Words by Carlie Tucker
Pet lovers that travel frequently for work are probably all too familiar with the struggle that comes with leaving your four-legged friends at home. Aside from the emotional strain, there are practicalities to consider. Who will watch them? Where will they stay? What if they get bored? How will you check-in? As with most things these days, technology is here to save the day!
Whether you’re leaving for the day or you’re set for an extended trip, here are a few high tech solutions to make you and your pet’s life a little easier while you’re away.
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Even if you’re only out for the day, leaving a pet at home alone can be a concern for some. Bored pets can be destructive and there’s always the question of fitting in enough daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy. The solution to this concern can come in the form of interactive toys that can be operated even when you’re not there.
The Dart Automatic Pet Laser Toy is perfect for curious kitties. This device comes with a 360 degree rotating head and pivoting laser. There are 16 speed settings and combinations, with the option to automatically turn off after 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Simply set it up in an elevated location and turn it on. Your cat will get some exercise and mental stimulation whether you're there or not.
For dog owners with a pooch stuck in the backyard all day, the GoDogGo fetch machine is a great option. This machine launches tennis balls for your dog to fetch, with an ergonomic bucket for your dog to return the ball to keep the fun going. It comes with three time settings and three distance settings. There is also an on demand launch, or it can be owner controlled with a remote. It holds various sized balls for dogs of most breeds, with a junior version for puppies and smaller breeds.
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Technology has even made it easier to find a sitter for your pet when you’re away from home for more than a day. If you can’t rope a family member or friend into watching your pet while you travel, online services are becoming increasingly more sophisticated. Applications, such as PetCloud, allow you to upload your pet’s profile and search for verified and insured pet sitters and walkers in your immediate area. With options available for in-house sitting or at the sitter’s house, you can find an staying solution best suited to your pet's needs.
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Keeping an eye on your pet’s behaviour while you’re away from home is much easier these days thanks to a swathe of devices that allow you to do everything from track movements and meals to watch them on a live video stream. Even better, depending on how sophisticated you want to go, these devices are often reasonably priced.
The FitBark is one such device. Think Fitbit but for pets. It’s an activity tracker for your animal that can be worn around the collar to track their movement. Whenever your pet is near an authorised smartphone or FitBark base station, the device will send vital information to your smartphone in real time. You can even set daily health goals and chart your pet’s progress.
For something slightly more sophisticated, the Petcube is an in-home camera that allows you to view, talk to and play with your pet while you’re away. This small cube-shaped device can bet set on top of a table or shelf, offering a 180 degree view of the room through an app on your smartphone. There is a built-in microphone and speakers so you can hear and talk to your pet, and a built-in laser pointer controlled through the app that lets you engage your pet even when you’re not home. For apartment-dwellers, there is also a nifty sound-alert option to let you know if your pet is making excessive noise.