Does your dog hate going to the vet’s office? Does she dig in her paws or drop to the ground as soon as you approach the clinic door? Does he bark or cry incessantly as you sit in the waiting area? Is going to the vet with your dog an all-around unpleasant experience for you both? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be happy to hear about Petnostics.
Petnostics is a do-it-yourself urine test for pets that can be done from the comfort of your home. No stressful visits to the vet, just have your dog (or cat) go about their regular routine without skipping a beat!
The company’s CEO Steven Chen pitched the DIY product this spring on the popular TV show Shark Tank and walked away with $300,000 from two investors. However, during the pitch, there seemed to be a lack of clarity in regards to whom this product should be marketed to, veterinarians or actual pet owners. That said, Dogster wanted to give Petnostics a try.
Petnostics is essentially an at-home kit supported by an app. Kits cost $9.99 and come with a cup, a glove, and a special lid that does the urine analysis. Catch your pet’s urine in the provided container, screw on the cap, flip the cup upside down so the test strips on the lid get wet with pee, and then scan the lid with the app. Easy peasy, unless you have a problem downloading the app.
We used an iPad mini to download the Petnostics app for free from iTunes. Sadly, it downloaded but wouldn’t open. We tried a second time with a different iPad. No luck. We then brought in a friend to use her iPhone, and still a big fat goose egg. We ultimately realized the app only works if you have IOS 8 or above. And although many people have IOS 8 or even 9, there are many users who have stuck with IOS 7 since the latest updates have bricked or drained so many devices. The app does say it will downgrade to the last version of the app to work with your operating system, but it just keeps kicking you out saying it won’t work. So, we found a friend with an Android–and a dog.
With the Android, the Petnostics app worked just as it should. Cena peed and her results were mostly positive. Some items were flagged as being a little off, and the urobilinogen was flagged as being high, but the analysis also indicated that vets don’t care much about that indicator. So, I didn’t see the value of providing that result if vets don’t put much value in it.
Quality: The materials in the kit were made well. The app should better accommodate use with older operating systems, though.
Style: The kit looked sleek, and the lid was very visual. Looked very high-techy.
Function: Pee collection was fairly simple. Boys are easier by nature since their stream starts higher up and it’s pretty straightforward to stick a cup under them. For girls, especially small dogs that squat lower to the ground, there is a device available for an additional $14.99 that is essentially a disk on a long stick that you can slip under your dog to collect urine. Pee collection is much easier if you get the first pee of the morning so you can collect an adequate amount of urine for the test (since throughout the day you might get smaller pees or more marking).
Creativity: It’s a nice idea to be able to do medical tests at home and avoid the time and hassle of going to the vet. Plus, no stressed out pup!
Value: $10 is certainly more economical than what a veterinary clinic charges for a urine test. That said, if the Petnostics kit flags something, you’re going to have to go into the vet who will want to run his/her own test to verify there’s a problem. So, I’m not sure if that ends up saving you any money.
A few days after the test, Cena’s mom took her into the pet clinic to share the results with the veterinarian. As I suspected, he said he’d need to run his own blood and urine tests to confirm the results.
If your dog has a medical condition that needs to be monitored, such as diabetes, liver disease, or anemia, the Petnostics urine test could be a great way to stay abreast of his health. However, if you just want to ensure your pet is in peak health and use the kit to give you a quick analysis, it might end up sending you to the vet unnecessarily as it can flag things that may or may not actually be a problem.