Without giving it much more than a glancing thought, it’s easy to underestimate the role technology plays in our day to day life.
What was once a mindblowing feat (listening to thousands of songs without the need for CDs or tapes) becomes the norm when we can control the lighting or heating of our homes from miles away, or even order household products just by saying the words out loud.
Technology companies are making huge strides to make their products as easy and convenient to use, and not just for humans.
The pet tech market is booming. It’s £1 billion pound market in the UK and worth over $69 billion in the US. Those figures make it a worthwhile investment to tech companies.
Luckily, most of what is being released is all geared towards helping us have a better understanding of our pet’s health, both mentally and physically, while bringing a little fun to our lives and a lot of fun to theirs.
At K9 Magazine we have been lucky enough to review some of the latest pet tech.
Here are some of the incredible ways we think the latest technology geared towards pet owners makes it a worthwhile investment and is a lot of fun.
We can monitor our dog’s health easier
Pet trackers have come on leaps and bounds, if you excuse the pun, in recent years. According to many of the home users, dogs don’t get lost with this gadget. If you think of a mobile phone from, say, five years ago, compared to the slimline devices we use to run our lives nowadays, likewise pet trackers too have become more compact, lighter and can do more.
We particularly like the Animo activity and behaviour monitor. It’s new to the market and is designed to not only monitor your dog’s intake and calories burned, but is also waterproof with a decent battery life, and will pick up on changes to your dog’s activity and behaviour so you can investigate any potential underlying issues. This seems like a game changer in the field.
Others in the sector allow you to monitor your dog’s GPS, which if your dog went missing or was stolen, could be an advantage.
We can stay connected when we’re away from home
Pet treat cams are one of our favourite things to review and let’s be honest, it’s probably easy to see why!
From the first cam we tested, the Petzi - we were hooked.
The Petzi is a sturdy unit (comedian Peter Kay would describe as a hob nob biscuit, it’s the SAS of the pet treat cam world) - it’s not as sleek as other more modern units, but it’s dependable. From the moment we set it up, we were hooked. And so was our oldest review dog, Mia.
It got her active, it still does. The tasty reward means she keeps an eye out for the flashing light signalling treats won’t be far behind.
As an app-controlled pet dispensing treat camera, it does its job well and one of the biggest advantages we found with the Petzi and in fact, any similar pet treat camera, is that we have been able to share access to the app with friends and family who have moved away. As a result, they can call in to have a chat with our dogs, dispense treats and share the experience with friends.
We can learn more about our dog’s behaviour
Recently, pet camera manufacturers Furbo and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home announced that thanks to monitoring two long-stay dogs in their care, the London based animal rescue were able to better understand and resolve some of the dogs’ behavioural issues which saw them passed over by potential new families in favour of other dogs.
Having experienced something similar ourselves during the course of our own Furbo review, we can testify that for dogs with anxiety issues only exhibited when you’re not present, technology which allows you to dial in, have a chat with your dog and reward calm behaviour, really does work.
Home security monitoring is made easier
We know dogs are loved by marketers - Andrex Labrador puppies anyone? - but when we saw the latest Hive advert with a dog helping to advertise their home connectivity product, we understood the point they were trying to make.
By keeping our homes connected and secure, we keep our pets safe too.
A gadget we’ve just been testing, the Petcube Bites, works in a similar way, except you can also dispense treats from afar.
However, because of it’s name - a pet treat cam - don’t discount its home security benefits.
The camera has a 138° wide angle lens so it actually works as a brilliant home security system, much more so than others in the field, because it records every motion in front of the camera and you can sign up to store videos in the cloud for up to 30 days.
It will also alert you if there is motion in front of the camera, whereas some others typically only alert you to specific actions (barking, for example).
So, what’s next for the pet technology market?
More specifically, how can it improve our dogs lives?
The app market continues to boom, making it easier for us to manage our dog's lives and social calendars at the click of a button, arranging playdates and dog walks with professional pet carers.
One app in the US, Rover, recently brought in more than $155 million in a round of funding, showing just how much of an interest venture capitalists are taking in the pet tech sector and how much they expect it to grow in coming years.
Dog health and wellbeing will always be of paramount importance to pet owners as we strive to help our dogs live the happiest and healthiest lives for as long as possible, so expect services like veterinary consultations by video to become more popular.
Although fairly new as a concept, it’s easy to see how the ability to get peace of mind from a vet at the click of a button could appeal to pet owners.
Head of Direct Line Pet Insurance, Prit Powar, commented "Direct Line have teamed up with PawSquad, a company that gives pet owners instant access to online video and chat veterinary services. PawSquad provide a stress-free way for users to obtain general support or urgent advice from the comfort of their own home.”
Prit continued, “By using PawSquad, pet owners can avoid an unnecessary trip to the vet and can have access to a qualified vet via online chat or video almost instantly. The Pawsquad service is included as standard with Direct Line pet policies so policyholders can benefit from on-demand vet advice for free, providing immediate advice anywhere anytime."