Are you the type of person who’s always at the cutting edge of technology, have decked your home out with all the mod-cons to turn it into a smart home and browse the web regularly to see what’s new? If yes, you may have recently noticed the terms ‘smart pet’, ‘pet tech‘ and ‘pet technology’ and be wondering what it’s all about. Here’s a clue… it’s not referring to AI or digital pets, so you don’t have to worry about a resurgence of Tamagotchi or FurReal pets!
Instead, pet tech is the term given to the technology and tech services that are being developed for the health and wellbeing of our pets. This term encompasses a multitude of pet-related technology, such as toys and gadgets, online services, software platforms, mobile apps, veterinary equipment, training tools and anything else pet-related that uses technology in a major way. For us consumers, it primarily refers to any product or service that makes pet ownership easier, cleaner or more fun.
We have become so reliant on technology in almost all facets of our lives, so it was only a matter of time before we started to integrate it into the way we care for and interact with our pets! It’s also no surprise that we are willing to put so much time, effort and money into our pets, as Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with over 29 million pets in the country. That’s a whopping 61% of households!
We love our pets dearly too, with over 60% of dog and cat owners in 2019 saying they think of their pets as members of the family and half of all owners letting their pets share their beds. After learning that, the fact we spend over $13 billion a year on pet services and products probably will not shock you. This enticing industry value is what has driven the burst of pet tech innovation that has launched a number of new companies and products to the market and some of the big-name tech retailers like JB Hi-Fi are now stocking them.
Here are a few of the most popular pet tech devices:
Pet Activity trackers/monitors – Pet trackers, which usually clip onto your pets collar, are designed to keep your pet safe and healthy and are very similar to smart wristbands for humans in the way they sync with a mobile app. Depending on the brand, these wearable devices not only monitor things like the level of activity of your pet, their sleep patterns and whether their behaviour has suddenly changed, but some can also track their location using GPS or alert you when your pet leaves a predetermined geofence.
You start by inputting your pets vital information and the device will ensure your pets activity levels are correct for their age, weight and breed. This allows you to monitor your pet 24/7 so you always know how and where they are and what they’re doing. If you feel like your pet could benefit from a pet tracker, JB Hi-Fi have a good range of pet trackers to choose from.
Automatic Pet Bowls/Feeders – If you have pets that are often at home by themselves while you’re at work or on other outings, your pet might benefit from an automatic feeding bowl. These have come a long way from the old, timed dry food dispensers of the past. The modern-day version is much more advanced and can handle dispensing a variety of foods, while also monitoring your pet’s health. They can dispense food when they sense your pet’s presence or you can control the feeding via remote over an app.
Some brands can even tell which food to dispense to which animal via camera pet recognition, if you have more than one pet! Even crazier, you can even get kibble dispensers that will allow you to interact with your pet via camera and voice and even ‘throw’ treats out to them! Most feeders will also notify you via the app when the food dispenser is almost empty. You’re also able to purchase filtered pet water dispensers that have similar functions. Check out these pet tech bowls and feeders from JB Hi-Fi for examples of just how far this tech has come.
Pet cameras – Wouldn’t it be great if we could see and talk to our pets all day, even when we’re not home? Now you can with these excellent pet cameras from JB Hi-Fi! These cameras are similar to security cameras, but adapted for pets (and hey, if you’re going to purchase an indoor security camera for your home, why not purchase one that allows you to interact with your furbaby too?).
These devices can be placed where you’ll get a good view of your pet and they are usually motion-activated. Some brands offer two-way visual or voice communication, allowing you to speak to your pet and hear their reaction, as well as allowing your pet to be comforted by the sight of you. You can even get pet cameras that have treat dispensers or laser toys, meaning you can spend your lunch hour playing with your precious pet from afar!
Smart pet toys – Most pet owners know that some pets are tireless when it comes to being entertained. You could chuck a ball for your dog for days and they’d never give up! Thankfully, you can now buy some really cool pet tech toys, like these ones from JB Hi-Fi. These interactive dog toys don’t just move on their own, they’re smart toys because they interact with the environment (obstacle avoidance for example) and your pet (e.g., responding to their touch and/or dropping rewards).
You can choose from many different smart toys, from balls that roll around by themselves, to bones that shake and roll and even ball launchers that your pets can use by themselves – all of these smart pet toys react to your pets input and all are seriously entertaining. These clever toys not only stop your pets from being bored, but they also keep them healthy and their brain active.
There is so much more to come in the future of pet tech, so keep checking your favourite pet tech retailers for new developments. Your pets will thank you!