A new canine tracking device could help identify separation and anxiety disorders in dogs, a Whangarei vet says.

The device, which locks onto a dog collar, enables owners to track the behaviour of their pets when they are alone. Information about a dog's level of activity is transmitted to an online site which owners can access.

Debbie Irwin of Mill Road Veterinary clinic said some dogs became stressed and anxious when their owners left home.

"They start barking and behaving poorly when their owners leave them.


"People don't possibly realise that is happening.

"You'd see that by their movement as they'd be tearing around the house or the garden and jumping up and down," Mrs Irwin said.

Owners with a sick pooch could also benefit.

"If you've got a dog that is really quite sick and you have to go to work, then monitoring that they're a little bit more active around the house and doing things is good."

Nathan Lawrence, chief executive of Heyrex, the company that manufactures the devices, said they could help identify possible health problems.

Research shows an animal's activity level is linked to how it feels and whether or not it is sick, he said. Monitoring this over a prolonged period can help owners identify problems their pets may be having.

One Kapiti Coast owner found their dog needed treatment with a soothing aromatic remedy because "it just went absolutely mad" every time they returned home, Mr Lawrence said.

Use of the Heyrex device revealed the dog was not doing anything during the day. After treatment, its moods evened out.

Anxious owners who disliked leaving their pets could also find the tracking device helpful. One Wellington resident often took their dog to work because they found it too hard to be apart from him, he said. The owner was also reluctant to leave the pet at daycare.

"We put a Heyrex unit on the dog and the dog's activity levels were actually heightened when he was at daycare.

"The owner could actually see that it was happier at the daycare than it was sitting at work."

Dogs recovering from surgery were also being fitted with the devices.

A research unit at a North American veterinary surgery found the collar sensors useful in the immediate post-operative period.

Between 15 and 20 per cent of dogs at the surgery were coming back with worn stitches.

Tracking revealed whether they were running around or staying inside as required - which often had an impact on their recovery period.