Tech For Pets & Owners – What’s Available? 

Last year, as the reality of lockdown began to bite, pet ownership increased 20%, and a staggering 3.2 million Brits became pet owners. 

Many of these were from younger age groups, perhaps working from home and having the time to look after a pet properly. Unsurprisingly, the emergence of a new crop of owners that are naturally reliant on technology in their own lives has translated into a big boom in pet tech.  

Darren Logan, Mars Petcare’s Waltham Petcare Science Institute, said: “We expect to see an explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the pet industry over the coming years. AI is well suited to analyse rich data sources like video – and we know that people love to shoot video of their pets.

“We also expect to see technology increasingly integrated into routine veterinary practice, as a powerful tool to not only understand how genetics and behaviour inform overall health, but to also help predict disease, so that vets and owners can work to keep pets healthy and happy.”

Here are some of the latest pieces of tech aimed at pets and their owners…

Think of this as a fitness tracker you’d wear yourself, but this comes with a doctor’s analysis.

Based on deep learning technology and a Whistle device (a ‘smart’ collar for dogs), it translates patterns of activity such as eating, drinking, scratching, licking or shaking into what they might mean in terms of later disease.

Following a three-year study by Mars Petcare scientists and vets, who analysed the behaviour of thousands of dogs, it can interpret behaviour and activities and will note if your dog is eating less or scratching more, notify you, and tell you what this pattern ended up meaning for other dogs who were later diagnosed by a vet.

This early prevention may help pet owners save on vet bills and hopefully lead to better outcomes for their pets.

Wisdom Panel
This DNA test uses AI and and a large dog DNA database to provide an accurate (the makers claim greater than 98% accurate) dog DNA test.

The Wisdom Panel saliva test allows owners to find out more about their pet’s health and history, such as whether the pet has genetic conditions related to drug sensitivities, vision, weight or mobility.

There are 200+ health tests included, such as identifying the animal’s ideal weight range, its breed mix down to 1% and its ancestry back to its great-grandparents.

Video vet appointments became the norm during the pandemic, and Dogtastic offers instant access to personalised veterinary advice.

It enables members to chat live via video or text chat with qualified and experienced vets to reduce costly in-person visits and protect their dog’s wellbeing. Vet care covers physical, mental, behavioural, or nutritional health issues for £24 for the first year.

The technology also enables dog owners to save and access a searchable record of past conversations with the Dogtastic vets either via smartphone, tablet or desktop.

This grooming software allows dog owners to quickly and easily find, book and review local groomers.

Filters include star rating, price, location and qualification level, enabling owners to select the right groomer for their dog’s breed and coat type. 

In addition, the app helps dog owners store their pet’s data in one place, keeping track of medical history and grooming preference as well as sending notification reminders for vaccinations and flea treatments.

You can download the Tuft app for free via the App Store and Google Play.

Obesity remains a major health issue for pets. This dog activity monitor fits any dog collar and will set and track exercise goals, keep a history of a dog’s weight and track progress towards an ideal weight.

The PitPat 2 Dog Activity Monitor tells you how much walking, running and playing the animal has done, how far they’ve travelled and how many calories they’ve burned.

The app also gives a customised exercise recommendation for your dog (with over 200 breeds covered), and is suitable for all breeds, ages and size of dog.

Microchip Pet Door
This allows owners to monitor their pet’s comings and goings and control their pet door remotely.

Users receive notifications so they know when their cat or dog goes out from home, even when they’re away. The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect with Hub enables the door to be controlled from anywhere, meaning it can be locked or opened as required.

Owners can monitor their pet’s behaviour over time to get a better understanding of their health and wellbeing. It’s suitable for any cat and for small dogs.

Smart Bed
This pet bed has infrared sensors to monitor the time your pet spends within it, and this recorded rest-time is shown on the Petkit app. This data is used to generate a sleeping calendar to help you identify how your pet sleeps best.

The Petkit Smart Cosy Bed features temperature control, with seven settings ranging from warm to cool. The app displays current temperature within the bed as well as the outer room temperature.

Adjustments to the temperature are delivered via an air conditioning unit or a heated aluminium plate.

Pet Tracker
This GPS pet tracker pack uses Vodafone connectivity to help owners track their pets via an app.

An adjustable clip attaches the Curve Pet Tracker Pack to collars and harnesses. Pet owners can create zones in the app, like ‘Park’ or ‘Home’, so that when a pet enters or leaves these zones they receive an alert on their phone.

Owners can also save their favourite walks and get directions to a pet’s location using the app.

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