Whether it’s for the pet lover on your holiday gift list or a little something that will make sharing space with your pet easier or more fun, there are plenty of innovative items designed for pets.
You may have heard the expression pandemic puppy, which is what people are calling the new dogs and cats (and the occasionally other breeds of pet) that house-bound people eagerly brought into their homes while in quarantine. The result for many are frequent Instagram, TikTok or even Reddit posts that depict the joy their pets provided, at some of the darkest moments of isolation, which everyone hoped would slow the spread of COVID-19.
If you’re on social media, you’ve seen it: A picture of a cat lounging across a keyboard, or a dog with its head resting on the photographer’s knees, its eyes soft and warm, with the comment or hashtag “My co-worker is very needy today,” or “My work colleague thinks its time to clock out of work.” We even have an item that purports to help you take the best pics of your pets, so your “Insta game” scores.
We’ve gathered some of the latest and coolest items to help keep you home clean, and thus healthy. Things that will, thanks to tech, result in more comfort and aid in an aesthetically pleasing environment for those who share space with pets. Be sure to check out all of TechRepublic’s holiday gift guides.
Yes, you read that right. Even the manufacturer promotes its Basepaws by noting “think 23andMe, but for cats.” Originally seen on “Shark Tank” and on “Ellen’s List,” there are three cat DNA tests available, the first is Breed Groups (regularly $100, holiday special $90) and the nest adds the component Health DNA Test (regularly $150, now$100). Lastly, for $500 (regularly $600) you can have your cat’s entire “Whole Genome Sequence.”
Just as you might have done on yourself, you swab your kitty’s mouth and send the DNA back to the Basepaws laboratory. A full report will be available four-to-six weeks later and you’ll find out if your feline has tiger, lion, or cheetah relatives (“wild-cat index”) and the optional health overview.
For arrival in time for Christmas, order by Dec. 15.
AI for pet owners! Whether you have a double-coated dog, a kitten or a bunny, fur flies in the homes of pet owners. The Roborock S6 MaxV is an intelligent robot vacuum and mop featuring the proprietary “ReactiveAI technology” to automatically dodge obstacles. Using dual-cameras for stereoscopic vision it has depth perception to recognize and avoid common home hazards from items as small as a toy block to pet waste – and it’s constantly learning to improve object recognition. It even has a secure remote viewing feature to check on your pets’ adventures throughout the day (and quiet enough not to scare them). The S6 MaxV is voice and app-controlled to set cleaning zones and schedules. It also can work with the Amazon Alexa.
The Big Barker Dog Bed is a therapeutic mattress designed, and tested, to “help big dogs lead long, activated, quality lives.” The tech lies in the design of the mattress. A Big Barker rep explains: “A recent clinical trial by the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) made huge headway in the search for non-invasive pain management for large dogs with arthritis. The study tested the Big Barker’s 7-inch therapeutic mattresses that have a proprietary high-density foam design.” Learn more about the tech behind the mattress, as well as details of the study HERE.
Pooch Selfie (which first appeared on and was chosen by one of TV’s “Sharks,” solves a problem some cat owners, and likely all dog owners have experienced: Getting your dog to sit still for the perfect selfie. It’s designed to capture your easily distracted animals in action. (Amazon offers a variety of these “look here, look here, look here” gadgets, including a feather designed to entice a feline into a perfect pose, and at least a couple of different versions which holds treats above your smartphone lens for the more food-oriented, and more).
Ebo is a robot that entertains cats and connects them to their owners, as it interacts with cats via autonomous movements (it wheels, rolls, and dances) or pet owners can take control and play with their pets remotely (on vacation, on a commute, from work). A 1080p HD camera streams sound and video to the Ebo app. Users can see what their cat is up to, speak to them, control interactions (including with a low-intensity laser), and record and capture photos and video that can be edited and shared.
Image: Bark Social
The innovative Leak-Tight AutoDogMug is promoted as an alternative to public water bowls which can contain harmful pathogens, and travel water bowls which may be inconvenient for some (too small, too easy for a dog to empty by stepping on its “crushable” edges). This one-handed hydration system for dogs works by squeezing, so the water fills the bowl at the top. Release the bottle and the remaining water returns into the mug. It comes with a removable strap, which can be used as a handle, or for attaching to a pack. It fits in car drink holders, made of food safe, BPA-free materials and holds 20 oz. Top-rack dishwasher safe, it measures 8.5″ tall.
Most, if not all, cat water fountains recirculate water so it can quickly develop an unpleasant taste. My AquaPurr connects to a faucet for fresh water every time the cat triggers the sensor. What they don’t drink simply goes down the drain and what they do drink is fresh, cool water.
The AquaPurr proximity sensor can detect the cat. It then triggers a valve to allow the water to flow to the drinking spigot. If the cat sleeps in front of the sensor it times out in five minutes.
The recently launched pet-specific DEEBOT U2 Pro combines mopping and vacuum tech, and the manufacturers refer to it as bringing a “hassle-free clean to pet owners” and said it removes up to 99.26% of bacteria, has a 300 ml water tank, a hard-floor mode, a 2,600mAh lithium ion battery which covers 2,000 sqare feet, up to two hours run time, and an 800 ml dustbin.
The NuWave OxyPure Smart Air Purifier is designed, manufacturer NuWave to provide “a safe, pet dander, allergen, dust, germ, and virus-free space,” which the company assures is also “the first air purifier proven to remove coronavirus,” and eliminates lead, mold, dust, pollen, smoke, and dander.
Litter-Robot 3 Connect is Wi-Fi-enabled, automatic, self-cleaning litter box for cats. Never scoop cat litter again while giving kitty a clean bed of litter for each use. Litter-Robot comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee and an 18-month warranty.
- Ships in 2-3 weeks
- For cats 5 lbs. and up
- Reduces litter-box odor
- Remotely monitors litter-box usage
- 50 waste liners is $33
Image: Extreme Clean Robot
The Robot RDZ Pet Dog Camera is also a Wi-Fi security camera with real-time monitoring, video communication, app control, and it connects to Wi-Fi. There’s a balance wheel and can be adjusted with angles and tilts. The Robot RDZ features a camera, touch-sensing chest, microphone, and wheels.
According to the manufacturer, “this can remove 99% of particles over 0.3 microns, including pathogen-carrying mucus. Using anti-microbial silver, it kills the infectious bacteria it captures.”
Iimage: Copper H2O
While recent research has said that copper cannot cure COVID-19, it does acknowledge the antimicrobial benefits of the metal. Copper H2O claims its pet bowls “can prevent biofilm, a byproduct of a pet’s saliva mixing with water, which can contain disease-causing viruses and bacteria.” Pet owners often encounter the slimy biofilm when they clean their pets’ dishes, which necessitates a thorough washing. However, apparently a copper dish can be cleaned and disinfected by running the bowl under hot water with gentle soap and wiping it clean.