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October 10, 2016

According to a recent report produced by the market research firm IDTechEx, the wearable tech market for pets is set to be a $2.6 billion industry by 2019. And this in turn is part of the bigger human wearable tech picture, which the same report predicts will be over $150 billion by 2026.

One person who can attest to the rapid growth of wearable pet tech in the US market is Ben Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of the Whistle activity tracker and GPS system. Mars Petcare recently acquired Whistle for $117 million, a purchase that highlights that pet industry leaders understand what the future holds.

“Wearable technology taps directly into the pet parent’s desire to be connected to their pets 24/7 and there are many more ways that this technology can be used to enhance this bond,” he said. “We are just getting started.”

Since its introduction in 2014, when it was an activity tracker, Whistle has added GPS features. The company acquired the GPS Tagg system created by Qualcomm and integrated this technology into the product.

“What’s interesting is that the growth in such products is not limited to Millennials who understand the technology well,” Jacobs said. “Our surveys show growth nationwide and across both urban and rural areas, which leads us to believe that it’s not linked to a particular age demographic.”

Also the price of wearable technology has dropped making it more affordable to a larger audience. Whistle for example started out at $119 and now sells for $79 with a three-month free service program.

Another product that has undergone changes and dropped in price is the StarWalk Pet Collar. This non-GPS activity tracker sets a goal of 8,000 steps for your dog as a baseline of how much activity to aim for when first starting out. The smart phone app tracks a dog’s activity as well as calories burned and temperature.

“Wearable technology like StarWalk is also being used to deal with other issues that pet owners have to deal with on a daily basis such as stress and anxiety issues,” said Kerry Sutherland, publicist for the company.

The Calmz Anxiety Relief System developed by Animal Health Technologies (AHT), a veterinary technology company is another product that deals with anxiety and stress problems.

The system comprises an adjustable vest that cradles a device that delivers calming frequencies that the dog can hear and feel, over specific acupressure points on a dog’s spine,” explained Buddy Snow, CEO of AHT. “This NeuroSync Technology, has been clinically tested by leading animal behaviorists and has demonstrated statistically significant reduction in negative behavior associated with common canine anxiety.”

When it comes to containing pets, Petsafe’s Stay and Play wireless containment system covers ¾ of an acre.

“It’s also an excellent solution for people on the move,” said Category Director Jason Hart. “We designed our wireless systems to overcome the concern people had with in-ground set ups as installation is much easier than an in-ground solution. Once activated, all it requires is a few short training sessions to create a secure boundary for your pet.”

Since French company Eyenimal Inc. first introduced their Eyenimal pet cam about six years ago, the company produced several more models for both dogs and cats and also has an extensive range of tech gadgets that are now available in the United States.

The newest version of the Dog Videocam comes with a harness attachment and is waterproof so it can be worn during outdoor activities. It has three video recording modes namely continuous, when the dog is moving, when it is pointing and has a battery life of two-and-a-half hours.

“We saw the need to create different modes to best meet the needs of both cat and dog pet parents,” said Joëlle Thomas, the company’s export manager. “The latest advancements include, HD definition, night vision with LED lighting and motion detection activation, so people know what their pets are up to at night and stay connected 24/7.”

The company has also produced a lightweight No Bark collar solution that has a microphone to detect barking and then triggers a mist of spray essential oils such as lavender and citronella.

PetHub Inc’s Signal Tag allows pet owners to track a missing pet and bring them home again as quickly as possible.

“At a time when one in three pets will go missing at some point in their lives, PetHub’s Signal Tag’s technology provides a more advanced tool to get pets home safely and quickly,” says PetHub, Inc.’s Founder and CEO Tom Arnold. “The versatile, durable tag is water resistant, has Bluetooth technology, a 3D motion sensor and a battery life of up to two years.”

A new company called PetHealthlocker, has produced their SMART Pet Tag designed to track and store a pet’s health and licensing information.

“It works via a mobile app on any smartphone to create a public profile page for each pet. Each tag has a web address and ID on the front and a QR code on the back that links to the PetHealthlocker app,” explained Chris Rotberg, CEO and founder of the company. “Unlike a microchip that can only be read by a vet or pet rescue, the SMART Pet Tag can be scanned and the information read from any smartphone, increasing the chances of your pet being identified and returned home quicker. Once the SMART Pet Tag has been scanned or the ID number has been entered on the website, the pet’s public profile can be viewed and a message can be sent with the GPS coordinates of the location so the owner knows exactly where their pet is located.”

Smart Pet Love’s snuggle pets feature an insertable pack that has a soothing heartbeat to de-stress animals, particularly puppies and kittens. The company uses the same technology built into their Safe & Sound Harness so that the canine wearer can feel a real heartbeat located in a pocket in the front of the harness.

New from Gen 7, Inc. is the SonicGuard, an ultrasonic tick and flea protection device that emits a series of ultrasound pulses that are harmless and imperceptible to humans and animals, but repel ticks and fleas. The device can be used for pets of all sizes, and the operating range is nearly 5 feet. The pendant does not include the use of any chemicals. The built-in lithium battery lasts up to 12 months.

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