Pet tech gadgets | courtesy of Mashable

As the human population continues to urbanize and family sizes shrink, our furry friends are becoming more than just pets – they’re extensions of our families. With the rise of the #dogsofinstagram movement, it’s no surprise that the pet gadget industry is booming.

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global pet technology market size was valued at USD 1.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3.5 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 12.9% during the forecasted period.

The American Pet Products Association after conducting a study found that pet owners in the U.S. spent a record $103.6 billion on their animals in 2020, up from $95.7 billion in 2019. And a large chunk of that money went to pet tech products, such as smart collars, cameras, feeders, toys, and even treadmills.

Millennials And Their Pets

Thanks to millennials, the pet industry is booming. When this generation gets together, conversations seamlessly drift to their furry friends, be it a cat or a dog. It is common to see this young generation showing off a hundred photos of their 4-legged family members amid the excitement of their newly acquired toys, customized beds, gear, and gadgets.

Pets holistically replace kids for millennials, as they fit right in their lifestyle, especially with remote work on the rise globally.

While it’s undeniable that pets are adorable, their widespread appeal hints at a more profound reason why the Millennial generation is opting for pets instead of children.

Young Americans are finding it difficult to own homes and bringing up children is a commitment they’d rather avoid, especially with the cost of living skyrocketing.

Despite the ‘furry lane’ seeming like the easier way out, the cost of owning a dog in the US ranges between $2,674 to $3,536 annually, Millennial Marketing said. While this figure seems ridiculous, the young generation is willing to do everything they can to keep their pets comfortable and well taken care of.

For millennials, pets provide them with freedom and keep them anchored to their mental health while helping them reduce stress. Pets allow their owners to have purpose, without the commitment of bringing up a human family with kids.

The Pet Tech Industry Is Booming

After realizing the love the young generations have for their furry companions, the pet tech industry is on overdrive, with oodles of gadgets and trinkets launching across the world. These companies are taking advantage of pet owners, convincing them that dogs and cats need these consumerist-driven items to be comfortable and full family members.

The pet craze has seen Leisha Riddel, a 34-year-old art director living in Toronto spend a whopping $699 on a spherical litter “box” for her cat named Boots.

Cat luxury litter box | The Hollywood Reporter

According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the litter ‘box’ unlike any other “rotates slowly, sifting out the clean litter and dropping any clumps into an easily emptied drawer.”

As ridiculous as it may sound, Boots’s litter box is WiFi-enabled, claims to self-clean, and is excellent at eliminating odors. On top of this, there’s an option to buy a camera for monitoring the cat doing its business. Riddel opines that although pricey, the luxury litter box was worth the money she spent on it.

Pet Tech Gears and Gadgets – A Necessity Or Consumerist Trash?

“There’s a saying. If you want someone to love you forever, buy a dog, feed it and keep it around.” — Dick Dale. This and many other quotes encourage pet lovers to go above and beyond to make their flurry buddies happy and comfortable, by spending money on tech gear and gadgets.

Companies in the pet industry “understand that pet owners will pay for the promise of health and safety, including things like DNA test kits, GPS-enabled collars, and the Whistle Go Explore 2.0 Smart Tracker which monitors licking and itching for identifying allergic reactions.

With a Furbo Nanny, which requires a subscription to the standard Furbo pet camera, pet owners can receive alerts if someone is in their homes, in case the dog is barking or in the event of a carbon or smoke alarm going off. Here are some pet tech gear and gadgets available in the market.

Useful Pet Tech Gadgets

Some pet tech products are actually useful, utilizing technology to allow cat and dog owners to provide a healthy environment and stay calm even when they are away from home.

  • Furbo Dog Camera

This device is a camera-treat dispenser combo that lets dog owners see, talk, and feed their furry friends from anywhere. It has a 1080p HD camera with night vision, a 160-degree wide-angle view, and a 4x zoom.

The Furbo Dog Camera has a two-way audio system that lets pet parents hear their dogs’ bark and speak to them through the phone. The device can detect when dogs bark and send notifications.

Pet owners can also toss treats to the dog by swiping on the phone screen. The device can hold up to 100 pieces of round treats (0.4 inches in diameter).

The Furbo Dog Camera is a fun and interactive way to stay connected with dogs when no one is at home. It can also help with training, entertainment, and anxiety relief.

However, it is also pricey ($169), and requires a subscription for some features, such as cloud recording, smart alerts, and doggie diary. Some users also reported issues with the Wi-Fi connection, the treat dispenser, and the app.

  • GPS Dog Tracker & Health Monitor

This device is a wearable tracker that monitors a dog’s location, activity, and health. It attaches to the dog’s collar and syncs with the owner’s phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The device can track the dog’s whereabouts in real time using GPS, cellular, and Wi-Fi technology.

A dog GPS tracker and health monitor | PCMag

It comes with a feature that sets safe zones and alerts if the dog leaves them. The device also measures the dog’s daily steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, and overall health score.

The GPS dog tracker is a useful tool for keeping dogs safe and healthy. It can help people monitor exercise, nutrition, behavior, and medical issues. The device is durable, waterproof, and lightweight (0.8 ounces). It has a long battery life (up to 20 days) and a low monthly fee ($9.95).

Ridiculous Pet Tech Gadgets

Some pet tech gadgets on the market may appear useful, but they are downright absurd and an unnecessary expense to pet owners.

  • Dog Treadmill

This treadmill is designed specifically for dogs. It has adjustable speed, incline, and resistance settings, as well as pre-programmed workouts and training modes. Some brands come with an LCD console that displays time, distance, speed, and calories burned. Dog treadmills are manufactured in different sizes and models to suit different breeds and weights of dogs.

The dog treadmill may seem like a good way to keep a dog fit and active, but it is not very sensible or natural. Dogs are meant to run outdoors, not indoors on a machine. They need fresh air, sunlight, smells, and sights to stimulate their senses and instincts.

Dogs also need social interaction with other dogs and humans to develop their skills and behavior. The device is also very costly ($599-$999), bulky (44 x 21 x 20 inches), and noisy.

  • Cat Litter-Robot

This device is a self-cleaning litter box that automatically sifts and disposes of the cat’s waste. The Litter-Robot has a rotating globe that separates the clumps from the clean litter and drops them into a carbon-filtered drawer. It also has a night light, a sleep mode, and a lockout feature.

Cat owners can connect the device to their phones via Wi-Fi and monitor the cat’s litter box usage, waste level, and history. It is possible to control the device remotely and receive notifications.

Cat litter robot | The Dobo

The Litter-Robot may sound like a dream come true for cat owners, but it is not very practical or necessary for dog owners. Unless in the case of a cat-dog household, or the pet owner wants to train the dog to use a litter box, this device is not for recommended. It is also very expensive ($499), bulky (24 x 27 x 29 inches), and noisy.

The bottom line is that some pet tech gadgets and gear are necessary for making the lives of pet owners easier while enhancing the comfort of their furry friends. However, consumers must carefully evaluate the tech gadgets that are useful and fit their pets, whether dogs or cats.

A treadmill, for instance, is an unnecessary purchase, in addition to denying the dog a chance to interact with the outdoors and fully embrace their instincts and interact with other dogs and people.

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