What a wonderful time we live in. Self driving cars, smart AI computers, crazy scary robots, and… smartphone-enabled pet cameras. Okay maybe the last one isnt quite the same, but a few bright minds have created fun and unique ways for us humans to interact with our beloved kitties and puppies from anywhere in the world. But the fun doesn’t stop at spying on your pets while you sit in your office chair 20 miles away from the house.
The $63 billion pet market is seeing its own tech boom. 2016 witnessed an influx of pet-related technology products hitting the market, from interactive pet cameras with lasers and automatic feeders to app-controlled dog toys. Interacting with your pet from afar is becoming more personal and fun, diet and nutrition are becoming easier to manage, and best of yet, it’s all afordable. Companies including Petcube, among many others, truly believe in selflessly connecting people with their pets via technology.
As we approach the 2016 holiday season, it’s no surprise that pet technology, including pet cameras and automatic pet feeders, are reaching the top of Christmas lists. Let’s take a look at the top 8 pet technology gifts for Christmas 2016.
Top 8 Pet Technology Gifts for Christmas 2016
Pet cameras are flying off the shelves this year as pet parents realize their true potential – and more importantly, how well they actually work. The number of manufacturers are growing exponentially, many of which have very unique features including the Furbo Dog Camera’s barking alerts which send notifications to your phone. Petzi Treat Cam is one of the original (and best) pet cameras with a treat dispenser. Pawbo, Kittyo, and Petcube also include an interactive laser game to keep your pets entertained while you’re away. Just about all of the pet cameras out there today come standard with HD video streaming.
While on the subject of pet cameras, we just had to include one of the first and most innovative add-on accessories: PawCall. If you didn’t guess correctly from the name, yes, this accessory allows your pets to call you. PawCall connects to the PetChatz pet camera which also connects to your smartphone, allowing your pets to actually call you via the PetChatz app. This obviously takes quite a bit of training in order to get it to work – however, be careful, your dogs may be calling you every 5 minutes!
Automatic Pet Feeders
The Automatic Pet Feeder market is also surging, and for very good reasons. The most obvious benefit is convenience for pet owners, but perhaps the most important benefit is health and nourishment. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Many pet owners simply keep a bowl full of food on the floor and let their pets eat it whenever they’re hungry, which can quickly lead to problems such as bloat (eating too fast), liver disease, osteoporosis, heart disease, and more. The good news is that automatic pet feeders can space out meals throughout the day.
Automatic pet feeders work by setting the timer on the device itself or by using your smartphone, depending on the model. Food is stored in an air-tight container to prevent it from going stale, and then dispenses the food in specific measurements at specific times. Petnet is the most popular automatic pet feeder available and can recognize when the food supply is getting low and automatically order more. Feed and Go smart automatic pet feeder is another best seller which happens to include a webcam and voice recordings. For those of you with multiple pets, SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder actually reads the microchips in your pets and will only open the food container if a specific pet approaches it!
Fitbit revolutionized activity trackers and wearable technology for people. But what about dogs?! Companies including FitBark created health and fitness trackers that attach to your dog’s collar to gain a better understanding of your dog’s activity levels. FitBark can even sync with your FitBit, an amazing feature when walking your dogs. Similarly, Whistle Activity Monitor can track activity levels in dogs but the company also sells a Whistle GPS Pet Tracker in the event your pet runs off.
Automatic Ball Launchers (Fetch)
Earlier this year you may have come across the viral video of a rescue dog going crazy for his self-fetch dog toy. If you haven’t, it’s worth the watch. The smart fetch toy used in this video is made by GoDogGo, which has a 4 second launch interval and comes in various sizes depending on your dog breed. Another interactive ball thrower is the iFetch, which is available on Amazon. Similarly, iFetch also comes in two sizes. Automatic fetch machines are an amazing addition to your household to help stimulate the minds of active dogs.
If you’re not looking to break the bank this holiday season but still want to purchase an innovative and fun gift for your pets, a simple yet useful LED collar and ball hits the target. This is a great addition to households who typically work during the day and only have time to play with their pets outside after 5pm when it may get dark early. The Illumiseen LED Dog Collar is USB rechargeable and is available in 6 different colors and 6 different sizes. In addition, the Nite Ize MeteorLight K-9 LED Dog Ball lights up to ensure play time continues into the night.
You guessed right! DogTV is just that – TV for dogs. Some of the world’s leading pet experts recently scientifically designed content that your dog will love to see and hear. These thoroughly researched programming channels are great for reducing stress and separation anxiety. DogTV is currently available in the US through DirecTV and RCN. Even better, the PetChatz pet camera recently announced they will be partnering with DogTV to offer the same channels directly through the camera screen!
The PlayDate looks like your typical ball that you would play fetch with. The key is inside the shatterproof polycarbonate ball where there is a pet camera to allow you to see a unique angle as you play with your pet. As the pet owner, you control the ball remotely from your phone! Don’t worry, PlayDate didn’t forget about all you cat lovers out there. The PlayDate has a slit within the ball to attach ribbons and strings for your frisky feline friend!