First off, smart pet toys are amazing! If you’re a smart home addict and you’d like to extend some of the advantages of tech to entertaining and monitoring your pet, there’s a problem…
While there is no shortage of products out there, many of these so-called smart toys are actually pretty dumb and a far cry from legitimate smart devices.
Beyond that, many of these smart pet toys are fairly poor performers. Luckily, we’ve put a sizeable number of smart pet toys and monitoring devices through their paces so you won’t end up buying a dud.
We’ve got 8 smart pet toys and monitoring devices for you today that will brighten up your animal’s day and allow you to indulge your love of gadgetry at the same time so we’ll get right down to business with a robotic companion…
Dog are well known as a man’s best friend, but how about when you’re heading out for the day or you’re busy indoors and your furball needs a companion?
Well, Anthouse’s smart pet companion robot might not be cheap but it’s certainly not as expensive as getting a second dog to keep your beloved pet company!
This robotic toy fulfills the two core needs your dog will have during the course of any day: eating and exercising but both injected with a healthy dose of fun. You can take charge of the robot using a companion app and your smart phone over WiFi so this is the very essence of a smart pet toy.
With walkie-talkie mode you’ll be able to communicate with your pet as they play. The onboard camera allows you to take pictures or videos and share them directly using the app.
If your dog enjoys tirelessly running to collect a tennis ball – and what dog doesn’t? – the core purpose of the Anthouse robot is to launch these anywhere from 8 to 28 feet depending on the space available. The shorter distances mean this toy works just as well inside your smart home as outside in the yard.
When your precious dog has had enough fun for one day, reward him with some food. You can schedule the robot to dispense treats. Tweak serving size depending on the size and appetite of your dog.
Much like a robotic vacuum, the pet robot will hustle its way back to the charging base when it needs a boost. The battery gives you between 2 and 5 hours of runtime according to usage while it takes 4 hours to deliver a full charge. The intelligent robot can safely self-navigate back to the dock neatly sidestepping any obstacles.
If you’re a smart home convert and you want some of that automation you love extended to the pet you love even more than your 65-inch TV, the Anthouse robot companion might be the sharpest investment you make in 2019.
• Fully control your pet’s toy in-app on your smart phone
• Communicate with your pet through the app so enjoy even if they’re playing in the garden while you’re indoors with interactive video
• Combine playtime and meal time with this multipurpose toy and feeder
• Absolutely not the cheapest smart toy for pets but among the best currently on the market
Another 2-in1 smart toy, the Petcube offers a great way to keep a close eye on your cat or dog remotely with an integrated laser. As with any decent device for your smart home, this security and entertainment solution hits more than one pain point.
This rebooted Play version of the first generation adds a 1080p camera equipped with wide-angle viewing, night vision and a 3x zoom alongside robust cloud storage. As well as the video, two-way audio gives you an added layer of connection and intimacy with your pet even when you’re not around to hug them.
Whether you have time to engage or you want to schedule auto-play, you can keep your cat or dog amused with the laser pointer toy. While this might seem overly simple – much like the tennis ball launcher – you should know by now that pets have a remarkable tolerance for performing the same activity repeatedly!
The camera comes with a trial to Petcube Care thrown in. This is an optional membership strand that gives you access to up to 1 month of cloud video footage, improved alerts, and extended video recordings.
Set-up couldn’t be much easier and all you’ll need is an Android (5.1 and higher) or iOS (9.3 and higher) device along with your home WiFi connection as well as the Petcube app.
Making sure your pet has fun while you’re away from home is great but keeping them safe is key. With the Petcube Play you can hit both objectives. Your pet would thank you if they could!
• Multipurpose smart monitoring tool and laser light toy combining safety and fun in one neat package
• Effective camera with full night vision lets you stay in contact with your pet around the clock and you can see them up close and personal by zooming in
• 2.4GHz WiFi connectivity and also compatible with Alexa
• Some reported issues with connectivity, something that blights many smart pet cameras
The Furbo dog camera, now fully Alexa-compatible, is a smart device any pet-lover should consider popping on their shortlist.
Pet cameras are becoming increasingly popular with tech-savvy smart home owners. A regular indoor security camera can help you keep tabs on activity in your connected home but you won’t enjoy any interaction with your pets. Furbo changes that completely…
As with all the best smart cameras designed for pets, you’ll get robust two-way audio and an adjustable barking sensor so you can soothe your dog and preserve your neighbor’s sanity if he starts getting over excited. Where some of the other cameras in this swelling market bother you with endless motion or sound alerts, the intelligent sensor has an AI-powered dog recognition feature so you’ll only get highly specific notifications. The camera also packs impressive night vision.
If your pet is facing the camera, you’ll get a selfie captured so you can see what he’s up to even if you’re not at home. Like the person alert, though, these features are part of the optional paid package. You’ll get a full 3-month trial of this service thrown in so you can try before you buy. This also includes a Doggie Diary feature and cloud recording.
Using the free app, available on both Android and iOS, you can make a game out of treat time. Combining catch and small dog treats like Zuke’s Mini or Natural Balance Mini Rewards dog treats, you can cram in over 100 pieces and fire them out remotely.
Whether you spend a lot of time traveling and want to stay in regular contact with your pet or you simply want to avoid the expense of a dog sitter without worrying about your dog coming to any harm or simply getting bored, this pocket-friendly Furbo is a great combination of smart pet toy and treat dispenser with a great layer of security. This is is a device fully embracing the spirit of home automation, and you can even use your favorite digital assistant.
• Constant live streaming from wide view, full HD camera keeps you connected to your pet remotely
• Super-simple set-up in app using your home WiFi network
• As well as two-way chat functionality, you can get alerts pinged to your smart phone if your dog is barking excessively
• Some of the better features like person alert and selfie alert are now part of the premium, paid-for package
Just as every purchase for your smart home should be personalized, the same applies to buying entertainment for your pets. The norm with ball catchers is to combine them with a camera, but this obviously bumps the price up substantially and it’s absolutely not a feature every pet owner needs.
To bridge that gap, iFetch has produced this automatic ball tosser. We opted for the mini version tailored for smaller dogs since it comes in at a keener price point and more and more pet owners are looking for a ball catcher that won’t overwhelm their little breed. If you’re looking for a beefier version and you don’t mind digging deeper, think about he iFetch Too.
You can launch balls to distances of 10, 20, or 30 feet giving you a fair amount of leeway.
While the iFetch is not a smart device in the sense you won’t need either an app or a cell phone for the purposes of control, you could say the same about some of the components of your home theater.
In effect, you’re benefiting from the underlying technology without the potential glitches or connectivity issues that can mar the experience of some smart pet toys so this is still well worth considering if you want to keep your dog fit, active and entertained. Check out this video of the iFetch in action. We’re sure you’ll agree it deserves a place in the home of any pet-owning smart home enthusiast, showcasing as it does innovative technology at its best.
• Ideally suited for smaller breeds in this scaled-down version firing mini tennis balls
• No app needed so ideal if you’re not the biggest tech fan
• Extremely affordable and very user-friendly piece of kit
• Some training required but that’s all part of the fun
Wickedbone has a smart bone that was the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign last year and brings smart home tech to pet’s toys in fine style.
The smart bone works based on an emotional system so it will react accordingly depending on whether your dog is in playful or more aggressive mode. You can also tweak the sensitivity to take different surfaces into account.
If you want to take control of this toy in-app, it’s super-simple but you will get a reduced run-time of somewhere between 40 minutes and 1 hour. If you engage the interactive auto-play function, you’ll get 4 hours of use from the lithium-ion battery. As with much marketing hype, the claim you can keep your dog entertained all day is clearly less than accurate but, when he is playing, he’ll find this smart bone just the ticket.
The toy is durable enough to withstand even pretty heavy punishment and all materials are perfectly safe and made from polycarbonate approved by the FDA as food-grade. The tires and cover slip off to render cleaning straightforward.
• Choose of auto-play mode or app-enabled drive mode using the app and a virtual joystick
• Completely safe FDA food-grade materials that stands up to repeated gnawing
• Lithium-ion battery giving almost 1 hour of runtime using the app or a full 4 hours using the interactive mode with rapid recharging in just 1 hour by micro USB
• Range is short at only around 10 feet so keep your expectations reasonable
Dogs are obviously very smart and as such you owe it to your pet to keep his brain stretched as much as you keep his body active. Why not harness the beauty of technology to do both things at the same time?
The KONG Wobbler toy houses a puzzle that rewards your dog for navigating the lights, sounds and buzzer with a focus on developing your pet’s impulse control and focus. You can also teach your canine to have their attention redirected toward a food source rather than being instantly rewarded. The device itself is one of the most robust doggie toys on the market.
Food can be delivered as a reward manually or you can pair this smart toy with the PetTutor dispenser. We would advise caution with an optional Bluetooth treat dispenser. A number of disgruntled users have complained about over-sensitivity and the treats being discharged any time your dog passes by rather than only when he puts his paw on it.
In some ways, this is one of the most simple-looking smart toys but the way in which it stimulates your pet is second to none and it’s also incredibly rugged so we’d strongly recommend injecting some mental stimulation into your dog’s life without needing to spend a fortune.
• Use your cell phone to operate this interactive puzzle that rolls physical activity and mental stimulation of your dog into a smart bundle
• Control the difficulty level of the game in-app if your dog is finding things too easy
• Durable housing means your dog won’t end up chewing it to pieces
• Optional feeder prone to activating whenever your dog approaches
Designed by a team of scientists and consistently selling out, CleverPet Hub is a games console for your dog so you can guiltlessly play Fortnite while unleashing your furry buddy on his own canine Call of Duty.
Another Kickstarter project made good, the Hub is the fruit of a team of cognitive scientists who put together a smart device that sets progressively tricky challenges for your furry friend so he’ll stay engaged and challenged without getting so frustrated he’ll give up. With intelligent algorithms and full WiFi connectivity, this smart toy is a far cry from a stick or rubber squeaky bone and perfect for any dog-loving tech-fiend who spends plenty of time away from home.
You won’t need to buy any proprietary food so you can just use your dog’s preferred kibble or treats as long as the pieces are not much bigger than a dime. In the classic effort and reward relationship, you’ll revel in your dog’s progress while he laps up his food after a good session of entertainment.
There are 12 separate challenges available and as more games are developed, you can easily download them directly onto the Hub.
If you can’t get hold of this smart console for pets at the first time of trying, keep your eye out and check back soon since it’s flying off the shelves in such numbers the manufacturer is finding it hard to keep up with demand. This was our standout favorite from this bunch of smart pet toys and we give it our full Smart Home seal of approval.
• Steadily advancing challenges to keep your dog stimulated and entertained at the same time
• iPhone or Android app allows you to take control and also track progress remotely
• Money-back guarantee if your dog fails to engage fully with this console within the first month so buy with no real risk
• Relatively expensive but no pricier than a regular smart device so why not invest in your pet and give them the best technology has to offer
Rounding out our look at the best smart pet toys and devices, we’ve got something that’s safety-oriented rather than something to keep your pooch entertained.
If you like your dog playing in the yard but are loathe to leave him unattended since he often runs off, this GPS tracking device is a great way to set up safe zones and stay fully informed if he flees the garden and heads off on a wander. The notifications come in briskly before he’s had time to head far off so you can snap into action before your dog comes to harm.
The outstanding 7-day battery life puts this device head and shoulders above the competition.
As with all the best smart devices, you’ll get more than one layer of functionality. As well as purely keeping tabs on your dog’s movements, the activity tracker allows you to see how much he rests and how much he exercises over the course of a day. This can help you keep your pet in the finest of shape and health by using the data to make positive changes.
While there are plenty of GPS devices out there for pets and a few activity trackers, the new and improved Whistle 3 brings both together in an affordable and super-smart unit using reliable cellular connectivity.
• Combined activity tracker and GPS location device for your pet
• Track activity over a 24-hour period so you can see exactly where your dog wanders over the course of a day’s activity
• Set up safe zones and receive alerts on your smart phone if your dog breaches these boundaries (WiFi network required)
• You will require cellular subscription plan but these start at very low cost so factor it into your budget
We hope your pet gets some fun and stimulation from these smart devices and that you feel more connected with your beloved animals even if you’re not at home.
Come back soon since we’re constantly updating our home automation blog with guides to the best smart devices out there and also with plenty of useful pointers on building out an effective automated home.
Source: All Things Home Automation