Pets go high-tech with step counters, gaming consoles & GPS tracking

Our fur babies really do have everything — but it turns out, there are a few more things they might need.

Like pet-friendly fitness trackers, two-way video communication with their humans, electronic games and auto-delivery of treats and stimulation.

And experts say, the demand for all that stuff is only going to rise.

According to Verified Market Research, the pet tech market was valued at $5.4-billion (US) in 2019 and is projected to jump $31.9-billion by 2027.

“The growing reliance on pets for mental wellbeing, fitness, and entertainment has led to increased spending on pet animals,” the report noted when it was released late last year.

All of it is good news for pet tech companies, internet providers and telecommunications firms.

AT&T has created a comprehensive Pet Tech Guide for 2021.

“This guide showcases the best pet tech devices currently on the market,” said Lori Mumby, a community outreach manager with AT&T.

And much of it, and previous guides, highlight the items analysts are also watching as the corporate stars in the coming years.

There’s smart cat litter from Pretty Litter.

It changes colour to let you know if your cat might have a health problem ranging from a urinary tract infection to crystals or stones in the bladder.

Or how about a self-cleaning litter box so you don’t have to deal with the litter box?

Litter-Robot comes with a “no scoop promise” as it cycles out waste, separating it from clean litter. It even drops refuse into a bagged waste bin below the clean bed of litter.

Photo: Litter-Robot

Take FitBark which is like a Fitbit, but for dogs.

This gadget attaches to the dog’s collar and will track fitness, sleep and calories burned. It also counts barks and sets “playtime goals so your dog achieves opportune activity levels,” according to AT&T.

All the information is stored through an app on your phone.

It also turns out, your pet might want to zoom, facetime or google meet you — especially when you’re not working from home anymore.

That’s where PetChatz comes in. The two-way video camera and speaker allows your pet to see and hear you.

“Perhaps its coolest feature is the ability to dispense treats and aromatic scents to comfort your pet when you’re away,” according to AT&T.

Photo: PetChatz

The Petnet SmartFeeder is also proving to be popular item for pet owners when they have to leave the house.

It picks up where you might have forgot. The automatic pet feeder controls your dog or cat’s portion size and mealtime.

Photo: Petnet

Chewy also has an automatic WiFi operated dog and cat smart feeder.

This high-tech food dish allows you to see how your furry friend is doing with an HD camera and it records at night.

“Schedule daily feeding times in the corresponding app and even leave a recorded message for when it’s time to eat,” AT&T notes.

And, think gaming is just for kids?

It turns out CleverPet thinks your dog will dig electronic games, too.

And the company’s gaming console might just be the thing dogs need when we all go back to work at the office after the pandemic.

This high-tech toy challenges — and entertains — pets and then rewards them with treats.

“In 2016 we released the CleverPet Hub, the world’s first game console for dogs,” the company explains.

Fast forward to 2021, and it’s currently sold out of its V1 models. Now CleverPet is working on its next generation model, the V2, which is available for pre-order.

Speaking of games, here’s one for ball chasing and digging dogs from iFetch.

There’s a ball launcher for dogs who love to play fetch.

And, there’s also the iDig digging toy.

“This toy satisfies your pup’s craving to dig holes through the attachable flaps at the base of the toy,” as AT&T points out. “Hide their favorite small toys or treats into a pocket on the flaps then watch your dog dig, pull, yank and tug until they reach their treats.”

Photo: iFetch

And since nobody wants to lose their pet, there are also great high-tech ways to keep track of Fluffy or Spot.

Whistle offers GPS tracking through a tiny gizmo on your pet’s collar.

You can set zones so when your animal wanders outside designated areas, you get an alert. It’s a great pet finder, but can also be a pet fitness and sleep monitor.

Photo: Whistle

PetPace is a small sensor on your pet’s collar which allows owners to monitor their health.

This “smart collar” will keep track of heart rate, weight, breathing and connected owners with veterinarians.

The pandemic has really brought on a pet boom.

Adoptions of dogs and cats have gone through the roof. These electronic trackers, toys — and more — will no doubt be flying off shelves for years to come.

If we’ve learned nothing in the past year, it really is that pets are our best friends — and we may just want to splurge on them.

There’s a huge heap of tech out there — and more on the way.

But as Mumby’s team points out, “At the end of the day, simply spending time with your four-legged furballs is the best way to strengthen bonds and to make sure they’re happy and healthy.” 

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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