With the recent craze of wearable computer chips designed to interact with smartphones and tablet computers to track our health, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way for us to not only make sure we keep ourselves in top form, but our furry family members as well.
So far, any technology that allows us to simply ask our dogs a question and get a verbal response back from them is still in the realm of science fiction. However, a Boston based company says it’s developed the next best thing. It’s called Pet Pace, and it’s not all that dissimilar from something of a FitBit device worn by people that can do everything from track your steps throughout a day, all the way to tracking our calorie intake and burning, sleep cycles, and general physical health and well-being. Some of these devices even function as alarm clocks!
The Pet Pace is being tested by Jayne Gandrup with her 6-year-old pug named Charlie.
“A lot of times they don’t let you know when they are really sick until it’s almost too late and you are rushing to the veterinarian,” said Jayne.
This new, purple collar allows her to track Charlie’s vital signs 24/7 via her iPad. Things like temperature, heart rate, breathing, and even Charlie’s (admittedly low) activity level can be viewed instantly, with a device and an internet connection.
In one of the charts, it can be seen where there was a spike in Charlie’s respiration.
“We had workman out on the road so he probably got very excited,” said Jayne. If it happens that Charlie spikes a fever or becomes short of breath, Jayne gets an immediate notice via the iPad, a smartphone or an email on the computer.
“It’s not just reading those signs, it’s also putting it all together to make a comprehensive health picture and pick up diseases when they just begin,” said Asaf Dagan, chief vet a Pet Pace.
There are already GPS based dog collars that owners can purchase and fashion to their dog’s, giving general location information and some activity tracking.
“Pet Pace is the only collar that gives you a complete picture of the health status and well-being of the pet,” said Asaf.
The collars have also found use in vet hospitals used to track dogs post-surgery and at regular check-ups.
Diane Tower of the Andover Animal Hospital has started using the collars herself in her practice.
“This was a great way to take temperatures and take vital signs without any invasive stuff. Just put a collar on their neck,” she said.
The collars hope to be a great way to keep a total grasp on just how well our pooches are doing, and help identify signs of sickness and disease early. This would not only help our furry family members to get help earlier, but vet costs could come down with many treatments if they are administered early enough. It is however, no substitute for professional care.
“This wouldn’t take the place of yearly blood work and having someone truly lay hands on the pets and listen to the heart and listen to the lungs,” said MSPCA vet, Caty Sumner.
Mostly, it’s part fun and part peace of mind for owners like Gandrup.
“I think it’s reassuring that he’s OK and everything is normal,” she said.
Pet Pace is based in Burlington, Mass., and is selling the collar for $150 plus a $15 monthly membership fee to keep tabs on your dog. Right now, they are only available in Massachusetts and Florida.
Cat owners are advised to stay tuned, as the feline version should be out soon as well.