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Smart home technology for pets

From smart food dispensers and surveillance systems to ingenious toys and crafty crates, tech-savvy pet products are a booming market. Dog-walking robots may not be a reality yet, but we have recommendations for keeping your pets fed, safe, and busy while you’re away. With smart home technology devices, you can take some of the stress out of pet ownership and help your pet live a happier, healthier life.

Food: Make sure mealtimes are on time.

With hectic schedules, it can be easy to forget to feed your pet on time, especially if you’re running late for work, stuck in traffic, or taking the kids to practice. A connected pet feeder makes it easy to feed your pet on time every day. Automated dispensers like the PetSafe Automatic Pet Feeder let you schedule mealtimes and deliver specific portions. You can also feed your pet through the app anytime you want.

If you have pets that need separate mealtimes, devices like the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder use RFID collar tags or your pets’ microchips to detect when the appropriate pet approaches the feeder. The device will only dispense food once it identifies the right animal.

Safety: Find Fido wherever he may roam.

If you have an escape artist or like to take off-leash nature walks with your pup, he may be a good candidate for a pet tracker — a GPS-enabled device that attaches to your pet’s collar. It’s lightweight enough to work for dogs of all sizes, or even cats. Use the app to establish zones where your pet usually plays or walks. If your buddy crosses the “safe place” boundary, you’ll receive an alert letting you know his location. Pet trackers like the Whistle 3 also work as fitness monitors, displaying how many calories your furry friend burned, how many miles he’s run, and how many hours he’s slept (hint: a lot!).

Security: Keep an eye on your pets.

There are a variety of WiFi-enabled cameras that let you see, hear, and talk to your pets when you’re not home.

  1. Nest Cam: From the makers of Nest home security products, the Nest Cam is a high-quality indoor security camera that makes a great pet cam.
  2. Wyze Cam: This security camera pans automatically, so you can always keep an eye on your animals.
  3. Arlo Pro 2: For outdoor pets, this video camera is a weather-resistant, battery-powered option you can place anywhere. With an outdoor camera, you can see, hear, and talk to your pet whether you’re inside the house or across town at work.
  4. Eyenimal Cat Video Camera: For a fun twist on a pet cam, attach this tiny camera to your pet’s collar to check out where she goes on her walkabouts. It has night vision, is water resistant, and will record two-three hours of video at a time.

Entertainment: Pet-friendly connected toys.

It’s hard not to feel guilty when you have to leave your pet home alone. Thankfully, technology has given us creative ways to keep our fur babies entertained (without chewing shoes or clawing the sofa). As a bonus, some of these devices even let you keep in touch with your pets wherever you are. Here are a few entertainment devices your pet might love:

  • The Interactive Cube: The PetCube Play is a sophisticated-looking black cube equipped with a camera. You can see your pet through a live video feed on your smartphone and “play” with her using a built-in laser toy that you operate via the app. You can also set the PetCube on a schedule, which is great for days when you can’t take a break to play.
  • The Substitute Ball Thrower: It’s as simple and ingenious as it sounds. The iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs throws the ball for your dog to retrieve. Once you teach your pup how to return the ball to the launcher, she’ll quickly learn how to entertain herself for hours at a time. The iFetch works indoors or outdoors and has different sized balls for any size dog.
  • The Entertainment Center: Chat with your cat or dog no matter where you are using the PetChatzHD. Attach the camera to your wall at critter height to communicate with your pet via two-way audio. Use your PetChatzHD to have a video call with your pet or switch the channel to DOGTV. It can dispense treats and even has an accessory called PawCall that lets your pet call you on your phone or play games when you’re away. If your pet is willing to learn a few tricks, the PetChatzHD has endless ways to keep him entertained.

Comfort: Help calm your fearful friend.

It can be heartbreaking to know your pet is scared or anxious. Whether he’s set off by fireworks, vacuum cleaners, the garbage truck, or thunderstorms, anxiety is a common problem for many pets. When you can’t comfort him, provide him with a safe space to relax with a safe nest like ZenCrate.

This crate filters out noise as an innovative solution for animals who startle easily. It’s designed to keep loud noises out and soothing noises in. The crate detects when an animal goes inside and begins playing soft, calming music. With reduced light exposure and vibration damping technology, this crate will become your pup’s sanctuary from an overstimulating world. Use the ZenCrate WiFi camera to check in on him when you’re out. The camera streams live video of your pup or kitty in the ZenCrate and sends a notification when he enters or exits the crate.

Our pets would do anything for us, so it’s our job to care for them the best we can. These high-tech, pet-friendly gadgets can help keep your best buddy happy, relieve boredom, and make your life just a little bit easier.

By Sandy Newman on the  “West Bend Cares Blog”

Author Bio: Sandy Newman is a Texas-based real estate agent for Owners.com, where the process of buying and selling your home is made simple. Sandy enjoys educating homeowners on smart tech for pets. In his downtime, Sandy is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, camping, hiking and more. He has three kids, two dogs, and three cats.