The Internet of Things has arrived at the gates of the animal kingdom, and it comes bearing all kinds of intriguing and fun gifts for your furry and feathered best friends.
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The wearables industry is overflowing with pet tech—gadgets for animals to track their health, whereabouts, and activities, as well as communicate with and feed them treats remotely. Here are 14 cool tech toys that help you keep tabs on, talk to, play with, and lend a helping paw to your best friend from wherever you are.
Wage slaves and road warriors who are routinely away from home for long stretches of time often wonder how their lonely companions are getting along, and long to reassure them that mom or dad will be back very soon. The Pawbo+ interactive pet camera ($199) facilitates multiple wireless conversations via two-way audio and video.
You can be joined by up to eight friends and family in chatting up your cat or dog while a treat dispenser lets you entertain and reward them for being a good boy or girl. You can shoot both still photos with a 130-degree wide-angle lens and 720p HD videos with the Pawbo Life app for iOS and Android and immediately share them on social media. A laser pointer game—which you can play in real time or set to go off at automatic intervals—keeps your darling frisky and occupied.
Pea and Bean
Poof's Pea and Bean are two extremely small and lightweight activity trackers for dogs and cats. Both do the same thing, but with different kinds of batteries to best suit your lifestyle. The Pea weighs .25 ounces--about the same as a quarter--and uses a replaceable coin cell battery that provides a six month battery life. The Bean weighs .12 ounces (more like a small pill) and its rechargeable battery lasts about two months on a single charge.
Just pair either device with the free Poof activity tracker app for iOS or Android, which displays data like daily activity, rest, food intake, and calories burned so you can detect health and mental changes in your pet over time. The app tracks trends and notes progress in your pet's exercise and recommends food servings and activity levels to keep your friend healthy. You can also share photos and comments via the app's social network.
The Pea is $39.99 and the Bean is $49.99, and both come in an assortment of fashionable colors. With each purchase, 100 percent of proceeds are donated to GreaterGood.org, a charity that supports animal shelters.
Voyce Health Monitor
Keeping tabs on your dog's health requires more than just annual visits to the vet. Like humans, dogs also need to stay in shape with activity and mental stimulation. The Voyce Health Monitor for $199, co-developed by biomedical engineers, veterinarians, and the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, is a tracker collar that can measure resting heart and respiratory rates, activity and intensity, calories burned, distance travelled, and the quality of rest.
The collar works with the online Voyce Wellness Management Center, a site that helps you analyze the monitor's gathered data. Using its vital sign baseline, the app helps to detect changes in your dog's health, set goals for a healthier lifestyle, consult a library of resources, and set reminders for vaccinations, vet visits, and even play dates.
Bird Photo Booth
Have you made friends with neighborhood avians? If so, you'll want to immortalize your relationship with Hollywood-style closeups from Bird Photo Booth, a wireless, motion-activated 4K camera inside an enclosure that's attached to a bird feeder. With Bird Photo Booth, you can watch, film, and feed your winged friends all at the same time.
Mount the weather-proof camera casing to a window or wall and place the 4K camera (sold separately) or your own iOS or Android device inside the enclosure. Both can be controlled wirelessly. The bird cam lets you get unique close-up shots as the birds approach the feeder, while you remain far enough away so you don't startle them. Watch a live feed wirelessly stream from your iPhone to your iPad, or any other Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled device and use the app to start snapping feathers, expressions, and emotions. Bird Photo Booth lets you remotely watch, photograph, and video backyard birds in real time for $179.95.
If you are an office-tethered guardian of a furry being, you could spend as much as 10 hours a day away from home, leaving your furry loved ones to their lonely devices. Not anymore. With the new, improved Petcube Play—an indoor home pet camera that lets you check in on your pets from your smartphone—neither of you has to suffer separation anxiety.
Priced at $199, the Petcube Play gives you even better, more interactive flexibility. Redesigned and more compact at 3 x 3 x 3 inches with two-way audio to talk to and hear your pet, the device and companion smartphone app uses sound and motion alerts to notify you of what's going on at home . You can view 1080p video streams shot with a 138-degree wide angle camera, and employ night vision when the sun goes down. The unit's built-in laser toy lets you play with and exercise your pet anytime.
Petzi Treat Cam
Don't leave your fur baby home alone and lonely as you go out and party with your friends—or leave to the office for work. Petzi Treat Cam, a remote treat dispenser and camera for $169.95, lets you stay in visual and vocal touch with your companion.
You can see, speak to, photograph with the wide-angle camera, and dispense treats to your dog or cat. It all happens with the smartphone app. A universal treat launcher dispenses the crunchy treats of your choice (as long as they're smaller than an inch). You can also share your pet's photo on social networks.
No one likes to be alone and bored all day. Especially not your dog. With CleverPet, a bubble-shaped device for $299, Fido can be trained and entertained with simple cognitive games.
CleverPet, whose software was developed by PhDs in computational neuroscience, fulfills your dog's cognitive needs with lights, sounds, and colors for maximum engagement. The device offers dozens of engaging puzzles and games using touch pads, lights, and customizable sounds and words paired with food rewards up to 2.5 cups of kibble per day. New games update automatically via Wi-Fi on the CleverPet Hub, but you maintain full control.
Now, you can outfit your pal with a stylish little bowtie collar that doubles as a fitness tracker. Wonderwoof, at $95, concentrates on exercise keeping your active dog happy and healthy. As an activity monitor, it's like a doggie Fitbit that measures activity levels like how much they run around, rest, and play in order to monitor their overall health.
An app based community also lets you share experiences of your activity tracking with recommended activity levels for your breed and using map-based social features. The collar comes in a variety of colors with optional (sold separately) accent patterns. Add caretakers, family, or friends to the app to remotely monitor your dog's activity and set reminders for their medical, grooming, and feeding times.
Even the most responsible pet owners can lose track of their pet on the street, while hiking, or on a camping trip. Or just by leaving the window open a little too wide one morning.
Pet loss is always tragic, but technology makes it easier than ever to avoid it. G-Paws Track (available for $40) helps you discover where your cat has traveled or how fast your dog runs—and then shares and even compares them.
This information is uploaded to your pet profile on G-Paws.com and can be shared with others. A tiny, lightweight GPS data recorder that is designed to fit unobtrusively in any cat or dog collar, the unit includes a motion sensor that only records when your pet is moving—to save on battery life, which is about eight hours.
Everyone loves their cat, but no one likes scooping litter. Not only that: If you are gone for most of the day, the box may start to fill up and become unpleasant for kitty to use. Litter Robot automatic self-cleaning litter box does the dirty work for you, ensuring you never have to scoop or have your cat suffer a dirty box again.
The box comes in three models: Open Air, Bubble, and Classic, which range from $349 to $449, with each increment adding features. All models self clean after each use, are great for multiple cats, and accommodate all sizes, even those as light as five pounds.
Oh, and if you want suggestions for a cheaper robo-litterbox, check out our recent roundup.
GoBone, a smart bone powered by artificial intelligence, moves all around the floor by itself acting as a surrogate to keep your doggie entertained while you're away at work. Load a treat inside (if you want; it's optional), then tap the bone and watch it whiz around the floor inspiring the curiosity of even the laziest pooch.
Without the need for you to get up off the couch, your frisky friend gets a workout, customized to age, weight, level of activity, and overall health. But hey, it's not all one-sided. You can control the GoBone yourself through its companion mobile app, whether you're in the same room or in a boring meeting at the office. GoBone, is a Kickstarter project, and is available now for pre-order for $169. It's scheduled to ship in December.
Pawtrack GPS Cat Tracking
You try to keep your cats indoors so they don't meet up with the dangers of roaming coyotes, cars, or dangerous people... but these wily little creatures often make it outside without your knowing it. Keep track of your little feline with the GPS Pawtrack cat-tracking collar.
This flexible device for $225 is equipped with 3G network support, built-in Wi-Fi, accelerometer, and infrared, lets you see exactly where your kitty is on a map. It automatically gets a location fix every 10 minutes, and if you want, the device can even track your cat live in real time. The Pawtrack website or mobile app lets you follow along with your kitty's daily adventures.
It recognizes your home Wi-Fi too, so it knows when your cat is lounging on the couch with you and quits tracking to save battery life. The collar comes with unlimited data and the first 12 months subscription free. You will charged a monthly subscription of $6.99 after 12 months.
Furbo Dog Camera
You've gone to the dogs—or maybe it's just that when you're gone, your dog doesn't know where to go or what to do. The Furbo Dog Camera ($224) features live 720p HD video streaming, 120-degree wide-angle lens camera with 4x digital zoom, and two-way audio to help you stay connected with your friend while you're out.
A companion app lets you play with your dog by tossing treats into the air with a swipe, making it fun for your dog to chase and alleviating the loneliness and boredom. Furbo's built-in micophone and speaker lets you hear what's going on and talk to your dog. Furbo also senses when your dog is barking and sends an alert to your phone. Check in on your loved one at any time: Infrared LED night vision features let you see your dog no matter how late it gets.
Whistle GPS Pet Tracker
Losing a dog is a heartbreak, and it happens way too often. But you can make sure that never happens to your friend with the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker, an on-collar GPS device that works with a companion mobile app to accurately locate your pet or notify you when Fido has left your designated "safe" zone.
It's waterproof and can attach to any collar or harness up to one inch wide. And that's not all: Whistle's location-tracking is combined with an activity monitor that gives you insight into your dog's health and behavior. Add friends, family, and pet sitters to the account so everyone stays updated on their favorite pooch. Use this information to set goals based on the age, breed, and weight of your dog and for tracking long-term health to detect subtle changes. The tracker costs $49.95, and a required service plan ranges from $6.95 to $9.95 per month.