Regional Startups 2 MIN READ

Our love of our four legged friends and other pets has over the last few years given rise to a number of interesting products and services, tech or otherwise. Some, like a Versace food bowl (yes, seriously), may prove that some people just have too much money to spend, but others are helping owners take better care of their pets than ever before.

Pet services startup MadPaws, for example, helps owners find a pet sitter while they’re out of town through its ‘Airbnb for pets’ model, while Doglogbook, developed by Newcastle startup Smart Sports Solutions in conjunction with the University of Sydney, wants owners to log their dog’s activity to help them better understand their dog and in turn give their vets a greater amount of information from which to make decisions.

Looking to create another solution within this space is young Wagga Wagga entrepreneur Lauren Geier. A recent university graduate passionate about digital design and media, Geier is in the early stages of developing Balance Pets, an app looking to help pet owners look out for their furry friend’s health and wellbeing through managing of their diet.

The idea, like so many for businesses, came from Geier’s personal experience.

“My mum and I own two dogs, Jazzy and Callie, 12 and 11 respectively. Jazz suffers from something called liver necrosis, which means his liver doesn’t break down fats and enzymes correctly and he needs to have a specific diet to ensure he doesn’t get sick off everything,” Geier explained.

“The Balance Pets app was my idea so that making researching recipes food for animals would be easier than it currently is…there are so many apps out there for a human’s health and wellbeing, why shouldn’t there be an app out there for pets?”

At this stage, Geier has created a navigational prototype that showcases how the app will work and is now working on a database of health information.

As well as this, the app will also look to include a range of recipes to help users ensure their pet is enjoying a balanced diet, a shopping list function to help users plan, and a daily tracker in which they can log their pet’s food intake. It will also include a Community feature to connect them to other pet owners.

As vet costs and pet insurance premiums rise – the Australian Veterinary Association states that about 44 percent, or $450, of the total cost of a dog’s care is spent on vet services each year – an app such as Balance Pets could be an interesting tool in helping to manage or prevent conditions and in turn keep medical costs down.

As Geier said, similar services are being created for humans, with preventative healthcare and educational initiatives seen as key to getting and keeping Australians healthy and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.

Though currently focused on developing the app itself, Geier said she hopes to see Balance Pets become a global service accredited by vets in various markets.

Lauren Geier spoke to Simone Eyles.

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