Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monitoring dogs can give clues to how elderly humans are coping.

Man's best friend can serve
as a discreet health barometer.
UK scientists have put significant amounts of work into creating a high-tech, waterproof dog collar able to collect data about common dog activities. The collar can register when dogs bark, chew, drink, nap, sniff, and much more. The collar makes it possible to remotely monitor dogs and spot changes in their behavior that might indicate illness or boredom.

This in itself is a great idea. Who doesn't want to know what the pooches are up to when their owners are away? Monitoring the dogs isn't the main idea behind the project, though.

The next step is to connect dogs' health and behavior to the the owners. A dog's wellbeing generally reflects that of their human, and changes in the dog's behavior can be a warning system that an elderly person struggles to cope with everyday life.

Dr Cas Ladha from the Newcastle University in the UK says, "A lot of our research is focused on developing intelligent systems that can help older people live independently for longer."

Few people would agree to be monitored with cameras, but monitoring the family pet is less intrusive, and can still give valuable information.

~ Maria Sadowski ~


  1. It is sad as a dog helps people live longer lives but so many old people aren't quite "with it" and have pets that end up not getting proper care or become obese because the human can no longer feed them properly.

    1. I agree. I think if this system was commercially available - and I had an elderly relative with a pet - I would want it for both their sakes.