Ca­nine con­nec­tion goes to a whole new, high-tech level

Wear­ables such as pet cams, ac­tiv­ity track­ers of­fer ways to keep tabs on Fido

Toronto Star - - LIFE - AMANDA RE­BECCA COSCO SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

The In­ter­net of Things prom­ises to dig­i­tize ev­ery­thing from our fridges to our ther­mostats — even our pets are get­ting the con­nected treat­ment.

Wearable tech­nol­ogy for pets (and their hu­mans) was re­cently show­cased at We Are Wear­ables, a monthly Meetup group ded­i­cated to ex­plor­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing wearable tech­nol­ogy. Its June edi­tion took place at the MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict in Toronto and honed in on the ways tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing the way we train, mon­i­tor and play with our pets.

Much like pop­u­lar wearable tech­nol­ogy for hu­mans, emerg­ing pet tech seems set on quan­ti­fy­ing the body: Cleo Col­lar uses in­te­grated sen­sors and elec­tron­ics to track and an­a­lyze your pet’s vi­tal signs; FitBark is a dog ac­tiv­ity tracker (think Fit­Bit for Fido).

Be­yond dog­gie data, new star­tups in this space are cater­ing to pet par­ents’ de­sire to know where Spot roams: both PetCube and PetBot are re­mote wire­less pet cam­eras that al­low you to check in on your dog via a mo­bile app while you’re away from home.

“The In­ter­net has al­ready trans­formed pet care, and now the In­ter­net of Things is chang­ing what we know about our pets,” says en­tre­pre­neur and fu­tur­ist Adam Lit­tle of LifeLearn, a soft­ware specif­i­cally de- signed for vet­eri­nar­i­ans.

“En­trepreneurs are de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts that will change how we re­late to — and de­liver ser­vice to — our pets.”

Track your pet’s paw prints “Tech­nol­ogy is al­low­ing us to be more con­nected than ever with our pets,” says Dana Kay God­dard, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Lon­don-based Won­der­mento, the cre­ators of Won­derWoof. Won­derWoof, which re­tails for $99, is a bow-tie that clips onto your pet’s col­lar and in­ter­faces with your smart­phone. In ad­di­tion to track­ing your dog’s move­ment and ac­tiv­ity lev­els, Won­derWoof also con­nects you to the ca­nine com­mu­nity (think Face­book for furry folks).

Earn those good hu­man points “The more in­ter­ac­tion we have with our an­i­mals the bet­ter,” says Whit Howlit, di­rec­tor of sales and oper­a­tions for Kansas City-based FitBark. The clip-on mon­i­tor that re­tails for $99.95 ac­cel­er­ates pet health care by turn­ing your dog’s ev­ery­day ac­tiv­ity into BarkPoints. “FitBark en­cour­ages peo­ple to be bet­ter pet own­ers and gives you in­sight into your dog’s be­hav­iour pat­terns that you didn’t know be­fore.”

Know your pets in a heart­beat Cleo Col­lar, based in Kitch­ener, Ont., uses in­te­grated sen­sors and elec­tron­ics to track and an­a­lyze your pet’s vi­tal signs. Most of its sales are cur­rently to the eques­trian in­dus­try. It re­tails for $69, plus a monthly $5 sub­scrip­tion fee.

Tech star­tups such as FitBark, whose mon­i­tor is shown above, are tar­get­ing con­sumers keen to check on their pets’ where­abouts and ac­tiv­ity lev­els.

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