Pet wearables are routinely forecast as big business, with an increasing number of companies crafting wearable gadgets just for animals. Trackers can also crucially 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 for cats and dogs below - whether they're focused on tracking location or health - complete with handsome four-legged models to show them off.
Best GPS smart collars for dogs
If you want a smart collar that's dedicated to tracking the location of your canine, check out the options below. Some will handily tack on health monitoring, but all feature GPS and may even let you tap into the location tracking smarts to set geo-fences and alerts for your pooch's whereabouts.
Boasting proper wearable tech pedigree (excuse the pun), Whistle is the work of New Deal Design, which also designed the original Fitbit Flex. The device marries GPS tracking and pet wellness in one band; the unit clips to any collar more than an 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, which can't be said for all options out there. It can pair with any collar, or slot into Link's own leather collar. There is a subscription plan that ranges from $6.95 to $9.95, depending on how long you sign up for.
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, like PetPace, 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.
Geo-fencing 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.
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 dog 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, and 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, and the battery lasts for roughly 30 days, with Kyon able to be recharged on its base station.
Kyon's tracker isn't yet available to buy, only pre-order, though is expected to begin fully shipping in Q2 2018.
$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/she is out of earshot, while a virtual leash will keep him from straying too far.
As the gadget is still in the pre-order stage, with shipments expected to roll out in 2018, there isn't that much information on how all this on-board tech works. However, we do know that the dedicated app is set to include games, training exercises and social challenges to help you make the most of your time with your canine pal.
Best dog collars and trackers for health
While the above options focus primarily on keeping you in the loop of your dog's whereabouts, the options below are more geared towards training or tracking your dog's health. Since they don't include GPS location tracking, that also means no monthly subscription fee.
Instead of GPS, which usually tethers in a subscription service, the Fitbark - now in its second generation - 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 this 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.
The battery life for the Fitbark 2 is roughly six months, with the 24-hour tracking giving you insights into wellbeing in the day and night and giving you a base make decision with your vet regarding your dog's nutrition and mobility, as well as any potential health conditions.
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.
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.
Do keep in mind that shipping for this tracker is only available throughout Europe.
Best trackers for cats and dogs
Let's take some time to appreciate the cat, since most collars and trackers in the space tend to focus on dogs. Below are the wearables that are dedicated to tracking your feline's health and location, as well as some that are able to cater to both species.
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, too, rather than the rigid design seen on most smart collars.
It isn't the cheapest option, with annual plans and collars starting at just over $150 and going all the way up to roughly $350 if you want lifetime cover, but this is certainly one of the more comprehensive options in the space.
TabCat by Loc8tor
Built by GPS beacon veterans Loc8tor, TabCat is designed to clip to your cat'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.
London-based Felcana's Health Monitoring Kit has launched initially with a connected collar, the Helix (shown above), which focuses on gathering health reports of your cat or dog around the clock, alerting owners of any behavioural or physiological abnormalities and providing feedback through veterinary advice.
Unlike any other option on this list, the Kit will also employ AI in order to help detect and predict the early stages of diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. With this data also stored within the companion app, it can be used as backup for any vets looking to make a diagnosis on a pet's condition.
Felcana states that more components are set to be added to the Health Monitoring Kit as time goes on, but this would appear to be a very strong way to keep track on the health of your cat or dog.
Scollar's Trek handles about everything you could want from a smart collar. It does tracking and perimeter fencing, can allow your either your cat or dog to easily open and close popular electronic pet doors, has temperature alerts, and will even notify you to daily care needs, such as grooming.
What makes this different from the rest of the litter 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 heading 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.
If you have a toy dog or a cat, it's worth instead exploring the Scollar Mini, which offers the same features in a smaller collar.
From $119; $30 for expansion modules, scollar.com
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