What is your dog doing right now? Do you really want to know? Well, there’s an app for that. Pet webcams are beginning to become available that allow owners to monitor, communicate and play games with their pet. Similarly, wearable pet activity trackers are beginning to appear that monitor your dogs activity level, heart rate and respiratory rate.
These devices allow owners to interact with their pets in a more meaningful way. The webcam allows owners to observe and talk to their pets while they are away, breaking up a pet’s daily monotony and loneliness. For pets that experience separation anxiety this can be therapeutic and intervene in the development of destructive behaviors. Some of the devices have a built in low intensity laser pointer that can be remotely controlled through a smartphone for cats and dogs to chase.
Exercise apps allow owners to track their pet’s fitness and activity level. Research has shown that active pets that maintain a healthy weight live up to 15% longer than sedentary animals. A positive attribute of these devices is location tracking- that can help recover lost pets.
It’s too early to determine if these applications will become commonplace. However, as our lives become more connected through our smart phones and applications- our pet’s lives may become more connected as well. As a culture we are prone to embrace sophisticated novelties that enable self-expression and imply a degree of power. Perhaps having my dog on speed-dial while I monitor his activity level is an appropriate distraction.