How pet bloggers can help disrupt the pet care industry

Davide and Freud

I’m a nerd, and it’s OK if you are not

I was born and raised near Verona, Italy and I only recently moved to NYC, a visual wonderland for both sides of the brain. I heart dogs & tech. As an engineer, I am fascinated by the power of data to help me make smarter decisions. I take every excuse to make a spreadsheet. Even when I’m sick, I take my temperature multiple times a day and share it with my family on a Google Doc chart, so that I can rely on facts to take action. As devoted dog parents, my sister Sara and I try to use data in a similar fashion with Freud, our 11-yrs old little yorkie, to track his exercise, sleep, food intake, and log his medical history. If we cannot quantify his daily activity and health, we cannot improve it.

We are on a mission to bring the power of simple, seamless data to all dog parents to help them motivate responsible and informed pet parenting. About a year and a half ago, we started to assemble a team of friends and dog lovers who could help us make our vision a reality. Fast forward lots of sleepless nights, we’ve built the world’s tiniest wireless physical activity tracker for dogs with an accompanying smartphone app. We are humbled by the response of the Kickstarter community, which helped us fund our project in only 27 hours. We are accepting pledges through National Dog Day on 8/26.

The pet industry is ripe for disruption

Two major areas that are screaming for innovation are recommendation engines and connectivity. From the business side of things, pet related brands have a keen interest in learning as much as they can about their customers, so that they can provide better product and service recommendations. The way most data is being collected, though, is through fragmented data points and surveys, rather than measurable facts from reliable sources. I am excited that pet bloggers are recognizing this gap and are striving to become a trusted recommendation engine that speaks the voice of dog parents.

From the consumer side of things, a fascinating area where disruption is happening is around the way we understand and stay connected with our pets. Every time I think of my dog throughout the day, I’d love to be able to remotely check on him and ask him what kind of a day he’s having. I absolutely love to see my dog and interact with him through my webcam! But the questions I need to answer require a bit more data. Did his other caretakers walk him, and if so by how much? Is he starting to feel sick today? How are things trending in the past 7, 30, 90 days, or after a surgery? What’s different in summer vs winter, or now that he’s getting older? Even if you are lucky enough to work from home or bring your pet to the office, actionable insights and real time connectivity are powerful and informative. Understanding the health and the behavior of you dog better helps you take better care of her.

Pet bloggers play an important part of that disruption

Pet parents are spending increasingly more time educating themselves about products, nutrition, health and behavior. Brands are looking for opportunities to provide products and content that are more relevant and beneficial. Pet bloggers sit at the intersection of consumers and businesses, and their role is that of innovators and educators. They have the most difficult task on earth: to provide independent opinions while relying on brands to make an income. The good news is that this model is working out beautifully: several powerful, connected and thriving blogger communities are a testament to a model that revolves around personal integrity.

How pet bloggers can make an impact

Pet bloggers are already making an impact via social media, and it’s pretty big. This impact may become even bigger if it plays in concert with an innovative startup that is creating something innovative and valuable for all pet parents. For example, a few weeks back, a post about FitBark from a well known pet blogger resulted in a massive amount of Kickstarter pledges, compared with the impact of certain global tech media outlets. If you are a pet blogger, here’s one of the most noble ways for you to be an engine of innovation: pick an early stage company whom you think can drive positive change and be their voice.