View, Play and Feed Your Dog or Cat From Your Smartphone
There is a new consumer target for technology—your pet. Earlier this year, the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show featured a host of smart devices all designed to keep you connected to your dog or cat while improving their health and happiness.
While cats seem to be more self-sufficient, many of us grapple with guilt when leaving our dog home alone. If you have to be gone all day earning the kibble, this can mean a long stretch of boredom for your best four-legged friend.
How about a nice video chat with Fido during the day? Petcube Bites has a video camera and two-way audio so you can monitor and talk to your pet during the day, and even dispense a treat. Cats will love the laser pointer feature in Petcube Play. You can even visit and interact with other people’s pets if they choose to make their Petcube feed public.
One of the most comprehensive pet displays at CES was from Wagz, offering a completely connected home for dogs that helps owners understand, manage, and track their furry friend when they are home, or away.
Partnering with power tool giant Black & Decker and a team of leading veterinary experts, technologists and dog lovers, Wagz showcased a smart collar, smart feeder, smart door, treat dispenser and smart tiles (to keep dogs off furniture), all connected through a mobile app launching this year.
Fitness tracker popularity may have peaked in 2016, but pet wearables are just starting to gain momentum. A study by Grand View Research predicts Americans will spend about $2.36 billion by 2022 just on pet tech wearables. One interesting new product, Whistle, attaches to your dog’s collar to track daily activity and rest, and provides fitness feedback based on the breed, age and weight. You can even set fitness goals and track your pooch’s progress. An added benefit is GPS tracking, so you can pinpoint your dog’s location anywhere in the U.S., and set alerts if your dog wanders too far from home.
Who wouldn’t want a self-cleaning dog potty? Imagine a paper sheet that rolls out to cover a doctor’s exam table, and you can kind of picture BrilliantPad. Designed for puppies and small dogs, BrilliantPad claims to wrap and seal pet waste, “keeping your home clean and odor free.” An adjustable timer automatically replaces a dirty pad with a clean one, or you can push a button to change the pad. Seems like a great idea for apartment dwellers.
See the world from the perspective of your dog with GoPro Fetch. A chest or collar top mount secures a standard Go Pro camera to dogs 15 to 120 pounds. Washable and water-friendly, you could live-stream your own doggie POV outdoor adventure show, while recording it to play back for furry friends again and again.
Missing from the tech mix are gadgets for play. There were great hopes for CleverPet when it launched a Simon-like game for dogs, requiring pushing a sequence of lighted buttons to get a treat, in 2016. The company has since faded away. Other than a variety of ball launchers for dogs or a robo-mouse for cats, there are not many electronic toys available that keep your pets entertained. Some of the old standbys such as puzzle games or treat balls will have to do for now.
More gadgets are surely on the horizon. From a host of fitness tracking products for dogs to playing with a stranger’s cat via your smartphone, the industry is exploding with new tech ideas to interact with pets.
Keep in mind that dogs should not be left alone for extended periods without something to do. In addition to technology, also consider doggie daycare or hiring a dog walker while you are at work. Not only will your friend be happier and healthier, it will give you peace of mind, too.
A Final Note
Make sure any products you purchase that connect to the internet are from a reliable company with good safety protocols. Some of the pet products mentioned in this article are from start-up companies. If they do not state how they keep your network safe when attaching their products to your internet connection, ask before purchasing.