Last August, we wrote about Walking Together, a social-impact project from Dogiz that employs dog-walkers on the autism spectrum.
That program continues in Tel Aviv. But when the pandemic put a dent in dog-walking demand, co-owners Danny Djanogly and Alon Zlatkin weren’t sure they could survive.
Instead of letting their business go down the toilet, they’ve devised a new canine health and wellness service debuting this summer.
Part of the package is Dr. Poop, an app that analyzes photos of dog feces to advise owners whether they should consult with a partner vet via video call.
Launched in June in Israel, and launching in July in the UK, the new Dogiz mobile platform allows dog owners to crowdsource health-related advice and receive activity challenges targeted to their pooch.
“You fill in a quiz about your dog and then we use machine learning and AI to set you up with fun challenges to help you and your dog stay active, which we know contributes to a healthier lifestyle and mindset for owners too,” says Djanogly.
The challenges are gamified for extra motivation. Users earn Dogiz “coins” that they can cash in for discounts on pet-care products and veterinary services in the Dogiz shop or donate to a dog shelter.
“The more active you are and the more you track activities with your dog through Dogiz, the more of these coins you can get,” says Djanogly.
Discussions with partner vets led Djanogly and Zlatkin to discover that dog owners often send them pictures of their pet’s droppings over WhatsApp to check if it’s normal.
“That’s when the whole idea of Dr. Poop came up,” says Djanogly. They consulted with an AI specialist, Eran Shlomo, CEO of Dataloop, who helped them crystalize the concept.
“We collected 100 pictures of poop from our dog walkers and sent them to 10 vets in Tel Aviv to analyze. We wanted to see whether there was any consensus on what was healthy and what was not.”
The vets were in nearly 100 percent agreement about which pictures indicated healthy feces, which were normal but not ideal, and which indicate a need for veterinary attention.
Repeating this process again and again is teaching the system to make these judgments without a vet’s input, currently with 93% accuracy. As more datasets are collected, the feature will be fully automated and capable of providing an answer within 24 hours, and eventually instantly.
“Feces is the biggest indicator into any potential gastro issues,” says Djanogly. “People often don’t understand the importance of consulting with a vet as quickly as possible. It could be that the dog just ate something off the street, but it could also be something a lot more sinister.”
Dr. Poop is not meant to replace a medical examination.
“It’s more of an indicator to see if something’s wrong. And if it is, the owner can schedule a video call with one of our vets. We know that between 70 and 80% of vet visits can be handled online.”
The vet would save time by already having access to the usual intake information about the dog’s activity level, diet and, of course, bodily waste.
Partnerships with dog food makers
Dogiz has signed a partnership with two major global pet-food brands to sell their premium dog food in the online Dogiz store.
“Obviously, they’re extremely interested in connecting with new customers and making new sales. But they’re much more interested in learning about their customers,” Djanogly says.
“Right now, they’ve got no idea who your dog is, what age it is, what breed it is and how active it is. That’s data we can provide. And then with that we can offer more tailormade products according to your dog’s lifestyle and age.”
If the initial pilot of the new Dogiz wellness program is a hit in Israel and the UK, the United States will be next.
“We definitely have global aspirations,” says Djanogly.
“We want to have a plug-and-play system that will make it very easy for local partners to offer services or products. And it will enable us to allow dog owners to get more value out of their Dogiz coins, Dr. Poop and the health tracking. We want to incentivize you and motivate you to be more active and take better care of your dog.”
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