Wearable fitness tech has become a booming market for humans, with cool devices being advertised left and right that monitor heart rate, track calories burned, and help people reach their fitness goals. Recently, however, this technology has been adapted to serve our canine friends. A number of companies are now making dog-friendly wearable fitness technology that owners can use to ensure their pups stay healthy and happy. Take dog owner Steve Pelletier, for example, who adopted an overweightLabrador retriever and wanted to get him back into healthy shape. Steve put Jack on a new diet and made sure he got lots of exercise, and then augmented the new regimen with a fitness tracker. The tracker collects information about what Jack does during the day so Steve can keep him moving toward a newer, healthier weight. Says Pelletier, “It’s helped us not just check out activity levels, but also monitor things like sleeping patterns and scratching patterns.” With the aid of a pooch tracker, Pelletier should be able to supervise every element of Jack’s life until he sheds the excess weight. The Pelletier family isn’t alone. Many pet owners are looking into fitness tech for their pups. Pet industry expert Kristen Levine explains, “Pet owners really want to do right by their pets in terms of their health, they want the best diet, they want the best care. And the wearable technology kind of layers into that mindset.” According to Levine, pet owners who use technology are more likely to apply that technology to their dogs, as they prefer to take care of their animals in the same way they take care of themselves. Veterinarian Steven Budsberg supports the idea of pet fitness trackers, but warns that the information they provide may be incomplete: “You can start to get an idea of where they’re moving, for behavioral issues, you know activity levels that may or may not be related to disease process or pain. But they are indirect measures, they don’t tell you exactly what’s going on.” Budsberg reminded pet owners that the information fitness trackers provide might not be enough to make a solid assessment of a pet’s overall health. Still, fitness trackers for dogs are on the rise. With new advances being made every day, dogs will soon have many of the same technologies we humans take for granted.
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