A student from Nottingham Trent University has designed a jacket for dogs that allows owners to remotely stroke their pets when they show signs of anxiety.
The jacket works by inflating and deflating an airbag with three compartments that manipulate silicone nibs along the dog’s spine, creating the sensation of being stroked. A heart rate monitor on the dog’s harness sends the owner a notification when the animal is stressed. Using an app, the owner can then stroke their phone to trigger a petting motion on the jacket. A second notification alerts the user when the heart rate has dropped back to a normal level.
“Leaving your dog home alone can be difficult, especially if it gets anxious,” said creator James Butterworth, from Halifax (Left). “This is a unique solution that reassures the dog as well as the owner.
“This design offers a permanent alternative to the short-term options currently available. Anxiety wraps, for example, can be put on dogs to comfort them but they apply constant pressure which means they can only be worn for a certain amount of time.”
The jacket also comes with a blanket for the dog to lie on which transforms into a second layer when clipped on. This allows the dog to take a familiar blanket with them for extra reassurance when leaving the house. The system was tested on the Butterworth family’s chocolate Labrador, Minstrel (Below), to ensure it was comfortable for dogs to wear. James now plans to commercialise the product through his recently formed business The Dog Layer Co, tapping into the rapidly growing pet care market, currently worth around $100bn per year.
“James has been thorough in his research, resulting in an innovative design which gives dog owners the control to remotely reassure their pet as and when it is required,” said James Dale, head of Product Design at Nottingham Trent University. “He has designed a system that can make use of real-time data in an effective way.”