High technology has gone to the dogs—and cats and lizards and other pets.
This year, Americans will spend an estimated $43 billion on their pets. An increasing amount of that will go to high–tech products that let you track, train, care for, and clean up after your animals.
Some of the latest high–tech pet gadgets were unveiled at the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association’s recent tradeshow in San Diego. Here’s a sampling of products that were on display there and on store shelves now.
Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent
Barking is for the birds with this ultrasonic bark deterrent from Radio Systems Corp. It looks just like a birdhouse, but it detects barking from up to fifty feet away. Whenever your—or your neighbor’s—dog barks, it sends out a high-pitched tone that’s inaudible to humans but automatically tells him or her to hush up. Cost: About $70.
Here’s a high-tech way to help find your furry friend. The Zoombak Advanced GPS Dog Locator attaches to your dog’s collar. The next time he or she runs away—or is stolen—it automatically sends an email or a text message to your cell phone. Go online to a special Web site and you’ll see your dog’s location on a map. Cost: About $200.
Smartkey Pet Door
Now you can make sure it’s your dog or cat sneaking in the back door. Radio Systems Corp.’s infrared pet door opens only when it recognizes the “SmartKey” tag on your pet’s collar. After he or she passes through, it automatically relocks. Works with up to five different collar keys. Cost: About $230.
Health Meter Cat Litter
This cat litter not only keeps your kitty’s litter box clean and fresh, but it also changes color if there’s any sign of bladder infection, urinary stone or kidney problems, or liver disease detected in his or her urine. Cost: $13.
Can’t quite find the time—or the place—to walk the dog? Jog-a-Dog is one of several manufacturers that make little doggie treadmills so your pet can get a workout without going to the gym—er, park. Cost: $1,000–$2,000, depending on size.
CatGenie Flushing Litter Box
Save time, hassle, and avoid picking up poop with the CatGenie self-washing litter box. Hook one hose up to your bathroom water supply, hook another to your own toilet, and kitty waste automatically goes down the potty. Cost: $300–$350.
Jitterbug Vibrating Feeding Dish
Lizards, turtles, and other reptile pets can go high-tech too. The Jitterbug feeding dish makes dead bugs look real, so you don’t have to witness those violent hunt-and-kill scenes with live insects. Cost: About $18.
Thermal Memory Bed
Now your dog can sleep on a better bed than yours. Canine Cushion makes a line of “memory-term” foam beds for doggies with tired bones or orthopedic problems. Cost: $30–90.
Keep the dog or cat off the couch with Sofa Scram. The battery-operated mat emits a high-pitched squeal that’s sure to frighten any feline or K-9 off the furniture any time they put a paw on it. Cost: $30.
Here’s a high-tech vacuum cleaner that’s not just good for your pets, but for the rest of your family too. The Halo 3290 UV-ST uses ultraviolet rays to kill flea eggs, dust mites, viruses, and other germs while you’re cleaning. Cost: $500.