Why Your Dog Might Need a Wearable

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Key Takeaways

  • Tracking your dog’s sleep can help monitor their general health, according to the makers of a new wearable for canines. 
  • Fi is a GPS collar for dogs that’s been upgraded to include a snooze-monitoring function. 
  • There’s a growing trend of high-tech gadgets for pets, including facial recognition and smart feeding systems.
A sleeping dog wearing a Fi wireless tracking collar.

Fi

A new wearable for dogs can track their sleep and lead to better health, claims the company behind the inventions. 

The canine collar called Fi tracks the location of dogs in case they get lost. It can also monitor dogs’ usual downtime behaviors, from nightly sleep to nap time during the day, and inform users of any deviation. 

"The hours that dogs, and any organisms, spend sleeping are essential for recharging, healing, and growing," Dr. Jeff Werber, a veterinarian who is a consultant to Fi, told Lifewire in an email interview. "At the same time as sleep is essential for health, disruptions to normal sleep patterns are also an important indicator that something may be wrong."

Downward Dogs

The Fi collar can give owners essential insights into their dog’s health, Werber said. For example, a frequent need to urinate due to kidney problems, itching due to fleas, or increased thirst due to diabetes can keep a dog up at night, and the owner may have no idea since they’re sleeping at the time.

"Some of these problems are more evident during the daytime than others, but it’s the hidden ones that pose a danger if the owner doesn’t catch them early on," he added. "With sleep tracking, dog owners get a sense of what’s normal for their dog, and they can see trends all in one centralized place."

Jonathan Bensamoun, Fi's founder and CEO, told Lifewire in an email interview that the company came up with the idea after talking with vets about ways to track pet health. 

"What is especially powerful about sleep tracking is that the parent is sleeping as well at that time, so if their dog starts getting shorter nights, or wakes up much more frequently to drink, they won’t be able to notice," he said. 

Pet Tech Boom

The Fi collar is part of a growing trend of high-tech gadgets for pets. 

Smart feeders are available to keep your pets fed, including the PetNet, which claims to assess your pet’s dietary requirements and creates a custom feeding regimen. It'll also alert your device when your pet has been fed or when you need to buy more food.

Other devices keep tabs on your pets, too. For example, there’s the new Halo Collar dog safety system. It provides a wireless smart fence, smart training, GPS tracker, and activity tracker combined. 

Screenshots of the Sleep Tracking screens from the Fi collar app.

Fi

Halo offers proprietary wireless fences, which the company claims help prevent pets from being lost in the first place. The collar allows users to set up boundaries on their smartphones to keep a dog safely within. The Halo Collar also tracks your dog’s activity levels, including both active and resting time. 

"Halo’s technology keeps dogs away from busy roads and gives owners peace of mind that their dogs will be safe outdoors," Halo co-founder Ken Ehrman told Lifewire in an email interview. "If a dog does get loose, Halo lets owners track pets quickly, in real-time, through GPS and GNSS. Being able to locate your dog quickly means they have less chance of being lost and ending up in a shelter."

Facial recognition is now being used to identify and find lost pets, Chyrle Bonk, a veterinary spokesperson for doggiedesigner.com, told Lifewire in an email interview. 

There are websites and apps devoted to providing pictures and unique details about your pet so that people can help recognize them if they’re lost. Of course, these types of tools require some forethought to set up before a pet gets lost.

"Many pets are lost every year, and without high-tech solutions, many would remain that way," Bonk said. "These new tracking tools can really help find pets, especially those lost in remote areas where there is little chance of running into another human that would recognize them."

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