5 Tech Tools For Pet Lovers

Remember the robot that walks a bunch of dogs in the movie I, Robot? How awesome would that be—for both the owner and the dogs? I mean, we do have iOS apps for animals now, but Hollywood has trained me to expect more.

Just because dog-walking robots don’t yet exist, there’s no reason pets should be underdogs when it comes to technology. Naturally, I went looking for some cool pet tech and doggonit, I found some! (Now, if only iRobot made a Roomba-like automatic pooper scooper.)

A Fitness Tracker For Your Dog

For humans, there’s Fitbit. For dogs, there’s Whistle, a sleek fitness monitor that attaches to your canine’s collar.

Whistle tracks activities like walks, playtime, sleep and even swims (yes, it’s waterproof). Whistle can even track who your dog has been hanging out with (friends or family, for instance).

As with human activity trackers, you can set goals and easily view activity in a sleek dashboard. If your dog exhibits any behavioral changes, Whistle can alert you so you can check it out. Another great feature? The ability to auto-generate reports for your vet.

Play With Your Pet Via Smartphone

Petcube, currently a Kickstarter project that looks to have an excellent chance of reaching its funding goal, consists of three awesome components: a wide-angle HD camera, a microphone and speakers and, of course, a laser pointer. This means that while the cat—in this case, the human, meaning you—is away, the mice (your cats or dogs) will play. So will the cat. I mean, you.

Unlike that previous paragraph, the Petcube makes a lot of sense. I'm always curious what my pets do when I’m gone. Now I can see for myself and share the best photos and videos of my pet’s shenanigans online.

Talk To And Reward Your Pet Via Smartphone

PetziConnect, which blew past its own crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo, has many similarities to the Petcube. It can take HD photos and videos of your animals and it will let you have a conversation (inasmuch as that is possible) with your pet via two-way audio.

The biggest difference here is that the PetziConnect forgoes a laser pointer for a treat dispenser. Additionally, the PetziConnect plugs directly into a wall outlet, so it isn’t as mobile as the Petcube. Which one is the best fit for you may depend on what excites your pet the most: chasing a red dot or receiving a treat.

Digital Pet ID Tags

If you are still using a regular old “dumb” pet tag, it’s time to get with the times. The PetHub embeds a QR code on the back of a normal metal engraved dog tag that others can scan should they find your lost pet.

Here’s what’s cool: when a person scans your pet’s tag with their phone, it will display your pet's profile and information—plus, and this is the great part, it'll immediately notify you, too. Perhaps this will help cut down on pet piracy (finding someone’s lost pet and not returning it). I mean, who can resist scanning a QR code on a pet tag to see what you might learn?

Find An Awesome Dog Sitter Near You

DogVacay is like Airbnb, but for dogs. Next time you leave town and need someone to watch your pooch for awhile, don’t just drop Fido off at the nearest kennel. Instead, browse hosts online, read reviews, pick the perfect place, schedule it andhit the road with peace of mind.

That last part is important, and DogVacay takes it seriously by hand-approving all sitters (because even humans need to get vetted) and offering comprehensive protection. Additionally, each host must pass an online training course, for what it's worth. Does your usual boarding location offer a 100% guarantee?

Lead image via Flickr user WB - CMH