Pets are a part of the family, and it is not surprising to see how much owners (and companies) are willing to invest in their pets to comfort them and know more about their well-being. With new advancements in IoT technology, we will have more peace of mind when it comes to our lovely animal companions, IoT Times says.
According to the National Pet Owners Survey that was conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 68% of U.S. households (about 85 million families) owned a pet in 2017–2018, with about $69.4 billion estimated on expenditures in 2017. That will continue to rise in the coming future, as it has increased every year from 2001 to 2017, as seen in the figure below:
Animal health is a crucial factor driving the market and what pet owners seek when it comes to products that help them. In order to see health data for pets, the IoT industry has found solutions that are similar to the way that humans track health data. Just like humans can track their activity and biometric statuses with a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other wearables, pets can also have wearables on them. This is a popular product area, as it was estimated that the market size for pet wearables was $1.4 billion in 2018.
Tracking activity and biometric data on pets can identify possible health conditions based on their usual sleeping pattern, eating habits, respiratory rhythm, and other data. Wearables can also add a layer of security for the pet with GPS or other tracking systems so that owners know the location of their pet if they were to ever lose them. The features that wearables have are all dependent on how companies build their product, and there are many companies with different takes on wearables.
FitBark is one of the more well-known smart collars for dogs that monitor activity levels, quality of sleep, distance traveled, calories burned, and overall health and behavior at all times. This device can notify you of mobility, anxiety, and skin diseases through changes in behavior and sleep habits. It can even link to your Fitbit, Apple HealthKit, or Google Fit device to review progress side by side. The data that is captured can be shown to veterinarians, who can monitor orthopedic rehabilitation, osteoarthritis, or changes in mobility.
Another smart collar is the Whistle. The Whistle combines cellular and GPS technology to pinpoint your pet’s location anywhere in the U.S. on AT&T’s cellular network. It can give out location alerts if your pet leaves their safe place and can follow their location over the last 24 hours to see where they went and when. It also tracks activity like playing, walking, and resting, which can provide insight into the overall health of your pet by analyzing trends in behavior.
Waggit focuses on trying to detect early health concerns for dogs wherein it tracks multiple biometrics throughout the day and can easily see all data. Waggit tracks unusual changes in vitals, movement, sleep, and body positions, which can be key indicators that your dog is in pain. It can provide alerts when something is off, such as if they aren’t drinking or sleeping enough. It also has GPS and a virtual fence wherein you can set a “fence” in an area. If your dog leaves that area, it will alert you.
One popular IoT feeder is the Petnet Smartfeeder. This device can be set up to have automatic feedings that can be personalized based on the pet. The food portion can be tailored to the pet by their age, weight, and activity. It can take care of calorie goals and notify you when the pet has been fed and is compatible with any smart home device such as Alexa, Nest Cam, or Google Home. Manual feeding can be done from a smartphone, even if you’re away from the house.
PetCube is an example of a “smart toy” for pets. This product is an interactive Wi-Fi pet camera through which you can monitor, talk to, and interact with your dog or cat using two-way audio and a 1080p HD video camera from your smartphone. It has a built-in laser toy for you to use and can notify you of major events at home with sound and motion alerts. It has video cloud recoding services and can have multiple pet cubes link up for different areas of the house.
There are even IoT products that combine both feeders and toys into one, like the CleverPet. The CleverPet is a gaming hub for dogs that keeps them busy while also rewarding and teaching them. It offers commands to the dog and responds via the sensors that hear barks or the touchpad on the front of the device. If done correctly, a treat is dispensed. The games that it provides were designed by animal-loving cognitive scientists and can keep a dog entertained. The CleverPet can track and limit how much your dog eats and track the progress of the games to see how they improve over the days and weeks.