App Provides Digestive Health Support for Dogs by Checking Dogs’ Poop | DIG Labs

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Animal Innovations Show - Episode 74 - Jessica Chu and Tara Zedayko - DIG Labs

App Provides Digestive Health Support for Dogs by Checking Dogs’ Poop | DIG Labs

If you’re looking for free, on-demand digestive health support for your beloved Fido, DIG Labs is the answer.

Co-founded by Tara Zedayko, Jessica Chu, and Nicole Scalamandre, DIG Labs is an app that allows dog parents to get personalized health and nutrition recommendations for their dog — all with just 1 photo.

Aiming to provide an affordable and accessible method to enhance each beloved furbaby’s unique health, Jessica said,

“We’re innovating all around the power of our dog’s poop to be able to enable dog owners to have better insights and better care for their dogs to live happier and longer lives.”

Getting DIG Labs Under Way

dig labs app website

As shown on their website, DIG Labs gives free expert advice for pet parents to ensure that they help their canine companions to have happier tummies and better health.

According to Tara,

“What inspired me to start DIG Labs was my pet. At the time, I had a ten-year-old Shepherd Husky rescue named Sammy who had unexplained digestive issues… And what really frustrated me was the lack of options available to pets and their pet parents.”

After feeling disheartened by the lack of choices in the animal care space, Tara, who spent 14 years of her professional career with Johnson & Johnson, teamed up with Jessica to create similar solutions for dogs.

download dig labs app on playstore

Both women explained,

“DIG Labs creates a way for pet parents to know on-demand and in real time how their pets’ internal health is doing. We do that by taking a look at the most overlooked and underestimated part of owning a pet, which is their poop. We’ve actually developed technology that takes stool photos and provides unique insights based on each dog. That can help pet parents either make nutrition tips, know when to go to the vet, no one to keep monitoring, and then also provide additional enrichment ideas to keep our pets happier and healthier.”

With the assistance of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer vision, the DIG Labs team has enriched the app to become full of tons of metadata about the dogs’ case conditions. This way, they are able to synthesize everything and help scale the immense knowledge that they have collected and share it with dog parents in real time.

dig labs app uses machine learning and artificial intelligence

The Amazing App That Is DIG Labs

According to the founders, what’s really exciting about the DIG Labs technology is it has the ability to provide real-time diagnostics in the world of pet health.

“…Our pets obviously can’t tell us themselves what’s wrong nor communicate with their pet parents and with their providers… So, the ultimate goal is for us to be the one-stop hub for your pets’ health from a visual standpoint,”

Tara added.

how dig labs app works

For the company, starting with canine stool is important because it provides the best window into internal health.

Basically, they help dogs with tummy troubles to feel better, faster. The idea is that if a dog mom notices that their dog has diarrhea or that their poop is abnormal-looking, they can snap a photo and send it to DIG Labs.

The team also has experts standing by who can help chat with pet parents to help triage what to do next.

For instance, they help clarify whether a home remedy is sufficient or if they need to go to the vet. They also advise on whether there’s anything else that they can provide to really help pet parents get to answers and solutions much more quickly and avoid unnecessary vet visits and other expensive, time-consuming processes that don’t necessarily lead to answers.

“By no means are we a veterinary service. By no means do we diagnose disease. We’re meant to be that support and that guide for how to correctly take the right next steps…”

dig labs provide free expert advice

By having this technology in your pocket anywhere, anytime, DIG Labs is enabling veterinarians and dog owners to have a comprehensive, more longitudinal look into digestive health.

“A lot of times…there are undiagnosed issues that go on because there are tummy troubles that come up intermittently. They are chronic, but if you don’t start to get that pattern recognition, and by having our technology, we help to hopefully catch those issues sooner so that way there can be a resolution and that can be flagged to the veterinarian and worked on,”

Jessica said.

 

 

Learn more about DIG Labs:

Check out their website at https://getdiglabs.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Tara: Hi, everybody.

I’m Tara Zedayko, co-founder and CEO of DiG Labs,

Jessica: I’m Jessica Chu and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Awesome, introduction, Jess. So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Jessica: I’m Jess, I started DiG Labs with Tara Zedayko,  about two and a half three years ago. We are innovating all around the power of our dog’s poop, to be able to enable dog owners to have better insights and better care for their dogs to live happier and longer lives.

What inspired me to start DiG Labs was my pets. So at the time, I had a 10-year-old Shepherd Husky rescue named Sammy, who had unexplained digestive issues.

And in my day job, I was working at Johnson and Johnson. And what really frustrated me was the lack of options available to pets and their pet parents. When I saw so many amazing innovations on the human health care side.

And so armed with all of that inspiration from my training and my knowledge in human health care— Jess and I set out to create similar solutions for dogs.

Chris: Tara, why don’t you just tell us a little bit more— How does it work, right? What does DiG Labs do?

Tara: DiG Labs creates a way for pet parents to know on-demand and in real-time how their pet’s internal health is doing. And we do that by taking a look at the most overlooked and underestimated part of owning a pet, which is their poop.

We’ve actually developed technology that takes stool photos and provides unique insights based on each dog that can help pet parents either make nutrition tips, know when to go to the vet, know when to keep monitoring, and then also provide additional enrichment ideas to keep our pets happier and healthier.

Chris: Yeah, so now Jess, you guys can get all this just from a photo? So, I take a photo of the dog’s diarrhea, if you will—and maybe walk me through the process and what happened.

Jessica: To answer your question, like bluntly— Yes, we can know a lot just by looking at one photo of dog’s stool.

We also have a lot of dog profiles. So, when you sign up for the app, you tell us about your dog. And so that helps us to get a better contextual understanding of what’s going on, how long it’s been happening, and provide the most concise recommendation, and provide the best advice that we can, given the dog’s unique situation.

Chris: Now, I know you both had full-time jobs— right, careers before you do this. So, take us back to the point where one or the other of you was like, “Geez, we should take pictures of dog poop.”

“We can help people.”

This had to be just a zany idea that you bounce off each other and you went, “No, there’s actually something to this.”

Tara: So, Jess and I worked together at Johnson and Johnson in the healthcare space. And one of the things that was really inspiring to me was personalization. And when I think about personalization across—from skincare, all the way to supplements, I was really excited by this idea.

Because I felt like my dog, Sammy didn’t really fit the description of anything else that I had been reading up on or seeing when it came to probiotics and supplements and things like that, given her tummy troubles.

And so the first idea that Jess and I had was all-around personalized supplements— and specifically personalized probiotics. And so, we actually did side hustle that idea for a little while.

What we realized really quickly was that— first of all, the idea was ambitious even for the human healthcare space. And second, what we realized is the idea would be better if we could have better inputs.

So, what that means is understanding better, what is going on with the dog? What are their symptoms?

And for how long? And what we like to call, “Seeing the unseen,” which is this area of trying to understand what a dog would tell us if they could talk.

But since they can’t, their caregiver does the best to try and answer a two-minute quiz or give the inputs that are needed. But unfortunately, sometimes it’s just not enough. And so that’s when we sat back and thought, “Well, how could we get to these inputs without drawing blood or having to send poop away in a box?” “And five to six weeks later get a result?”

Because by that time, the information almost feels obsolete as a pet parent. So, we thought, “Well, there’s so much going on in AR, VR in photo recognition right now.” “What if we took a photo?” A picture is worth a thousand words.

But what we like to say is: A picture is worth a billion. What can we do with the power of a photo? And that’s when we said, “Okay, well, instead of sending poop away in a box, what if we have a poop photo?” We could capture so much more information. It’s in real-time, which is amazing.

So, there’s no degradation of that data. It is on-demand, as just said, which means— that a pet parent can snap it from anywhere. It could be from the comfort of their home, on a walk—if they’re on vacation— because dogs always get sick when their pet parent is on vacation, or if something’s different.

Dog walkers could even use this technology to provide info back to the pet parents. And so, the more we thought about it, the more excited we got. Because it just seemed like stool, was such an amazing way to get more information. And photos are such an amazing way given the advent of camera technology.

So, that’s how the idea kind of began. And since then, we’ve been on a mission to acquire as many poop photos as possible.

Chris: How did you go about that, Jess? Were you guys just emailing friends and family and saying, “So…here’s a crazy idea, but send us pictures of poop.”

Jess: We have collected stool photos in a myriad of different ways. Reaching out to friends and family to ask has definitely been one of them.

We have sat at dog parks and collected photos and talked to folks. Obviously, through our app that’s one way as well. We have had partnerships with different universities. We’ve had partnerships with different veterinary practices.

We’ve had a lot of great partnerships with rescues. And so, being able to partner with rescues to collect stool photos, especially those of dogs who might be under the weather, have a parasite infection. Those partnerships have really been valuable to us, and we really appreciate the community rallying around this, like the Citizen Science project.

Chris: So, Tara tell people the website where they can learn more about it. Download the app, all those things.

Tara: So, you can visit GETDIGLABS.COM that’s our homepage.

And our app is right now available on the Apple App Store. It’s called, The DiG Labs Health Check, and we can’t wait to see you on the app.

Chris: I really appreciate both of you coming on today. It’s been really fun to talk to you. And as we wrap things up, I’ll just remind our viewers and listeners, that if you have an innovative idea, like the power of poop, like Jess and Tara did, and you want to talk about it, come on the show, or you know, somebody that’s got a great innovative idea.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and we’d love to hear from you and have you on the show. So, Jess, Tara, thank you so much for educating us on poop.

I’m excited to see where you ladies are gonna take this. And thanks for coming on.

Jessica: Thank you so much, Chris.

Tara: Bye.

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