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The world of personal technology is always changing, and the pet industry is working hard to keep up with all the advances. So what pet tech should you investigate for yourself and your animal family members? Here are five pet technologies ranging from fun toys to self-cleaning products that may be the perfect fit for you and your special dog or cat.
1. Pet Activity Trackers
Do you like to know how many steps you get in on a daily basis? If you like wearing a bracelet health tracker, now you can buy one for your cat or pup in the form of a smart collar. These smart activity trackers detail how much physical activity your pet gets throughout the day. Some can even monitor their sleeping patterns. A significant bonus to smart collars is that many can act as GPS tracking devices in case your animal were ever to go missing, says Heavy.
2. Automatic Feeders and Electronic Greeters
Let's face it, we miss our pets when we're away from them, so how cool would it be to see them on camera during the day? Better yet, wouldn't you love to share a treat with them? New internet-enabled automatic feeders connected to an app on your phone give pet parents a glimpse into their animal's daily habits, writes Smithsonian. This tech also gives your pets a chance to interact with your voice and share treats and even scents from a connected dispenser.
There are also a variety of simple automatic feeders that can dispense a food portion on a timer (great for avoiding a 3 AM kitty wake-up call).
3. Electronic Toys
If your furry friend needs more exercise, look for pet tech you can bring home to increase their physical activity. Similar to automated treat feeders, many smart electronic pet toys allow owners the opportunity to interact with their animals from a distance. If your cat loves playing the laser-pointer game, but you're working, there are toys that can shoot lasers for her to chase in your absence. Similarly, electronic dog toys can launch balls for your furry friend to fetch. New York Magazine recently rounded up a few hi-tech toys, including a plastic cheese wedge that tosses battery-operated mice for your kitty to chase.
4. Habitat Helpers
Keeping your pet's living quarters sanitary takes some work. However, you can ease up a bit when you try out pet tech that helps keep things clean. If you have a cat, consider self-cleaning litter boxes. These snazzy sand boxes often have an electronic arm or rake that scoops them for you. However, they still need to be washed periodically and filled with an appropriate litter for your kitty. PetSafe also notes that the motor noises may startle some cats, so allow your pet time to get used to her new bathroom. Don't forget about robot vacuums if you have a pet that sheds. These can be helpful for keeping your floors clean of clumps of hair.
5. Dog Walking Apps
Pet tech doesn't just include items you can buy and bring home. It also encompasses pet-related apps. Many years ago, you'd need to search for a dog walker on neighborhood bulletin boards and pay top dollar for them to walk your dog when you're unavailable. Now, using an app on your phone schedules your pet for activity and socialization at the press of a button. K9 of Mine compares apps based on different reasons you might need to use them, from giving an energetic young pup a chance to socialize to letting your dog out to relieve himself while you work the night shift.
Whether you're looking to burn some extra energy or get some pet care assistance, pet tech can help meet your (and your fur baby's) needs. Trying out a few pet technologies can show your pet how much you care while giving you a little more peace of mind.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.