The cutting-edge integration of technology with countless living necessities have made our lives easier than ever. And after coming such a long way with smart devices for humans, now it’s time for pets and livestock to get caught up with the latest and greatest of pet-friendly innovations.
The wearable technology market for pets has been growing rapidly. Devices come in the form of collar and vests, and some have the capability to connect with apps. These pet-friendly wearable devices help owners influence behavior, track locations, ensure safety, and monitor the health status of their pet.
According to a report published in prnewswire, there are currently about 300 companies in the world manufacturing wearables for pets to livestock to wild animals. Moreover, the number of manufacturers is predicted to rise to 500 in just 10 years. So, what exactly sparked this craze of wearable pet technology?
How the Pet Wearable Industry Started
The first documented wearable technology for animals originated in New Zealand in 1955. A dairy farmer developed an easy-to-read tag used for identifying his livestock. Soon after, Europe and other western countries gradually began to adopt the same technology and after tagging became popular with livestock, similar applications quickly grew into the pet market. As a result, pet owners have embraced these wearable technologies and can connect with their pets like never before.
The accelerated desire for wearable pet technology is propelled by the advancements in wireless area networks, development of cost-efficient sensors, mobile apps with pre-built digital maps, trending IoT technology, and the rising use of smartphones to connect various devices remotely. However, high power consumption and limited battery life of these devices suppress the market growth.
The Different Types of Wearable Technology
There are four main categories of wearable technology for your pets (ID tracking, behavior control, safety, and health monitoring). And with a wide selection of pet wearables on the market, you can easily find one with the functions you need, in a design you love, and with a comfortable fit for your pet.
Whether you need to control your dogs barking, track your cat’s whereabouts, or monitor your pet’s health, a smart collar that fits the bill exists. The following sections break down the latest and most useful wearable tech for your pet.
Identification & Tracking
Perhaps one of the more common types of wearable tech for your pet is the identification and tracking systems. They come in two specific types of technology:
- GPS– Usually in the form of a collar, GPS allows you to locate our pet wherever they go with only an app.
- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)– In the form of a microchip that’s implanted under your pet’s skin and scanned to identify the pet as yours.
Not only can identification help others return your pet to you when they stray, but it can also lead you straight to your wandering best friend. Identification and tracking stems from the need of pet owners to keep tabs on their pets in case they run off. If your dog gets out of the yard, you’ll want to find them quickly before they run across the street and possibly get injured.
For this main safety reason, pet owners have considered animal tracking technology an essential cost of owning a puppy, and one of the easiest steps to take for finding a lost pet. So, whether your cat is hiding under the neighbor’s car or your dog has jumped the fence again, you’re now just an app away from finding them.
Behavior Monitoring & Control
Bark collars are one of the more popular examples of wearable pet tech that help monitor and influence your pets behavior.
For instance, if your puppy barks constantly when you leave the house and your neighbors complain, a bark collar might be the best solution to correct the behavior. Technology like bark collars work by detecting the vibration in your dog’s throat through the sound of his bark, which then triggers a stimulus that will administer a shock. The stimulus can be anything from a mild electrical shock to a noise that irritates your dog.
Thankfully, none of these automatic responses will harm your pooch. However, they will deter them from continuing to bark. It conditions your dog to realize that barking brings on an unfavorable sensation until they stop.
Safety & Security
This area of wearable technology for your pet partly bleeds into the area of tracking. Tracking is by default part of the process of monitoring the safety and security of your pet. However, there are several other wearable devices that keep your pet safe and secure.
To start, there’s a trending device called a pet camera, and it does exactly what the name implies. This is an opportunity to see the world through your dog’s eyes, which could basically mean close-ups of dead animals, people’s crotches, and other dog’s bottoms.
Or, this could mean video evidence that your dog walker is NOT actually taking your puppy out, and instead sitting in your house eating your food. You can either get a harness that allows a GoPro to be mounted, or buy the whole setup. Either way, this is a great solution for assessing how safe your dog is around other animals, people, and situations.
Another wearable device worth mentioning is a sensor for pet doors. Although you want to give your pooch free will to leave and enter the house from the yard, you may want the ability to keep other animals out. If there are aggressive animals nearby, a sensored doggy door might be a great investment to ensure your pets safety and security. The last thing you want is a rabid animal freely following your dog or cat into your house.
Medical Diagnosis & Treatment
If you don’t have pet insurance, then taking your pet to the vet may add up to be quite the expense. So, why not opt for a device that monitors your pets health for you!? Vets have already been using RFID technology for years to keep tabs on your pet’s medical history, now we get the chance to do the same.
An RFID chip can serve as far more than a way to identify your pet; it can also store information about:
- Pet’s medical history
- Past procedures
- Other vital information
RFID’s eliminate the need to keep records on your pet’s health. If your pet gets lost and brought to a vet or shelter, their health information is available to the professionals handling them.
One dog owner found this particularly invaluable when her small diabetic dog got out of the yard and was scooped up by animal control and brought to the humane society. The professionals were able to contact the owner, and were also able to look at the dogs health history, check his blood sugar, and give him the insulin needed during his short stay before being picked up.
There are also other types of wearable sensors that help monitor your pets health. Some good instances to use these are when you need to monitor your pets heart rate activity, their reactions to allergies, or even breathing! It’s always best to do some DNA testing on your dog to see if they are prone to any major issues. If they are, then definitely consider some of the latest wearable devices that monitor and record your pet’s health.
Functions of Some Other Wearable Pet Technologies
You can track and facilitate your pets activity with a smart collar designed to do everything except read your pets mind. In fact, a lot of these collars include speakers and lights you can control to interact with your dog or cat. Paired with an app on your smartphone, these smart collars can include:
- Temperature and light sensing capabilities
- Food dispensing scanners
- Geographical tracking software
- Ability to remotely turn on built in lights to help spot your dog in the dark.
- Notification alerts if your dog leaves an area you’ve designated.
- Setting calendar alerts for puppy play dates, vet appointments, or other activities with your dog.
- And more
The Future of Pet-focused tech
It might seem like this list of pet technologies is comprehensive, however we’re just scratching the surface with wearable devices. Exploring this rabbit hole further includes looking at the variety of other pet-focused tech products. Along with tracking, here are just a few applications of pet-focused technology that we’re seeing start to emerge in the market:
- Automatic food and water dispensing devices
- Doggy door opening sensors
- Interactive toys for dogs and cats
- Pet-to-human translators
- Pet emotion sensors
As the market for human wearable devices increases, so will the inspiration for innovative pet-wearable technology. As a result, pet owners around the world will be able to connect with their pets in ways never experienced before.
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