Perhaps we love our pets a little too much, but we don’t care. We are all about giving our good doggos and pretty kitties the absolute best in life, and bringing you news on devices that can help you do the same.
We’ve introduced you to a and . But what you may not have known is that there is an entire world of pet tech out there.
Have you ever thought about getting your pooch an automatic ball launcher for when you’re too exhausted to play fetch? What about swapping out your feline’s watering bowl for a premium water fountain that keeps the H2O fresh for longer?
If not, we want to tell you more about those products and where you can get your paws (we couldn’t help ourselves) on them.
What is ‘pet tech?’
When we say “pet tech,” we’re basically talking about any piece of tech — deemed “smart” or otherwise — that can enhance the life of your pet (and in turn, yours).
The pet tech umbrella spreads much wider than you might think. The first things that probably come to mind are cameras that keep you in the loop about what your companion is up to while you’re away from home, and tracking collars for helpful location services and possible emergency situations.
But there are a lot of other helpful devices out there that can make being a pet owner much less stressful, and even provide your pet with a little extra happiness throughout the day (they deserve it, after all). This can come in the form of automatic feeders that you can customize to your dog or cat’s eating schedule, litter boxes that will empty themselves so your time spent touching (and smelling) that stuff is significantly cut down, bathing devices, vacuums that are meant to suck up pet hair, and much more. Of course, we’ll show you a few of those things in a bit.
Do you need a bunch of fancy pet tech?
Technically, no, you don’t. But do we even need fancy tech for ourselves? Of course not, but we do it anyway. So allow us to make the argument that you should if you can afford to do so.
If knowing that the life of your pet will most likely improve with most of these products, it’s important to know that so will yours. Taking care of a pet is hard, demanding work — a living thing is in your care, and that can be enough to stress out even the most calm and organized individuals.
What should first-time pet owners prioritize?
If you’re a first-time pet owner that just recently brought a new cat or dog home, it may be difficult to buy pet tech in bulk — it can run up quite a bill, and you’ll have to add it to all the other basics you need to pick up for your first pet (bowls, food, maybe a crate, a bed, etc). But, there are a few things you might want to prioritize getting first so you have all the most important bases covered.
After a collar and an ID tag, the first thing we recommend is getting a GPS device to attach to your pet. New pets aren’t just new to you, they’re new to the world around them — and a lot of times, they can get curious. That opens up the possibility of them wandering away and getting lost, and in that scenario, you’re going to want to find them easily. A pet tracker can help you with that, and then some.
The best pet trackers have incredibly in-depth health tracking that can keep you up to date on your pet’s overall health, including their activity levels, calorie burn, sleep habits, and more. The Whistle Go Explore, which is included in our list below, is a prime example of this, and features other helpful perks like an intuitive companion app, consistent wellness reports, and a built-in light that might be hard to find elsewhere.
Another piece of pet tech you’ll want to pick up early on is a camera. Many of us have jobs that don’t allow us to work from home forever, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through the day completely clueless as to what your pet is up to while you’re out and about. A good pet camera can be accessed from your smartphone for periodic check-ins, and some of them (like Furbo) allow you to toss out treats for some interactivity with your pet even when you can’t be physically present. Furbo is also a great option due to its night-vision capabilities, two-way audio, and notifications for movement and barking.
After those two items are part of your pet tech repertoire, the rest is up to you and can be purchased at your leisure.
What is the best tech for pet owners?
It’s time to get into our picks. Here are a few of the latest (and best) tech items that every pet-obsessed owner needs right now.
Real-time tracking and health stats • Almost completely waterproof • Long battery life • Durable
Snap collar attachment isn’t always reliable
The Whistle Go Explore is one of the best GPS trackers on the market for pets, boasting accurate location and health monitoring services.
Whistle Go ExploreThe Whistle Go Explore is one of the best GPS trackers on the market for pets, boasting accurate location and health monitoring services.
It’s a highly durable device — almost completely waterproof, with a long-lasting battery that can supposedly work for up to 20 days on a full charge. It also boasts other features, like a night light, food calculator, and tele-vet access.
If you want to learn more about what the Whistle Go Explore can do, check out our review.
Self-emptying base • Self-cleaning brush roll • Recharge and resume function
Doesn’t get as deep of a clean as other robot vacuums
The Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL allows you to do the least amount of work possible thanks to its self-emptying and -cleaning capabilities, so if you prefer to let your vacuum do its job and forget about it, this is the one you want.
Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XLThe Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL makes the least amount of work possible for you with its self-emptying and cleaning functions.
The Shark also does a pretty good job when it comes to suction, effortlessly picking up crumbs, hair, and more from deep within carpets. A self-cleaning brush roll keeps hair from getting wrapped around and gumming up the works. More great features include smart home mapping over time, voice commands via smartphone or smart speaker, and a handy “recharge and resume” function. If you want to do the least amount of work possible, this might be the robot vacuum for you.
Toss treats from your smartphone or smart speaker • Night-vision • Two-way audio • Movement and barking notifications
Can be hindered if you don’t have amazing WiFi
Furbo is one of the most popular pet cameras around, and for good reason — its features are unique, and most of them work flawlessly.
Furbo Pet CameraFurbo is one of the most popular pet cameras around, and for good reason — its features are unique, and most of them work flawlessly.
Unlike typical home monitoring systems that send you basic motion and sound notifications, Furbo’s smart alerts only notify you of pet-related events like barking and erratic movement. The built-in 1080p night vision camera lets you livestream video so you can tune in day and night through the Furbo companion app. Best of all, it works with Amazon Alexa, so you can say something like “Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat every hour,” and let the robots do their thing.
If you want to learn even more about Furbo, check out our review.
An easier way to bathe your pet • Better for nervous animals • Can attach to a shower head or water hose spout
Hair can get stuck in the AquaPaw itself, and can be a pain to clean
If your pet is normally hesitant to hop in the tub for a scrub, the AquaPaw is a great alternative to get them squeaky clean.
AquaPawIf your pet is normally hesitant to hop in the tub for a scrub, the AquaPaw is a great tool for getting them clean.
Aquapaw is a wearable sprayer and scrubber you can turn on and off by squeezing your hand, so you have total control of the water flow. It can be used inside by attaching it to your shower head, or you can use it outside with a water hose. The water pressure is high enough to penetrate fur, but low enough to still be comfortable.
Different distance settings • Designed with pet safety in mind • Multiple power sources • Can be used without owner assistance
Doesn’t hold a long charge
If your throwing arm isn’t the best and you’ve got an active dog, the iFetch launcher should keep you and your pet happy.
Programs up to 12 daily meals • Adjustable portion sizes • Slow-feed mode
Power supply sold separately
For pet parents who want to program multiple daily meals in set portions, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is your best bet.
PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply FeedFor pet parents who want to program multiple daily meals in set portions, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is your best bet.
One standout feature that pet owners will love is the slow-feed option, which dispenses your cat’s food over a period of 15 minutes — this helps prevent your pet from eating too fast and causing digestive issues down the line. There’s also an immediate feed button that allows you to give your pet a little nibble in between their regularly scheduled mealtimes.
Less touching gross stuff • Self-cleaning (until you need to periodically empty the basin) • Prevents leaks
Some reviewers said the scoop-free litter doesn’t clump properly
If you hate cleaning up kitty litter, the PetSafe ScoopFree will cut down the amount of time you have to get anywhere near it.
Long battery life • Auto-repeat for continuous play • Cat-specific version available as well
Might not work for all pets
If you own a nervous pet, the iCalm speaker might help ease their anxieties and get them to chill out.
iCalm SpeakerIf you own a nervous pet, the iCalm speaker might help ease their anxieties and get them to chill out.
Keeps water fresh for longer • Reduces mess • Adjustable flow control • Less refilling for the owner
Some reviewers said that it’s difficult to clean
Water bowls get nasty over time — the PetSafe Drinkwell keeps your pet’s water source fresh for longer, and features a large reservoir that requires less refilling.
PetSafe Drinkwell PlatinumWater bowls get nasty over time — the PetSafe Drinkwell keeps your pet’s water source fresh for longer, and features a large reservoir that requires less refilling.
It is designed with a receiving ramp that reduces splash and an adjustable flow control that allows you to increase or decrease how much water your pet gets. The large built-in reservoir increases capacity and requires less refilling, meaning more water for your pet and less work for you.