From state-of-the-art containment systems to remote-controlled automatic feeders, technology is making life better and safer for our canine companions.
We live in a high-tech world. From Smartphones with apps that do everything under the sun to artificial intelligence, our lives just keep getting more streamlined. And the dog world isn’t being left behind! This article highlights some of the awesome advances in technology specifically designed to make your dog safer and happier while giving you peace of mind and saving you time and energy.
Invisible fencing that talks to you
Invisible or hidden fencing keeps dogs confined to the yard without having to put up a physical barrier and then worrying that the dog might dig under it or jump over it. Up till fairly recently, however, the only type of invisible fencing available was the electrified kind, which uses mild shocks to make dogs stay put.
More recent canine confinement systems now use radio signals to ensure your dog stays where he’s supposed to. DogWatch is one company that specializes in hidden dog fences that use a radio signal. The signal is transmitted through an underground boundary wire, and is detected by a receiver collar worn by your dog, creating a sound that lets him know when he’s getting too close to a boundary.
This cool technology gives your dog room to move outdoors while giving you peace of mind – and it doesn’t stop there. The latest innovation allows the system to “talk” to you. “The SmartFence uses our hidden fence technology paired with new mobile connectivity features to keep you informed about your fence and your dog,” says Charlie King, DogWatch Product Manager. “You can receive customized emails or text messages to alert you if there is a problem with your fence and let you know if the collar battery is low. You can also track your pet’s activity from wherever you are. It lets you ‘know before your dog does’ if there is a problem with the fence.”
Crash-tested canine travel accessories
If you travel with your dog, you need to take his safety into consideration. There are all kinds of crates, carriers and doggy restraints on the market — but how do you know they would they protect your best friend from injury or death if you got into a collision? Turns out there’s at least one company that crash-tests its canine carriers and restraint harnesses, using the standards set for child safety restraints, to ensure their products will protect your dog from harm in an accident.
Sleepypod uses high-tech canine crash-test dummies to ensure the safety of its carriers and harnesses. “DUKE 2.0, our newest crash test dog, debuted in 2017 and is used to crash test our safety harness designs,” says Jane Skuta, Media Relations.
DUKE 2.0 weighs 75 pounds and can be compared to a large-sized dog. A camera mounted in the head records POV video footage of a crash, while the articulated joints allow the legs and waist to bend. A realistic neck and spinal structure flexes and compresses like the spine of a real dog, helping testers to assess whiplash, and load cells are integrated into the chest area to measure forces when moving forward in a collision.
“A good restraint system needs to be able to absorb kinetic energy while keeping the pet from accelerating forward and leaving the seat,” says Michael Leung, company co-founder and lead product designer. “DUKE 2.0 enables us to measure the impact of a collision, thereby allowing us to design pet safety restraints that reduce injuries.”
Keeping your dog connected with the touch of a finger
We all lead busy lives, so anything that helps us stay organized is a bonus. If you have a dog, you probably find yourself juggling appointments with your veterinarian, groomer, trainer or dog walker, not to mention fitting in runs to your favorite pet supply store to pick up food or treats. In the rush to get through your daily to-do list, things can sometimes get misplaced or disorganized, or fall through the cracks altogether.
What if you could have all your dog’s information in one place, instantly available at the touch of a finger? A lot of apps are springing up that can help you do just that, but one app named BabelBark goes beyond that. “It’s more than just a collection of software applications,” says co-founder Bill Rebozo. “It’s a platform that connects dogs, pet parents, veterinarians, and pet businesses to ensure the happiness and health of each animal. We connect every aspect of his/her life with the people who matter.”
The app allows you to schedule vet appointments, build a “pet mall” of local dog-related businesses, get health care recommendations based on your dog’s individual needs, and more. It can even be used to monitor your dog’s fitness by recording walks or using a fitness monitor that attaches to his collar.
Remote-controlled automatic feeders
Automated dog feeders have been around for a while, and are a boon to those who work irregular hours. Most of these devices need to be programmed before you leave, but depending on your schedule, you may need more flexibility than that.
How about an automatic feeder you can connect to via your Smartphone? A product called the Instachew Smart Pet Feeder includes an app that allows you to remotely control and monitor the feeder no matter how far away you are. “It brings convenience to pet owners with WiFi-enabled scheduled and instant portion-controlled feeding,” says founder Ramin Sadat. You can set up or change feedings via your phone. “With a camera built in, you can also see, listen, and talk to your pet at any time and from anywhere,” says Ramin.
Editor’s note: If you need to work longer hours, ensure you have a dog walker or neighbour who can take your dog out when required. Technology is handy, but it should never replace love and quality care!