High-tech gifts for pets

2012-12-12 11:23
High-tech gifts are becoming more popular with pet owners. (Dave Martin, AP)

High-tech gifts are becoming more popular with pet owners. (Dave Martin, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Los Angeles  - A holiday present for Fido or Fluffy used to be an extra table scrap or a new squeeze toy. But as with gifts for their human counterparts, pet presents are becoming increasingly high-tech.

Like presents for young children who lack the dexterity to enjoy their new playthings, pet gifts are usually for the human who owns the pet. Allie Robino of Austin, Texas, bought a dog treat maker for her 8-year-old rescue mutt Bentley, but it'll be her baking the biscuits - not Bentley.

She bought PetSmart's Sunbeam Holiday Dog Treat Maker, essentially a waffle-maker with dog-bone moulds, for Bentley when she took him to see Santa Claus at a Fort Worth pet store.

Even though he and her other dog, Shiner, will be the primary beneficiaries of the purchase, it's mostly a gift for Robino, who admits to having problems making things at home from scratch.

"A lot of these kinds of things end up being more complicated than the company promises, but this was super easy to use and the finished product looked great. Believe me, if it were possible to mess up, I would have messed up. I'm batting zero on Pinterest," she said, referring to the photo-sharing website beloved by amateur chefs and DIY-crafters.

Impact

Robino said it was the only time she has bought a gift for a pet that requires electricity, figuring that would put Bentley in a rarefied group of animals with high-tech presents.

But there are actually plenty of gadgets in stores for animals, from the predictable (dog barking control, electronic self-cleaning cat litter boxes) to the surprising (exercise equipment, air conditioners for doghouses, pet air purifiers for human houses).

Technology is having an impact in every area of the pet world, including food, toys and care products, said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. He believes health care advances are moving the fastest.

"There are many advances on the pet rehabilitation side of health care that weren't even heard of a few years ago. There are also new advances in medication, treatments, and even testing and diagnostic areas. For example, you can send off your pet's DNA to find out their breed and even give at-home tests to determine if certain diseases are present," he said.

Rehab equipment for pets, such as a dog-size treadmill, are no longer just for veterinarian clinics. Pet owners can buy the DogPacer's Minipacer treadmill ($479), which is made for dogs under 25kg. The original DogPacer treadmill will accommodate dogs up to 81kg and sells for $499 - about the same price as human-size gym equipment.

For owners who exercise with their pets, the Sharper Image Pet-O-Meter Pet Pedometer ($19.99) counts steps, calculates distance and tracks the calorie intake of the human partner.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of apps for mobile devices offers clutter-free options for urban pet owners with little living space.

GPS

There are apps that track pets' whereabouts, like the GPS-based monthly service Tagg Pet Tracker, which can alert owners if a dog leaves a designated area or monitor a pet's physical activity.

For a simpler option, PetHub dog tags and collars make owners' contact information accessible through a scanning app on a mobile device, and animal shelter and GPS tracking services can be added.

Vetere believes the best high-tech pet product is the microchip, which can be implanted in dogs, cats, birds, horses and other animals and will help reunite owners with lost pets.

"They are also widely used by industry professionals to track vaccinations, test results and other records. With GPS microchips now available as well, your missing pet can not only be tracked back to you, but you can now track them down and prove ownership if need be," he said.

Vetere predicts hot high-tech gifts this year will be microchip pet doors, which open using a chip implanted in the animal. He said the most popular products will always be those that make life easier for pet owners - "like automatic feeders and water delivery systems, automatic litter boxes, grooming tools that comb and also vacuum up the pet hair".

On Vetere's personal wish list is "an automatic yard cleaner that would pick up after my dog, but I don't see how that would work without a robot", he said.

For pets and owners who do volunteer work - yes, there's an app for that, too. For example, the $149.99 TouchChat alternative communication app lets people who have difficulty speaking play with a dog using voice commands.

Ricochet, a 4-year-old golden retriever from San Diego, works with people who have Down syndrome, who are autistic or who suffered strokes. Patients touch an iPad, prompting a synthesised voice to deliver a command like sit or turn around or down. If the dog performs the command (and Ricochet always does), the patient can throw her a treat.

"No cues, inflection or interaction is needed from her handler. They can communicate with Ricochet directly, giving them a sense of independence, self-confidence and empowerment," said owner Judy Fridono.

- AP

Read more on:    technology
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.