We’re used to the myriad of ways technology improves our own lives, but few of us have given much thought to its potential benefits for pets. 2020 is about to change that once and for all. Over the past few decades, technology has made advancements in everything from policing and healthcare to watches and hair curlers. Its latest target is The huge (not to mention profitable) pet care market. Smart features are worming their way into more and more aspects of our dog’s life, whether it’s on The collar that tracks their activity, The feeder that delivers perfectly proportioned quantities of food, or The noise-canceling crate that manages to keep their barks to itself. To help you navigate the sometimes baffling world of high tech, we’ve rounded up a few of the key products that are changing the health of dogs for the better.
Have you ever come down from bed one morning to find a strange cat, dog, or something decidedly non-domesticated making free and easy with your pet door? Fortunately, the days of finding a raccoon in your kitchen might be behind you with the aid of the new wave of smart pet doors. Link these nifty devices into your pet’s microchip and you can ensure the only creature that can come and go freely is your “pre-authorized user”. If you have multiple dogs and cats but only allow certain ones outside (or want to place a temporary grounding order on a sickly pet), the handy functionality offers a great way of staying in control.
Gone are the days when all we expected of our dog’s collar was a convenient place to mark their name and attach a lead. These days, collars are smart with a capital S. Just as we like to strap our wrists with devices that are as likely to tell us our step count as they are The time, so we now use collars to tell us our pet’s every movement. Some offer a basic range of functions that primarily act as a means of letting you know how active your pet’s been throughout the day. Other’s offer a far fuller spectrum of possibilities, allowing you to keep an eye on how often (and much) your dog is sleeping or scratching, as well as giving you real-time data on their exact location at any one time. Of all the functions available, This last one is likely to go down the best with safety-conscious pet owners. Some dogs can be mischievous little escape artists, and The thought of them wandering too far from home to find their way back can be an ever-present concern. Being able to keep track of their movements via GPS can be a great weight off your mind, especially when the monthly fee for the service is so minimal.
“The GPS locating functionality of wearable pet monitors is a compelling attribute for the well-being of our dogs,” Travis Taylor, medical director of VCA Centreville Animal Hospital in Centreville tells Dogster. “This technology takes the next step beyond previous microchip ID technology.” (It should, however, be noted that smart collars are tended to work as a support to microchips, rather than as their replacement. Collars can be as smart as they like, but they’re still liable to falling off in a way microchips aren’t).
Other than their ability to let you keep track of your pet’s location, one of the chief benefits of smart collars is their help in the great battle of the bulge. Humans aren’t the only ones getting fatter by the year: dogs are just as vulnerable to packing on the pounds and can find the job of losing that excess baggage just as tricky as us. Fortunately, there’s now a world of technology out there that can help them turn back into lean, mean, fighting-fit machines. Smart collars, like Fitbits, track the wearer’s movements, offering a great way to incentivize you into upping your pet’s daily walks and playtime.
Before leaving the subject of smart collars entirely, there’s one last little detail to mention. As anyone who has a dog with an allergy or a health condition will know, The more you know about their movements and habits the better. A smart collar can feedback a wealth of information that makes keeping track of your pet’s health a breeze. Want to know whether the new allergy medicine is working? Then use the smart collar’s functionality to see how often your pet scratches throughout the day. Want to know if your pet is on the road to recovery after a chronic illness? Then let the smart collar keep an ongoing record of their vital signs, including heartbeat, temperature, and blood pressure.
Anyone with a dog knows that within 2 seconds of putting food down, it’s gone. Seemingly regardless of content, type, or amount, most dogs will stuff away a good few days worth of calories in less time than it takes you to say “Bon appetite”… which can make the question of how to feed your pet while you’re away from home a tricky one. Fortunately, help is on hand with the new range of smart feeders. Designed to allow you to control meal times via an app, smart feeders are a great way of ensuring your pet sticks to their regular mealtimes even if you’re 100 miles away at the time.
“Smart feeders can be a great way of helping dogs with weight loss or [while they are] being housesat,” Dr. Taylor says. “It’s important to make sure dogs have time to get used to it before putting it to use when you’re away from home .” As an added advantage, some smart feeders even come with camera and video, letting you view your pet as they chomp away. Others will even warn you when food supplies are getting low, and send you an alert each time your pet has eaten (a very useful little feature if you’re trying to help your pet lose weight).