Digi-Pet Is a High-Tech Baby Monitor for Your High-Flying Pets

dog pet flying airplane
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Bloodied passengers dragged off flights. Incensed pilots diverting planes due to passenger flatulence. And rerouted itineraries that leave some air travelers stranded and others hospitalized.

These days, it seems airlines are going out of their way to make sure no one likes them. There may be no help for keeping you safe and sane. But, thanks to one company, at least your furry companions now have a fighting chance in the air.

The Digi-Pet system features a suite of technology to monitor your furry friends en route. Sensors attached to your pet’s carrying case or kennel relay details about their environment, such as ambient temperature, vibration, light levels, and oxygen in the air. The sensors transmit through a dedicated smartphone app, allowing owners to keep tabs on their pet’s overall comfort. Custom alerts can also be programmed to notify owners or airline staff if anything looks amiss. With a paid subscription, owners can even communicate with their pets via voice and live video streaming. It’s like a baby monitor for your (furrier and much cuter) kids.

The system’s release is timely in light of a horrifying incident in which a dog died on a United flight after airline personnel forced a passenger to stuff her pet in an overhead bin. While that might sound shocking, such incidents may be more commonplace — far too commonplace — than any of us expected. Airlines have standards for the safe handling of pets, but it’s clear those standards aren’t always followed. Plus, larger animals are often forced to fly in the cargo hold where owners can’t see them. So, it seems a system like this is sorely needed.

Baby monitors and even pet monitors are, of course, nothing new. However, the advent of the IoT (Internet of Things) that allows for everyday objects like refrigerators, fitness trackers, and toaster ovens to inter-communicate has paved the way for a whole new level of usefulness and functionality. Digi-Pet’s creator, Unisys, relied on this technology to create a one-of-a-kind device that’s likely to provide owners with peace of mind while transporting their pets.

The Digi-Pet service is being rolled out now. Air travelers can contact the airline passenger division of their departing airport to confirm whether the service is available along their route.