With handy, easy-to-use pet tech at the tip of your fingers, there has never been a better time to own a pet than right now. Today’s pet-oriented smart home devices help you automate and optimize basic pet ownership tasks so your furry friends can live their best lives possible.
Pet-friendly automatic feeders and smart feeders
My favourite type of pet tech—by far—is automatic smart feeders.
Automatic feeders, which typically rotate a motor every “X” number of hours to serve up new food, have been around for a while. However, with the rise of smart home devices, automatic feeders are slowly being replaced by smart feeders. These updated feeders pair with your smartphone or tablet for total control.
Now, instead of just helping you keep your pet’s food schedule tied to a rotating tray, smart feeders let you control the fine details of every feed. You can pre-set a schedule to release a certain amount of kibble at certain times each day, but those times can be linked to days of the week and those amounts can change throughout the day. In many devices, you can set a voice message so your pet hears your voice before each feed, and those with Wi-Fi connectivity may even allow you to watch and talk to your pet throughout the day. Some have back-up power so if there’s an outage, they’ll continue to work through internal battery power.
Smart feeders are great for keeping your cats, dogs, and other free-range pets on a consistent daily routine, which can help make them feel safe and secure. They’re also an excellent way to look after independent animals like cats while you’re away on holiday.
Using a smart automatic pet feeder while travelling
I’ve used a smart feeder to take care of my cat a number of times while travelling, and I have to say… It’s great. For cats without separation anxiety who do well on their own, smart feeders and smart water fountains make it easy to go away for a few days without having to pay a full-time sitter.
When I travel, I switch my feeder from one portion of kibble at 6 a.m. (which is our everyday feeder routine) to a 6 a.m., 12 p.m., 6 p.m, and 12 p.m. schedule. My cat receives a total of five servings of kibble per day (two servings at midnight), which meets her recommended daily intake and ensures that she isn’t eating her food all at once.
I prefer a model of automatic feeder that doesn’t have a camera or battery backup, so I make sure to check my feeder’s kibble levels before I go and add in a redundancy. Even if I’m only going away for two days, I ask a friend or family member to come check on my cat for at least an hour. That way, I know that little Fern is doing well, isn’t lonely, has fresh water, and a power outage hasn’t thrown her feeder off schedule.
Pet cameras and treat dispensers
If you want a little more control over your pet care, then there are lots of devices to suit your needs! I recommend trying a pet feeder or treat dispenser with a camera and microphone.
For families who are comfortable with having a camera and/or microphone in the home, these are fantastic. They’re often sold as pet cams, and they let you keep an eye on your cats, dogs, and other pets while also giving you the ability to interact with them through the day. For short trips with independent cats at home, two-way pet cams can give you the ability to switch from an in-person sitter to an emergency contact only—which can be particularly comforting for cats who don’t like strangers.
Wearable pet tech for locating your furry friends
Worried about losing a pet who likes to rush the front door or jump the back fence? Wearable pet tech might be exactly what you need.
You can find purpose-made pet collars that track and monitor your pets using GPS, but one common way that pet owners can keep an eye on their pet is with tracking devices like the Apple AirTag.
Unlike dedicated pet tracking collars, AirTags have a wide user base that makes it easier for you to track a lost pet, and they run without any monthly fees. All you need is a pet-friendly AirTag holder and you’re ready to go. (I recommend choosing something silicone with a short base, which will be easy to clean and won’t clink as much against food and water bowls.) Note that Apple does not endorse the use of AirTags for humans or pets, but that hasn’t stopped some crafty pet owners from giving it a try.
Other pet tech to add to your happy home
If you’re ready to take the next step and move your pet care from acoustic to app-based, smart pet tech is there to help you every step of the way.
Shop pet tech for finding and feeding your dogs and cats at Best Buy today.