Pet obesity is an epidemic in the United States. In fact, according to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of the dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. A group of students at Cornell University know just how serious of an issue pet obesity is, and they decided to create an app to help cat and dog owners control the problem.
Obesity is common in pets of all ages, but it typically occurs in middle aged and senior animals. It can lead to many serious health issues and is a problem that cat and dog owners need to take very seriously. Obesity can lead to heart problems, respiratory issues, and ultimately can reduce the lifespan of the pet.
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Most veterinarians will talk to their patients about the proper diet for their pet. They will give them tips on the best foods and treats and also explain the portions that their dog should be served. However, many pet owners don’t ask for this information because they don’t realize they are overfeeding.
The iPhone app was developed by students to help take the guesswork out of portion control and getting your pet to their ideal weight. They call it CUPetHealth, and it’s available for $3.99 in the iTunes store. It’s distributed by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell and the app allows pet owners and caregivers to track what they are feeding the animal and how much.
Users simply input the pet’s daily diet and make note of several lifestyle variables that are required for the system to figure out the appropriate number of calories that the cat or dog should be eating every day. After inputting all of the data, the app will tell the pet owner if they are overfeeding, underfeeding, or they are serving the appropriate amount of food.
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The app comes with a ready-made database of pet foods and table foods. Users can also enter additional food items that aren’t listed as well. Also, with the click of a button pet owners can see diet suggestions that the app deems appropriate for their dog’s breed, size, and age.
Seven students in a computer science class at the University developed the app which is compatible with the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. It requires iOS 3.1.3 or higher. The group partnered with Dr. Joe Wakshlag, an assistant professor at the Veterinary College, to make sure all the medical information provided in the app was accurate.
Not only did the students receive course credit for their work, but they also get to share in the revenue generated by the app.