Purrfect Tech for Your Pet
We have already established that here in the UK, we love our pets. Data and statistics firm Statista reports that in 2017, consumer expenditure on pets reached £4.62 billion, which is nearly double the amount spent in 2005. With 45% of households reportedly owning at least one pet and an increased number of studies stating that animals are good for our wellbeing, that amount is set to rise even further. Spending is no longer limited to posh cat food or a nice scratching post. Companies across the world are breaking into this growing market by creating new, innovative technology-based products for our pets, and judging by the statistics, business is booming, with plenty of owners willing to part with their hard-earned cash to upgrade their pet’s lifestyle.
In 2018, there is plenty of new technology to get excited about. From the advancements in virtual reality, self-driving cars, ‘smart’ cities and artificial intelligence, offering a whole new world of possibilities for us humans.
All of these amazing inventions are exciting, useful and potentially even life-changing. So why should our furry friends be left behind when it comes to such incredible technological advancements? We’ve put together a list of the useful, the intriguing and the downright bizarre pet technology available on the market today.
Missing your animal companion while you’re out at work? Pet cameras allow you to keep an eye on your fur baby while you’re away, using remote surveillance technology. Many pet cams now let you sync the camera with your smartphone and receive alerts when your pet barks or there is a flurry of unusual activity. With two-way communication to allow you to speak to your buddy, this is particularly ideal for those pets who suffer from some separation anxiety issues. Perfect, too, for the naughty pet who jumps all over the furniture and claws the curtains the minute you close the front door. The sound of your firm voice might make them jump at first, but it might just stop any destructive behaviour. You can even get a two way camera, allowing your pet to see your face as you speak to them, or comfort them if they’re nervous or scared.
Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
Most of us will agree that one of the less pleasant aspects of owning a pet is having to deal with their waste. Well, thanks to technology, your days raking through kitty litter are over. This ScoopFree self-cleaning litter box features a sensor which can detect when it has been used by your feline companion and will automatically rake the litter (after your cat has exited, of course). The ‘odourless’ system is not cheap, however, and will set you back over £100 if you choose to get one.
If your pet needs feeding multiple times a day while you may be at work, or if you are out at odd hours and therefore can’t always be around for feeding time, there is now a solution. Digital feeders have been around for some time, allowing you to place dry food in a closed tray, which will open at the programmed time. This is great if your pet only eats dry food. But for those with a more complex diet, you can now purchase an automatic feeder with a built-in ice chamber to allow wet food to be stored safely as well. You can even record your voice on some of these auto feeders, to announce when it’s ‘dinner time’ so your pet knows when food is ready.
If your pet doesn’t need feeding during the day, but you want to reward them while you’re out, you can also purchase automatic treat dispensers that you can remotely activate to dish out treats to your pet when they’re behaving nicely or are a little nervous.
Personalised Cat Flaps & Dog Doors
We all know that our pets need exercise, so having a cat flap or dog door in your home is perfect if you aren’t around to let them in and out. The problem many owners faced previously was that any neighbourhood cat, dog, fox or hedgehog could pop in whenever they pleased, causing a deal of stress to both pet and owner. Along came the solution in the form of magnetic cat flaps, which would only open when a cat approached, wearing a magnetic token on their collar. Problem solved… except that other cats with magnetic collars would still be able to enter the property, plus cats are experts at losing their collars, meaning they would be stuck outside and their owner would have to fork out for another magnetic collar. Moving on from magnetic cat flaps, the latest technology that has been developed is microchip cat flaps. These cat flaps and dog doors open only for your pet, using their unique microchip, so other unwelcome visitors cannot get in. Models like the SureFlap microchip cat flap are highly rated by customers for their ease of use and convenience. If you’re a devoted cat lady (or dogs – no taking sides here!), no problem! The SureFlap microchip flap can be programmed with up to 40 different cats’ microchips, so you can comfortably accommodate an entire cat army (if you wish). It also comes equipped with Night Mode, which switches the settings to only allow pets to enter, not exit, so you can be sure your pet will be tucked up safe indoors for the night.
Get the SureFlap microchip cat flap or dog door installed in your home here.
Every owner’s worst nightmare is their pet getting lost. And for dogs or cats that run off chasing a bird or hunting for food, once they realise they are lost, they can get very stressed, too. This is where a GPS tracker comes in handy. The simple device can be clipped to your pet’s collar to and let you know if they have left their designated ‘safe area’ and easily locate them, putting pet lovers’ minds at ease.
Tech Toys & Entertainment
Technology has addressed many of the key practical problems when keeping a pet. But there is also a wealth of fun, clever inventions designed to keep your animal friends happy and healthy and promote play. Like humans, play is necessary for animals. It teaches them desired behaviours and can help stop issues such as aggression. We are excited and intrigued by some of the following toys and pet entertainment available today.
For pets that need lots of stimulation, puzzle toys are perfect, providing hours of entertainment when you are not available to play with them. Brands like PupPod and CleverPet have some interactive puzzle toys that help your pet learn while they seek out treats as a reward. You can even control the game difficulty from your phone!
Robotic Pet Sitter
Remote controlled pet companion Pebby is a new product, developed in Singapore, which allows you to check on and play with your pet remotely. The Pebby is a durable ball with a camera that allows you to see your pet as they play. The most exciting feature of Pebby is that you can remotely control it to roll around your home, letting your pet chase it, increasing their activity levels throughout the day to keep them active and healthy. The company behind Pebby is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to bring Pebby to the mainstream marketplace. Find out more at https://www.getpebby.com/.
We’ve all seen videos of cats madly chasing a laser pointer around the room. Something about that tiny beam of light enthralls animals for hours on end. Tech company Frolicat have produced a laser toy that can be switched on during the day to provide plenty of entertainment as well as exercise for your furry friend.
Worried your pet isn’t getting enough exercise? Why not try a pet activity monitor to track your pet’s daily activity, letting you know if they need more exercise to stay healthy. The PitPat 2 Activity Monitor clips onto your pet’s collar, monitoring their play and rest times and you can even share the data with your vet.
For the adventurous pet and their owner, technology company GoPro, known for its action cameras you can use on the go, has developed a harness your pet can wear when out and about, so you can truly see what they see. Comfortable and lightweight, this fun addition can help you record those long walks and evening sunsets as you enjoy time with your best friend.
If your dog loves to play fetch and would happily chase a ball until long past dinner time, give your throwing arm a rest with the iFetch ball launcher. This piece of kit can throw balls from between 10 and 30 feet, depending on your dog’s agility and the space you have available.
The above is just a small selection of the truly amazing products available to help improve our lives and those of our pets. It’s hard to imagine what might be next for the world of pet technology…a dog walking drone perhaps? Or maybe virtual reality for pets, so your cat can explore the jungles of South America while prowling around the back garden. Whatever technological developments come along, we can be sure that devoted pet owners will continue to splash out on giving their pet the best life possible.
About the Author
Dunstable Glass is an independent business providing bespoke double glazing, glass products and glass cut to size across Watford, Bedfordshire, Aylesbury, Luton, Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard. To see our range of products, including cat flaps and dog doors, visit our showroom or browse the website for more information.
Jessie Gray is a writer who has years of experience writing for the design and home improvement industry, following the latest design trends and finding the best tips and tricks for enhancing your space. To read more of Jessie’s work, you can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.