Fitness trackers for fido a hot market


FORT MYERS, Fla. – Wearable tech for fitness is a hot trend, not only for humans but for fido as well. Pet wellness is serious business, with Americans expected to fork over upwards of $58 billion this year.

When Steve Pelletier rescued Jack, the lovable Labrador retriever was overweight. That’s something Steve, who is in the business of canine food and fitness with two wellness websites for dogs, wanted to work on right away.  He put Jack on a diet and exercise regimen, and even outfitted the pooch with a tracker. It collects data about Jack’s daily movement and sends it right to the internet.

“It’s helped us not just check out activity levels, but also monitor things like sleeping patterns and scratching patterns,” explained Pelletier.

This new breed of wearable tech devices lets owners keep track of fido’s habits and behavior and alerts them to potential problems.

“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,” said pet industry expert Kristen Levine.

Some products are going beyond activity tracking, with products designed to monitor heart and respiratory rates, calories burned, temperature and even control food dispensers.

But a professor of animal surgery is not convinced our furry friends need their own wellness trackers.

“I think the risks are simply overwhelming people with information and with data which really is meaningless. People over-diagnosing or overreacting to data about their pet, and vice-versa, under-reacting,” said Dr. Steven Budsberg  a veterinarian and professor of animal surgery.

Some of these products are hitting the market this fall and they range in price from about $100 to more than $300, plus an additional service fee in some cases.  If you’re considering an activity tracker to help your dog lose weight, Dr. Budsberg points out lifestyle change is important. Simply cutting down on how much your pet eats and increasing activity levels is a low tech solution he says works.

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