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More Than Just PET-TY

Technology And Pets

So what’s all this fuss about? A treat dispenser for pets? My dog would probably rip it out of the wall if he sniffed out the treat. And a GPS tracker? Nope, no one’s going to dare to come close to him and even if he gets lost in the neighborhood, I’ll get phone calls immediately. Everyone in my locality knows my dog’s booming voice sailing through and disturbing the quiet of the night. Had my dog been docile and non-aggressive, I would have bought a Disco Dog vest which keeps track of the dog’s movements and sends updates to the owner’s smartphone. It is indeed hear-warming to see the world of IoT embrace the animal kingdom. If a dog wanders far enough for the connection to be lost, the LED fitted vest shows a “Lost Dog” message to draw the attention of bystanders. Another such device called Whistle, combines location tracking and activity management. These smart devices help bridge the communication gap between pets and owners and create a virtual database of information or “Internet of Things”, which can be accessed any time. PetCheck has made a Dog Walking Management Software which is helping the business of dog walking gain credibility. Pet owners can also use FitBark for their dogs and monitor their pet’s daily activities and keep a track of its health. There is also an all in one smart dog collar, called Dogtelligent, which allows owners to always remain connected with their dogs. The collar is packed with technology which includes GPS, Wi-Fi, 3G, thermometer, accelerometer, LED lights, a microphone and an ultrasonic speaker. It also gives reminders about vet visits.

As for me, some pet food and simple toys are as far as I’ve gone. You must be thinking I’m still an ancient, but I have to go with my dog’s personality. No dainty technology can work for him. My earlier dog, a Pomeranian could have used all this technology well but she left us a long time ago. Had the company, Celestis Pets been around then, it would have tried to sell me their “most unique pet memorial service in the universe”, but I know I’m practical enough to realize that sending my pet’s remains on a return journey through space isn’t going to do her soul any good. So, although most of the new age pet products are fluff, some are actually solving real world problems.

Glowdoggie, a Torono based company makes LED dog collars to ensure dogs are visible at night and thereby kept safe even off leash. Another company called Petzila offers a device called Petzi Treat Cam which when mounted on a wall in your house helps you monitor your dog while you’re away, through video streaming on your smartphone. It also allows owners to call out to their pets and time a treat.

The Automatic Dog Activated Outdoor Fountain with sonar sensing technology that releases water when a dog comes to it and stops the water as soon as the dog moves away, has been around for years now. The Canine Shower Stall by Hammacher Schlemmer has been termed a “special pooch hygiene station.”  It has a series of jets to help bathe your dog and is great for big dogs too.

A company called Dog Gone Smart, makes pet beds and apparels using Repelz-It material which uses nanotechnology and state of the art bacteriostatic which keeps bacteria, dirt and liquids from sticking to the fabric, thereby keeping away odors and germs. It is also free from carcinogens found in other fabrics manufactured with similar intentions.

The products that really interested me were dog calming products. I found a Pet Acoustics Ultra Calming Collar that plays soothing tunes. It might just work on my dog, that is if he doesn’t chew it off. There is also a Snuggly Puppy, which could do more harm than good. This plush puppy toy that has a heart-beat and is supposed help lonely dogs sleep better, is easy to rip apart and the warming pack may cause damage if dealt with unscrupulously by destructive pets.

I also came across a heart-warming story of Jill Stephens who hired a chemist to create a dog safe sunscreen as her dog was showing mal effects of sun exposure and Jill was afraid it could lead to something worse. Another recent story relates how a British couple enrolled the help of Sooam Biotech Research foundation in South Korea to clone their darling boxer, Dylan, after his death. The couple has welcomed their two new puppies that were born at the end of last year.

The pet industry has been slow in technology adoption but soon that will change because pet owners are turning into premium shoppers and are becoming less loyal to retailers. It’s about time technology disruption reached this particular industry and changed the lives of our pets too.