Sure, cardboard boxes make great kitty hideouts and squirrels are fun doggie diversions. But why should humans get all the latest tech while pets are left in the analog age?
If you want to upgrade your pets’ possessions, you’re not an eccentric outsider. Per The New York Times, in 2016, Americans spent $66.75 billion on pet products. The lion’s share was attributed to food, but a whopping $14.75 billion was lavished on beds, collars, leashes, bowls—and pet tech accessories. Here are 13 of our recent faves.
Keep track of your pooch with a high-tech (and high-style) smart collar. Image courtesy of Link AKC.
If your canine has lots of room to roam in the country, that's one thing. But in a city environment, countless threats—traffic one of the biggest among them—await dogs that escape for a big day off-leash. LINK AKC (the AKC stands for American Kennel Club—so official) to the rescue! The GPS-enabled collar always knows right where your pup is at, and comes equipped with lights you can activate via the app after dark. Water resistant up to three feet, and with a battery life of two to three days, it’s rugged enough for all kinds of outdoor adventures, and its accelerometer and thermometer functions keep tabs on your furry friend’s activity and environment, too. Sizes range to fit all breeds and ages, so every doggo can stay safe and accounted for.
The need to feed is real—so why not be advanced about it? Left image courtesy of Feed and Go; right image courtesy of Bake a Bone Treat Maker.
Remember that lion’s share of food spending? Not only do pets need to eat, but they need a way to eat, too. That’s where Feed and Go excels. Not only can you schedule meals on the spot (via your phone—no relying on reckless roommates) and ahead of time (peace out, 5 AM wake-up pawing), but if you have multiple pets, the built-in webcam lets you keep tabs on who’s eating how much. And the integrated voice recorder means you can beckon your fuzzy-butts (cats and dogs are the most common consumers, but it’s suitable for rabbits and ferrets, too) to come to the feeder when soup’s on, even when you’re not there to dole it out in person.
If you want to add a different kind of personal touch to mealtime—and your urban dwelling isn’t blessed with a voluminous kitchen—then perhaps Bake-a-Bone will hit the spot. Like a waffle maker for dog treats—but with way more customizable flavor options—the gadget doesn’t require culinary prowess or a large countertop. (Just don’t mix it up with your George Foreman Grill.)
With all the services that can be summoned with an app, why not a way to reserve a dog-walker or -sitter when you’re amping up your freewheeling city lifestyle? That’s exactly what the folks behind Wag! had in mind with their handy app. Hail a helper in advance or on the (dog pun ahead) spot. Track your pup’s travels via GPS, and receive updates on their activity, including calls of nature reports—and a pic of your happy pup at the end of the playdate. No word on whether they use the Dog Dung Vacuum, which—well, as the name suggests—vacuums dog poop into a disposable bag. (No more bending down and hand-scooping; we’re not s#*tting you!)
A soggy doggy may be mesmerizing, but it’s not ideal for an urban apartment. A portable shower vac should do the trick.
Speaking of vacuum: Returning from a woodsy ziptrip with your dog, and your apartment has a shower stall…but no bathtub? The Barkbath Portable Dog Grooming System operates like a carpet cleaner, can be used anywhere, and uses less water than a traditional bath. That’s one less pet peeve, fur sure.
THE FUN STUFF
It’s 2017. Time to give a dog a *smart* bone. Image courtesy of My Go Bone.
When you can’t be home to entertain your cats and dogs—and you definitely don’t want them tearing up your place (goodbye, security deposit)—several techy toys can keep idle paws active, even in the tightest of living quarters. The GoBone (dubbed “the world’s first smartbone”) can wriggle on its own, or you can take the wheel and control it via app, with up to eight hours of play per battery charge.
Pebby gives the phrase “roll over” a whole new meaning. Image courtesy of Pebby.
Meanwhile, Kickstarter darling Pebby (“the world’s most advanced smart ball”) tracks (and photographs!) your cat or dog’s activities via Bluetooth and Wifi, plus incorporates a laser *and* manual or automatic play for the ball itself. It even features interchangeable patterns and wireless charging, so your cozy city domicile will look as chic (and uncluttered) as can be.
Just for cats, the SHRU shares similar characteristics—automatic playtime via an appealing toy—but differs in one key way. Rather than roll around in a typical ball-like fashion, the SHRU mimics a small animal’s erratic movement and sounds, making for the perfect faux-prey your pounce-happy kitty desires. The tempting feather attachment is a thoughtful, well, feather in its cap.
Light up your pet’s life with a brain-teasing super-gadget. Image courtesy of CleverPet.
A bit different from the SHRU (think ‘70s and ‘80s electronic game Simon, but for dogs), CleverPet keeps dogs (and cats, too!) entertained and challenged, with a minimal footprint for your urban abode. Utilizing light sequences, touchpads, and treat rewards, brainy fur babies can learn how to master simple patterns, then level up to longer, more challenging memory games (with yummy payouts).
Treat yo’self—and your furry friends, too—with a futuristic camera-phone-snack dispenser. Image courtesy of Petzi Treat Cam.
Speaking of treats, Petzi Treat Cam serves ‘em up aplenty—but on your command. When you’re at work or otherwise away from home, keep your pets monitored and stress-free with this device, which enables pet owners to check in on their cuddly ones via smart phone, as well as speak and dispense snacks. Because as brilliant as your pets are, opening up the fridge or grabbing boxes from the pantry might be slightly beyond their capabilities.
When heading outdoors with a playful pup (or a super-adventurous cat), more tech fun is in order. Like the GoDogGo Fetch Machine, an automatic tennis ball launcher. Available in two sizes, it provides tons of fetch-tastic active playtime. Slap on GoPro’s Fetch dog harness to capture point-of-view video footage, and you’ve basically got an all-ages action movie. (Air Bud’s due for another sequel, right?)
Did we miss any of your beloved pet’s favorite tech toys or gadgets? Let us know in the comments below!