Pets’ Health in the Tech Age

We are all aware that technology for smart personal products – to wear and for our homes – is growing rapidly, world-wide. This technology is not just for humans though! The global market for pet tech products is rising, according to several research reports, showing that the demand for this technology for pets is not just a passing trend. We all want to be closer to our pets so that we can monitor them and take better care of them. This is what pet tech products are designed to do.

Current Trends

Certain trends are currently emerging in the pet tech market. It seems that the main concerns of pet owners when they are looking for technological devices are:

  • the safety of their pets
  • getting information about their behaviour
  • getting information about their drinking and eating habits
  • ensuring that their pets are sufficiently active
  • ensuring that their pets are not suffering from anxiety when they are home alone

Do cat and dog ‘parents’ have the same concerns when they are looking for pet tech products? Well, interestingly, no. According to research, kitty parents are concerned mainly about food and water consumption, while pooch parents are interested in finding out more about their pooch’s behaviour.

There are technological solutions available for whatever your concerns are about your kitty or pooch. Please bear in mind though that not all of the pet tech devices we discuss below may be available in South Africa yet. However, in the future our pets in South Africa will also be able to be better connected to their parents.

Connecting for Better Pet Care

These solutions help pet parents to resolve existing problems with their fur babies, identify new ones and even help to prevent such problems from happening. They depend on Bluetooth and/or the internet, smartphones, computers, veterinary telehealth services and app-based non-medical services, such as pet boarding, pet sitting and walking.

They also rely on such digitally-connected products as monitors, trackers, automated feeding and hydration stations and automated litter-trays.

Information is collected about your furry friend by technologies such as temperature sensing and facial recognition, giving pet parents a better picture of their pet’s behaviour, habits and routines so that they can see trends and any changes.

Pet Tech Solutions

So what are the available devices that can help you to connect better with your pet and help you with his/her health issues, fitness, entertainment and overall care?

  • Smart Drinking Devices

It is important to monitor fluid intake as any significant changes may indicate a health problem, which may require a consultation with your vet. Your pet’s water consumption is a good indication of her/his overall health. Hydration and fluid intake are very important, especially as your pet gets older, so insight into any changes or trends will be useful in determining whether you need to speak to your vet.

These devices have a reservoir in which the water is stored, which automatically replenishes a water trough. They measure the amount of water consumed by your pet and are particularly useful for small dogs and cats.

  • Smart Feeders

As a pet parent, monitoring your fur-baby’s food intake or implementing a meal schedule for your pets, even when you are away from home, will help you to control their nutritional intake. Both food and water can be monitored by these devices. This is particularly useful when there are several pets in the home, as the feeder can also ensure that each pet is only able to access its own food. In fact, the advanced technology of these feeders can help to prevent obesity in your pets too.

  • Pet Cameras

Many of us worry about our pets when we’re away from home, particularly if we are away for long periods of time. Some of our pets unfortunately suffer from separation anxiety, so these cameras would be particularly useful in these cases. The camera watches your pet while you’re out, keeping track of his/her behaviour and giving you peace-of-mind. There are various types of cameras available, offering such features as audio alerts, two-way speakers and even treat dispensers.

  • Smart Pet Toys

These toys can detect movement and touch, which activate them so that they bounce, roll or shake on their own. When you’re not around, they can keep your kitty or poochie entertained and stimulated. They help to relieve boredom and loneliness and keep your pet happy and contented. They also provide your pet with the interactive exercise which they enjoy.

  • Behaviour and Fitness Trackers

These devices give pet parents information about their furry friend’s activities, well-being and behaviour. An app is used which reveals such behaviours as excessive scratching, barking and shaking. They can also watch for sleep patterns, calorie intake and activity, which will give you information that will enable you to provide the optimum care for your pet. If you consult your vet, you will be able to give her/him valuable details of any changes so that your vet can begin to assess any problems using this vital information.

  • Calming Devices

Most of us are aware that playing videos or music while you are out, helps to calm your pet and prevent the stress associated with your being away. Research has shown that playing certain kinds of music, especially classical music, can help with anxiety, fear of noise and separation anxiety.

As you have seen, these pet tech devices can provide you with valuable and useful information about your pet’s health and can help you to monitor his/her behaviour, especially if you are out.

They sound very exciting and enticing, don’t they? However, it is important to bear in mind that pet cameras, automatic feeders and smart toys are never a replacement for the time you spend interacting with your beloved furry friend. Above all, they want you to be there to interact with them and to give them the love and care they need, so that they can live a healthy and happy life, with you. 

You should still take your pet to the vet for regular check-ups, even if he/she appears to be perfectly healthy.


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