Quick PetPace Smart Collar: Just Another Gimmick?

PetPace Smart Collar

PetPace Smart CollarA few months ago, an Israeli company PetPace has launched their revolutionary device – PetPace Smart Collar – that claims to monitor your dog’s “health” and store its findings in a cloud-based server for future reports.

According to the manufacturer, PetPace is a patented, non-invasive, monitoring smart collar that will improve your pet’s health and well-being by wirelessly tracking its vitals and a range of physical and behavioral parameters.

A little bit of back story.

A start-up company has secured an undisclosed amount from investors before the launch, and have semi-successfully marketed their new product within the first month. But just as quickly as the name has gained some presence online (mostly due to promoted reviews), it has died down at even greater speed. Does anybody still remember that PetPace smart collar exists?

Nevertheless, we thought that an observational review of the product is needed since there doesn’t seem to be any other customer reviews available only (did anybody buy it?)

Disclaimer: we did not buy or test the product itself. This is merely a review of the claims made by PetPace, and none of the observations made below should be taken as factual information.

Short PetPace smart collar

 

What PetPace claims their smart collar tracks: dog’s temperature, pulse, respiration, activity, positions, and more. [“more”, in this instance, refers to calories, if you look closer alongside a grammar mistake on their homepage]

What PetPace’s smart collar actually tracks: dog’s temperature, pulse, respiration, activity, positions, and calories.

So yes, it does exactly what it claims to do. But can that be constituted as measuring your dog’s “health” as it has been claimed in PetPace’s marketing campaigns all over the Internet? Probably not, but let’s dig deeper.

1. Temperature measurement

Even though PetPace are being secretive about their device, we’ll go ahead and make an assumption that the way their thermometer measures dog’s temperature is not rectally.

The smart collar is most likely using an advanced infrared auricular thermometer (which still needs to be confirmed). Studies [1] have already demonstrated how such thermometers aren’t accurate at measuring pet’s temperature, and the closest you’ll ever be able to get to an accurate temperature measurement is by using a rectal one.

2. Pulse and respiratory measurement

Measuring both pulse and VO2 max can be accomplished using this or many other devices. That type of information, if delivered accurately, can be very valuable. However, it would be difficult to derive precise numbers in an active dog.

Studies have shown [2] that such data can be used to monitor lung function and ventilation, but for that to work, dogs would have to be under anesthesia. For a full explanation of how this process works, see this article. Theoretically, smart collar would be able to give you a somewhat accurate number only when your pooch is asleep.

In addition, some breeds have predisposition for hectic heart beats or some irregular turbulence that is genetic. And as PetMD has already explained, not all heart murmurs scream “danger.” PetPace claims that their database can distinguish between different breeds, and if that’s true, this shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Activity and position measurement

Surely nobody is doubting that this device can measure how active your dog is based on the amount of movement, and what positions they’re spending most time in.

How much actual value would that bring to the table still remains a question to be answered, especially since most of it can be tracked through simply observing your dog.

4. Burned calories measurement

Unsurprisingly, studies have already found any type of calorie trackers to be inaccurate [3].

We must consider that PetPace’s smart collar could be using different technology, and additional studies of their own type of tracking device should be done in order to make a proper judgement call here.

Let’s discuss

So will this smart dog collar actually “tell us” how our dog is feeling?

Not quite. Before testing the device, it seems that what it will tell us is a bunch of numbers which don’t really say much at all, and most likely aren’t even very accurate. The numbers would also have to be applied to database and/or vet expertise in order to draw conclusions.

1. Consider whether inaccurate numbers are actually better than going by general knowledge, observation, common sense and scientific evidence.

2. What would you do after you get all these numbers? Unless the device screams “code red,” are you really going to be taking your dog to a vet every time after they silently chase a cat? Will you overfeed them when you see twice the number of calories burned?

3. Monitoring “health” is responsible, but think how this collar – which must be worn 24/7 for the optimal result – will fit into your dog’s daily life. Comfort, hazards, necessity for different collars and other things worn need to be taken into consideration.

So is this PetPace smart collar a useful device then? Let’s put it this way. Does it look cool, sound awesome, and should be amazing in theory? Absolutely. And it would be great to monitor all those things just in case we need them.

How much does it cost? It might be a little too expensive for an average dog owner. It costs approximately $150, plus the regular monthly maintenance cost for the service.

Your turn

This is an opinionated review. The PetPace smart dog collar device was not bought, tried and tested for this review. But let’s talk: what do you think of the device?

Also, here’s their awesome commercial:

Featured photo courtesy of PetPace.com

References:

  1. Greer RJ, Cohn LA, Dodam JR, et al. Comparison of three methods of temperature measurement in hypothermic, euthermic, and hyperthermic dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2007;230(12):1841-1848 [link]
  2. Bradbrook CA et al. Measurement of respiratory system compliance and respiratory system resistance in healthy dogs undergoing general anaesthesia for elective orthopaedic procedures. Vet Anaesth Analg. 2013 Jul;40(4):382-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-2995.2012.00778
  3. Dannecker KL et al. A comparison of energy expenditure estimation of several physical activity monitors. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Nov;45(11):2105-12. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318299d2eb