If you’re a pet owner then you know that taking care of your four-legged friend can be as taxing as raising a child. The only difference is that the child eventually grows up and becomes self-sufficient, but your pet needs care for life. You're left constantly wondering what they’re up to when they’re home alone, if they’re getting enough physical exercise, or if you’re giving them too much or too little food.
It turns out that we can use technology to ease some of these worries. There are many interesting products designed for your dogs or cats. Here are some interesting gadgets we’ve handpicked, that you can buy right now.
1) PetCube Camera
PetCube is a San Francisco-based company that makes electronics for pets. The PetCube Camera is it's entry-level product. It is a square-shaped box that's small enough to sit on a coffee table. It includes a camera that shoots video in 720p, and has a 138-degree wide angle view. Using the accompanying app, you can see in real-time what’s up with your pet when you’re out of the house. The device permits digital zoom of up to 3x. It also has a speaker and microphone, so you can talk to your pet using the app.
An interesting function of the PetCube Camera is a built-in laser toy. It's similar to a laser pointer used during presentations, and you can tap anywhere on the viewfinder in the app, and a laser dot will appear in the corresponding place at your home. And you know how much fun pets can have with laser pointers, don’t you? The company suggests that the laser toy is certified safe for pets and humans. Beyond this, the PetCube Camera also pushes notifications if it detects any sound or motion in the home. This product costs $149 (roughly Rs. 10,000). A better version of the device, dubbed PetCube Play, has additional features such as night vision, 1080p video recording, and smaller dimensions, and this sells for $199 (roughly Rs. 13,400). The company also offers PetCube Care, which is a cloud recording and footage analysis service, priced at $30 (roughly Rs. 2,000) per month.
The PitPat is a dog activity monitor that helps track your dog’s fitness, just as a fitness band tracks your activity. The small-sized device can be clipped to any typical dog collar, and the bundled iOS or Android app will show you important stats on how much activity your dog has had each day.
The device pairs with your phone using Bluetooth, and there’s also built-in memory that can log over a week’s worth of activity data. After feeding app with details like the breed and age, it will create an ideal exercise plan to keep your dog healthy. You can set goals and track progress. You can also see how much sleep your dog is getting. The device is made to be rugged and offers IP67 grade water resistance. It also has a surprisingly long battery life of over a year as per the maker, and operates on a typical CR1632 ‘coin cell’ battery.
The PitPat costs 39.99GBP (roughly Rs. 3,400), which is less than what you'd pay for a Fitbit for yourself. There is also no subscription fee to keep using PitPat. Alternatively, you can also check out the FitBark, which appear similar in function, but FitBark also works with human fitness trackers to help motivate both the owner and the dog towards a better health. Beyond fitness, this one also tracks other health aspects such as behaviour, and has a more fleshed-out app. However, The FitBark’s built-in battery lasts only 14 days on a single charge. This one costs $69 (roughly Rs. 4,700).
The Furbo is a cute-looking pet monitor with an interesting feature - a treat dispenser that’s controllable via a companion app. So, apart from seeing what your pet is up to and talking to it, you can also press a button in the app to drop a treat stored in the container. You can store up to 30 pieces of doggie treats inside Furbo at a time. The 720p capable 120-degree wide-angle camera also supports night mode, to see what the furry ones are up to in dim lighting.
Furbo will also send a push notification when your dog is barking. The Furbo costs $224 (roughly Rs. 15,000). Petzi is also a similar treat cam that's priced a little lower at $170 (roughly Rs. 11,400). Lastly, PetCube which we mentioned above, is also working on a similar product, though that's only going to be out in 2017.
4) iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher
It might be fun to play fetch with the dog, but not when you’re absolutely exhausted after a long day, while the dog’s well-rested and excited to play. The iFetch might just be an interesting proposition that’ll keep you relaxed, and your dog endlessly entertained. Similar to a baseball pitching machine, the iFetch shoots balls which you feed through the inlet on top. The device is meant to be placed on the floor so it’s within the reach of the dog. This is so that instead of putting balls in yourself, you could potentially train the dog to do so, hopefully creating an autonomous loop of doggie entertainment.
The iFetch for small dogs starts at $115 (roughly Rs. 7,800), while the one for adult dogs that can shoot proper tennis balls costs $199 (roughly Rs. 13,400). There’s also a third small model that gently rolls balls in three directions, for $50 (roughly Rs. 3,400).
5) PetNet Smartbowl
The PetNet SmartBowl, as the name suggests, is a smart doggie bowl which precisely measures portions of food your pet ought to consume. This digital weighing scale cum food container has LED strips on the side, which suggest the adequate quantity.
It can figure this out once you input your dog’s details in the accompanying Petnet app. The app also helps you to track how much food the dog or cat is consuming. Smartbowl communicates with the app using Wi-Fi and has a built-in rechargeable battery too. You can buy this for $50 (roughly Rs. 3,400).
If you’re not keen on spending a lot of money on pet monitoring products, you can use old smartphones to create your own pet monitor. Camio can be installed on any Android and iOS device. You can have multiple phones in different parts of the house (preferably mounted to a holder and plugged into a charger), and monitor all the video feeds together. The app also supports two-way communication, and you can also grant monitoring access to other people. Although viewing real-time is free, Camio also offers a monthly subscription of $9 per camera per month (roughly Rs. 600) for a complete cloud video backup. The company says it uses machine learning algorithms to automatically identify important events recorded by Camio, and a smart search function helps sift through hours of footage easily to find what you’re looking for.
We hope these products have given you some ideas of how you can improve your pet’s life. Are there other such interesting products you know of that aren’t covered here? Let us know via the comments below.