We’re in the midst of an exciting digital revolution that is changing the way we live our lives, but why should we be the only species to have all the fun, what about tech for our pets? There’s an increasing number of gadgets on the market that cater to our pets’ needs, whether it’s by keeping them entertained or attending to basic needs like food and comfort. The bonus is that gadgets for pets usually make our jobs easier too.
While you’re unlikely to see dogs and cats arguing the benefits of Apple vs. Android phones anytime soon, they can certainly derive much joy from what these technologies have to offer. Here are some of the best gadgets designed specifically for the benefit of pets.
Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher
You can hear your grandfather’s voice in your head right now, can’t you? “Damn kids today, too lazy to even toss a tennis ball, so they get their phones to do it for them!”
Not quite, grandpa. The iFetch is not a phone and, despite the name, it’s not made by Apple. Spending quality time with your pet is important, but there are times when you’re just not up for it, and why should your pet have to suffer because you have to work late or are feeling out of sorts?
iFetch ensures your dog will always be able to get the action he needs, even when you’re not available. The machine launches a tennis ball for your pooch to chase and fetch. All you need to do is train him to drop the ball back in the machine and he can play until he’s too tired to even wag his tail anymore. As far as pet toys go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
GPS Dog Collar
Some dog gadgets will help keep your pet amused, but others can actually save his life. Motorola’s GPS dog collar not only helps you keep track of your pup’s location, it also has a camera attached that will enable to you see what he’s up to.
Add to that two-way audio communication that lets you give voice commands and you have the perfect device to keep track of and in touch with your dog when you’re out and about or just out of sight. Whether or not he’ll obey you is another matter, but it’d be worth it to see the confusion on his face when he hears a disembodied voice telling him to get off the couch.
Automatic Pet Feeder
“Damn kids today, too lazy to even feed their own pets, so they get their phones to do it for them!”
Sorry grandpa, that’s still not quite the idea. The PetSafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder is not a phone, it’s an intricate gadget capable of storing food in five compartments, four of which will be covered so as to ensure your pet doesn’t get a ticket to an all-you-can-eat buffet (it’s very well fortified, so your pet won’t be able to force those compartments open, even if they are experienced problem-solvers).
You can decide when the food stored in those compartments becomes available; it’s a simple case of setting the timer. So no more need for your pet to go hungry because you had to stay for a last minute staff meeting (and drinks).
Fitness Monitor for Dogs
Wearable technologies that monitor your fitness are all the rage nowadays. FitBark takes that idea and applies it to pets. Fit one of these gadgets on your dog’s collar and you can monitor the amount of physical activity he engages in and how much time he spends sleeping. The data it provides can be extremely useful to you and your veterinarian, who can then determine whether your dog is getting the appropriate amount of exercise for his weight and breed.
The Thundershirt is not exactly a gadget, but it does help pets enormously and has been highly rated as an aid for anxious dogs. It’s a dog vest that calms and relaxes the wearer by applying a constant, low level of pressure; similar to the swaddling people use to calm down crying infants. Dog owners report an 80% success rate in keeping nervous dogs relaxed during long road trips, thunderstorms or other events that might usually set them on edge.
Frolicat Dart Cat Toy
It’s a cat toy … with a laser attached. Even if your cat’s too classy to go around chasing tennis balls, he won’t be able to resist this gadget, thanks to the rotating laser light. Just put the dart on the floor and turn it on. It will go around in a circle and the cat will go around after it. Kind of like a dog chasing his tail – just don’t tell your cat that.