Automatic tennis ball launchers for dogs are so yesterday.
At the 2021 virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest annual consumer tech trade show, companies applied artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other advanced technologies to deliver futuristic gadgets for pet lovers and their furry family members.
Some inventions offer clear advantages, and others, not so much. Here are just a few picks from this year’s lineup of products that could help you and your pet.
Know your dog’s emotional state — A new dog collar harnesses AI to interpret if your dog is feeling happy, anxious, angry, sad or relaxed.
Developed in South Korea, the collar pairs a proprietary algorithm with a database of 10,000 canine vocal samples from about 50 breeds to interpret your dog’s moods. Although the company claims an “emotional recognition accuracy rate of more than 80 percent,” short of having the dog verify its mood, we’re not sure how that figure is calculated.
Create a virtual fence, anywhere — Another smart system attaches to your dog’s collar and uses vibrations, sound and ultrasonic signals, rather than shocks, to keep your pet within boundaries. By opening the app and drawing a line with your finger, you can create a fence in a matter of seconds, thanks to geofence technology.
Let your pup out to potty remotely — Pet doors used to be nothing more than flimsy flaps that let your pets out but could also allow a family of racoons inside. This CES Smart Home Innovation Award Winner reads your dog or cat’s Bluetooth collar sensor, then activates the doors to open sideways like an elevator.
Or the device can send you a push notification that your pet is at the door and you can open the app, click to open the door and supervise your pet’s comings and goings with live video streaming and 2-way communication.
Clean and monitor the litter box from afar — Now a WiFi-enabled litter box can automatically separate cat waste from the litter within about 15 minutes of use and deposit clumps in a drawer below. The app notifies you when the drawer is full and enables you to track your cat’s potty habits and note any changes.
Play with your pet — Touted as “the first 100% automatic pet companion,” this auto-ball can be programmed with three different interaction modes to move on its own and keep pets on their toes. It also includes a treat or catnip hole for more interest.
Still, it’s never a good idea to leave pets alone with toys in case they accidentally chew or swallow them. Supervised play is always safer.
Be comforted by a pet, even if you can’t own one — Two companies offer furry, robotic pets. One is about the size and weight of a cat and has a palpable heartbeat. If you can get over the fact that it doesn’t have a head or legs, it may be comforting to see the tail wag when the pillow is stroked.
The other option uses AI, a unique algorithm and built-in sensors to evaluate interactions with different people and express emotions such as happiness, excitement or calm through movements and animal-like mewing. This one is also limbless but features soft fur and black eyes. What will they think of next?
The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.