INNOVATIVE PET TECH THAT MAKES LIFE WITH DOGS EASIER AND MORE FUN
This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Dog Magazine
From the fun to the practical, these high-tech dog gadgets can help you and your dog better understand each other, have more fun together, and even work through challenges. Dog-focused technology can also just be a lot of fun! From a dog’s-eye-view collar camera to communication buttons that allow your dog to ‘talk,’ here are some highly rated smart gadgets designed for dogs and the people who love them.
1. Talking Buttons
Fluent Pet Classic Tester Kit; $40, fluent.pet
Have you ever wished your dog could talk, like Internet-famous ‘talking’ dogs Bunny the Sheepadoodle and Stella the Blue Heeler/Catahoula mix?
Well now they can, thanks to assistive technology for language acquisition. Fluent Pet’s programmable buttons allow your dog to communicate wants, desires, and maybe even bigger thoughts with the push of a button. Designed specifically for dogs, the buttons can be recorded with specific words, such as “walk,” “play,” “potty,” “hungry,” “outside,” and other requests you think your dog might want to make. For ease of use, the buttons fit securely into a foam base to prevent them from sliding while your dog is ‘talking’ and include stickers to place on top so you can remember which button is for which cue. The set also comes with a training guide to help you get your dog chatting.
According to the New York Times, Bunny uses the buttons on her Fluent Pet soundboard to form four-word phrases. She can ask questions. And she alerted her owner to a thorn in her paw, pushing “ouch,” “stranger,” and “paw” then extending her leg. As one might expect, “outside” is a favourite button. (Be careful what you wish for.) Less predictable is her interest in discussing poo. “For a long time, Bunny was talking almost exclusively about poop,” Alexis Devine, Bunny’s owner, told the New York Times. “But toddlers do that too, right?”
2. Smart Dog Collar
PetPace Smart Collar; $299 + subscription, petpace.com
The vet-developed PetPace smart collar continuously monitors your pet’s health, providing next-level health feedback thanks to its advanced AI-powered technology. Gain the ultimate peace of mind with emergency alerts, early symptom detection, disease management, and GPS tracking. PetPace’s life-saving tech is validated by over a decade of research. This smart collar provides owners with medical insights that often go unnoticed during routine vet visits or when dogs are left at home alone. While other collars track surface-level measurements, only PetPace measures all major vital signs and health-related biometrics, including temperature, pulse, respiration rate, stress/anxiety (HRV), sleep score, activity score, posture, calories burned, pain indicator, workout intensity, health score, wellness score, and GPS location.
Furbo 360 Dog Camera; $210, furbo.com
The new Furbo 360 camera is designed especially for dogs. This state-of-the-art “nanny-cam” allows dog parents to watch their pups when they aren’t home to supervise. The rotating camera allows for a 360 field of vision, and the Furbo smartphone app lets you not only see what your dog is up to, but also hear and speak to your dog. You can even use the app to dispense a treat! Barking alerts let you know what’s happening in real time, making this an invaluable resource for those working through barking/separation anxiety issues, as you can interrupt problematic behaviours and figure out triggers.
4. Remote Treat Dispenser
PetSafe Treat & Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer; $150, petsafe.com
Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon, the PetSafe Treat & Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer allows you to dispense treats with the click of a button from up to 100 feet away. Use this electronic trainer to induce calm behaviour in distracting situations, like visitors at the door or family dinner time. The remote-controlled reward system uses positive reinforcement (i.e. a treat) to help teach appropriate behaviour. It comes with a training guide and a handheld remote allowing you to instantly dispense treats from a distance when your dog responds to cues.
5. Smart Dog Door
Sure Petcare SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect; from $285, surepetcare.com
If you have a securely fenced backyard and want to allow your small dog free access to go in and out of the house, a dog door is the obvious solution. But traditional dog doors risk other animals gaining access to your house. The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect from Sure Petcare is a smart dog door that prevents intruder animals from getting in by using your dog’s existing microchip as a key/door opener. The dog door scans your dog (or dogs) for their microchip and allows just your dog to come inside. In case your dog isn’t microchipped, a collar tag that acts as a fob is also provided. An accompanying app notifies you if your dog has gone outside or inside and provides insight on behaviour like how actively your dog is using the door. From the app, you can lock the dog door if your dog has come inside, and you don’t want them to go back out. Curfew mode sets the door to lock and unlock at specified times.
6. Smart Feeder
Instachew PureChew Sight Smart Pet Feeder; $90, instachew.com
If you have long days or a dog with a health condition that necessitates a very strict feeding schedule, a smart feeder can prove indispensable. The Instachew PureChew Sight Smart Pet Feeder makes sure your dog gets their food exactly when they are supposed to. This sleek feeder not only allows you to automatically feed your dog and control portions while you do so, but also looks beautiful in your home. The feeder features an HD camera with built-in night vision, letting you see your dog. Two-way audio allows you to hear and talk to your pup as they eat. The accompanying app lets you schedule mealtimes or feed with the touch of a button when you aren’t home.
7. Cool Laser Therapy Coat
LASERwrap Dog Coat; $250 – $300, spectratherapy.com
If you have ever brought your dog to a veterinary physiotherapist, your dog might have been treated with cold laser therapy. This noninvasive procedure uses light to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation, promoting healing and helping to control pain. Cold laser therapy is often used to treat dogs with arthritis, wounds, or tendon and soft tissue injuries.
Although at-home cold-laser treatments can’t match the efficacy of the expensive cold lasers used in veterinary offices, cold laser therapy coats are becoming popular amongst canine sports competitors and people whose dogs are suffering from injuries or chronic pain. A big benefit is the ability to give more frequent treatments in the comfort of your home. The LASERwrap Dog Coat is a cool laser therapy coat that is ideal for dogs with conditions necessitating healing/pain support, such as spinal cord disorders.
8. GPS Collar
Tractive; $40 + $13 monthly subscription fee, tractive.com
With unlimited range and support, Tractive’s wearable GPS tracker allows you to always know your dog’s exact location, providing unparalleled peace of mind. This GPS collar connects to AT&T, Verizon, and TMobile LTE networks across the United States, enabling your dog’s collar to communicate where your dog is located anywhere there is cell coverage. Updates are sent to your phone, regardless of how far away you might be—even across the world. The Tractive phone app also notifies dog parents anytime their dog leaves home with a dog walker or sitter, and monitors activity and sleep. The activity tracking functions of the app can help spot patterns as they develop and alert you to changes in your dog’s energy and exercise levels.
9. Smart Ball Thrower
iFetch Too Ball Thrower; $230, goifetch.com
If your dog is a fetch-a-holic, this is for you! The award-winning iFetch Too ball thrower launches a standard tennis ball 10, 25, or 40 feet. Dogs quickly learn they can drop the ball into the thrower, and it will toss balls for them. Change the throwing distance with the push of a button according to the size of your yard—or set the ball launcher to ‘random’ to keep your dog guessing! A built-in rechargeable battery makes it portable for on-the-go fetching fun.
10. DNA Testing
Basepaws; $149, basepaws.com
Discover your dog’s unique breed mix! If your mixed breed dog’s parentage is a mystery, consider a Breed + Health DNA test for your dog. Basepaw’s easy, painless screening process involves taking a saliva sample from your dog’s mouth. Send back the collection kit (shipping is free), and it will be analyzed to provide breed information unique to your dog. The Basepaw’s test provides a detailed breed breakdown of what breeds make up your dog’s mix. It also screens your dog for over 280 genetic health conditions, allowing you to assess your dog’s health risk and address proactively to provide the best care.
11. Wearable Camera
Mr Petcam; $70, mrpetcam.com
Get a dog’s eye view with this wearable camera that attaches to your dog’s collar! Mr. Pet Cam’s compact, lightweight collar-mounted HD video camera for dogs or cats lets you see what your dog sees in the yard, at home, and on walks. Set up is easy—just clip and go. The small, lightweight camera attaches securely to your dog’s collar and captures clear audio and HD 1080p video and with a 155-degree field-of-view. The waterproof camera even has night vision, and a motion sensor means it only records while your dog is in motion, extending battery life. The resulting footage is super fun to watch and ideal for sharing on social media. “The video results have been hilarious and unexpected,” says a reviewer.
12. Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba; $1399, irobot.com
Ah, dog hair, the scourge of dog lovers everywhere. Why not let a robot vacuum handle it for you? The Roomba Combo j9 + Robot Vacuum and Mop niftily banishes dog hair with a vacuum/mop combo that ensures no dog hair, dandruff, or other mess is left behind. It’s so smart that it prioritizes the dirtiest rooms first and avoids obstacles, like shoes and cords. It identifies floor type to seamlessly transition from hard floor to carpeting, so there are no wet carpet messes. They also have a Pet Owner Official Promise (P.O.O.P)—it won’t pick up pet messes or they’ll replace it for free. When finished its rounds, the Roomba returns itself to its dock for recharging and automatic emptying/refilling. An app lets you set custom schedules and clean specific areas. Ingenious!
This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Dog magazine.