Best Pet Tech: Dog Talking Buttons, Smart Collars, and More
Technology is slowly but surely changing the dynamics of the human-pet relationship. A virtual cornucopia of tech products designed for dogs and the people who love them have hit the market. Which gives pet parents the opportunity to enrich their dog’s lives in innumerable ways.
Social media sensation, Bunny the Talking Dog, is a poster child for pet tech. The enterprising Sheepadoodle learned to use a soundboard with specialized buttons that, when pressed, speak words that reflect Bunny’s needs, wishes and desires (think food, outside, play, good, Mom, etc.). Bunny has even learned to string these words together to create sentences, which reveals aspects of her intelligence that might have otherwise gone undetected.
Talking buttons are just one example of how tech helps people protect and connect with their canine companions. Check out this variety of pet tech gadgets, devices and digital programs that can help you keep your dog safe, healthy and engaged.
High Tech Pet Products: Passing Fad, or Here to Stay?
Gadgets that are gimmicky and clever but don’t enhance a dog’s life or improve their relationships aren’t likely to gain permanent foothold in the pet product marketplace.
But among the duds are some clear gems that stand to benefit dogs and pet parents alike. These empowering inventions are proliferating, which is why the market for innovative pet tech products is likely to keep expanding for quite some time.
Our 6 Favorite Pet Tech Products
After carefully reviewing all the fantastic and fascinating options, we’ve compiled a list of the top six pet tech products for dogs and their humans. The benefits of these technological marvels are undeniable.
Dog Talking Buttons
First made famous by Bunny and her pet parent, Alexis Devine, dog talking buttons are opening new and exciting lines of communication between dogs and their humans. Dogs finally have a means for verbalizing their needs and desires in a language their two-legged loved ones can understand. Meanwhile, humans who train their dogs to use talking button technology to “speak” are learning much more about dog cognition and intellectual processing than they’d ever dreamed was possible.
The top dog talking button systems include:
- FluentPet. This is perhaps the most well-known talking button system on the market since it’s the one used by Bunny and Alexis. The FluentPet starter kit comes with six sound buttons and three colorful HexTiles that serve as mounting platforms, and the system can easily be expanded as your dog’s knowledge of English grows.
- Hunger for Words Talking Pet Starter Kit. This simple yet successful system was designed by speech therapist Christina Hunger, who developed the talking button concept in coordination with Stella, the world’s first talking dog. The Hunger for Words starter kit includes four large, colorful and easy-to-press buttons, but that number can be expanded as your dog expands their vocabulary.
- Talking Products Voice Recordable Talking Tiles Sound Buttons. This six-button system is customizable rather than preprogrammed, meaning you pick its messages. It allows you to record up to 80 seconds of audio in your voice or from a digital device, so you can make the buttons say whatever you’d like your dog to learn.
Smart collars for dogs are furnished with wireless devices that continually transmit data that you can collect and study at any time. They can also be used to control your dog’s movements by creating safe zones.
A dog smart collar will remotely connect to a mobile app on your phone, allowing you to track your dog’s current movements via GPS. Most smart collars also allow you to add virtually fenced-in areas that your dog can’t leave without your permission. Should they stray too far, the smart collar will warn them with a buzz, a vibration, a sound, or a pulse that encourages them to reverse course.
Smart collars are incredibly versatile. In addition to allowing you to monitor and control your dog’s movements, they can also record meaningful behavioral patterns and check your dog’s heart rate to make sure they aren’t overstressed. Through a smart collar, you can keep a constant watch on their mental and physical health from any distance, and if anything seems out of the ordinary, you’ll know about it right away.
This list of top-quality smart collars for dogs includes:
- Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar. This multi-purpose collar can be used to create virtual fenced yards to keep your dog safe, has GPS capabilities that can locate your dog to within 10 feet of their actual location, and will issue a Health and Happiness score based on your dog’s behavior patterns and physiological indicators.
- Halo Dog Collar. The Halo collar can create up to 20 wireless fenced-in safe zones while tracking a dog’s precise location via GPS. This collar comes with a training program on how to use it that was developed by famed dog trainer Cesar Milan.
- Fi Smart Collar. This superior-quality smart collar is specifically designed to measure a dog’s fitness and activity levels. It will record calories burned, monitor your dog’s progress based on fitness goals you choose, and send out messages to dog walkers and others in your family, letting them know if your dog isn’t getting all the exercise they need.
Pet DNA Tests
If you give your dog a DNA test, you won’t be able to learn their great-grandparents’ names or trace their lineage back to 19th-century Europe. But you will be able to discover vital information about their breed or breed(s), and learn about any distinctive physical traits or health risks they might possess. When you provide these genetic details to your vet, they’ll be able to provide vital health tips particular to your pup’s genetic makeup, and tell you what to watch out for over the years.
DNA tests are simple to administer, only requiring a sample of DNA from a cheek swab. You put the sample in a protective tube and mail it back to the testing company for analysis and full results.
Some of the best DNA testing kits include:
- Embark Dog DNA Test Kit. Appropriate for either mixed breeds or purebreds, the acclaimed Embark testing package will give you a complete rundown of your dog’s ancestry and origins. Its full package also screens for a broad range of genetic health issues and breed traits. Embark DNA testing carries the official seal of approval of the Westminster Kennel Dog Club.
- Wisdom Panel Premier DNA Test Kit. Specially customized by a panel of veterinarians, the Wisdom Premier test package traces ancestry and heritage while also screening for more than 200 genetic health conditions. The company promises their DNA tests will provide you with “near-encyclopedic” knowledge of your dog’s health and genetic history.
- Orivet GenoPet 5.0 Dog DNA Test. With the capability of identifying more than 350 breeds, this purebred DNA testing kit will provide all the usual data about ancestral lines, geographic heritage, trait characteristics and vulnerability to genetic disorders. What sets it apart is that it comes with a personalized wellness plan, plus lifetime access to an online support portal.
Smart Pet Toys
Smart pet toys are animated by software programs or AI features that customize the responses of the toy based on your dog’s behavior. The toys may move in your direction (you can control them from mobile apps), or they may require your dog to solve puzzles to gain access to tasty treats hidden inside.
Smart toys offer amusement and entertainment along with invigorating physical and mental stimulation. They’re especially beneficial when your dog is alone and needs something to stave off boredom or separation anxiety. Smart toys help keep potentially destructive dogs under control, by letting them focus on specific activities.
Here’s just a small sampling of some of the best-reviewed options:
- Pebby Smart Ball. While it looks like any other ball on the outside, the Pebby is actually an automated toy controlled by a mobile app. It’s fully interactive with a built-in microphone, camera and speakers, so you can communicate with your dog and watch them having fun even if you’re away.
- CleverPet. This combo puzzle and treat dispenser only opens when your dog hits the right button on the console. The challenge of figuring out which button to push will get progressively harder (that’s why it’s a mentally stimulating puzzle). Still, if you’ve filled your CleverPet with PetPlate’s delicious organic treats you can rest assured they will stay with it until they’ve cracked the code!
- Wickedbone. This wicked awesome, bone-shaped electronic toy is fully mobile and will either move in random patterns or under direction from a smartphone app. On random settings, the Wickedbone is programmed to react to a dog’s movement patterns.
Dog GPS Trackers
A GPS tracker can be easily attached to your dog’s collar, where it collects and transmits location and movement data directly to a phone app. The tracking device can be set to alert you if your dog travels outside a safe zone (the confines of your home or backyard, for example), and you can follow them virtually to see where they’re going.
In most instances, you won’t have to purchase a separate GPS tracking device if your dog is wearing a smart collar. But if you’re looking for reliable GPS tracking, some of your best options include:
- Whistle Health and GPS. Whistle’s Health and GPS device features precise location tracking through its AT&T 4G LTE-M satellite network. Updates on your dog’s exact location will be available every 15 seconds. The sophisticated Whistle system also monitors your dog’s health while offering detailed information about where they are and what they’re doing.
- Tractive GPS Dog Tracker. Tractive provides live tracking updates and a location history that lets you know where your dog has been and what they’ve been up to. Should your dog wander outside your predetermined safe area, you’ll receive an emergency notification on your mobile app.
- Dogtra Pathfinder 2 Mini GPS Dog Tracker. Lightweight but sturdy and fully waterproof, the latest miniature dog tracking device from Dogtra is compatible with both smartphones and smart watches. In contrast to the products of its main competitors, Dogtra’s GPS tracking system does not require a monthly subscription to function.
Interactive Dog Cameras
You can now watch and interact with your dog while you’re away. Speak with them, play games with them, and even give them treats as a reward for their attention and good behavior. Many of these cameras function like virtual pet sitters, interacting with them constructively even when you aren’t paying attention.
Some of the best interactive dog cameras include:
- Eufy Pet Dog Camera. Known for its super-clear video imagery, the Eufy dog camera comes with night vision and a motion sensor. The camera has a high-quality treat dispenser and offers vivid interactions with your dog through its smartphone app.
- YI Technologies Dome Pet Camera. This compact option is simple to set up and use, and offers strong and clear sound quality to make it seem as if you’re right there in the room with your dog. It has a unique 360-degree view setting and night vision to make sure you can see your dog clearly at night.
- Furbo Dog Camera. The Furbo is generally considered the gold standard in interactive dog cameras. Featuring only the highest-quality interactive features facilitating two-way communication, it’s sleek and attractive. It has a well-designed treat dispenser that will provide your pooch with all the PetPlate organic treats they want. The newest version comes in 160-degree and 360-degree models.
Frequently Asked Questions
The average dog person is likely still new to pet technology. But as awareness grows, people with pups are starting to ask a lot of questions about the burgeoning pet tech industry. Here are just a few of the most popular queries:
What is pet technology?
Technology products for pets are devices and gadgets with digital abilities. They promote greater health and well-being for animals, and peace of mind for the human beings who love them.
What is the pet tech industry?
The pet tech industry has developed a number of digitally-based smart products. Research and development in the pet tech sector is booming: according to a market research report released by Global Market Insights, gross sales for pet tech products will rise from $5.7 billion in the United States in 2020 to $20 billion by 2027. So you can expect exciting new lines of pet tech products to hit the market over the next few years.
Are smart collars safe for dogs?
Smart collars are entirely safe for dogs. They give off digital signals that can be monitored remotely, but besides that, they function in the same way as any other dog collar might function. They will ultimately keep your dog safer than they are now by letting you know where they are and what they’re doing at all times.
What is the best way to track a pet?
A dog GPS tracker will let you follow your pet everywhere they go, remotely but with accurate data that will tell you precisely where they are at any given moment. An increasing number of pet parents are choosing to enhance their tracking capabilities by purchasing harnesses with attached cameras, which allow them to see exactly what their dog sees and therefore allow them to more easily identify the immediate environment.
Take Care Of Your Dog With Pet Tech (And Without)
Your love for your pup is without bounds. And when you invest in devices, gadgets or specialized products, it’s a sign of your commitment to be a loving and caring companion.
That said, you shouldn’t rely on technology alone to protect your dog’s health and wellness. A superior diet is still the most vital contributor to a dog’s long-term health, and PetPlate plans ensure your dog has access to the most nutritious and delicious 100% human-grade and vet-designed meals available!