As pet owners, we all face that familiar pang of guilt when leaving the house to go to work, school, or to run errands. Your pet is home alone, fending without you, waiting for your return. Until recently, there was no way to periodically check-in, or confirm your pet’s safety throughout the day. Instead, pet parents were left to wait, wonder and worry.
Smart home devices have changed the landscape for pet owners. We now have access to a multitude of tools that provide savvy ways to keep an eye on four-legged friends from afar. From feeders controlled via Bluetooth to automated dog doors, the wide world of pet-centered smart home technology can ensure your furry friend’s safety and happiness.
1. Worry Less with Pet-Specific Cameras
Many families have long installed security systems with cameras inside and outside the home, but these cameras are designed for general surveillance, rather than specifically monitoring pets. However, an evolution in camera technology has resulted in a new frontier: pet-specific surveillance. These products are designed to keep an eye on pets, and even interact with them when you are away from home, providing peace of mind and added stimulation for your pet.
The Furbo Dog Camera is a leader in this class. For $199, this surveillance tool is placed at canine eye level so you may interact face-to-face with your dog during the day. This camera also allows you to toss treats to your pup when he’s being a good boy, as well as a bark sensor so that you can immediately check in when your dog has something to say.
If you want to keep tabs on your cat when it is snoozing in a remote corner, a collar camera may be a better option. These Go Pro-like devices are designed to be attached to a cat’s collar. It allows you to see your cat playing, where they’re sleeping, or what trouble they’ve gotten into throughout the day.
2. Keep Your Pet Nourished with Food Dispensers
Feeding your pet is a big part of daily routines but mistakes happen–your pet kicked over his food dish, or something is keeping you away from home longer than expected. Luckily, pet technology can take care of the problem.
The Petnet SmartFeeder is an automatic pet feeder that dispenses dry food on scheduled intervals, managed by smartphone with smart home device pairing abilities. This feeder also provides a nutritional score to evaluate your pet’s diet and uses pet-specific metrics to determine the perfect feeding frequency and serving sizes.
Households with multiple pets, particularly those in which pets eat different foods or have dietary restrictions, may prefer the SureFeed Microchip feeder. This tech-savvy solution uses RFID technology to recognize which pet is at his bowl to manage food access. It ensures that Fido isn’t eating Fluffy’s food or that your diabetic cat doesn’t have access to the high-fat food options your other kitties enjoy.
3. Smart Exercise Equipment = Heart Healthy Pet
A little extra activity never hurt, especially when you’re not around for playtime. Smart technology that inspires physical activity, like The Little Cat, can be a great resource.
Essentially a kitty treadmill, it uses LED light to follow the wheel’s movement to give your cat something to chase. The innovative invention can help housebound cats stave off obesity and boredom. Owners control the speed from their smartphones or may leave settings on manual mode. Later, you can review exercise information to see how much time Fluffy spent getting into shape.
4. Keep Your Pet Fresh with Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
Let’s face it, absolutely no one likes cleaning out the litter box. While a necessary part of pet ownership, this less-than-thrilling task is often hard to fit in a busy schedule. New advances in self-cleaning litter boxes do all the heavy lifting, with options like the app-enabled LavvieBot that’s starting its first funding campaign. LavvieBot monitors box usage with the ability to differentiate between cats by weight and even send notifications when the waste tray needs to be emptied.
Cat owners also love the rotating Litter Robot that sifts waste, removes odor, and even offers a night light for evening use. With a price tag of between $399-$499, homeowners praise its convenience and durability.
Dog owners aren’t left out in the waste management field either. The brand new InuBox provides a raised platform that detects both dog presence and waste. The $149 is worth it to pet parents who can’t make it home during a long day at work.
5. Let Your Pet Out with an Automatic Dog Door
For homeowners with a fenced-in yard, access to a dog door is a great way to ensure your pet can stretch his or her legs and use the bathroom during the day. However, they aren’t always great for security. Smart dog doors solve common pet door problems, making sure pets have the option to go outside without compromising home security. It also lowers the risk of an indoor-only cat escape.
The PetSafe SmartDoor ($94-$215) is a functional smart home device that offers automatic locking capabilities and programmable entry and exit times. This ensures only pets with outdoor privileges can go in and out.
For pet owners with multiple pets and varying preferences, the PlexiDor ($372) uses RFID chip technology but allows for a greater range of customization options. Each pet can have its own unique smart home device settings with different permissible time frames. This can be an excellent option if you have two dogs who shouldn’t be outside at the same time.
6. Keep Your Pet Happy with a Remote Playtime Device
No pet likes to be left home alone. Even cats, animals that prefer to sleep all day, need daily stimulation. This can be hard if you regularly take overnight trips for business or work long hours. Luckily, smart toys keep your pets entertained, even if you can’t be there to throw a ball yourself.
The iFetch interactive ball launcher makes playing catch easy, allowing for customizable tosses at 10, 20, and 30 feet.
For those who prefer an app-operated product, the SmartPult distributes treats and tosses balls from anywhere in the world. Distance is easily adjustable from anywhere, making it easy to accommodate any yard or indoor space.
For restless kittens, cameras like the Petcube Interactive Wi-Fi Pet Camera cost roughly $99 and come with the ability to remotely control a laser pointer for hours of enjoyment.
If you want to do right by your pet, the best in pet technology can make a difference. From automatic food bowls to ensure full stomachs to surveillance cameras to stay in contact all day, technology solutions can deepen your relationship with your pet.