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We use technology to improve nearly every area of life, and doting on our pets’ well-being is no exception. In fact, many pet stores now have “tech centers” that offer the latest gadgets for pampering those furry, winged, or scaled members of our families. According to one market report, worldwide sales of pet-related products and services reached a record US$100 billion in 2014. For 2017, pet industry expenditure in the U.S. alone is expected to reach nearly US$70 billion. A growing portion of that spending is on the many cool new technologies that are being developed for animals. For example, pets can be kept healthy by remote monitoring of their vitals, safe by tracking their whereabouts, and happy by playing with their away-from-home owners via interactive video cameras. Read on to learn more.
Ever wonder what your furry friend does all day at home when you’re out and about? Wearable activity monitors for dogs and cats can help you out with that. Such devices measure how active (or lazy) your dog or cat is by tracking its activity levels and food intake. Even better, if your dog wanders away from home, a GPS tracker attached to its collar can assist you in locating your four-legged loved one via a smartphone app. Some of these devices can send location notifications and even track movement in real time. When your dog is safely at home, the collar can recognize your home’s Wi-Fi network and stop tracking, saving battery life.
In addition to monitoring location and activity levels, technology can support animal health. Mobile apps that connect to a device on your pet can gauge a range of activities – whether your dog or cat is sleeping, walking, running, or playing. Heart and respiratory rate sensors can help identify potential heart disease and respiratory problems. When pets are recuperating from illnesses or surgeries, wearable biometric products can aid in monitoring recovery. These devices can send you and your vet data notifications via SMS, e-mail, or telephone regarding elevated pulse, high temperature, pain, stress, and more. They can also ease costs due to lower pet insurance premiums and veterinary bills.
Instead of rushing home to feed the dog, cat, bird, or hamster, you can manage feeding schedules and portion sizes with a few touches on your smartphone linked to a smart feeder. Some of these even have built-in digital scales that can convert food weight (i.e., from grams to pounds and vice-versa). That way, the next time your vet recommends so many grams of food for your pet, you can easily determine just the right amount to dish out. For dogs or cats with special dietary needs, one high-tech feeding device uses infrared technology that can detect a special tag on the designated animal. When that pet is nearby, the feeding device opens. This design also prevents naughty dogs and cats from eating each others’ food.
Whether you want to check up on your furry companions to make sure they’re staying out of trouble or just want to say “Hi” to your feathered friend, interactive Wi-Fi cameras may be for you. They allow you to videoconference with your pet, remotely give treats, and even exercise your four-legged companion. New products offer features like HD video, interactive laser toys, auto-play modes, and two-way audio chat. Owners can also get notifications with sound and motion alerts via their mobile devices. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability allows these products to remotely connect you to your pet.
If you prefer companions of the aquatic variety, advances in technology also extend to optimizing aquarium equipment. Maintenance of your pet fish, frog, or turtle’s environment is made easier with new efficient designs that require less power. For example, LED lights are sufficiently bright but use less energy than traditional light fixtures. These power-saving lights are being integrated into newer aquariums, as well as terrarium systems. To maintain suitable water quality for your aquatic life, electronic submersible heaters that monitor water temperature and self-diagnosing filters can be used. For those who would like to program and monitor their aquariums remotely, smart devices are available that can control factors such as lighting, pH levels, feeding schedules, and oxygen levels.
Whether you share your home with pets from the land, sea, or air, you’re sure to find tech products on the market today that make those friendships more manageable and enjoyable.