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Great Smart Gear for Your Good Dog

If you spoil your pet, you’re not alone. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2020 Americans spent an estimated $99 billion on their pets. APPA’s surveys show that 67% of U.S. households own a pet, and 63.4 million people have at least one dog.

Smart accessories are one more way to do more for your dog. From smart collars to an electronic door, there are plenty of gadgets that can help your furry friends live happier, healthier lives. And they’ll make your life as a pet owner a little easier, too.

Pet camera

Leaving your dog home alone can be an exercise in distress, if not a recipe for disaster. What will your little (or big) pup get into while you’re gone? Opt for a simple security camera just to keep an eye on your dog while you’re away, or consider a pet camera that lets you interact with Fido remotely. Here’s one of each to consider:

Kasa CamThis security camera has sharp 1080p images, 2-way audio, night vision, plus motion and sound detection to send alerts right to your smartphone. Cloud storage is available for your videos, or you can stream live video to displays that support Alexa or Google Assistant.
Petcube Bites 2 If you want to try to interact with your pet via a camera, try a dog camera treat dispenser. You get to see sharp 1080p video of your pet, with an ultrawide-angle view, two-way audio and night vision. A treat dispenser at the bottom of the smart pet camera will toss treats a short, medium or long distance away from the device. You can also schedule automatic treat dispensing using the Petcube app.

There are other cameras out there that let you talk to your pet via video chat, but Wirecutter’s research has shown these interactive features may be confusing, if not distressing, for some dogs.

Microchip feeder

If you have multiple pets in your home, you know some animals are a little greedier than others. If you’re constantly pulling one dog away from another one’s food bowl, it may be time to invest in a microchip feeder. A microchip pet feeder is an automatic dog feeder that only opens for a pet based on their implanted microchip (which many dogs already have as a form of I.D.). It will keep your pets from stealing each other’s food and is especially helpful if you have a dog on a special diet.

SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect This is a great option for multi-pet homes. It comes in two different easy-to-clean bowl sizes, with a scale for measuring food amounts. It’s easy to program the connection from your pet’s microchip to the feeder: just push a button on the back and then move your pet near the arch so that the bowl recognizes the microchip. If your dog isn’t microchipped, SureFeed includes a collar tag with a chip you can use to program the smart feeder. 

If your dog is initially scared of the bowl, there’s a training mode to get your pup used to the sounds and motions of the automatic lid opening.

The SureFeed will also connect to a separate hub that plugs into your router. You can manage the connection via an app that lets you monitor when and how much your pets are eating, as well as the battery life of the bowls.

Automatic dog feeder

WOPET Smart Feeder This futuristic feeder will keep your dog well fed if you’re busy or not at home. It has a built-in webcam and can be programmed for up to six dry food meals a day. It also offers timed meals to help train your dog to eat slowly, which can prevent some digestive problems. There’s also an app that lets you record video of your pet and share it to social media (because…why not?).

Automatic dog door

SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Want to give your dogs the freedom to come and go, but keep other animals out of your home? This electronic door can be set to lock at certain times, and like the food bowl listed above, your microchipped pet is the only one who can use it. The one downside is that the door is only seven inches square, so it’s limited to small dog use.

High Tech Pet Power Pet Door If you want something for your larger dog, try this motor-driven, vertical sliding door. It’s activated by a special collar so it only opens if your dog walks up to it.

Tracking device

Fi Series 2 smart collar This smart collar can do more than help you keep an eye on your dog’s whereabouts, it can also monitor your pet’s health. You set up a base station, connect it to your home Wi-Fi, then set up a “safe zone” around the base to cover the area where your dog can safely roam. The Fi uses your phone’s Bluetooth as a safe zone as well, so you can take your dog on walks or on trips without triggering any alarms.

The Fi also tracks your dog’s step activity to make sure your pet is getting enough exercise, and the app offers data like distance traveled and calories burned per day.

Cleanup tool

Bissell SpinWave Wet and Dry Robotic Vacuum Dogs are amazing, but they can also make a mess. If you have a dog that leaves pet hair (and other surprises) all over the house, you’ll need a heavy-duty device to clean up. This smart robot vacuum works with a corresponding app so you can start, stop and schedule cleaning cycles from anywhere.

As with most smart devices, many of those on this list are Wi-Fi enabled, so you’ll need fast, reliable internet access to reap the full benefits. Fiber internet is always the best option if you can get it, and if it’s not available in your area, high-speed broadband is also ideal. The last thing you want is for your pet camera to go down when you’re away from your beloved pooch.

Product features may have changed and are subject to change.

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