Until recently, the tech industry hadn’t really turned its attention to pets… but that’s rapidly changing!
In this blog, we’re going to look at 5 gadgets that can help you entertain, exercise, track, follow or feed your pet… and at a couple of “epic fails”, gadgets that looked like a great idea but were fundamentally flawed...
This is one area where the tech companies are onto a good thing. There are lots of busy pet owners who don’t have time to keep their pets occupies during the day. There are also disabled people who can’t play chase with their pets - and for them, help is at hand! Robotic pet toys fall into 2 main categories; firstly, robotic prey, like the HexBug range - robotic mice and bugs which run around on a random course, encouraging the pet (especially cats, if we’re honest) to chase and catch them. The good news is that the pet gets exercise and gets to catch the prey at the end. However, we don’t think pets should be left unattended with these, because if they bite into them they could be in for a nasty electric shock!
The other major family are the Laser Toys, which project a laser beam for the pet to chase. The great advantage is that these are potentially suitable for any animal, and as long as the turret is securely mounted, there’s very little risk of injury. And certainly, pets often love them! That said, some animals will soon become disgruntled with being unable to catch the “prey”, so bear in mind these are probably best for occasional use rather than day-in, day-out.
So you ever wonder where your cat gets to? Or are you worried your dog might escape? Concerned that someone might kidnap your horse? That’s where these GPS Trackers come into their own! You can track where they are, and where they’ve been, on a laptop or even a smartphone - and they’re updated every couple of seconds so you get a real time report!
Of course, knowing where your pet has been isn’t the be-all and end-all. If you want to know WHAT they were doing, how about a PetCam? These micro cameras are embedded in your pet’s collar and record what they’re doing through the day… Great if you want to know what their day’s been like!
Automatic Pet Feeders
If you have several pets, and want to make sure that the right pet gets the right food while you’re out, how do you do that? Perhaps one is on a medication, and another needs a special diet. Fear not, technology to the rescue! There are a range of Microchip Feeders that will only open for the right pet - with the right microchip. Problem sorted!
However, not everything works out in the real world… On the “a good idea but perhaps not yet front”, we’ve got honourable mentions for…
The Dog-Walking Drone
This idea comes up occasionally… But we think it’s a really bad idea! A drone can’t care for your dog, or respond to unexpected problems. In addition, sometimes things just go really wrong (OK, we suspect this video is a fake - but you get the idea!). However, that didn’t stop a UK-based company from marketing the ProFlight Walkies Dog Drone earlier this year. After an outcry from the company’s hardware manufacturer, vets and animal charities, the product was eventually revealed as a hoax and a publicity stunt. This is a definite “don’t try this at home” moment…
The Cat Translator
Yes, finally a way to work out what your cat means when they meow to you! The Catterbox was a collar that supposedly translated your cat’s voice into human words. Unfortunately, it too seems to be a hoax… But there are apps available to download for Apple and Android phones that supposedly offer the reverse service (human to cat). The trouble is, they aren’t based on good data, and cannot be considered to be comprehensible to your pet… and they can have unexpected results!
So, our top advice - before you buy an expensive gadget for your pet, run it past one of our vets or nurses for some unbiased advice as to whether it’s suitable for your pet and your lifestyle!