Technology Isn’t Just For Humans Anymore


Pets Love Tech, Too

As a pet owner, I am always looking for ways to keep my dogs amused when I am not home. Though I work from home and am with them most of the time, it is not uncommon to come home to something amiss. Their safety is also a priority. All four of my dogs are micro-chipped and only wear reflective harnesses when outside.

It is a known fact that people think nothing of spending money on their pet products and services. In 2016, Americans spent $62 billion according to American Pet Products Association. I know our very own Dave Hartsock has a cat. Several other writers have pets as well. I thought it fitting to write an article on pets and technology.

While talking to other pet owners, I came across some interesting gadgets out there that are worth checking out. If you know of any others, feel free to add to the list. I know how spoiled my pets are, but many of these things I discovered just seem a bit over the top for me. Some of you may have experience with them so, by all means, if you do, please give us a review of them or of something you might have.

 

Food and Snacks

One of my Facebook friends recently acquired a Petzi-Treat-Cam($169.99) She has suddenly become an overachiever these days on Social Media posting pics from this camera. The camera let’s you take photos of your furry friends and talk to them. She claims it has high quality audio and not distorted. It also dispenses treats to your pets to amuse them and let you keep tabs on them in your absence. When pets hear the special song play, tiny treats shoot from the dispenser. I like the idea of this but not so sure I am sold on it. She swears by it and her phone is busting at the seams with photos of her dogs as proof.

Some people that work and leave their pets home during the day use Auto-feeders on a timer. You just need to stock them with food and set the timer. My golden retriever, Shelby, is so smart she would get the lid off and eat all the food at once, starving my other three dogs. The problem I see here is that if you are gone an extended amount of time and they eat… well, you know where I am going with this. Who is going to let them out unless you have that fancy pet door too. This gives me a thought though–  is there a tech device out there that will assist my pets to make dinner, wash and dry the dishes, take out the trash, etc?

For the extremely lazy pet owner there is the Sharper Image Remote Dog Treat Dispenser to dole out their snacks. Seriously folks, having a pet should help you stay more fit. You can press a button and it can shoot a treat out as far as 25 inches away. Get off the couch, put down the remote and go give your pet a treat!

Fun Times

Froli Cat Interactive Laser Toys ($20)

If you’ve ever shined a flashlight on the floor or a wall near a cat or dog, you’ve seen how much it intrigues them. Our cats love to play with a wadded up ball of paper or tin foil. FroliCat shines a laser in a random pattern on floors and walls, then it shuts down automatically after 15 minutes. This gadget keeps them entertained and helps them burn off excess energy so you can do other things.

Sony Action Cam($299)

For the dog that has everything and the owner who has money to burn, this compact personalized camcorder can be worn by humans as well as pets via a harness that mounts the camera to their back. Imagine the YouTube videos you could get. Although, with my pets some, of them might not be Family Rated.

Safety

The most useful products on the market involve safety. Who doesn’t want to keep their pets safe?

Part of my property is fenced in and I also have a gate which is secured with a large chain and lock so no one can open the gate and forget it has been left open. We even went to the trouble of trenching our yard, and along the bottom of our fence we have additional fencing that goes all the way around and is attached to our fence. We have an escape artist in our house. She had dug under the fence many times, so it was necessary.

I do not have a pet door, because I live in a rural area and can imagine all kinds of interesting things coming in through my house. I also wonder about how it would affect utility bills from heat and AC leaks. All my dogs are large so a small skinny person could probably get thru a large or XL pet door.

Smart pet doors have transmitters on them like automatic garage door openers. Pets wear a collar and they open and close on demand. Electronic Smart Door costs $140+ with each additional collar being $20. They provide you one with your purchase.

Health and Fitness

Many devices can also track your pet’s activity level, similar to their human counterparts. Depending on fashion and precision, the cost will be an investment from as low as $40 to upwards of hundreds of dollars.

I wear a Fitbit and my goal is 10,000 steps a day which I meet most every day. They make Fitness trackers for pets too. Through an App, you can also keep track of your dog’s social life, with reminders for grooming and play dates. I found a device called the Whistle, ($100) which is a new wireless, waterproof device that attaches to the dog’s collar and tracks their activity and rest. It gives the owner some insight into how our best friend(s) spend their day. Using an App, owners can see when their pet is walking, resting and playing.

At the higher end of health and fitness for pets you can try out the Voyce Dog Collar ($299 plus $15 monthly service charge). Like the Whistle, Voyce is a wearable fitness device. The device measures things like your pooch’s pulse, respiratory rate, rest patterns and calories burned, which can all be tracked on mobile devices. (To find a pulse through the fur, it uses a radio frequency.) It can help you determine when a pup is typically most destructive and could give early warnings of arthritis and other health issues.

I am pretty sure I found the ultimate gift for Dave Hartsock. Not only is it cool looking, it is a conversation piece.

Litter-Robot ($389) It is just another high-tech self-cleaning litter box that looks like something out of Star Wars. I am not so sure a cat would want to use this as their toilet though. I mean c’mon, it is scary looking. Anyway seven minutes after the cat is finished doing its business, the dome rotates, sifts waste into a separate drawer (which is lined by a plastic bag), then returns the cleaned litter. It’s quiet, but—as an added bonus—it could be just loud enough to keep dogs from searching for a ‘treat’ in the litter box. Personally, I think they should program it with quotes from Star Wars. Here is an example: “Now, witness the power of this fully operational battle station.”

Are there any Apps for tablets to entertain pets or videos out there? I know my gang likes Animal Planet.

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About the Author

Sherri Meinke

A long-standing Computer Geek with over 25 years of experience. Having owned her first Apple IIe and moving on up the ranks with a multitude of Windows-based pc’s to her latest toy, a Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet with Windows 10. Sherri repairs, upgrades, and recycles computers as well as consults, trains & designs Websites. She is a Former AOL Community Leader and loves forums as well as online training. She created the "Camp Wired" computer training program at the Medina County Library system, 8 years ago. It is a free computer education program teaching technology in a relaxed atmosphere where students at all levels get to mentor other students and grow in their knowledge and understanding of technology. This program runs year round with no signs of slowing down.

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