Tech advances that make your pet’s life better

An orange kitten playing on a wooden floor.

According to Time Magazine, almost 20 percent of pet owners have created a social media account for their pet, and tried to Skype or FaceTime with their pets.

Clearly, technology is not for the two-legged alone, and the shelves of today’s pet stores bear that out.

Concerned about your dog’s waistline? Electronic pet feeders such as Wireless Whiskers automatically monitor Gigi’s caloric intake – even putting a hold on more kibble if she’s exceeded her recommended daily allowance.

Microchips that can be scanned to link lost pets to their owners have been around for decades. Today’s technology makes those look primitive. Now, you can follow your roaming cat’s route through the neighborhood, even assess his mouse-hunting skills, with a GPS pet-tracking collar. The Paw Tracker is one of many on the market.

But that’s not all. If your job or vacation takes you far from Whiskers, the PetCube lets you not only check in on her, but say hello and activate a laser to play with your feline friend from thousands of miles away. Side benefit: You can also use it to scare the daylights out of your pet sitter.

If that’s not enough stimulation for your dog or cat, introduce them to the world of gaming. A device called CleverPet lets them solve puzzles using paw-activated touch pads and sounds. If Rex or Rosie cracks the code, CleverPet rewards them with treats.

Domestic cat and golden retriever in grass at home. Best friends.

And far be it for our furry friends to be left out of the Fitbit phenomenon. A small, Bluetooth device that connects to your pet’s collar tracks their activity. If that’s not enough, it can also be used like a canine version of Tinder to find and connect with other dog lovers in your area.

The pet-tech boom doesn’t stop at devices. Technology lets us analyze our dog’s breed, its health and genetic conditions through a simple cheek swab. Three companies offer DNA analysis – including Embark, DNA My Dog and Wisdom Panel – so you can find out if your purebred is really pure. More importantly, DNA testing can predict diseases and longevity — information that can be used to extend a pet’s life.

Another company is using technology to handle an old problem. If you’re an HOA board or manage an apartment complex with a poop problem, forget scanning security footage to sniff out the poopetrators. PooPrints instructs community managers in obtaining cheek swabs from the neighborhood’s dog owners, which it can then match via DNA to unscooped waste. PooPrints claims their program inspires a truly impressive result — prompting a 95 percent reduction in pet waste.

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