Pets of Instagram: Smart home tech ideas for dog and cat lovers

Because dogs need treadmills too

The pet tech of Instagram

According to research conducted by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association half of British households have an animal, with the country overall brimming with 51 million pets; barking, playing, and scratching their unmentionables. Spoiling these pets is big business. In the US, pet owners spend a huge $69bn a year on pets while in the UK, people spend £18m a year on dogs and cats alone.

The pet tech industry is both barking and booming. In the bad books with your dog or cat and need to spoil them to show that you really care? Pedigree Chum just won’t cut it. A bit of tech, from an automatic ball thrower to a camera with two-way radio, will do the trick.

Read this: The best pet cameras and treat dispensers for cats and dogs

We’ve found some of the top gizmos shown off on Instagram by the very best pet-grammers so that you can get on top of the latest trends and back in the good books.

Petcube

There’s something curious about the lives of our pets the minute we leave them in peace. Are they smoking cigarettes and playing cards when we pop to the shop or nosing the worktops for scraps?

This neat little package of a 1080p smart camera and two-way radio will reveal all. As the owner of these two California Border Collies shows off the latest version comes with a treat dispenser, so your dog doesn’t know it’s being spied on.




iFetch

Launched as a Kickstarter campaign back in June 2013, this interactive, automatic throwing device comes in three sizes for big and small dogs, indoors and outdoors including the iFetch Frenzy that fires miniature tennis balls.

Once you've selected the distance - 10m, 20m/25m, 30m/40m or random - your dog can drop the ball into the top of the device and it'll fire straight back out. Great if you’ve got a pet T-Rex.



PetChatz

This device allows pet owners to interact with their furry friends from a distance but it works in a different way from the Petcube.

PetChatz grabs the attentions of cats and dogs with all the senses, it’s aimed at easing pangs of separation as much as supervision with the inclusion of calming scents and a Paw Call function that lets your pet call you. It also mounts on the wall for stylish home integration.




MOAI

This startup for your aquarium has built a robot that helps keep your fish tank clean, prevents algae building up, and also captures the thrills and spills under the water in HD.

The camera bot connects to Wi-Fi for 24/7 live streams, bookmarks positions on the glass, where certain fish hang out for instance, and can Auto-Cruise to explore the tank horizontally. MOAI was 450% funded by November 2017 and it’s arriving in July this year.



Frolicat

Keeping a cat occupied is a full time job. Frolicat’s range of kitty interactive toys has got you covered. This jack-in-the-box style device shots out a tail so that Tabby can get some playtime whilst you’re out at the office.

There’s also a laser toy that is designed to appeal to a feline’s natural hunting instincts – and also makes funny videos of a cat effectively chasing shadows.


Smart collars

Smart GPS tracking collars for pets need to fit two requirements. They need to look the part and not chomp through data. And when they look good they’re shown off on social media, as shown by Edinburgh-based pet photographer dogtraxinsta. The RAWR Collar is even more streamline, also functioning as a temperature sensor it will keep pet owners alerted if your dog gets too hot.

Meanwhile, PitPat, another tracker is like a Fitbit for dogs, measuring doggy activity by monitoring minutes of walking, running, resting, as well as calories burned. The clip on waterproof and lightweight tracker, with accompanying app, also let’s you program a set workout routine for your dog, making it ideal for pets recovering from an injury or illness.




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2 comments

  • scq7

    I'd like to see an article addressing automatic pet feeders and full pet ecosystems (eg Wagz). I have 2 golden retrievers and I'm prepared to invest, to a point, in an ecosystem like Wagz with its smart dog collar, smart feeder, smart bowl and smart door. However I want the ecosystem to play nicely with other tech (i.e smart home platforms like Google Assistant, smart cameras like Arlo and be both battery &/or mains powered), other suppliers (I do NOT want to be forced to feed my dog one brand of food line Whello) and lastly it needs to be robust (e.g these smart collars need to be water proof). If a company delivers the above I'm prepared to invest serious money.

  • scq7

    I am interested in reading further smart pet technology articles that cover smart dog feeders and smart dog ecosystems (e.g. Wagz smart dog collar, smart dog door, smart water bowl etc).

    I own two golden retrievers, I am a casual member of a dog club and I know a lot of people interested in this emerging technology. Many are keen to invest in products/services that deliver convenience, safety and health outcomes.

    Topics to cover include:

    a) What services are packaged with the 'pet tech'?
    - does the device offer an app or web site fort configuration and control?
    - does the device collect data about the dog that can be useful for the owner?
    - what is the service model? fee for service? subscription? free?

    b) Does the 'pet tech' play nicely with others?
    - does is work with smart home assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa?
    - does it support smart home protocols like z-wave, zigbee etc?
    - does it integrate somehow with smart cameras like the Arlo Pro 2?
    - can smart security systems recognise a dog with a smart collar?

    c) Is the 'pet tech' part of a broader ecosystem?
    - does a dog collar work with a dog feeder &/or water bowl &/or dog door?
    - does it lock you into services? (e.g. can the Wagz dog feeder work with no Whello food?)

    d) Is the 'pet tech' truly resilient?
    - is it water resistant? salt water resistant?
    - what temperatures can it handle?

What do you think?

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