In 2020, pets in the United States cost their owners $103 billion. And each year, pet care expenses only go up. This is caused by both a growing number of pet owners as well as a growing supply of pet-associated products.
In the U.S., 2 out of 3 households own a pet—that’s 85 million homes.
Technologies related to pet care (pet tech) are a fast growing part of the market.
In this article, we’ll talk about the main trends in pet tech solution development, share the most successful projects in the industry, and provide some insight into their success.
To some extent, production of goods and supply of services for pets mirror current human needs. Telemedicine and virtual vet services, personalised healthy food boxes, home delivery of pet supplies—pet-focused products and services are catching up with those built for their owners.
The pet tech market was destined to grow and was waiting for a trigger to skyrocket. In 2020, COVID-19 became this trigger.
Here is what we are observing today:
Startups looking to enter the pet tech market have a wide variety of directions to take. Are you considering developing a connected device to track the pet? Or a televet solution to monitor the pet’s medical state and notify if anything goes wrong? Or, maybe, a platform with many service options for domestic animals?
We have collected some products with the most potential and will try to find their key to success.
This category includes a variety of products: smart pet doors, dog fences, toys, and other goods for four-legged friends.
The multi-level interactive toy offers an ideal combination of elements to train a dog and keep it motivated and active.
The solution consists of several interconnected elements:
Be the first to apply today’s technologies to solve mundane tasks. PupPod was among the pioneers that converged pet products and advanced technologies. They recognized their customer’s problem—the impossibility of playing fetch with their dog 24/7—and offered a tech-based solution. Those who are the first to use the most advanced technologies—today, including deep learning and connected products—for tackling an actual challenge have all the chances of winning customers.
Cats and dogs are curious creatures, and owners have to take measures to avoid their little ones running away. But no one wants to turn their home and yard into a prison, with wires installed along a fence.
Invisible fences, like the PetSafe product, can be the right solution. Usually it includes the following components:
When a pet tries to go beyond the safety zone, the collar emits a wireless signal that discourages the pet from crossing the safety zone. Wireless fences are both effective and safe. For example, a 2016 University of Lincoln study showed that electronic containment systems don’t affect the welfare or anxiety of cats.
When designing a pet tech solution, think of pet owners’ needs and take pet comfort into account. The PetSafe containment system solution solves the challenge of roaming dogs and cats in an elegant and secure way, without turning a house into a cage for either domestic animals or their owners.
One of the most annoying pet care tasks is cleaning a litter box. Luckily, smart solutions are already able to tackle this unpleasant chore.
Automatic self-cleaning litter boxes detect when a cat has used them and do the cleaning. Although there are multiple options on the market, their logic is pretty much the same:
Define the most annoying and unpleasant troubles of your customers—and offer an easy-to-use solution. Every cat owner would be grateful for an effective way to eliminate the need for daily scooping.
Traditional pet doors often cause troubles: unwanted guests may enter the house; pets may be afraid to push their head up against the door; they may be hard to lock after letting a pet in, causing drafts; and so on.
Smart doors eliminate these risks. Their functioning is based on a RFID component, whether it is a pet’s embedded microchip or a tag in a smart collar. A smart door receives a signal from the component and recognizes the pet’s presence. As it approaches, the system opens the door and then automatically locks it.
Additional features vary by model and make. For example, Sureflap models may include:
A basic smart door product uses simple connectivity technologies to provide a more high-tech and secure version of standard pet doors. Its functionality can be broadened, depending on your product concept. An IoT software development company can integrate the smart pet door with Google Home and Alexa, add voice control or an app control, or other options.
Today, wearable devices deal with a wide variety of tasks: they track and monitor pets, send notifications to their owner, and collect vitals and provide necessary information for vets.
Connectivity technologies allow manufacturers to add a myriad of new functions to as traditional a pet accessory as a collar. High-tech collars use built-in sensors to provide 24/7 monitoring of a pet’s health, serve as a fitness tracker for domestic animals, and help find them if they run off or otherwise get lost.
Smart collars are an extremely popular product on the market. According to Allied Marker Research report, the global smart collar market is expected to reach $654 million by 2026.
The Wagz smart collar is a great example of a device to track and control the pet wearing it. Along with traditional functions, like an embedded GPS module and a step counter, the solution features:
Add extra value. Add-ons are important for a product to stand out in a competitive market. To get fast feedback from the market, you can outsource building MVPs to an external software development team. Their diverse tech skills may cover all product development stages from R&D analysis to device design and mobile app development.
A standard smart harness is a device connected to a dog’s harness that enables a pet owner to detect the dog’s location. There are a variety of such devices on the market right now—but the Inupathy solution clearly stands out.
The product features a heart rate sensor installed in the dog’s belt. It catches signals and translates them into the dog’s emotional state. Each emotion has its color displayed on the harness and in the mobile app, so the dog owner can understand how the pet is feeling right now.
When competition is tough, think about a twist to attract your target audience. Real-time dog location is a popular function offered by multiple pet tech products manufacturers. But additional functionality, i.e. a focus on the dog’s mental state, is both original and attractive for dog lovers.
We also recommend thinking BIG. If you feel that you’ve pulled out all the stops to win the feature competition, perhaps it’s time to make a more disruptive pivot with the help of the Softeq Innovation Lab.
On-demand pet care platforms focus on every aspect of pet ownership. These can be mobile applications that connect to nearby dog walkers or dog sitters, televet platforms that take veterinary services to the next level, or niche social networks.
Virtual vet services are booming. There is no sign that their popularity will fade away in the post-COVID era: pet owners are getting extremely positive experiences with remote pet monitoring, pill prescribing, and consulting. Learn more
The VetNOW platform is one of the most popular solutions on the market of pet care services. It ensures real-time telecommunication between vets and pet owners and provides a full-scale virtual pet-focused telemedicine solution:
Don’t solve a single task, but think broader. The platform is tailored to serve both veterinary specialists and pet owners. It is not just a web and mobile app used for making video calls, but an ecosystem aimed at totally changing vet services as we know them.
Diagnosing an illness at its earliest stage ensures a better chance for a cure. Pet health monitoring solutions identify a symptom and notify a pet owner or a vet if the solution is part of the televet ecosystem. The challenge is defining what warning signs or symptoms a solution should monitor and what product to use for infusing the functionality for preventive care.
The Tailio product is another televet solution designed to help identify troubles with a cat’s health state at an early stage. It consists of a hardware device placed under the litter box and a mobile app. The device collects data about the cat’s weight, amount of waste, behavior in the litter box, and other habit notifications, and sends them to the cloud-based platform. The platform uses AI algorithms to process data and sends alerts to the pet owner’s smartphone if it detects an anomaly.
The solution allows pet owners to monitor health indicators and changes in weight and waste over time, collect objective data, and send it to the vet specialist.
When thinking about the project’s aim, discuss it with experts who will help you find the right way to achieve this aim. Tailio was designed in tight collaboration with vets and other medical experts, who suggested monitoring the cat’s health state and sending timely alerts based on their elimination habits.
Video streaming is an integral part of multi-purpose platforms for pets. When their goal is communication between a pet and its owner, such platforms rely on pet cameras which provide more than a high-quality video or two-way audio. First, a pet camera should feature night vision and motion tracking, as well as quickly swivel a full 360° and withstand pet attacks, in case they decide to play with it or chew it. Second, it should easily connect to a mobile app and stay controllable from anywhere. Third, pet cameras often feature built-ins: a pet treat dispenser, a laser pointer, and a bark alert sent to the mobile app when the camera detects barking.
One of the video platforms relying on pet cameras is Petcube. The product solves a simple need—when a pet owner leaves their beloved furry friend, they are missing their pet no less than a family member.
The Petcube inventors decided to solve this problem. They started with a Wi-Fi pet camera connected to the smartphone app. The pet owner can walk with, talk to, and watch the pet no matter what is the distance between them. Since their launch, the company has delivered several new pet camera models, including those with a treat dispenser, interactive laser toy, and built-in vet chat.
Even if your product description looks simple—develop the best product you can, and it will pay off. We have so many smart home devices that another one, designed solely for communication with pets, may seem redundant. But the Petcube product received $500,000 during their Kickstarter campaign and $14 million in seed funding, because they promised the best quality cameras tailored to pet behavior and lifestyle: clear night vision, two-way audio to let the pet hear the master’s voice, a 110° wide-angle view to track any animal's movement, and so on.
This is how the Petcube team describes their mission:
It might be hard to compete for
attention with all the latest
consumer gadgets boosted by
billions of marketing dollars.
But every happy pet parent
with a Petcube proves us it’s
Today we have all sorts of niche social networks—why not add the one for pets to the list?
The Pawsr network presents a community of pet owners and those who create products for them and their four-legged friends. Its key aim is to provide a dedicated safe and supportive environment for cat and dog lovers. The network is equipped with photo and video sharing functions. Its monetization model is based on listings with services and products of businesses in the local community along with sponsorship opportunities.
Take a popular trend—and adapt it to your needs. Social networks are on the rise, and new ones appear every day. Looks like we have a network dedicated to every aspect of our life including our most bizarre habits? Think twice: niche social networks are so popular because people love belonging to closed communities.
Another point speaking in favor of a pet social network is that it is a perfect source of social commerce: according to Insider Intelligence, more than half of Gen Z internet users in the US make purchases inspired by the content in social media.
In 2021, the field of pet-related app development looks quite fruitful. The industry is opening perspectives for products and services of all sorts: televet services, pet care and entertainment, and daily routines for pet owners. If you are working on a Pet Tech product idea, as a pet tech development company, we are ready to design, prototype, and manufacture it.