Pet Wearables: 5 Ways to Gadget-Up Your Fur Kids

October 2015: Why shouldn’t your pet benefit from the Internet of Everything, too? Wearables are super-efficient trackers and recorders — and when they’re worn by your short and furry best bud, they can save you a ton of guesswork, time and worry … and give you some good laughs, too.

Here’s how wearables can answer quintessential pet-owner questions that pets have trouble answering themselves:

1. Where are you?
No more walking around the neighborhood calling for your mischievous, missing pup or your escape-prone kitty. Pet trackers are screamingly popular because their GPS (or sometimes radio frequency) locators show you where your furry friend is at all times via a smartphone app, handset, or your computer. The sensors are located within collars or clips, and some are waterproof, crush-resistant and include a temperature gauge. Others can even text you if your pet strays from your designated “safe zone.” Popular brands include Tagg GPS Pet Tracker, Tractive and StickNFind, which can be used to track things in addition to pets. An activation fee or monthly fee may apply.

2. How much exercise are you getting?

Humans aren’t the only ones who can pack on extra cushion. An activity tracker for your pet lets you know just how much activity (or not) your fur kid gets while you’re not around. While you’re away, is he running, jumping and frolicking? Or is he pretty much lying right there where you left him? By attaching an activity tracker to your pet’s collar, you will know. Similar to fitness trackers for humans, activity is monitored and recorded, and can be analyzed for trends over time. Check out the Whistle Activity Tracker and FitBark.

And if the furry friends you care about happen to be cattle, there are trackers for them, too. The Silent Herdsman and Quantified Ag keep an eye on them, day and night.

3. What are you doing right now?
If you ever wished you could have a long-distance baby monitor for your fur baby, wish no more. Petcube offers smartphone-operated (Android or iOS) video streaming and a two-way speaker system so you can watch, listen to and talk to your pet while you’re away — it’s the next best thing to being there. The Scout 5000 system includes an outdoor version, night vision and lets you zoom in using your proprietary remote. It also plays five different pet-soothing tunes on command. While pet monitors aren’t exactly wearables, they are actually useful.

4. What are you saying?
From the too-good-to-be-true department, Indiegogo’s No More Woof headset project that promises to translate your dog’s barks into meaningful prose hasn’t yet rolled out, despite an overwhelming amount of interest. When the science pans out, it will (hopefully) translate your dog’s brain waves into computerized speech via a doggie headset.

5. What’s it like to be you?

To get your pet’s eye view, strap a GoPro camera onto your best friend with GoPro Fetch and see what it’s really like to see the world from a foot or two off of the ground. The padded harness adjusts to fit large and small dogs (and cats, presumably) and includes a tether for your camera just in case your pup gets extremely happy like Walter the yellow lab.

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