Tech-Savvy Dogs and Cats

How technology and ai are changing the way you care for your dog or cat.

In recent years, technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have been revolutionizing how we care for our dogs and cats. From self-cleaning litter boxes to smart collars that record your dog’s every step, these innovations are transforming and streamlining your role as an animal parent. Let’s look at how technology and AI are changing the face of companion animal care.

WHAT IS AI AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

Most of us think of AI as a brand new concept, but scientists have been working on it since the 1950s, lifting the ideas right off the pages of science fiction novels. Readers found the stories entertaining, but scientists saw new opportunities to develop technology that would one day revolutionize our lives.

“It is difficult to think of a major industry that AI will not transform,” says Andrew Ng, computer scientist and a global leader in AI. “This includes healthcare, education, transportation, retail, communications, and agriculture.” It was only a matter of time before technology and AI started transforming how we care for our dogs and cats as well. Read on for some examples.

EVERYDAY TASKS MADE EASY

Self-cleaning litter boxes

A dirty litter box is more than just an odor problem; it can actually make your cat sick. The strong fumes coming from an unscooped litter box are ammonia particulates, which can aggravate your cat’s airway every time he uses it. A dirty litter box can also cause kidney, urinary, and bladder infections.

Self-cleaning litter boxes offer a solution for those who may not have time to scoop the litter box every day. These devices sift out waste after every one of your cat’s visits. Some even record your cat’s weight and bathroom habits, and send the information directly to your phone, helping you keep track of your kitty’s health and well-being.

Automatic feeders

Automatic feeders are popular among those who have to be out a lot, or who frequently don’t get home in time to feed their dog or cat.

They’re also helpful for households with multiple animals. For example, if you have a dog who loves to eat out of everyone else’s bowl except his own, you can actually get an automatic feeder with a bowl that has facial recognition. AI scans your dog’s face and uses the image to match it to a photo you’ve previously uploaded. If the right animal appears, the feeder slides open to reveal the food stored in the bowl. The feeder also sends an alert to your smart device so you can watch your animal munching away in real time.

Remote-controlled treat dispensers connected to your smart phone help reinforce good behaviors in your dog.

Automatic grooming tools

Technology is even changing how we groom our animals. Automatic washing and drying machines can get your companion looking his best in minutes, so grooming salons love them. Virtual reality also allows your dog to “try on” a haircut before you commit to it, while laser nail trimmers allow groomers to trim a dog’s nails without hitting the quick.

Robotic vacuums

Pet hair and dander are common in homes with dogs and cats, but what if you don’t have time to clean it up by getting out the vacuum every day? A robotic or smart vacuum might be the answer.

These devices are much improved over the early models that toppled downstairs or got stuck under the couch. Newer models use AI to map your home’s floor plan, which allows them to avoid stairs and navigate through doorways with ease. They’ll even dump their own contents while you and your pup are off doing something more fun.

Geo-fencing and smart collars

Smart collars have become a popular way to help keep tabs on the family dog or cat. These GPS collars use satellites, receivers, and algorithms to determine your animal’s location at any given moment, and how many steps it took him to get there. They can even monitor his heart and respiratory rate.

Another technological innovation that enhances dog and cat safety is geo-fencing. It’s ideal for hikers, campers or anyone else who travels with their dogs, but can also be used in your backyard at home. Geo-fencing works in tandem with your dog’s smart collar. It creates a virtual and invisible geographic boundary in an area you define, and sends an alert to your smart device if your dog goes beyond the boundary.

Keep in mind that this technology is only as good as the services received, and these can change depending on where your dog roams. Also, if the collar fails for some reason, the technology won’t work.

Technology and AI are constantly evolving and improving our lives, and will continue to do so. Although they can’t replace the personal time you spend playing, exercising, and enjoying quality time with your dog or cat, they can help make daily animal care tasks simpler and more convenient.


Karen Elizabeth Baril is a guest pet blogger, author, and magazine writer. Her work has appeared in numerous equine and animal market publications. She lives on her farm in the northwestern hills of Connecticut with her three horses, two dogs, and whatever animals may trundle through during the night. Visit her at karenelizabethbaril.com.

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