NutriSource Blogs

Pet-friendly gadgets that make life easier

December 28, 2020
photo of puppy with person taking picture from phone in foreground

Providing the happiest, healthiest life for your dog or cat is easier than ever, thanks to these pet-centered gadgets. Whether you’re looking for help with weight control, or need a tracker for your escape artists, these tools are worth a closer look.

Smart leashes

These gadgets are designed to track details about your walks, including duration and distance. Some models include LED lights for better nighttime visibility. Some models let you link it to your mobile device, so when you get a text or important notification, the handle vibrates.

High-tech dog collar

Some are collars, while other devices are actually collar attachments. Either way, it’s a bit like getting a smartwatch for your pet that lets you track their movements along with other metrics. Like any technology, the price you pay depends on the features and complexity, so expect to pay anywhere from $60 to several hundred. Keep in mind that many models require a paid subscription, so read the fine print before you buy.

  • Pet tracker: Many of these collars have GPS tracking, so if your dog (or cat) bolts out the door unexpectedly, you can deploy a more effective search-and-retrieval mission. If you live with a furry escape artist, be sure to choose a model with robust battery life.
  • Lighting: For better visibility during nighttime walks, some collars feature LED lights.
  • Activity tracking: Data collection features give you an overview of your pet’s movements and activities. If your aim is to help your pet become more active this year, this lets you keep track of your goal. It will also show you data on unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking, licking and scratching, so you can track your progress.
  • Health metrics: Get access to your pet’s health indicators, including amount of sleep, sleep quality and heart rate. Having a baseline on your dog’s typical levels can give you a head’s up if your dog is having medical issues. For example, rapid heart rate can be symptomatic that your pet ingested something toxic or poisonous. This lets you provide hard data to the emergency vet that something really is wrong.

App-controlled playthings

Saying goodbye to our pets for the workday is always sad. But the good news is you can pick up your phone to get the ball rolling from afar — literally! Balls enabled with smart technology give your pets a fun way to play and interact when you’re not around. Some focus solely on movement, but others come with cameras and two-way audio, so you both get more enjoyment from your coffee breaks. Others will dispense treats to bring a rewarding end to playtime.

Two-way pet camera

If your dog and cat are getting used to you being away (especially when people return to the office and school after COVID-19 is under control), a pet camera can help you both ease into your new routine. These devices keep you just one click away from the cuteness. Features can include two-way audio-visual communication, the ability to dispense treats on command, as well as notifications when it detects unusual pet activity. Some will capture video clips and save them in the cloud, so you can enjoy the highlights of their day when it’s time for a break.

The latest in these gadgets will soon feature AI technology that learns your pet’s normal vocal and movement patterns. As the AI technology improves at picking up your dog’s normal barking pitch and cadence, it can reliably tell you when your pet is alarmed or distressed. That way, it won’t spam your device with notifications that your dog is barking at the mail carrier … again!

[Learn more about this amazing technology, and how AI will one day let us talk to our pets, and check out episode 55 of Raising Your Paws podcast].

High-tech laser pointers

If your hyper kitty needs an outlet while you’re away — or just needs more movement — a smartphone enabled laser pointer is just the solution to get them up and moving. Simply set up the device and whenever you want to entertain your cat, just pull out your smartphone and activate. The best feature is these let you program where to direct the lasers, so you can have control of where your cat leaps and plays (i.e. away from furniture and shelves with breakables). As with other laser light toys, keep playtime safe for all animals and humans and don’t allow those beams to point into the eyes of people and animals.

Smart feeders

This takes the automatic feeder to the next level and gives you a way to keep feedings on schedule when you’re running late for dinner. Just open the app, and you can dispense a measured portion of kibble without the worry of overfeeding your pet.

Digital feeding bowl

Keeping an eye on your pet’s eating habits just got super simplified. Whether your pet is having tummy troubles or needs to lose a few pounds, these bowls weigh food and water. Many come with an app that recommends portion sizes while tracking your pet’s feeding and eating patterns.

Smart kennel

If you’re trying to make crate training more enjoyable for your pet, some of the features such as fans, vibrations and quiet music can soothe your dog in his denning space.

As you can see, pet gadgets can do a lot to help us provide the very best care for our furry friends. When it’s time to shop, keep your dollars in the community, make sure your local, independent pet retailer is your first stop. While you’re training and caring for your pet, keep a few tasty rewards at the ready. NutriSource Soft and Tender treats provide delicious rewarding bites, available in chicken, lamb or salmon while being light on calories. Find these at your independent pet retailer.