People are proactively addressing their health, and the health of their pets, in a more holistic and personalized manner – including the use of pet tech.
As a society, we’ve treated animals as companions for at least 20,000 years according to the latest scientific evidence. Dogs were domesticated around this time by hunter-gatherers and have since had a variety of roles in society, from acting as guards to herding livestock. While cats became domesticated around 10,000 years ago and were particularly useful for protecting food storages from rodents. However, as time has passed, humans have kept their pets for simple companionship.
Pet health and wellness
GlobalData forecasts that pet care spending will nearly reach $188 billion by 2027, growing from $150 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6%. Owners invest substantially in food, toys, grooming products, insurance, and other care solutions to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of their pets.
With technologies such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing constantly advancing, and reducing in cost, pet owners have access to an increasing array of pet tech solutions to help with this.
Wearable tech for pets
Wearables have become a prominent consumer IoT category, particularly for the purpose of collecting health data. The pet care industry is no different, with animal microchips first patented by AVID in 1985. Pet wearable tech has since evolved, from smart collars featuring GPS and biometric activity trackers, to smart harnesses which assist dogs with hip dysplasia.
Owners can also invest in wearable tech for their own enjoyment, for example GoPro cameras can be attached to dogs with the GoPro Fetch harness, able to capture videos from the pet’s perspective. Some owners are taking this a step further and investing in pet collar cameras, allowing them to continuously monitor their pet’s activities and movements through a live feed. Although there are some pet collar cameras available in the market, effective devices would need to be lightweight, small, and with long battery life, while also not negatively impacting the animal in any way.
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Smart homes pet tech
Smart devices for the home can also be used to monitor and improve a pet’s wellbeing. Smart pet feeders are one of the most well-established products in this field, allowing owners to control feeding times and dosages. Some even feature facial recognition for pets to track their intake, for example the Bistro was released in 2014. Other pet tech solutions for the home include smart litter boxes to remove waste, smart toys to provide entertainment, smart pet doors which identify pets through their implanted microchip, and smart grooming brushes for cats.
Pet surveillance cameras are another emerging category in pet tech, allowing owners to monitor their pets remotely and interact. For example, Petcube’s cameras allow two-way audio, remote play, and remote treat dispensing. Pet surveillance cameras can also support virtual pet care, with vets able to offer remote consultations.
The future of pet tech?
As owners look for better solutions to manage their pet’s health and wellness, tech providers will implement new, emerging technologies. The future may involve smart robots to act as the ultimate companion for pets when they are home alone, or maybe they’ll be happily engaged with an animal-friendly metaverse…