While PetPace may look like an everyday dog collar, it’s anything but ordinary. This unassuming device can measure your dog’s body temperature, pulse, activity level, caloric intake and much more through built-in sensors. Once the pooch’s vitals have been documented, pet parents can access the data at any time via an app. Plus, alerts are transmitted to pet parents and vets whenever something seems amiss — a feature one of the co-founders, veterinarian Dr. Asaf Dagan, believes was desperately needed in the current market. As a vet, Dr. Dagan noticed that people didn’t bring their pets in for help until they were already severely ill, often because they didn’t even realize the animal was sick. “A pet’s instinct is to hide their weaknesses,” says Dr. Dagan. “In nature, if you show any weakness, you’re not going to do well.” PetPace solves this problem. Now, humans can “talk” to their furry friends and detect issues early on. Founded in 2012 and launched in 2014 by Dr. Dagan, Avner Schneur and Abraham Menkes (two men with a strong tech background), PetPace has established itself as a leading innovator of wearable tech for pups.
Currently, there are two smart collars: one for pet owners and a more complex version for animal hospitals. The collars detects issues with an accuracy rate of 90 percent comparable to the accuracy of medical devices for people. “We did extensive validation tests on sick and healthy dogs,” Dr. Dagan says. “We worked in collaboration with leading veterinary institutes and specialists and our results are very good right now.” PetPace also continues to develop its data analytics. By comparing a dog’s current data to previous data for that dog, that species or all dogs, the collar picks up on deviations.”We have data for hundreds of dogs over thousands and thousands of hours,” Dr. Dagan says. Sophisticated algorithms help PetPace convert this huge amount of data to meaningful information. The one drawback? The data is so complex that the average consumer may have difficulty deciphering it. That’s why PetPace won’t sell collars to pet owners without looping in a vet first as the doctor will have access to all the medical-grade data and can interpret it for the pet parent. “This one of the big things that differentiates us from all those other fitness gadgets out there,” Dr. Dagan says, referring to activity-monitoring devices like Whistle. “They just follow activity. We take it one step further and put it in a medical context.” As for the price? The collar will set you back $150 bones with an annual subscription fee of $180 (currently can only from website). While this may sound like a big chunk of change, pet owners are on average spending $852 to take their dogs to the vet, according to American Pet Products. So investing in preventative care now could cut costs on vet bills down the line. “So far, we are overwhelmed by the demand,” says Dr. Dagan. “People think that paying $15 per month for the health of their family member is definitely affordable and reasonable.” While PetPace is definitely beneficial for canines with preexisting conditions, it can also be for seemingly healthy dogs. “What a lot of people aren’t aware of is that a lot of diseases go undetected. Obvious things like obesity and dental disease, but also more complicated stuff like early kidney insufficiency, early diabetes, osteoarthritis,” says Dr. Dagan “A lot of owners think their dog is just getting older and slowing down, but in fact they’re having joint degeneration, and they can be made to feel better by medication.” As for the future of PetPace, new generations of the collar are already in the works. The company hopes to add more sensors to the collar, develop the ability to detect more health attributes (such as seizure activity), and expand to include more species (there is already a feline-friendly version). “It’s a revolution in preventative medicine,” Dr. Dagan says. “People are really amazed by what PetPace does.” The ultimate testimonial? Dr. Dagan’s own golden retriever has been wearing the collar for two years as one of the company’s primary test dogs. Dr. Dagan describes her as the perfect test dog, joking, “She really earns her keep!”