Pet Tech: A Baker’s Dozen Gift Ideas for Pet People who Love Technology

Pets and Technology

Humans aren’t the only species to benefit from cool technology and apps. From health and GPS monitors to electronic toys and applications, there are lots of high-tech products sure to please pets and their people.

Here are a few that of my favorites. Some I bought, some were given to me to test (I’ll let you know in the captions), but all are ones I’d recommend.

One note: While it might seem like you can turn on an electronic pet toy and walk away, for the safety of your pets, do not leave them alone and unsupervised with these devices.

Technology For Dogs

1. iFetch Too

IFetch Too automatic ball launcher know comes in a bigger size for larger dogs.

iFetch Too automatic ball launcher know comes in a bigger size for larger dogs. I was given an iFetch Too for free to test.

When I first saw the iFetch automatic ball launcher, my first thought was about Tucker, my ball-obsessed terrier. Unfortunately, the original iFetch only tosses mini tennis balls, so when I heard that the makers of the original iFetch had created the iFetch Too for medium and large dogs, I asked to test one. iFetch Too launches their custom Tuff balls 10, 25, or 40 feet; you can switch among those distances or choose a variable setting. (You can use similarly sized balls as well.) We just started testing ours; we’ll have a full review when we’re done.

2. Wag!

Use Wag dog walking app to make sure your pup gets the exercise he or she needs when you can't be home.

Use Wag dog walking app to make sure your pup gets the exercise she needs when you can’t be. I haven’t tested Wag! yet.

Currently serving Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Seattle, Wag! is a community of neighborhood certified dog lovers who have signed up to walk dogs in your neighborhood. Think Uber for dog walking. All walkers are rigorously screened/vetted, Wag! certified, insured, and bonded. Use the Wag app to browse profiles of walkers in your area, which include reviews, videos, bios, backgrounds, and certifications. Set up recurring walks or just choose a walker for those few times when you really need someone. Track your dog’s walk live on Wag’s GPS map; you’ll also get a full report card after the walk, which includes a photo or video from the walk, distance walked, duration of the walk, and the ever-critical bit of information about whether poop (or pee) happened.

  • Available:
  • Cost: $20 for a one-dog, 30-minute walk, though you can add an additional dog for $5 or extend the walk to an hour for $30; no gift subscription currently exists yet so you’ll want to give this a bank card

3. Narrative Clip

Let your dog document her day with the tiny Narrative Clip automatic camera.

Let your dog document her day with the tiny Narrative Clip automatic camera. I don’t have a Narrative Clip, but the company has me on the list to receive a test unit when it come out in January.

I take a gazillion pictures every day, but they’re always from my perspective; wouldn’t it be cool to see things through a dog’s eyes?. The Narrative Clip is a small wearable camera just a tiny bit bigger than an iPod Shuffle. Weighing less than an ounce, the Narrative Clip attaches easily to a dog’s collar. Its 5MP camera takes two pictures every minute, storing up to 8,000 photos. I haven’t tested this device yet, but I’m hoping to get my hands on a Narrative Clip 2, which is due out in January, and features an 8MP camera that captures still and video footage.

  • Available: and other retailers
  • Cost: $149 for Narrative Clip 1; $199 for Narrative Clip 2, available for pre-order

4. Hachiko

Hachiko Monitor and app

I was given a Hachiko monitor for free to test. I’ll do a full review in the future.

Think Fit Bit for dogs. There are lots of these devices on the market now, and I’ve started testing a few. Hachiko and its companion app send information about your pet to your iPhone. So you’ll know if your teenaged son actually took her for a  walk — and for how long. You can see the map of the walk, know how many steps the dog took, and when. The app also allows you to share information on when and if Muttly has been fed, or had his medicine, which is really helpful when the whole family is involved in his care (as it should be).

Technology for Cats

5. FrolicCat FLIK

Frolicat FLIK

I was given a free FLIK to test with my cats.

An electronic string-flinger, Frolicat FLIK swishes an enticing string back and forth, and sometimes yanks it back within the device. When my cats hear the sound of it flicking, they come running; the more adventurous of them will pounce — and sometimes try to bite — the string, and the more timid ones are fascinated by the sound and the flinging. This is still one of my cats’ favorite toys; read more about it in my complete review.

  • Cost: $24.99
  • Available: From pet retailers

6. Paint for Cats

Paint for cats app

I bought this app more than a year ago, and I still bring it out now and again for the cats to play with.

Let the cat be the artist! Paint for Cats is an ingenious iPad app that encourages cats to swat the rainbow mousie as it moves across the screen. Every swipe and tap of a paw adds colors (from among 10 palettes); users may want to make sure kitty’s claws are trimmed before beginning. The art featured above are by Calvin (unfinished with mousie) and Athena.

  • Cost: $2.99
  • Available for: Apple iPad (not recommended for iPhone)

7. Shru

Cat playing with Shru smart electronic cat toy

I was sent a free SHRU to play with, but I haven’t tested it yet.

It looks a little like an egg with a feather attached, but don’t let SHRU’s simple looks fool you; the device is billed as an intelligent cat companion. Responding to your cat’s play, it engages kitty’s hunting instincts with erratic movements and sound. Rechargeable and configurable via USB to a Mac or Windows computer, SHRU also can be pimped up with a variety of feather attachments, sold separately. I will be testing this toy and writing a full review in the future.

Technology for Dogs, Cats, Humans and Others

8. Sphero BB-8

Sphero BB-8

I haven’t tested Sphero’s BB-8 yet, though I’ve asked for a test unit. I don’t think the company is ready to give these highly-desired toys away.

This is the droid you’re looking for: a Sphero robotic rolling ball taken straight out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. BB-8 is an app-enabled Droid with an adaptive personality; you can control it with an app, plus it reacts to your voice. You can even create virtual holographic recordings. I want this. And nobody has felt I deserve a free one to test with my dogs and cats…yet.

  • Cost:$149.99
  • Available: Online and from electronics retailers

9. Petzi Treat Cam

Petzi Treat Cam and app

I was given a free unit to test, and I’m still playing with it. Full review to come.

The Petzi Treat Cam — and it’s free companion app — lets pet parents keep an eye on their pets and take pictures of them from a mobile phone, and through the Petzi Social Petwork, connect and share photos with other pet parents. You can also talk to to your pet, and dispense treats. It took my cats less than a minute to figure out that the sound of the Petzi meant treats were on the way. I’m still testing mine; it’s a bit of a placement challenge for someone who has three dogs (who I think would rip the thing off the wall) and four cats, but I’m working on it; I’ll have a complete review in the future.

  • Cost:$169
  • Available: Online and from pet retailers

10. Samsung SmartCam HD Plus

Samsung SmartCam HD Plus

I was given a free unit to test; I’ve only just started working with it. A full review will come.

The Samsung SmartCam HD Plus is a small, unobtrusive home monitoring camera that features an ultra-wide-angle lens, 1080p HD streaming, and — most important for cat parents — night vision capabilities. With motion detection capabilities and a companion app, I can’t wait to use this to spy on Athena the stealth cat, who likes to jump up on our kitchen counters when she thinks nobody is looking.

  • Cost: $189.99
  • Available: Online, at, and from electronics retailers

11. Paintapic

New-fangled technology helps create old-fashioned fun when you use Paintapic to turn a photo into a paint-by-numbers work of art.

I was given the opportunity to test one of these kits for free; I’m anxiously awaiting delivery of the kit you see pictured above. A full review will be available in the future.

Paintapic takes your favorite photo and turns it into an old-fashioned paint-by-numbers kit. Paintapic will send you the canvas or artboard, guide, brushes, and paints — everything you need to create that one-of-a-kind museum-quality treasure. Of course the photo doesn’t have to be a dog or cat, but if you’re like me, you have more pictures of your dogs and cats than of your human family. My excuse is: I blog.

  • Available:
  • Cost: $54.95-$94.95 plus shipping and handling, depending on size


Kuddly offers advice directly from veterinarians 24/7.

Kuddly offers advice directly from veterinarians 24/7. I spent some time with the folks from Kuddly when I was at BarkWorld. They’ll be giving me free access to the app so I can do a more in-depth test and review in the future.

Kuddly is an app that connects users to on-call licensed veterinarians 24-7, around the world, through live chat and emails. Search for vets by price, language, and specialty. While Kuddly is not a substitute for an in-office exam, and the on-call vets cannot provide a diagnosis or prescribe medications, they can offer professional advice when it’s needed. Then you can schedule an appointment with your regular vet or contact a veterinary hospital for urgent care.

  • Available for: Apple, Android, and online; visit
  • Cost: Free for the app, $10 for a 12-minute chat session, and $2 per email; you can’t give a gift subscription yet, but it’s in the works.

Technology That Makes Everyone Feel Good

13. iPet Companion

iPet Companion

The best gift of all would be to support a shelter or rescue organization. Visitors to the iPetCompanion website can play live with cats in shelters waiting for their forever homes. More playtime means happier, healthier cats — the kind who get adopted more easily. So play with a cat or several from the comfort of your home, and while there, donate to the shelter. Don’t see your local humane society among those currently participating? Thanks to a generous grant, the iPet Companion system is being offered absolutely free of charge to qualifying shelters.

3 Comments on "Pet Tech: A Baker’s Dozen Gift Ideas for Pet People who Love Technology"

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  1. easy rider says:

    that are wonderful toys for humans :o) I wish I could buy someone who can maneuveer all that cool stuff for me :o)

  2. Emma says:

    We are testing the Petzi Treat Cam right now too. The male cat is the most interested in it. Our senior dog is almost deaf so she has no interest, and I find it boring, so luckily it is only Bailie who really wants to get the treats for the dogs.

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