Think that surveillance cameras are only for security, or that tech is only for humans? Prepare to see cool gadgets in a totally new light, as there are now dozens of technology products and solutions that are designed just for your pets!
Our four-legged friends are more spoilt than ever, with technology helping us to improve the way we feed, pamper and look after them. Some of the latest pet tech gadgets help us to have more fun with our cats and dogs, monitoring their weird behaviour when they think we aren’t looking and catching them red-pawed when they raid the food cupboard.
Here’s our rundown of the latest weird and wonderful pet tech gadgets popping up in 2017…
1. Pet tracker collars
At the Consumer Technology Association (CES) show this year, one wearable tech device made quite the splash – the Kyon Pet Tracker collar. This incredibly clever but remarkably simple device is lightweight and attractive, looking in many ways like an ordinary dog collar. However, it has many high-tech features such as updating you with your pooch’s location if he or she ever gets lost or wanders off. It sends an instant alert to your smartphone, through a special app. Another cool feature is the LED display on the collar, which can display messages entered by the pet owner through the smartphone app, such as ‘I am lost’ or ‘I am sick’.
Other pet tracker collars enable you to monitor everything from sleep patterns, activity levels, calories burned and consumed, distance travelled, location, heart rate and a number of other stats.
2. Smart food dispensers
Is your pet looking a little pudgy? Are you concerned that they’re eating too much or too little when you’re not in the house? Smart pet dispensers can help you to regulate and monitor how much food your fluffy friend is eating, to help keep them healthy. They can even dispense the food for you, even when you’re not at home. Devices such as the RolliPet allow you to automate the amount of food your pet should be eating each day and set times for it to be automatically dispensed – all through your smartphone app. As an added bonus, the gadget comes with a camera so you can check in on mealtimes.
3. Remote-controlled dog bones and toys
Having a very active dog can wear you out, but tech can help your pet get the activity he or needs while you take a well-earned rest. A gadget such as a remote-controlled dog bone such as the GoBone requires you to pop a doggy treat instead, then the rest is taken care of through a smartphone app. The bone springs into life, whizzing about the floor, spinning and generally whipping your dog into a frenzy. In pursuit of the treat inside however, your dog will burn off all of its excess energy chasing the bone about. You can lay back on the sofa and watch the chaos! This gadget is also good for those who need to leave their dogs at home for a few hours, as it keeps the animal distracted and entertained so it won’t get lonely or miss you too much.
4. Treat dispensers and interactive cameras
Another good bit of kit for those who have to leave their dogs at home while they go to work is an interactive device such as the Furbo. This clever, multi-functional device offers a number of features perfect for keeping your pooch fascinated while you’re out. Firstly, it has an interactive surveillance system with a camera so that you can check in and see your pet, as well as having a chat through a two-way talk system. It sends alerts when your dog barks, so you can take a look and see if anything’s the matter. Finally and most brilliantly, you can use the Furbo’s smartphone app to press a button which causes the device back at home to fire out a dog treat. Your dog will be mystified but pretty much obsessed with this gadget!
5. Surveillance cameras
Many of the surveillance cameras we use to monitor our homes are perfect for keeping an eye on our pets. If you’ve heard funny noises at night and you want to know what your pet is up to while you’re asleep, you can use a motion detection camera with night vision to get to the bottom of it. It’s also highly entertaining to watch footage of your pet when no one else is around, as they get themselves into the funniest and oddest situations!
6. Collar cams
Not all pets are content to stay in one place while you peep at them through a fixed camera. We’re looking at you, cats. These elusive creatures can still be monitored though through pet tech gadgets such as cam collars, GoPro-style cameras which fasten onto the animal’s collar. Small and discreet, these spy cameras let you see where your cat is going and what they’re up to, even if you can’t quite see their faces at the same time.
7. Smart pet houses
If you’ve got a spare £22,000 to splash on your pet, you could buy something like the Samsung Dream Doghouse which features everything from a wall-mounted tablet, automatic food dispenser and hydrotherapy pool. A far more affordable and sensible option is a ZenCrate, a pet sanctuary designed to keep pets calm during those distressing fireworks displays. When the crate senses the dog has entered, it sends the owner a text message and also starts playing music specially chosen to calm dogs down. It also starts a cooling fan and minimises vibrations from fireworks, thunder and other pet-scaring noises.
8. Smart dog and cat flaps
Have you ever come downstairs in the morning to find a furry stranger in your kitchen? Unfortunately, this can happen with conventional cat flaps, as they let just any hungry or greedy critter enter your home. Smart cat and dog flaps are changing this, as they can detect your pet’s microchip or a chip in their collar and only give that particular animal access to your home.