The global pet care market surpassed $222.93 billion in 2021, while experts predict it to grow to $325.74 billion by 2028. This growth is driven by a distinct concern for animal welfare and a search to know more about how to improve the well-being of our pets.
2022 is expected to be a breakthrough year for the pet care industry, with HealthTech solutions for animals attracting many venture investors. Recently, PRE Ventures, Benchmark, Lerer Hippeau, and other venture capital companies have entered the market.
The importance of being linked with your pets
Pet ownership has increased by over 50% in 22 key countries and over 80% in countries like Brazil and Argentina. Many owners consider their pets family members and deeply care about their health and well-being.
Despite industry growth, “From a customer standpoint, pet parents accustomed to self-service capabilities and online communication in other industries don't yet experience the same convenience in professional pet services,” Drew Brinkoetter and Chris Tilson, co-founders of B2B pet booking service Goose, point out, “At the same time, there are a number of new pet service brand upstarts in almost every major city in the US.”
They believe that this combination is driving the need for more modern, purpose-built technology solutions for the industry.
Up-to-date technologies and innovations help pet owners better understand the needs and demands of their animal companions. At an individual level, this means technological progress breaks down barriers between pet owners and their furry friends.
PetTech innovation don’t just affirm the emotional connection between you and your pets, they also minimize the number of vet visits, which means they’re breaking down barriers on a systems level as well.
Dennis Chmiel, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Office of MySimplePetLab, observes, “technologies increasingly blur larger barriers between vet care and pet care (training/behavior, grooming, boarding, lifestyle activities, toys/treats/beds).”
Dennis continues, “This is good for pets and pet parents because it has led to better access to pet pharmaceuticals. Most online and in-store pharmacies now have the technology in place to receive or request prescriptions from veterinary clinics and deliver those medications right to the home.”
And much like other tech industries, pet tech products undergo constant improvements, in order to provide the best experiences possible.
Brinkoetter and Tilson from Goose also expect an expansion in pet care offerings, “We see innovation on the horizon in a number of key areas including front-end booking, pre-stay and in-stay communication (i.e., pet parent <> facility), and facility workflow (e.g., feeding, medication, activity delivery, etc.).
Recent tech innovation means that “soon, vet diagnostic kits (e.g., stool tests, ear infection tests, urine tests, and more) will also be available online and in-store, so both treatments and follow-up testing can be delivered with equal convenience,” predicts Chmiel.
Why implement Pet HealthTech apps and innovations?
Responsible owners who want their furry friends to get the best possible care often turn to healthtech devices. So, what are the key reasons behind this choice?
For Chmiel, healthtech devices offer owners “more convenience, more choice, more control, and with that, more responsibility.”
Understand your pets better
For pet owners who want the best for their pets, the lack of knowledge and proper tools are hurdles to fulfilling a pet’s needs. Animal care technologies make this process much easier.
For instance, Husky dogs prefer cooler weather conditions, so in the summer months, Husky owners might see a change in their dog’s behavior. For a pet owner who doesn’t know this background on Huskies, this might be concerning and confusing.
Multifunctional healthtech can help by tracking an animal’s activity, such as sleep cycles or eating patterns, to help owners identify which environmental factors might be impacting their pets and how.
Detect health changes
Wearable pet devices play the same role for animals as fitbands do for humans. Smart pet monitoring devices track a pet’s vitals such as heart rate, breathing, sleeping patterns, and so on, allowing owners to easily understand whether their pets feel well or not.
Pet health monitoring systems stay connected to the Internet to compare the received data with standards. When parameters are outside the norm, pet owners get notifications on their smartphones to react quickly and get help if needed.
Chmiel from MySimplePetLab says, “This type of healthtech is giving pet parents the understanding and initial interpretation education for “better” vet visits, meaning they are able to ask more advanced questions and make more informed decisions.”
Prevent health problems
Veterinary visits are common for pet owners, either for emergencies or preventive measures. However, 29.3% of pet owners cannot afford veterinary visits.
In response to this, Chmiel from MySimplePetLab believes that one goal of new technology “is to improve access to veterinary care when in-clinic visits are unaffordable or just not feasible (transportation, appointment availability, time off work, etc.).”
For example, he notes, “More and more brick-and-mortar vets are utilizing virtual vets and vet techs to extend care after hours and utilizing tech-enabled, from-home test kits both before and after the vet visit to help reduce in-clinic workloads and improve compliance for important health tests.”
However, he adds, “The progress for telehealth services is still challenged by long-standing VCPR (veterinary-client-patient-relationship) rules in most states that still require a physical exam of the pet before medications can be prescribed. This fortunately is not the case for diagnostics.”
This is where other at-home pet HealthTech devices can help reduce the frequency of and improve the treatment journey for pet health issues.
Many pet HealthTech devices track the slightest changes in your furry friend’s behavior and inform you if something is wrong. Some solutions send daily/weekly/monthly reports directly to your smartphone.
Skin conditions, stomach issues, and eye infections are the top 3 reasons to visit a vet (43% of all cases), and devices can often identify these symptoms early on, according to the TVP survey.
If something is wrong, you might get timely notifications to improve your pet’s nutrition, activity, etc. In an emergency, such reports can help a vet quickly identify possible causes and find the best solution for the animal.
Entertain your pets properly
Entertainment is an essential part of a pet’s health. When talking about our own health, we divide it into physical and mental categories. The same applies to our furry friends, and Pet HealthTech solutions impact both of these categories as well. Smart toys, high-tech crates, and next-gen pet beds help to elevate your pet’s mental health.
When your pets are home alone, modern devices can keep them busy and active, meeting their physical health needs while also decreasing feelings of loneliness.
Brinkoetter and Tilson point out, “Quality pet services are dependent upon humans actually delivering the care and attention to our furry friends. Technology can't replicate great care but it can give more time back to pet care-givers and providers to focus on the tasks that matter.”
Solve the nutrition problem
With busy lifestyles and back-to-office pushes, many pet owners spend most of their time at work and face extra difficulties when it comes to pet care. Who will feed my dog and check in to make sure they’re okay? Pet owners are forced to ask friends, relatives, or colleagues for help. Smart animal care devices simplify this task.
Smart pet feeders allow owners to feed their furry friends using smartphones. Download an app, connect your device, and voila – schedule meal time for your pets on demand. Devices are exceptionally smart, as owners can specify the required amount of food and water for every meal.
Smart wearable devices can also inform you whether your chosen diet suits your pet.
Top pet HealthTech devices
Pet ownership is going digital, with owners able to access a wide array of next-gen devices that improve a pet’s life and simplify the caring process. So what are the most widespread HealthTech solutions for pets?
Wearable smart collars
Pet wearables are multifunctional and lead the ranking of smart pet devices. At the top of the list, wearable collars track a pet’s location, reducing the number of missing pets.
Peeva states that 33% of all US dogs and cats go missing while 80% of missing pets are never found. Wearable smart collars make it much easier to find a furry friend that has gone missing.
Aside from the GPS tracker function, wearable collars are the pet version of fitness bands. Wearable animal solutions track your pet’s habits and activity, including distance traveled, sleep time, calories burned, and other useful information.
The variety of available data depends on the model. Up-to-date HealthTech wearable models share data with vets in order to prevent health problems and initiate lifestyle changes.
However, Chmiel notes, “Just because you can collect new data (say from a smart collar or home diagnostic) doesn't mean your veterinarian has the bandwidth to interpret that data or the confidence in the test to trust the data.”
From his perspective, this is why more and more healthtech companies are delivering products/services, including healthtech-based diagnostics, that can collect data at-home or from-home (sent to lab) and deliver meaningful results that vets are comfortable using and know how to act upon.
Many people choose not to get pets because their jobs require a lot of travel. With innovative pet care technology in place, business trips are no longer a problem. A high-tech feeder can feed your furry friend food and water while you’re away.
You can either schedule the nutrition in advance or use your app to feed a pet on demand. Smart feeders allow some furry friends to stay home alone for a long time.
Smart feeders are also effective when a pet’s health heavily depends on their nutrition. Such devices may help animals with weight loss or healthy weight gain, for instance. Sometimes, pets need some time to acclimate to this innovation.
Smart pet beds and crates
Pet owners often forget that animals may experience stress and anxiety in the same way that we do, especially when left home alone.
Smart crates and beds can soothe an anxious pet and are equipped with an acoustic system, fans, and other key components. A relaxing playlist and atmosphere affect a pet positively. Owners may be able to connect smart beds and crates with other HealthTech devices using their smartphones.
How to choose the best animal device: key recommendations
With tons of HealthTech devices designed for pets, owners might struggle to find a solution that matches their pet’s needs. Take the following recommendations into account:
Your pet’s type and breed
Your lifestyle, working schedule, frequency of business trips
Possible health issues of your pet
You may also want to consult with your vet about which HealthTech solution is the best option for your pet. If possible, purchase a range of smart devices and connect them within one ecosystem using your smartphone.
We can’t really imagine our life without modern devices and innovations. Why shouldn’t our animals also benefit from technological progress? PetTech devices make our furry friends happier, healthier, and safer. High-tech devices help us understand our pets better and stay in tune with their needs and demands.
“We are still at the stage where a small leap in technology can make a great impact in the industry,” explained Brinkoetter and Tilson from Goose.
They continue, “the pet service industry values solutions that make sense for its specific workflows. In addition, when looking at some of the more recent technology upstart successes across vet and pet services, we consistently see founding teams with domain knowledge of the industry.”
This means some of the most successful founding teams often have non-tech backgrounds but a shared knowledge and passion for the pet industry.
Do you have a disruptive idea for a next-level HealthTech product for pets? Our team is ready to support your goal! Let’s conquer the industry together with a great pet digital product. Drop us a line to discuss a partnership.