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A dose of tech in pet care in 2023

The use of technology to monitor pets reflects a wish to stay connected despite the challenges of urban living

In 2023, the rise of telehealth services emerged as a game-changer, especially in regions with limited access to traditional veterinary care. Photo: iSTOCKPHOTO
In 2023, the rise of telehealth services emerged as a game-changer, especially in regions with limited access to traditional veterinary care. Photo: iSTOCKPHOTO

In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, a significant shift occurred. Families welcomed pets into their homes, seizing the newfound free time to foster strong bonds. The enduring trend of remote work continued to shape pet parenting in 2023, reinforcing the connection between pets and their owners. This year witnessed a surge in companies adopting pet-friendly policies, making virtual pet playdates a routine feature. This cultural shift has emphasised that pets are not just companions but also a source of solace and stress relief.

As the era of remote work gradually gave way to a new normal in 2023, many pet parents resorted to the use of smart technologies. Dog cameras emerged as invaluable tools, offering a window into our pets’ worlds during our unavoidable absence. Some of these cameras also allow you to speak to your pet through your smartphone.

The increasing availability of tracking devices brought a sense of security for those worried about their pets going missing. I put an Apple tag on my dog’s harness and saw many of my clients do the same for their pets.

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This tech-savvy trend is more than just a matter of convenience; it represents a collective effort to stay connected with our pets amid the challenges of urban living. With the introduction of health-monitoring wearables for pets, this space will evolve further, empowering pet owners with insights to promptly detect and address potential health issues.

In 2023, the rise of telehealth services emerged as a game-changer, offering a lifeline, especially in regions with limited access to traditional veterinary care. Video consultations and virtual check-ups transformed the way pet parents sought professional advice, received diagnoses, and even obtained prescription medications—all from the comfort of their homes. Specialists emerged in the veterinary space, providing even more tailored and precise healthcare. However, it should be kept in mind that these facilities cannot replace proper in-person consultation, and a visit to the vet is required for major illnesses.

India also experienced a surge in pet-centric apps and platforms. From pet-sitting services to virtual training classes, these platforms provide comprehensive solutions for various facets of pet care, and help create a supportive community.

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There was also an increased consciousness regarding the health and nutrition of pets. A heightened awareness of the significance of quality ingredients and balanced diets emerged. Pet owners opted for natural and organic food options. This shift was further evidenced by the surge in personalised pet nutrition plans, with companies crafting meal plans tailored to specific pet needs.

Pet caregivers also increasingly embraced holistic approaches, acknowledging the intricate connection between physical, mental, and emotional health. This resulted in a surge of interest in alternative therapies such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, and herbal remedies. Traditional Indian medicinal systems, including Ayurveda, gained prominence as pet caregivers explored herbal remedies and natural supplements. The year also saw the emergence of community engagement, bringing pet lovers together through local communities and online forums. These spaces have become vital hubs for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and organising pet-friendly events and trips.

Also read: Pets, too, must hydrate

2023 also saw the adoption of eco-friendly alternatives like biodegradable poop bags, and a surge in sustainable pet toys.

The year’s pet parenting trends reflect a blend of tradition and innovation in India. From urban hubs to rural areas, pet owners embraced modern approaches while maintaining cultural roots.

Nameeta Nadkarni is a practising veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai.

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