Smart pet devices such as automated feeders and health trackers are becoming more popular. These technologies allow pet owners to monitor their pets’ health, dispense treats, and engage with them from afar. We don’t knock tech-based pet products at Shoreline Happy Paws. Instead, we believe they are best used in conjunction with human interaction. Today, we’ll discuss how smart devices enhance pet care when used along with human interaction.
Automated Pet Feeders
Especially for those who work long hours, automated feeders ensure that their pets remain on a schedule no matter what pops up.
Using automatic feeders allows pet parents who feed kibble to set out food in advance. They are great for planning around long days at work, day trips with the family, and special events. While those who feed canned food have to consider food safety, automatic feeders can also work if feeding time is within 1-4 hours, depending on the food and brand. Click here to learn about the many options and technologies that exist in the automatic feeder space.
Automatic litter boxes
Scooping a litter box can be a hassle but it’s a non-negotiable for cat lovers. For this reason, dozens of pet product manufacturers like Litter Robot have come up with their own version of an automatic litter box. We think automatic litter boxes are a great concept, assuming your cat will them. Unfortunately, however, many automatic litter boxes have design flaws that make them unpleasant for cats to use. And, with so many on the market, it’s hard for humans to decide which one is best.
From our perspective and knowing cats as well as we do, we recommend you find an automatic litter box with a wide opening. The wider, the better! Anything that has a small opening will feel intimidating to a cat that is unfamiliar with an automatic litter box. And, do your research on how loud the products are when self-cleaning. Many of these types of products have a built-in motor that turns the box, sifts the litter, and deposits debris in a receptacle. That process can be loud and, therefore, scary for a cat. Once a cat becomes scared of the automatic litter box, you’ll be hard-pressed to get him to use it.
Also, keep in mind that automatic litter boxes can be high off the ground, making it hard for small kittens, seniors, and geriatric cats to get inside. If you have a small kitten, check the product for minimum weight so that the sensor, which indicates when to clean the box, will be able to tell that the box has been used and needs to cycle the debris out.
App-Based Pet Health Trackers
App-based health trackers are not just for humans anymore. Our companion animals can also benefit from the insights smart health devices provide. From tracking calorie intake to recording steps taken, different technologies offer distinct features for cats and dogs. These products provide valuable insights for families with overweight and aging pets. They can motivate families to get moving. And, thanks to GPS capabilities, many app-based health trackers can help bring pets home if they accidentally get out or run off-leash.
While these app-based health trackers make pet parents feel connected to their pets from far away, it’s important to know that many go around a pet’s neck. They must, therefore, be sized and placed appropriately to avoid injury and accidents. They also take some time to get used to because they tend to be bulkier and heavier than standard collars. For this reason, we don’t recommend purchasing these right before a trip. Instead, acclimate your pet to them slowly, at least a couple months before your planned departure. Your pet may only tolerate them for a short period to start; slowly warming up to the idea of wearing them regularly.
Pet Technology vs Pet Sitters
While auto feeders and automatic litter boxes are great tools, they can’t replace the care of a professional pet sitter. Pet sitters will check and reload automatic feeders and can empty smart litter boxes, but we do a lot more than just that. Automated tools may work great for an overnight trip nearby. For many reasons, however, including malfunction and accidental injury or illness, they cannot replace the presence of a dedicated caregiver.
Additionally, hiring a professional pet sitter can oftentimes eliminate the need for smart devices entirely. We log all our visits with your pets while you are away. We also log the “business” that your pets accomplished. We track our walking routes on our scheduling software and send you visit updates before we head out. If your pet stops eating, shows any lethargy or signs of illness, etc. we will notice; we monitor their food and water consumption, energy levels, and activity. Our goal is to catch problems early. We are always on the lookout for signs that your pet may be hurting, anxious, or even bored. If we notice something is off, we jump to action to get your pet what they need, be it attention, enrichment, exercise, or veterinary attention.
The Connecticut Shoreline’s Favorite Pet Sitter
Shoreline Happy Paws offers professional in-home dog walking and pet sitting services in the following Connecticut Shoreline areas:
- Old Saybrook
- Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
- Deep River
- Old Lyme
- East Lyme
Certain Areas and Limited Service Hours in:
- Lyme and Madison
- Waterford, New London, Groton
- Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank
Specializing in cats, dogs, and small animals, we know your pets better than technology alone ever will. Having cared for many of the Connecticut Shoreline’s beloved pets for over a decade, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated team than ours.