5 pet-connected gadgets that keep tabs better than a leash
By Meghan McDonough
Sit. Stay. Heel. Fetch. Dogs have a lot of rules to follow in their lives when their owners are around. But what happens when you're at work and Fido is hanging around the house? Is he watching DogTV, secretly using the toilet, or hiding your socks? If you find yourself wondering where your dog is during the day or wondering if he misses you, we've got the answer.
Lately there's been a surge of connected pet products that track your pet's activity, their location, and even let you interact with them while you're stuck at work. Check out the products below to learn more about your pet's daily life.
Microchipping your pet is essential for finding him again should he wander off, but when Sparky disappears it could take days before he ends up at a vet or shelter where his chip can be scanned. If your cat or dog is prone to walkabouts, consider the Tagg GPS tracking collar. This rechargeable GPS module attaches to your pet's collar and keeps you updated of his whereabouts via text messages and email. It allows you to set up a safe area for your pet, such as your house, backyard, and normal walk route, and will send you a message should Sparky wander out of that area, keeping tabs on his location so you can easily find him and see where he's been via a smartphone app.
The company recently added activity tracking capabilities to the collar, too, so you can see just how much energy Sparky is expending when he runs around the house in circles. It'll also chart activity over 90-day periods. So if you suspect your pet isn't feeling well, you can verify your suspicion by looking at his activity levels.
Available for both cats and dogs, the collar attachment and three months of tracking service will cost you $100. After that, it's $7.95 a month, or the same as your Netflix subscription.
Feeling the need to keep up with the Joneses at the dog park? Is your Golden Retriever as fit as the Rottweiler he plays with? Now you can know for sure with FitBark. This Kickstarter-backed device consists of a rechargeable Bluetooth bone that attaches to your dog's collar and tracks how much activity he logs during the day. The accompanying smartphone app uploads his workout to FitBark's servers and sends you information on his activity levels compared to the recommended amount of activity and compared to other dogs. If you want more immediate information about your pooch's daily activity while you're at work, there's also a base station that connects to your home Wi-Fi network and uploads your dog's information.
Want to train for that doggy 5K together? FitBark uses the APIs of human fitness trackers such as FitBit, Nike Fuelband, Withings Pulse, and BodyMedia Fit to present a unified picture of your whole family's activity. You no longer have to wonder who fetched more tennis balls during the day because FiBark will display both your activity and your dog's (our money is on your dog).
FitBark is currently in its second round of Kickstarter funding with plans to deliver the actual product in December 2013. The device is available in five colors and is currently available to Kickstarter pledge backers for $60.
The eye in the sky is always watching – and it wants to play with your pet. PetCube is, well, a cube, with a camera, microphone, speakers, and laser pointer inside. Hook the PetCube up to your Wi-Fi network and you can view, talk to, and play with your pet via a website or smartphone app. Too busy at work to play with your kitty? You can grant access to your family and friends to play with your cat instead. The camera has a 162-degree wide-angle camera that streams 720p video to your phone or desktop. From here, you can observe your pet and talk to it, making it wonder where your disembodied voice is coming from. Then, you're able to remotely control the laser pointer to give your cat or dog some much needed stimulation during long, lazy days at home.
It's not just your pet that you can play with, either. Creating a sort of social network, users can allow strangers to play with pets in shelters around the world via the app. So you don't even need a PetCube or a pet to harass a cat from afar.
The device itself looks like a small speaker and is currently available for pre-order. It's expected to start shipping this fall.
Much like the PetCube, Petziconnect by Petzilla lets you watch your pet via a camera and talk to him when you're not at home. However, Petziconnect offers another twist. It will dispense a treat to your pet when you press a button on your smartphone. The device itself plugs into a wall outlet for a dog's eye view of the world and connects securely to your home Wi-Fi network. You'll be able to watch and communicate with your pet via a smartphone app or Web portal. Want to catch Bowser's adorable antics from afar? Petziconnect lets you take a photo or video of your dog via the camera and post them on social networks. While the idea of your voice coming from a box and telling your pet to come may initially be disorienting to your pet, we're pretty sure he'll get the idea once a treat appears. Speaking of which, Petzilla says the Petziconnect is reinforced for tough action, but we have to wonder how long it will last when a very determined border collie decides he wants more treats.
The Petziconnect is currently seeking backers via Indiegogo. Early adopters are able to pre-order one for $99 and can expect the Petizconnect to ship in December 2013.
Sony Action Cam Pet Pack
Go, go gadget dog! What does life look like with four paws on the floor? Now you can find out via an HD camera strapped to your dog's back. Sony's HDR-AS15 Action Cam is a rugged camera that takes 1920 x 1080 HD resolution video at 60 fps and is able to withstand water, dirt, dust, and mud. It also includes SteadyShot image stabilization to keep Fido's shots smooth when he's bounding through the grass. It's available with a mount connected to a harness for your pup so you can see the world from his point of view. This kind of action isn't for small dogs, though. Sony says the harness best fits dogs over 33 pounds. The whole setup weighs just over 4.5 ounces and is designed to not weigh dogs down.
Uploading videos of Fido's frisbee adventures is easy thanks to the built-in Wi-F?i connection, meaning your dog will be a YouTube star in no time. Videos can also be shared via Sony's PlayMemories Mobile app on your smartphone.
The Sony HDR-AS15 Action Cam Pet Pack will ship later this month for $330. If you already own the Sony Action Cam because you're an extreme type of guy, you can purchase the harness separately for $45.
This article was originally posted on Digital Trends