Hi-tech is not just for your homes or your kids anymore—we are seeing a plethora of high tech devices for our pets as well. It’s amazing how much we can stay in touch with our pets, now able to monitor and track their behaviors, activity, location, and health, as well as being able to control their outdoor borders, their meal proportions and their eating behavior.
Many years ago, boundary fences, or invisible fences were introduced that would warn a dog wearing the special collar that they were approaching an unacceptable perimeter in the yard. These were, and still are, terrific and effective devices to help train dogs not to run past marked areas. Now, with the introduction of newer GPS collars, an owner can be alerted immediately if their pet leaves a certain pre-set perimeter, and track them as they are exploring the neighborhood. Think about the peace of mind that this can give you while your pets are alone during the day and find a way to escape. Activity collars, can monitor your pets’ daily patterns—sleeping, walking, running, eating, etc. allowing you to check in on them anytime during the day using your cell phones. These programs will also chart results for you for later evaluation if you can’t always check on them real time. Some devices will even monitor heart rate, respiration rate and patterns, as well as body temperature. Think about the ability to continue to monitor the vitals of your pet after a hospital stay, and be able to send the data directly to your veterinarian!
We see other applications of Hi-Tech devices relating to feeding our pets. Now self-feeders are available where you can pre-set the time of feeding, and the amount of food to be fed, which is a great way to control obesity—the number one nutritional disease affecting our pets. What about special diets in a multiple pet household where not all the pets are being fed the same food? Well there now feeders available that have an electronically controlled lid that covers the bowl, and only the pet wearing the “open” medallion on its collar can open the lid, and the other pets wearing the “close” medallion on their collars will signal the lid to close if they approach the bowl. I’ve seen that in action, and it’s really cool! Some of these self-feeding devices are also equipped with a camera accessible from your phones, so you can monitor your pet while he or she is eating. And, for the dog who wolfs his food down in seconds, there are food control feeders which slow the food delivery, thus slowing down your dog’s “food attack!”
Many pet parents have listed access to care a top priority when it comes to the care of their pets. Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen a big boom in tele-health apps, or connected care apps. These tools allow pet parents to have an unparalleled peace of mind knowing that care is just seconds away whenever they need it. Without these platforms, access to care suffers so much that the vast majority of pet owners are turning to Google or social media for vet help before even attempting to talk to a vet. That’s scary! Apps like Airvet allow pet owners to talk to a licensed veterinarian via live video and chat 24/7, helping avoid unnecessary emergency visits late at night, or even doing a virtual re-check with their own vet after a physical exam, all from the comfort of their own home and in a matter of minutes. These technologies are changing the way we can and will access care for our pets – and definitely for the better.
Another set of devices that have been gaining popularity are the in-home and yard Web Cams. I’m sure many of you have wondered what your pets are up to during the day, which one got into the garbage or chewed your new favorite shoes or the sofa cushion. Or, which one left you a present on the kitchen floor, or worse yet, on the family room couch. Now, with your strategically placed web cams you can keep an eye on your 4 legged crew while you’re away from the house, or you can check the recordings once you are home.
To keep them occupied while they’re alone, there are some fun Hi-Tech electronic toys that not only challenge your pets and keep them busy, many can also deliver treats during play time to reward them and reinforce their play behavior. These can definitely keep your pets out of trouble!