Has your beloved Fido-san eaten to many bento boxes that it can’t fit in your tiny Tokyo apartment? For those who want to prevent their furry friends from getting too fat, Fujitsu Industries introduces Wandant, a motion-tracking pedometer (the first of it’s kind) that supports “health management for dogs.”
Canine obesity is a major problem, especially in the US where 44% of dogs are overweight. Obesity in dogs has serious health risks, like heart disease, arthritis, respiratory disorders, and various forms of cancer. Also, a fat dog is definitely not a cute dog, and if it’s not cute whats it’s purpose in the first place?
The Wandant (which is a little like Jenny Craig for neurotic pet owners) is a device worn around your dog’s collar that records “the number of steps taken, shivering motions, and temperature changes.” It then sends the information to a cloud service, which then presents it in a series of charts on a website so you can track your dog’s health and prevent obesity with a striking obsessive attention to detail. Fujitso says that “given the demographic shifts in modern Japan,” where more people are living alone and thus not procreating, pet ownership has skyrocketed.
Could purchasing one of these devices be a sign you are admitting to being a terribly irresponsible pet owner – one that can’t stop from overfeeding your own dog? Perhaps it’s the high suicide rate or maybe it’s the fact that less people are having kids that causes them to dote on their dogs to the point where they look like Orson Welles on four legs. It reminds me of those people who are so addicted to television that they need to put post-it notes on their TV sets to remind them to eat or to get up before arterial thrombosis gives them a stroke.
Maybe before we invent a device that tracks our dog’s physical health we should invent a device that tracks our mental health so that we know if we’re in tip top shape to take care of a pet. This ain’t a Tamagotchi. The Wandant is currently only available in Japan and is intended for use with dogs at least six months old, with legs at least 6 inches long.