If you’re like most dog owners, your pooch is part of the family. America’s pet-related spending is now so high that even the subset of dog technology has become a lucrative industry. Sales of these wearables are booming thanks to consumers who want to improve their pets’ lives with devices similar to what they themselves are using.
Essential reading: The best GPS trackers and collars for cats
The American Pet Products Association estimates that we will spend more than $60 billion on our dogs and cats annually. Unsurprisingly, statistics show that the most popular pet is the dog, over 50 million American homes have one.
Now pet owners are able to use technology to get a better overall picture of their animal’s health. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, most dogs in the United States don’t get enough exercise, more than 40% are overweight, 25% are obese.
The other benefit to using smart collars is safety. Currently, 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime. Using one of these devices can ensure that your pooch isn’t one of them. While compiling this list, we’ve examined functions and features carefully and thoroughly. We try to test every device personally, but where not possible we took user reviews into consideration and dismissed devices with bad customer reviews and low ratings. This left us with the following selection.
Fitbark is the canine equivalent of the Fitbit. This nifty clip-on activity monitor tracks rest, play, and active time of your pup. With a click of a few buttons, you can find out how these times match up with similar dogs, and even yourself. Yes, you knew it was coming – now you can now link your Fitbit and start monitoring your dog’s fitness right next to yours!
Weighing only 8 grams, the water-resistant tracker fits comfortably on any dog collar and won’t bother bother a 3 lbs Chihuahua or a 200 lbs Leonberger. The dishes out something called “BarkPoints”, a metric that tallies up whatever activities your pooch gets up to during the day and night. A daily or weekly report provides you with your dog’s overall health index. You can even add friends to your TopDog Board and have fun reviewing weekly, monthly and all time champions.
Whistle 3 is one of the most popular selling GPS pet trackers. The device attaches to your pet’s existing collar allowing you to locate them in real-time. It also monitors activity and behaviour so you always know if they are happy and healthy.
Whistle is a device and app system to combine location-tracking and smart activity monitoring into one simple experience. You get live GPS tracking, location alerts and the ability to define a Whistle Zone. If your four legged friend strays, you can opt to receive email, app or text notification.
You can also keep track of your pet’s long-term health trends (such as the last vet appointment, dates of shots, and so on), and set custom goals and receive notifications if there are significant changes to their activity or sleep patterns. And if you have multiple pets, you can track them all with only one base station.
The tracker itsself is priced affordably but keep in mind there is a monthly fee of around $7-$10 for GPS functionality. For now, its only available in the U.S.
Tractive lets you know where your dog is via an internet browser or the smartphone app. The device is 100% waterproof, recommended for pets over 9 pounds (4.5 kg) and only weighs 35 grams.
With this little tracker you’ll be able to set a Safe Zone for your pooch. With the Live Tracking Mode you will see the trace where your pet was and where it is headed right now. There is also an integrated light, that helps to find missing pets in the dark and increases the visibility of your pet when going for a walk at night.
Tractive uses GPS and communicates through cell phone towers, which enable you to track your dog 24/7. As with most other GPS trackers, this means there is an on-going small monthly subscription fee (starts at $5.00). The device works in more than 80 countries.
Tagg is a location tracking device that attaches to your pet’s collar so you can keep track of them wherever they go. If they ever wonder outside of the Tagg Zone, the device sends text and email messages to alert you. You can then locate them on a map using the free mobile and web app.
The company has upgraded the device recently with several new features, including a temperature sensor which now notifies you if your pet is in danger of overheating on a hot day, or freezing in cold environments.
Tagg also monitors their activity and fitness levels ensuring they stay active and healthy. Vets recommend that dogs get 30-60 minutes of exercise per day. By using this device, you can monitor your pet’s daily activities, spot long-term trends, and share this data with your vet to help keep your pet healthy and safe.
This lightweight device attaches to any collar and locates your pet within a 200-foot radius of any phone or tablet with the Pawscout app. This means that you can put your four legged friend on a virtual leash and receive alerts if he strays. The inexpensive tracker was developed in partnership with the SFSPCA to introduce a community-supported way to find lost pets and reunite them with their families.
You can invite friends, family, neighbors, dog walkers and pet sitters to install the free app, thus forming a community of animal lovers. If the worst ever happens and your pet goes missing, send out a digital “lost dog” flyer and have the community searching for your pet the moment you notice he’s on the loose.
Pawscout also offers a complete pet profile and a lifetime of protection for a one-time purchase. This is more convenient than microchip information which can get out of date, and reading a microchip requires a trip to the vet.
Pod is one of the smallest and lightest GPS tracker plus activity monitors for dogs. The device lets you locate your pet on demand, monitor their activity and record adventures on a smartphone or computer. The newer generation Pod 2 has WiFi capability, which helps deliver faster positions and offers the ability to locate indoors.
Tapping on the “Find” option in the accompanying smartphone app allows you to request your pet’s current position and display it on a map in real time. You can also set up a virtual fence for alerts if your pet strays.
The tracker doubles up as a fitness tracker for your dog. It records your pet’s activity level (rest, walk and run), allowing you to monitor their health and fitness. You can even set daily goals!
The Pod 2 itself is a 2.0-by-0.9-inch black cylinder that weighs about 1 ounce. You get the tracker, two batteries, a proprietary USB dongle battery charger, and two rubberized attachment straps. Service subscription is free the first year and $49 following annual renewal. Pod works across the globe in 175 countries and has no set range.
The Marco Polo system includes a hand-held portable locator, a collar tag and a charger. Up to two additional collar tags can be added (sold separately) to allow monitoring and tracking multiple pets.
When searching for your pooch, Marco Polo acts like a personal radar system, scanning the surrounding area, including the interiors of homes and backyards. The system range is up to 2 miles in open conditions but, as with any 2-way radio system, varies with terrain and obstructions. If your pet is outside range you can continuously scan hundreds of acres of surrounding area as you drive or walk around.
The ultra-long battery life (up to 3 months) and no monthly services fees provide you with years of hassle-free, cost-free peace of mind.
Pet wearables are probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Garmin. The company has, however, recently branched with Delta Smart – an activity tracker and training device designed for dogs of all sizes.
The device essentially functions as a “virtual leash”. Simply press a key on your phone’s display, and your pet will receive a vibration, tone alert or corrective stimulation from the electronic collar. The signal distracts your dog providing a deterrent to unwanted or annoying behaviours. You can also purchase Garmin’s Keep Away tags that you place near objects you don’t want your dog to approach.
When you get back home, sync Delta Smart to your smartphone to see what your dog has been up to. The device will monitor when your pooch is active, for how long and at what intensity level. You will be able to see everything from physical activity levels, to resting times, barks and corrections, training, and the number of times he approached a Keep Away tag. Then its up to you can to decide if he deserves a treat for good behaviour.
WonderWoof is a stylish and fun dog activity monitor that helps you make sure your pooch is getting enough exercise and social interaction so they live a healthier, longer, and happier life.
The gadget keeps tabs on your dog’s activity and collects ‘bones’ within the app. Each ‘bone’ represents 10% of your pet’s recommended daily exercise needs based on their size, breed, and age. The WonderWoof BowTie also continuously syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth to provide you real-time analysis of what your dog is doing.
There are seven different colors to choose from and you can customize it further with interchangeable accessory bands. WonderWoof attaches to any sized collar and all sized breeds.
The Link AKC comes with a 2017 “Best of Innovation” winner award from CES 2017. The collar is made of high quality, durable leather that is both fashionable and functional. Collars are available in four different sizes to fit a wide range of dogs, from small to extra-large.
Dog owners will appreciate the many features including: GPS tracking and location; activity monitor; remote-controlled light; temperature, social media sharing of video clips, training (app controlled sound that can assist owners in training their dog).
The device requires a service plan for connectivity. Plans start at $6.95 per month and are not required until LINK AKC activation.
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