Aussie animal lovers are taking advantage of new wearable tech devices, online pet monitoring services and fast connectivity via the nbnTM network to tackle our growing 'pet-fret' anxiety.
Recent research shows we are a nation obsessed with our furry friends as 63 per cent of Australian households now own a pet and 90 per cent of them consider their pets a part of the family*.
Spending an estimated $8 billion each year*, we are also investing in the wellbeing of our pets more than ever before. The significant growth pet-tech has seen the rise of new innovations that are allowing Aussies to track, monitor, and even video call their pets in real-time.
Laura Vissaritis, Animal Behaviourist, says separation anxiety has become a common condition for many pet owners:"We consider our pets honourary members of the family so it's only natural to worry and feel a sense of separation anxiety when we leave them at home.
"The reality is, most of us can't be with our animals 24-hours-a-day, but access to fast broadband via the nbn™ network is transforming the way Australians are able to connect and care for their pets at home. Whether on holiday or at the office, we can now book a pet-sitter and use Skype in to check on their wellbeing, or install pet cams to watch and play with our pets while on the go."
Latest broadband enabled technologies giving Aussie pet owners peace of mind:
Pet sitters - online pet minding services are helping Aussies to find the perfect person to care for their pet when away from home. Once boarding the owner can video call in for a virtual visit with services such as PetCloud and Pawshake;
GPS enabled trackers – innovative tracking technologies are now available as animal collars, allowing Aussies to trace pets' footsteps from afar. Leaders in this space include Trakapet, Petrek, Whistle and Retrieva;
Fitness devices – health monitoring gadgets such as FitBark and smart collar Voyce, are pioneering the pet fitness device movement, allowing Aussies to easily keep track of a pet's health;
Home monitoring systems – broadband-enabled pet cameras allow anxious Aussie pet-owners to tactically position cameras such as PetCube and Petziconnect in the home and watch or interact remotely from a smartphone.**
There are more than two million homes and businesses around the country which can already connect to the nbn™ network, with the rollout designed to ensure that every Australian has access to fast broadband by 2020.
Question: What is pet fret?
Laura Vissaritis: Pet fret is the sense of separation anxiety pet owners feel when they are away from their furry loved ones.
Question: Why do pet owners feel a sense of separation anxiety when they leave their pets at home?
Laura Vissaritis: We consider our pets as honorary members of the family, so it's only natural to worry and feel a sense of separation anxiety when we leave them at home. Now, with access to faster broadband via the nbn, pet owners can feel a sense of relief when they need to be away from their pets.
Question: What are the symptoms of pet fret?
Laura Vissaritis: Major symptoms of pet-fret include lack of concentration, restlessness and common signs of anxiety. Most of us can't be with our animals 24-hours-a-day so it's understandable to feel these emotions when away from our pets. With the increasing use of pet wearable technology and monitoring systems, Aussie animal lovers are taking advantage of super connectivity via nbn to tackle growing 'pet-fret' anxiety.
Question: How can Australian pet owners use the latest innovation to avoid 'pet fret'?
Laura Vissaritis: Access to fast broadband via the nbn network is transforming the way Australians are able to connect and care for their pets at home. Whether on holiday or at the office, pet owners can book a pet-sitter any time, anywhere and use Skype in to check on their wellbeing. As well as this, they can install pet cams to watch and play with their pets while on the go. There are multiple ways Aussie pet owners can harness the latest broadband enabled technologies to give them peace of mind.
Question: How do GPS enabled trackers work for pets?
Laura Vissaritis: GPS enabled pet trackers utilise GPS and mobile technology to track your pet's location from any connected device of your choice. Some trackers enable owners to create a 'safe zone' and if their pet travels outside of this area, a notification will be sent immediately to any device locate and retrieve them back home. These are some of the helpful ways faster broadband via the nbn can alleviate stress and anxiety.
Question: How common is it that Australians have camera installed in their home to check on their pets, via their smartphone?
Laura Vissaritis: It is becoming increasingly common for Aussie pet owners to install new connected devices, especially as fast broadband speeds become more accessible via the nbn.
Question: What inspired your passion for animals?
Laura Vissaritis: I grew up on a farm with animals everywhere! We rescued animals all the time and sometimes even shared our house with them, including cats, dogs, chickens and ponies! I have always been destined to work with animals. As a behaviourist, my passion is to help people understand their pets. Not only does this ensure their happiness, but it makes us better people too. I am always looking for unique ways to show pet owners how to provide the best care for their pet. These technologies make us even better at caring for our beloved furry friends, because when we are not around, we can still make sure they are safe and sound. To me, that is the responsibility of every pet owner!
Interview by Brooke Hunter