skin to assess any damage. Check out their paws, too, including between the toes for burs or foxtails. Closely monitor frequency over the next several days. If the condition persists, contact your vet to identify the most effective treatment. Describe the behavior to your vet and share your pet’s Whistle Health Report. Licking behavior is also associated with anxiety and boredom, so the dog’s mental well-being may also be evaluated.
“The app had told me that Daisy was licking more. When I watched her, she seemed to be licking her paws. They were black in between her pads. So I took her to Vet. Found out she had a fungus, think athletes foot, in human terms.”
“The Whistle really helps me keep track of how active Athena is on a daily basis. It tells me when she is licking too often and when she is very active. It helps so much! I love the Whistle!”
“Whistle let me know that Miko had increased licking. Then we discovered that he had developed a hot spot on his left front leg, hidden under his thick fur. Without Whistle, we would not have known he had an itchy spot until it was bad enough to see.”
Your dog’s drinking patterns can speak volumes about their health.
A dog’s drinking habits can change for a variety of reasons. Temperature and activity changes are both common variables that will affect a healthy dog’s drinking patterns. Changes can also occur in dogs with health issues. For example, dogs developing kidney disease or diabetes will exhibit an increase in water consumption. Age is another factor, with older dogs often being dehydrated. And food, yet another factor; dogs eating dry kibble often drink more water than dogs eating canned or wet food.
UNDERSTANDING DRINKING LEVELS
Your Whistle device monitors drinking activity over time to create a baseline average for your dog.
When your dog deviates significantly from this average, these levels can help you recognize when something might be off.
This is when your dog is in the lower 12.5% of their typical drinking time.
It’s useful to monitor drinking changes against changes in food, temperature, activity and lifestyle.
“Average” drinking represents the middle range of your dog’s drinking habits.
“Above Average” drinking represents the upper 12.5% of your dog’s drinking habits.
Increases in temperature and/or activity or changes in lifestyle and food can attribute to this increased drinking.
What to do: As an isolated event, increases or decreases in drinking habits are completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, when trends persist for several days, consider talking to a veterinarian to better understand why these changes might be occurring.
When your dog deviates significantly from their normal and goes into an above average or below average range, we’ll raise a flag and let you know that your dog’s drinking looks off. Being below or above average isn’t necessarily an indicator of a health issue, but it should be a prompt to pay closer attention to your dogs habits.
When using this feature, keep in mind that assigning levels to your dog’s drinking frequency is not designed to identify illness. This feature is designed to support your own observations into your dog’s habits, and provide data and perspective for a conversation with your vet.
Because not all sleep is created equal: Your dog’s sleeping patterns can uncover important insights about their health.
The quality of a dog’s nightly sleep—and specifically, the consistency (variation in hours) and continuity (number of disruptions)—is correlated with other measures of a dog’s wellness and can be one of the first clues that point towards sickness or injury. If your dog’s sleep patterns have changed without an explainable cause (new home, change in schedule, etc.), it may be worth taking a closer look at other aspects of your dog’s behavior.
UNDERSTANDING SLEEP LEVELS
Your Whistle tracker monitors nighttime sleep over time to create a baseline for your dog. When your dog deviates significantly from this baseline, these levels can help you recognize when something might be off.
Sweet dreams—this means your dog’s sleep is consistent with their normal patterns and have restful sleep in comparison to the population They are experiencing very few or little to no disruptions.
This means your dog may be experiencing one or two more nighttime disruptions than is normal.
What to do: Notice your dog’s sleep behavior, and check to see if they might need a more comfortable environment or if any lifestyle changes such as food, location, or bed can be attributed to the change.
This means your dog may be experiencing several more nighttime disruptions than normal, and sleep quality may be compromised. In our research, we found that dogs experiencing uncomfortable medical issues (like severe skin infections) experience significantly more disruptions than healthy dogs.
Significant changes in nightly sleep patterns – both more sleep and less sleep – can be indicators of possible changes in well-being than the amount of time a dog sleeps each night. If your dog’s sleep patterns have changed and there is no explainable cause – such as new home, change in schedule, or stay at boarding – it may be worth taking a closer look at other aspects of your dog’s behavior.
Given the availability of midday rest for most dogs, getting fewer hours of nightly sleep is not inherently a problem; however, we did find that dogs experiencing severe skin infections and allergies got fewer hours of restful sleep than healthy dogs.
A significant increase or decrease in sleep hours from a dog’s baseline can point towards health changes.
Dogs’ sleep patterns also often closely mirror their owners’ habits, especially if a bed or bedroom is shared. Whistle’s wellness trends may even shed some light on your own sleep habits!
Unprovoked sleep disruptions can be a sign of discomfort. Whistle scans your dog’s nightly sleep patterns for disturbances that don’t match regular sleep cycles. Whistle’s algorithms identify sleep disruptions as intervals between the bedtime and wake time in which a dog awakens and shows significant motion. To be considered a disruption, our sleep quality algorithm must detect that the dog is awake for multiple minutes and performing an action like itching, pacing, or repetitive posture changes.
Dogs have shorter sleep cycles than humans and go through sleep stages every 15 to 20 minutes, which often include small movements, fidgeting, re-positioning, and dreaming. Our algorithms are calibrated so that they do not count these short, low-energy movements as disruptions, as they are a normal part of a night’s rest.
There is no clear line between “normal” and “abnormal” sleep disturbances, so pet owners should consider their own context about their pet’s lifestyle in addition to the disruption information provided by Whistle.
Disruptions are not inherently bad or indicative of a problem. Many dogs have nightly sleep disruptions that are part of their normal routine, such as moving from the couch to the bed when their owner calls it a night.
We used the Pet Insight Project database of Whistle data and vet medical records to calibrate our algorithms so that most dogs evaluated as “healthy” had few detected disruptions, whereas dogs with veterinary-documented insomnia showed many disruptions.
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