A new Animal Planet show, “My Big Fat Pet Makeover,” seeks to highlight the problem and help set furry friends on the right track. The show, which premiered this month, features technology created by a Kansas City startup.
Known as “the wearable for dogs,” FitBark tracks pooch activity and encourages healthy habits for dogs and their owners, said CEO Davide Rossi.
The Animal Planet show features a FitBark device in nearly every episode, Rossi said. The program follows pet expert and trainer Travis Brorsen as he helps families lead their pets to healthier lives.
“Being featured so prominently on a show of this scale is just a bit of a dream come true for us,” Rossi said. “This show is something that legitimizes our mission and our brand as something that is brought into the family of folks not only in the U.S. but in many other countries as well.”
With each episode featuring the story of a different pet, “My Big Fat Pet Makeover” begins by giving the pet a FitBark device. The tool allows Brorsen to track the pet’s activity remotely and make sure the families are following the recommended exercise regimen, Rossi said.
“The show includes a description of how the FitBark platform works,” Rossi said. “They show the mobile app and what it does. They talk about the recorded activity, recorded calorie count and other metrics that have to do with overall health. It’s a great way to get the word out about our product at scale”
“My Big Fat Pet Makeover” pairs nicely with the FitBark mission: to get pets and humans active and healthy together, Rossi said.
“The show now is going to display the challenges of families with pets but also outline a path to change those habits,” he said “And you hear it said on the show over and over again — when a pet gets in better shape, the owner also typically gets in better shape. That’s really what matters to us.”
FitBark sales have surged since the show, Rossi said. The device can currently be found at Amazon.com and in Target and Best Buy stores.
“The team at Animal Planet has been so great and easy to work with,” said Rossi. “It feels like a really natural fit, a nice partnership where you can really tell that we’re kind of looking for the same things.”
Since the firm’s launch in 2013, FitBark has gained users from 125 countries and has partnered with 45 veterinarian schools and research institutions who use the device in a clinical setting.
FitBark is a graduate of the 2014 Kansas City-based Sprint Accelerator program. In February, the firm partnered with PetSure, Australia’s largest pet insurance underwriter to help launch its wearable dog activity tracker to the Aussie market. FitBark was also recognized as a Startland News Top Startup to Watch in 2017.
The first three episodes of “My Big Fat Pet Makeover” are free to stream, Rossi said. To watch a video clip of the show featuring FitBark, view below.