These Pet Tech Products Will Keep Your Dog Happy and Busy While You're Away
Pet tech products can provide entertainment, enrichment, and physical activity for your pets when you're away from home or otherwise occupied. It can be especially beneficial for energetic breeds, pets with separation anxiety, and for pet parents who are nervous about the transition back to the office post-pandemic.
What is Pet Tech?
"Pet tech really is about convenience," says Bergeland. "You can interact with your pet while you are at work, you can monitor them throughout the day, or you can just set a timer and make sure your kitty is fed on time."
What Are the Benefits of Pet Tech?
Pet tech is especially useful for simplifying pet care routines and helping you relax knowing your pet is entertained and cared for when you're not by their side. That's not to say your pets won't benefit, too—regular video check-ins, treat dispensers, and more can improve their quality of life. High-tech toys are especially helpful for getting your pet physical and mental stimulation while you're away during the day.
Is Too Much Technology Bad For Pets?
"Aside from the rare situation where a dog truly has a compulsion disorder (I once knew a border collie whose owner had to limit how much time she could spend obsessively watching baseball on TV), a dog isn't likely to miss out on the good things life has to offer because he's distracted with a tech toy," says Myers.
"From a behavior and training standpoint, it's best to reserve access to interactive toys for when they're really needed. With this in mind, it's good to stay in the habit of putting the technology toys away when you're home."
Pet technology is one way to add stimulation and enrichment to your animal companion's life, but it's important not to rely on it. What your pet really wants is time with you—and they're pretty likely to choose real-life love and interaction over technology any day.
The Best Pet Tech Products
- Best Ball Launcher: iFetch Too Automatic Ball Launcher
- Best Treat Dispenser: Furbo Full HD WiFi Dog Treat Dispenser & Camera
- Best 2-in-1 Smart Toy: PupPod Rocker Training Treat Tossing Camera Dispenser & Puzzle Dog Toy
- Best Smart Water Bowl: PETKIT Stainless Cat Dog Automatic Water Fountain
- Best Smart Toy: Wickedbone Smart Bone
- Best Pet Camera: PetCube Play 2 Play Wi-Fi Pet Camera
- Best Training Tech: Pet Tutor
- Best Puzzle Toy: CleverPet Hub
Best Ball Launcher: iFetch Too Automatic Ball Launcher
Help your pupper get some mental and physical stimulation with this automatic ball-launching toy. No need to warm up your pitching arm—just plug in the iFetch Too, set your desired distance (10, 25, or 40 feet) and let your dog go crazy. You’ll need to drop in a standard-size tennis ball the first few times, but your pet should get the hang of it and be able to do all the work himself. Heads up, this toy is specifically designed for medium to large dogs.
Shop now: iFetch Too Automatic Ball Launcher, $200; chewy.com
Best Treat Dispenser: Furbo Dog Camera
Catch up with your pooch in the middle of the day—and give them a quick snack—from anywhere with help from the Furbo treat-dispensing camera.
“Furbo provides the pet opportunities for reinforcers throughout the day, making it so you can provide learning opportunities and enrichment for them even when you are at work,” says Bergeland. “This can go a long way in preventing stress and anxiety when used consistently.”
Shop now: Furbo Full HD WiFi Dog Treat Dispenser & Camera, $169; chewy.com
Best Puzzle Toy: PupPod Rocker Training Treat Tossing Camera
“Pet technology toys like PupPod are especially awesome for high-energy dogs,” says Myers. “Australian shepherds, border collies, and similar dogs who are happiest when they have a job to do will appreciate having an opportunity to engage their active minds and work on a task.”
The PupPod helps your dog learn tricks and commands by dispensing treats when your pooch completes tasks on the accompanying puzzle toy. This camera-and-toy combo can be operated from anywhere, so you can play with your pet even when you’re away.
Shop now: PupPod Rocker Training Treat Tossing Camera Dispenser & Puzzle Dog Toy, $200; amazon.com
Best Smart Water Bowl: PETKIT Stainless Cat Dog Automatic Water Fountain
“I also adore automatic water dispensers, especially for cats, as they provide clean water and make sure pets are always hydrated,” says Bergeland.
This smart water dispenser for cats and dogs has a durable stainless steel bowl and filter tray, plus a quiet water pump to eliminate distracting noise. A fur-resistant screen, activated charcoal filter, and ion exchange resin combine to make sure your pet’s water is always fresh and pure. This water fountain shuts off automatically when water levels get too low.
Shop now: PETKIT Stainless Cat Dog Automatic Water Fountain, $60; amazon.com
Best Smart Toy: Wickedbone Smart Bone
This bone-shaped smart toy for dogs has two modes: "drive mode," which is operated by a free app that allows you to move the bone for your dog to pursue, or "autoplay mode," which operates on its own with responsive reactions to your dog’s play tactics. The safe and durable food-grade construction and easy-to-clean design means you can let your pup chew on this high-tech toy without worry.
Shop now: Wickedbone Smart Bone, $80; amazon.com
Best Pet Camera: PetCube Play 2 Play Wi-Fi Pet Camera
“Cameras in general are really helpful as they allow you to watch your animal while you are gone, and if you see something amiss or a concern, you can address it instead of waiting to get home and discover there was a problem,” says Bergeland. “This is really beneficial to both the pet parent and the pet.”
This camera has a free smartphone application, two-way audio, night vision, sound and motion alerts, and a pet-safe laser toy you can operate remotely.
Shop now: PetCube Play 2 Play Wi-Fi Pet Camera, $179; chewy.com
Best Training Tech: Pet Tutor
The Pet Tutor is a smart training feeder with extended range Bluetooth and a free companion app to help train your pet and provide interaction.
“I really like the Pet Tutor because it can be a really helpful training aid,” says Bergeland. “It is super easy to use and can be a really beneficial tool when you are working with a pet that might have separation anxiety.”
Shop now: Smart Animal Training Pet Tutor Smart Training Feeder, $299; smartanimaltraining.com
Best Puzzle Toy: CleverPet Hub
CleverPet is a durable, long-lasting dog toy with high-tech puzzles to keep your pooch’s brain engaged. This tech toy for dogs has 12 challenges for your pet to complete, and they escalate in difficulty to help keep your dog occupied while you’re out. You can also use a companion app to stay connected to your pup.
Shop now: CleverPet Hub, $249; clever.pet