Have you said no to having a pet despite really wanting one? Or do you turn down invitations to fun events to avoid leaving your furry friend alone at home too long?

Pets, companion animals and service dogs are such a joy to so many people, it’s important to take good care of them, as so many of them take care of us. And while keeping animals as man – and woman’s best friend – is not new, several tech resources are making it not only easier to care for a pet, they are also making it more fun for the animals themselves.

Here are some great tech-inspired resources that both human and animal will benefit from.

 
 

Gadgets for Dogs and Cats: Fun Meets Function

If you’re reluctant to adopt, foster or otherwise care for an animal because you spend a lot of time away from home, there are options to help you reconsider. Besides burdening a neighbour or family member to look after your pet while you’re away, you can invest in a fun accessory like a pet cam that can be used with a smart phone or tablet.

Some of these new-to-market toys are truly sophisticated with Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, treat and medication dispensers, soothing scent releasers, interactive playing features and more.

There are even some models with two-way cameras designed to help you train Fido into answering your call! Think FaceTime or Skype for pets. These gadgets can really convince busy couples or solo pet owners that life doesn’t take a back seat because a furry obligation is waiting at home.

What better way to pass the time if find you’re often stuck in a doctor’s waiting room with nothing to read, spend long hours at the office or want to show your pet off to friends and family who can’t come visit or have animals in their homes. These devices have a wide price range so be sure to research what features you want. There is even a neutral resource dedicated to reviewing pet cams.

Pet Trackers

Anyone who has ever lost a pet and been unable to find them will tell you it’s devastating. And even the most loyal dogs, cats and other animal friends can escape or simply wander off. Technologies like GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can make locating lost pets have happier endings. There are a few tracking devices on the market: Whistle, PetVu, MarcoPolo are just a few and prices vary.

Common notable features to pay attention to are range (how far can your pet wander), battery life, obstructions (if your pet is locked in a building), element exposure and of course, animal comfort.

These devices are great if you don’t have the nose of a blood hound but don’t want to lose Fluffy in the suburban backyard jungle. What’s more, some models pair tracking with fitness monitors, allowing you to keep tabs on your tabby (or other pet) and stay on top of animal obesity or changes in behaviour due to physical ailments. Wearable has reviewed some pet trackers.

Selecting A New Pet

Perhaps the most important tool in this list is the one that you use to find your furry or feathered friend – online. The U.S. and Canada both have websites (pet-finder, adopt-a-pet, SPCA and ASPCA) that allow you to browse through the available creatures in your area using zip or postal codes. You can fall in love with your next pet online, before you even step your feet (or paws) out the door.

These sites usually have profiles for animals, complete with photographs, ages, gender, breed, history (if available) living requirements and other details. You can also sign up to be notified when animals with your specific needs become available or peruse the catalogue and read up on potential new family members. Doing so allows you time to research breed-specific personality traits or common health ailments.

It’s nice to know if the dog you’re considering requires a lot of exercise or not, needs a large living space, or will likely develop breed-specific conditions – all before you visit shelters and fall in love with those lonely but lovely eyes. What better way to avoid an impulsive regret and turn your affections to a much better suited pet. A good resource is AdoptaPet.

PetMD

While I would never encourage anyone to use a website to diagnose medical conditions based on symptoms, some resource sites do allow you to become educated and use better judgement when caring for your pet. PetMD is a complete resource that can reduce unnecessary trips to the vet. They have extensive information about nutrition, behaviour, healthy weight tables, pet food recall alerts and more all in one place. There’s fun stuff too, like pictures and name choosing tools.

With the onslaught of fun and useful tools available, saying no to having a pet has never been tougher. Whether you live alone, travel a lot, spend time away from home or just want some extra help in caring for your pet, these resources will benefit both you and your best animal friend.

Do you have any pets? What are their names? Do you have any favorite gadgets for dogs or cats? What features do you find most helpful? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Jennifer SternJennifer Stern is a self-described “writer in geek’s clothing.” Drawing upon years of communications experience in the tech industry, she started a personal blog to address common concerns about technology and the internet, specifically for Canadian seniors. She believes seniors can benefit from embracing technology and the convenience it offers. Read her blog at www.digitalseniors.ca

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