They call it Moore’s Law: the prediction made by Intel founder Gordon Moore in the ’60s that technology-based products would dramatically increase in power and speed and simultaneously decrease in both size and cost every 18 to 24 months. And this is certainly holding true for wearable dog tech gadgets.
The Whistle GPS and Activity tracker is the perfect example. According to co-founder Ben Jacobs, the current Whistle is the company’s third generation device. It’s 50 percent smaller than the original gadget and weighs .92 of an ounce, making it comfortable for smaller dogs, too. And, along the way, the price has dropped from $120 on its launch to $79.
“We have also simplified the device and app features to focus on what we have learned is most important to pet parents—namely, reliable and affordable GPS and activity tracking for pets. Our main mission is to make pet care smarter and more intuitive,” he said.
One of the tracker’s newest facets is the multiple caretaker feature. According to Jacobs, the idea was to take what’s previously been recorded about our pets on kitchen calendars or with pen and paper by different family members as well as other caretakers, such as pet sitters and dog walkers, and record this information instead on the app.
“Now when you ask, ‘Does the dog still need a walk today?’ or ‘Is Buster sleeping normally?’ we can help answer that quickly and confidently, no matter whose turn it is to be on dog duty,” Jacobs explained.
The Pod Tracker, the invention of Australian Sebastian Langton, was created in memory of Langton’s cat, Rango, who disappeared and was never found. From the get-go, the product has been lightweight and small, but there have been great software improvements. The latest version allows pet owners to customize the device to suit their needs, whether it’s bark control or remote training commands.
“We’ve also improved battery life and nighttime visibility,” Langton added. “There is now something for all owners and all stages of the pet’s life.”
Currently, the Pod Tracker is sold online and in pet superstores. However, Langton stressed that he is always looking to new outlets and would welcome opportunities to work with pet specialty retailers.
Pet Tech Interest
Michael Lasky, president of SLA Brands, a national sales management specialist organization that links manufacturers with pet specialty retailers through their distribution network, confirmed that there is definitely a growing interest in wearable tech pet products in the pet specialty sector.
“Selling high-tech pet products is a great way for retailers to engage with their customers and make their store a pet hub within their community,” he said. “As more products come into the market place and prices continue to drop, they are ultimately more within the financial reach of a bigger audience.
“Research shows that while many people may research a product online, they still like to make such a purchase in a store,” he continued. “I believe that pet retailers can take advantage of this trend because pet tech products promote the human-animal bond and there’s no better way to engage with their customers on an on-going basis.”
One of the tech products that Lasky distributes is the Eyenimal wearable pet cam, introduced to the U.S. market by the French manufacturer NUM’AXES.
The company bought the pet cam idea from a French start-up in 2009 and has since further developed the technology and introduced three versions of the camera: the Petcam, Cat Videocam and Dog Videocam. The Dog Videocam is waterproof and has three recording modes—continuous, when the dog is moving, and when it is pointing— as well as an integrated microphone.
“It’s ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who always take their dogs hiking and camping,” Lasky said.
Protection from Bugs
Because fleas and ticks are becoming a year-round problem in many parts of the country, wearable tags that fend off these pests are becoming more popular and make for a good point of purchase display close to a register.
The CatanDog tag was developed in Spain back in the 1990s, according to Walter Wurnig, president and owner of the company. He says he initially set his sights on the Asian and European markets and, to date, has sold in excess of 2 million tags.
The company is now actively looking for distribution in the U.S.
“The tags are made from aluminum and charged with electromagnetic scalar waves,” explained Ben Poole, international sales manager. “The movement of the tag hanging on a collar creates a bio-resonant field that repels parasites such as fleas and ticks. Russian physicist Heinrich Lenz originally identified the concept of scalar waves in 1834. The Lenz’s Law was named after him.
“Because it is a non-toxic solution, the tags can be used on puppies and kittens and are effective for 24 months, making them both a time-saving and substantial moneysaving option over more traditional treatments,” he added.
Well-known pet accessory manufacturer Worldwise, Inc. is the latest company to enter the wearable tech space with the introduction of their Pawscout at Superzoo this July.
“The Pawscout Pet Finder is the next-generation digital pet tag and tracker that creates a community of pet protectors to keep all of our pets safe—no ‘lost dog’ flyers required,” explained Worldwise’s founder, Aaron Lamstein. “There has been very little change in pet ID tags in over 150 years, so we are proud to be transforming this category with the technology-based security our pets deserve.”
Weighing only 10 grams, the tags can be custom-engraved on a scratchresistant nameplate with a pet’s name, home address and owner’s phone number. They are available in a number of color combinations and cost a onetime fee. Th e app is free of charge to download and use.
The radar-styled honing technology uses the owner’s phone to locate the pet within a 200-foot radius, and a map shows his last known location. Th e long-term concept of the product is to build a community of pet protectors by inviting friends, family, neighbors, dog walkers and pet sitters to install the free app to help protect the pet. If a pet goes missing, by sending out a digital SOS, it relies on the community linked to the pet tags to begin searching immediately.
“We believe that the Pawscout Pet Finder is the next-generation, community-supported way to find lost pets and reunite them with their families,” Lamstein said.l