Pet wearables are set to big business and there's an increasing number of companies crafting wearable gadgets just for animals. Trackers can monitor their health – looking for tell-tale changes in behaviour that point to illness, and keep tabs on their location if they go walkabout.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers (for humans)
We've rounded up some of the best pet wearables, complete with handsome four-legged models to show them off.
Boasting proper wearable tech pedigree (excuse the pun), Whistle is the work of New Deal Design, which also designed the Fitbit Flex. The device marries GPS tracking and pet wellness in one band; the unit clips to any collar more than 1-inch wide and connects to a smartphone app to keep tabs on your pooch's step goal. On the GPS side, you can get real-time location anywhere in the US and set up a geo-fenced area with alerts.
The battery recharges in one hour and lasts around 10 days. However, on top of the price tag you'll need to pay between $6.95 and $9.95 per month for a data subscription.
The Link AKC wants to be a stylish all-in-one solution for your best buddy. It can track your dog, allowing you to set up digital safe zones and receive alerts when they leave those zones. It'll also keep track of steps and let you know if the temperature is too hot or cold for your dog, plus it'll learn what kind of activity is actually an exercise for your breed.
There's a sound that can be used to help train your dog however you want, and the collar also has a built-in LED light for walks at night. Also, it just looks good. It can pair with any collar, or slot into Link's leather collar. There is a subscription plan that ranges from $6.95 to $9.95, depending on how long you sign up for.
The Scollar does about what you want from a smart collar. It does tracking and perimeter fencing. It can allow your pet to easily open and close popular electronic pet doors. It has temperature alerts. It'll also alert you for daily care, like grooming.
What makes it different is that it's a modular pet collar. You can buy several modules that add optional features, like vibration and buzzing for training purposes. So if your pet is headed toward a place it shouldn't be, it'll buzz them a bit with haptic feedback. There's also an electric version available. The third modular type is a power port that'll enable you to power external items.
From $119; $30 for expansion modules, scollar.com
Essentially a Fitbit for dogs, UK-based PitPatPet boasts an entire year of battery life for keeping tabs on your dog's movement 24/7. As well as making sure that your dog is getting enough exercise, and check you're getting your money's worth from that expensive dog walker, PitPatPet will warn you of any changes in your dog's active behaviour, which can be an indicator that they're feeling under the weather. Importantly, PitPatPet is fully waterproof and compatible with both iOS and Android phones.
TabCat by Loc8tor
Built by GPS beacon veterans Loc8tor, TabCat is designed to clip to kitty's collar and help you find them if they get lost. Rather than connect to an iPhone app, TabCat comes with an RF receiver, which displays a nearby signal on a strip of LEDs and causes the sensor to beep – guiding you to your cat.
It's nowhere near as advanced as something like Whistle, but it has its benefits. Firstly, it's small enough for a cat to wear comfortably, which is the reason that there's more GPS trackers for dogs than for cats. Secondly, you don't need to pay a data subscription. It should pick up a signal within 400 feet and, allegedly, you can 'train' your cat to return home when it hears the beep.
Kyon Pet Tracker
Available in a variety of different colours, Kyon's smart pet collar is a waterproof device that does more than track your pet with the built-in GPS and 3G radios. A water sensor detects if your little pal is in danger of drowning, while the heat sensor sends alerts to your phone if you've forgotten your pet in a hot car.
The accelerometer and altimeter can be used to warn you if your usually perky pet is unusually sedated, a sign of potential health problems. You can also pacify your pet with an ultrasonic buzzer to prevent unnecessary dog fights. Notifications about your pet's health and reminders for vaccinations are sent to your phone and shown on the LED display on the collar. The battery lasts for 30 days, and Kyon can be recharged on its base station.
$249; $4.99 monthly subscription for 3G connectivity, kyontracker.com
Described as "dog tracking and training for the modern, mobile dog owner", this connected collar is available in three different sizes and packs in GPS and activity monitoring. WÜF also includes two-way audio for keeping in contact with your pooch if he's out of earshot, while a virtual leash will keep him from straying too far.
As the gadget is still in the pre-order stage, there isn't that much information on how all this on-board tech works. The dedicated app is also set to include games, training exercises and social challenges to help you make the most of your time with your canine pal.
Garmin Delta Smart
While most pet wearables occupy the tracker department, the Delta Smart also happens to mix in some training capabilities. So if you're the owner of an overzealous barker, Garmin claims the device's training system, which lets you use tones, vibrations and "stimulation" (which is essentially a friendlier way of saying "small electric shock"), will condition your dog's behaviour.
You'll be able to look at the data over time to see which of the stimuli is most effective in correcting those pesky barking habits.
Instead of GPS, which usually tethers in a subscription service, the Fitbark uses an accelerometer to track your dog. Targets are set once you input your dog's weight and breed, with activity, or 'Bark Points' contributing towards a daily goal.
Another nifty feature of the wearable is its information breakdown, allowing you to see when your canine is taking part in rest, activity or play. As a result, you can see how your dog fares when you're not around, and if its time to enlist the help of a dog-sitter.
PetPace Smart Collar
One of the only pet wearables that works for both cats and dogs of any size (well, 8lbs upwards, to be precise), the PetPace is a comprehensive health monitor. Because your furry pals can't tell you if they're in pain, this gadget tracks vitals such as temperature, pulse, respiration, activity, calories and posture, notifying you of any abnormalities.
The data can also be accessed by your vet to keep your animal chums in fine health. The woven fabric colour bears more of a resemblance to traditional pet collars, rather than the rigid design seen on most smart collars.
$149.96, $14.95 monthly subscription, petpace.com
This smart collar will keep you up to date with what your pet is doing throughout the day using GPS, Bluetooth and an activity tracker. Suitable for both cats and dogs, the gadget comes fitted to a collar but can also be mounted on your own collar or harness using the supplied attachment. Various factors, such as temperature, can be monitored using the dedicated app and you can even add multiple pets.
Geofencing can also be set up so that you receive a notification if your pet wanders off, and those pesky subscription fees thankfully don't apply here.
This dog harness from action cam kings GoPro can be used to capture the world from your pooch's point of view. The camera (sold separately) can be attached to the chest for videoing "bone-chewing, digging and front-paw action" or on the back for overhead shots of running and jumping. A rugged, washable build also means that it'll withstand your dog gambolling around in water and mud.
Read this: GoPro Hero 5 in-depth review