The pet bull terrier owned by Czech entrepreneur Robert Hasek, wearing a doggy fitness tracker attached to the dog collar during a demonstration in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. The Actijoy fitness tracker system not only tracks activity but also how rigorous it is, and comes with a internet-connected bowl that monitors food and water consumption, to make sure the dog has a healthy lifestyle.(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

A dog's life: fitness trackers help put fat pets on a diet

August 20, 2018 - 10:00 am

PRAGUE (AP) — When Czech entrepreneur Robert Hasek began jogging with his dog, Darwin, the three-mile runs were making the bull terrier sick with fatigue.

Hasek was surprised, thinking his dog led a healthy lifestyle. To solve the mystery, he strapped a Fitbit to Darwin and discovered he was actually only active in his presence. Otherwise, Hasek says, "he is lying, sleeping and doing nothing. He's lazy!"

The businessman sensed an opportunity and developed one of the world's first dog fitness trackers. His product is part of a growing industry of gadgets for pets that includes GPS trackers, automatic feeders, and ball-throwing machines.

The American Pet Products Association forecasts people will spend $72.1 billion this year on pet products and care, up 3.6 percent annually in an industry that's grown steadily since the mid-90's.

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