KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local company is working to keep both you and your pets healthy.
FitBark, a GPS and health tracker that secures to your dog’s collar, is giving pet owners like Maranda Manning some peace of mind.
Manning adopted her coonhound Wallace two years ago from an area shelter. He’s active, loud and curious, having managed to escape from their Roeland Park home twice so far.
“We feel very lucky because he could easily jump our fence. He’s just not smart enough to do that,” she said.
The first time Wallace got out, Manning and her husband went looking for their pup, and they got lucky. The second time, it was technology.
“It made our search so much easier, just to know which direction to go in,” Manning said.
Wallace was wearing a FitBark. The technology allows dog owners to monitor their pet’s habits and where they’re at.
“That second time he had gotten out, we had gotten an alert,” Manning said.
Once attached to the dog’s collar, owners simply download the FitBark mobile app and they can see where and what their dog is doing 24/7.
“The opportunity to locate a missing pet within minutes we think is something valuable,” said David Rossi, co-founder and CEO of FitBark.
The company started with a focus on health and activity.
“What we really want to do is get the entire family excited about meeting their health goals together,” Rossi said.
He and his team added the GPS technology after finding a dog in Kansas City’s Crossroads that didn’t seem to have an owner.
“We went around, put a couple flyers up, checked with local shelters,” Rossi said.
They ended up keeping the 5-pound Yorkie, who they named Little B.
“The main purpose is to give pet owners peace of mind that they will never lose track of their pet,” Rossi said.
FitBark, which Rossi said has been used by more than 100 universities and institutions for animal research and clinical trials, not only tracks a dog’s whereabouts, but it also monitors mobility and pain, stress and anxiety, and itchiness or skin disease.
“It’s a way to find things that you wouldn’t be necessarily aware of,” Rossi said.
And in a world where people are now spending more time at home, Rossi said FitBark is an investment that benefits dogs and their humans — and that’s exactly how Manning sees it.
“It’s good to hold us accountable,” she said.
FitBark costs $99 with a monthly subscription starting at $5.95. The local company is also hiring as they see a boost in business due to the pandemic.