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Who said tech toys were reserved for just humans? Your pet may just well love gadgets as much as you do. That’s the premise behind a new crop of products designed for dogs, cats, and other animals in your life.
Some of these high-tech gizmos are for your pet’s protection or enjoyment, while others are more for their owner—or perhaps a little of both.
If you want to be dog’s best friend—or the cat’s meow—the following are a few items to consider.
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1. Furbo Dog Camera
Keep an eye on your pet while at work, and even dispense treats on demand. That’s the premise behind the Furbo pet camera.
Simply connect this HD camera to your Wi-Fi network, install the free app on your smartphone or tablet, and then kiss your canine goodbye as you leave the house. Now, wherever life takes you, launch the app, talk to your pet, snap a pic or shoot video, and dispense a treat from the launcher by swiping your screen.
Other features include night vision to see your dog in the dark, and a barking alert option, if you’d like to receive notifications to your phone. So now you can see what your furry friend all day to see if it’s anything like The Secret Life of Pets movie.
If cash is tight but you like the idea behind this gizmo, there’s also the $99 Petcube Bites 2 Lite Interactive WiFi Pet Monitoring Camera.
$199 at Amazon
2. NiteDog Rechargeable LED Leash
Be seen while walking your dog in the dark—that’s the premise behind the NiteDog Rechargeable LED Leash from Nite Ize.
Available in a few colors, including blue or lime green, these 5-foot leashes have two embedded ultra-bright LEDs, which send light through an integrated optical fiber for up to 6.5 hours between charges. When it’s time to juice up the leash, simply insert a micro USB cable (not included) and plug the leash into a computer, AC wall socket, or power strip.
This eye-catching and water-resistant leash has a soft grip, durable cable, and can be used in either constant glow or flash mode.
$19 at Amazon
3. ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Just like a Roomba can vacuum your floors for you, there are many automatic litter boxes that don’t require scooping, cleaning, or refilling for weeks at a time.
The second-generation ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box uses disposable trays pre-filled with crystal litter, which is said to quickly absorb urine and dehydrate solid waste to provide fewer odors than regular clumping litter. An automatic rake sweeps solid waste into the waste trap 20 minutes after your cat uses the litter box, so you never have to see or touch it. If your cat re-enters the box before the cleaning cycle starts, detection sensors automatically reset the rake timer.
Every few weeks you would remove the litter tray, cover with the lid, and dispose of it in the trash.
A health counter keeps track of how many times your favorite feline uses the box.
$200 at Amazon
4. Litter Robot 4
Another—and more high-tech—take on kitty litter is Litter Robot 4.
After your cat does its business and exits, an advanced circular and enclosed sifting system automatically separates the waste from the clean litter and deposits the clumps into a fully enclosed, odor-controlling drawer.
Dome-shaped and WiFi-enabled, the Litter-Robot is designed for cats five pounds and up. A companion app, AutoPets Connect, can send notifications when the waste drawer is full or the unit needs troubleshooting, and it tracks usage history to provide insights into your cat’s health.
$700 at Litter Robot
5. Automatic Ball Launcher
The PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher plays fetch with your dog when you can’t.
Whether you’re unable to toss a tennis ball or perhaps nursing a cold, this automatic launcher can do it for you. This water-resistant launcher has six angle and nine power settings, so you can tweak the desired height and distance. Train your dog to drop the retrieved tennis ball back on top of the launcher, and they’ll be rewarded with another tossed ball within moments.
Powered by AC (cord included) or D-cell batteries (not included), this launcher has multiple safety sensors so it won’t launch a ball if it detects the pet is too close.
$170 at Amazon
6. Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy
Also from PetSafe is the aptly named Dancing Dot Laser Cat Toy, a fun way to keep your cat active and engaged with a random laser display that stimulates its natural instincts to chase, stalk, and pounce.
Place the Dancing Dot on a flat surface or hang it from a doorknob by the attached strap and select from two play options: a single 15-minute session, or 15-minute intervals every two hours (say, if you’re leaving for the day). The manufacturer says the laser is certified Class 1, meaning there’s no safety risk from exposure.
$22 at Amazon
7. Halo 2+ Wireless Dog Fence and GPS Dog Collar
Endorsed by Cesar “The Dog Whisperer” Millan, the Halo 2+ Wireless Dog Fence and GPS Dog Collar is a high-tech collar designed to protect your precious pooch.
For one, Halo 2+ lets you create virtual fences wherever you may be (such as at a park) by walking the perimeter with your collar or by using the app; if your dog approaches the boundary, customizable notifications (such as a tone or slight vibration) instruct the dog to turn around. Training video tutorials by Cesar are part of the package.
Secondly, if your dog breaches the fence, you’re immediately notified on the Halo app and can track your pet’s whereabouts via its GPS chip in the collar.
Recommended for dogs over 20 pounds (and with neck sizes 11 inches and bigger), you can create up to 20 virtual fences.
An accompanying Halo plan (starting at $4.49/month) is required to enable data storage for virtual fences, GPS location services, activity tracking, and more.
$700 at Halo
8. Apple AirTags
A way less expensive (but more limited) way to track your pet is to place an AirTag on your pet’s collar.
So long as you rock an iPhone and have the “Find My” set up, AirTags can help you find your lost things—such as your car keys, backpack, or purse—or even affix it to your beloved pet’s collar (though Apple says it was not designed for pets or children).
Apple’s AirTags broadcast a Bluetooth signal to help locate lost items. When the tracker is in range of your iPhone, see the tracker on your Find My app if close by, plus you can emit a sound when you tap to find it. You can also ask Siri to find your missing item, and AirTag will play a sound if nearby. AirTags also use ultra-wideband technology to more precisely lead you to its location, so you’ll see a directional arrow that points you directly to an AirTag’s location (and how far away it is, in real time).
Now here’s where AirTags really get interesting: if your AirTag is out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network may help track it down. By leveraging roughly a billion Apple devices around the globe, it can detect Bluetooth signals from an AirTag and relay the location back to you. Plus, you can place AirTag into Lost Mode in the Find My app, and be notified when it has been located.
$89 at Amazon
9. Bird Buddy
Tweet about this: bird lovers need not feel left out of the fun.
Available now for preorder, Bird Buddy: A Smart Bird Feeder is an ideal outdoor gadget for bird aficionados.
Essentially, Bird Buddy is a weatherproof bird feeder with an integrated camera to take up-close photos of airborne visitors, plus it features artificial intelligence that can recognize bird species based both on image and sound. A companion app keeps a real-time log for you, and automatically organizes species for you into collections.
The battery-powered device should last up to 30 days, says the company, at which time you’ll pull out a detachable module and bring into the home to charge up with a USB-C cable (included). A solar model is also for sale for $70 more.
$199 at Bird Buddy
10. Koller Smart Tank
Finally, fish lovers aren’t left out of the fun, either.
There’s the Smart Tank from Koller Products, a 7-gallon aquarium that synchronizes with a companion app on your smartphone or tablet to let you track your aquarium’s water temperature and get push notifications if the water gets too warm or too cool.
The Koller Smart Tank is also equipped with customizable LED lighting that; with the app you change colors on the fly and set schedules to turn the illumination on and off.
$115 at Koller
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.