MIC’d Up: New Dog Mom in a ‘Doggy Dog’ Tech World
Since adopting my first fur baby, Daisy, a couple months ago, I have fully embraced my new dog mom life and everything that comes with it. And as a technology PR pro, it’s been interesting to see how even the pet industry has been transformed by advancements in tech. There are more gadgets, supplies and services available today than ever before.
As I’ve navigated my way through the all pet tech I may want or need, I’ve realized that Michael Scott had it right when he said “it’s a doggy dog world.” There are so many – too many! – options out there, that can make entering the new world of pet technology a bit overwhelming.
So what have I decided are my doggy tech must-haves? In this two-part series, I’ll dive into the tech services and devices that I’ve found benefit both dogs and owners alike.
By 2017, millennials surpassed baby boomers becoming the primary pet-owning demographic. And it seems like more young adults today own dogs than preceding generations did at our age. Perhaps this is because technology has enabled a cultural shift to on-demand services (which started with ridesharing like Uber and led to Rover and Wag!) that make it easier for us to care for our furry friends, even with busy schedules. The rise of technology-powered pet services has exploded – and here’s what remains at the top of my list:
- Cloud-enabled pet insurance and medical records: Evaluating different dog insurance options seemed overwhelming at first, with a crowded market and few key differentiators – until I came across a company that claimed it was “born in technology.” I chose Figo Pet Insurance because as a millennial, I rely heavily on my smartphone apps to function. The Figo Pet Cloud app is appealing because it offers the ability to store all of my pup’s medical records in the cloud and 24/7 telehealth features with direct access to licensed veterinary professionals for emergencies. As a tech-savvy dog mom, these benefits made my choice a no-brainer.
- DNA testing: Having rescued a mixed breed puppy with no knowledge of her parents’ health, getting a DNA test is top priority for me. On a personal level, I’m genuinely curious about what breeds she is (and how big she’ll get!). But more importantly, I want to be aware of any health issues I should watch for so I can give her the best care possible (i.e. if she is mostly German Shepherd as we suspect, she may require joint supplements – but these can be harmful for other dog breeds without the same joint issues). On my wish list this year is the Embark Breed + Health Kit, which uses a research-grade DNA genotyping platform to deliver information on your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, relatives and more. As both a healthcare and tech PR pro, the company’s scientific foundation and impressive tech background on its leadership team give me greater confidence in this service and its results.
- Health tracking: For reasons explained above, Daisy’s health is of great importance to me. Living in an apartment building with a large breed dog, it’s imperative that I get her enough exercise since she can’t just run around a back yard. And if I religiously track my own fitness activity with my FitBit to know when I need to move more or take a break, why wouldn’t I want the same insight on my dog’s activity? I’m evaluating puppy FitBit equivalents, such as FitBark, but also anxious for more advanced smart dog health tracking services that can transform data into insights to hit the market.
- Dog walking management tools: As a full-time working dog mama with a puppy that needs exercise, mid-day dog walks are a must. The dog-walking company that my apartment building partners with leverages Pet Check technology, which makes scheduling and changing walk times from my phone a breeze. Even better, our walker scans a QR code when he picks her up, alerting me via email, and again when he drops her off. Once her daily walks are complete, I receive an alert from the walker with comments on how she did – along with daily pictures for added cuteness! This service gives me daily reassurance that my dog is being well-cared for.
Technology has enhanced the consumer experience across most sectors today – and the pet industry is no exception. As someone who appreciates services that offer greater convenience to the consumer, it’s been an exciting time to enter dog motherhood.
Stay tuned for my next post on National Dog Day (August 26) breaking down some of my favorite pet tech devices so far!