Pets are becoming an ever more significant part of households across the world, so it’s not surprising that technology is advancing to make taking care of our four-legged companions that little bit easier.
Over 60% of American families have a dog, cat or other non-human companion. In fact, 90% of all large animals on Earth (those with a mass greater than a few kilograms) are human beings and domesticated animals.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, led by Lisa Horn, suggested the striking similarity between dog-owner relationships and parent-child relationships.
There’s a whole host of apps, devices and interesting inventions that have cropped up over the last few years, all dedicated to helping with taking care or entertaining our pets.
Here are some of the most novel examples:
- Pintofeed: Forgotten to feed the dog? There’s an app for that. Pintofeed is a device that allows owners to feed their pets remotely. The pet feeder connects to a home’s wireless network and the user can control it through the Pintofeed app. Feeds can be activated manually through the app or set to automatically dispense food at specific points during the day. The app will then report when food has been successfully dispensed.
- Snapcat: This is the first social photo sharing app for cats, featuring photos taken by cats...
Google Voice for Pets:Ever wondered what your pet is saying when it makes a sound? Google Voice for Pets is a communication collar that includes sensors that are activated to record your dog or cat directly when they make a sound. Audio clips can be sent to the owner via the accompanying app.
- Mr Dog: An ideal app for taking your dog for a walk in a big city, because it offers guides to help you discover the best places and pet-friendly establishments.
Doggy Talk: The WhatsApp or maybe even Tinder for dogs. This app allows dog owners to connect with each other and arrange dog walks or perhaps a doggie date.
- Ikibble: Knowing what you can and cannot feed your dog can be confusing, especially if you like to treat them to a few kitchen leftovers. This app provides a thorough overview of what foods are okay to feed your dog and which foods may cause serious health issues. Foods are categorised by major groups such as: meat, fruit, dairy, vegetables and grains - all accompanied by a health rating of one to five ‘bones’.
- FroliCat Bolt Laser: This is an interactive laser toy for cats. The device emits a laser of light in various interchanging directions, designed to encourage the cat to try to ‘catch’ the light. A great option to help ensure your cat gets enough exercise, if you’re not around in the day to to play with them.
- Wandant: a pedometer for pets to monitor their movement, to make sure they’re getting sufficient exercise.
Neuticles - artificial testicles
Perhaps one of the more bizarre inventions on the market is artificial testicular implants for pets. These are designed for our neutered companions. The implants called Neuticles, are the brain-child of Gregg Miller and consist of a silicone testicular implant that can be inserted into dogs, cats and other small animals - who no longer have their natural testicles.
This invention gained some significant recognition after being awarded 2005 Nobel GI (a parody of the Nobel Prize).
Thomas P. Keenan describes Neuticles in his book TechnoSmith: "The Original Neuticles are quite affordable: the medium size implants for dogs are 84 dollars a unit, although it’s likely that most pet owners will be more interested in buying a pair for 139 dollars. You might like to add a sleeveless T-shirt to the basket with the company slogan: “'It's as if nothing has changed”.”
Aesthetic implants for pets might sound like a joke, but we assure you this is an official product.
What did turn out to be a joke from Google on April's Day was Google for Pets: a service adapted to allow animals to surf the web. According to Google, under the name of ‘I'm feeling woof’ and ‘I'm feeling meow’, pets could browse content adapted to their interests. Maybe one day, pets really will be surfing the internet like humans...