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Best and Worst Pet Gadgets

If you haven’t been in a pet store recently, you may be surprised to see the kinds of critter gadgets currently flooding the market. While some new pet inventions are actually nifty, other products might cut down on pet-owner interaction-never a good thing. The following is a list of some new pet products-the “useful,” the “potentially useful,” and the “not so useful.”

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The Useful

Product Claim: This water-cooler unit automatically fills a pet bowl, located at the base, with the same cool, clean water that you drink.

Worth It: Finally: your dog can get in on the water-cooler gossip and chat about last night’s episode of Heroes. This pet-friendly refreshment stand will make it possible for you to take short trips away from home without worrying about whether your neighbor is refilling the water bowl.

Petmate Le Bistro Automatic Pet Feeder

Product Claim: Simple, programmable electronics prompt the feeder to dispense anywhere from 1/4 to 2 cups of food at 3 selected times per day.

Worth It: Along with the automatic water dispenser, this feeder lets you leave for business trips or brief vacations and feel relaxed about leaving your companion alone. By selecting the portion sizes and dispensing frequency, you can ensure that your pet will not starve or overeat. But remember: you should always ask someone to check in on your pet, even if it’s just for companionship and exercise.

Product Claim: Feel better about your pet’s safety by storing any message you like on this user-programmable digital pet tag.

Worth It: The Dog E Tag allows you to store up to forty lines of important information, making it an intelligent upgrade from the basic metallic ID tags. For example, you can program your contact details, your pet’s health conditions, and your veterinarian’s phone number, all of which might prove useful if your little friend gets lost or suffers a medical emergency.

PetSafe’s Smart Pet Doorbell

Product Claim: Fasten a SmartKey to your pet’s collar, and the Smart Pet Doorbell chimes when your friend is at the door.

Worth It: If you let your dog play out back or your cat explore the neighbourhood, this might be the gizmo for you. Your pet won’t have to whine or scratch at the door, and you won’t have to wait around for her to come back inside. The Smart Pet Doorbell is also great for those with hearing difficulties, or those who listen to loud music or watch TV.

Super Bark Stop

Product Claim: Train your dog to stop barking using advanced microphone and ultrasonic technology.

Worth It: Whether it’s from your dog or your neighbour’s, being disturbed by furious barking isn’t exactly pleasant. The sound of a dog barking causes this device to sound an alarm at a frequency that only dogs can hear, deterring them from making noise. You and the whole neighbourhood can enjoy the sound of peace and quiet.

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The Potentially Useful

The Potentially Useful

Visiglo Lighted Leash

Product Claim: The Visiglo lighted dog leash makes walking the dog after dark fun, safe and stylish.

Maybe Worth It: The leash is illuminated by light pulses, which make you and your dog more visible to drivers during nighttime or early-morning jaunts. Although reflective stickers have been popular on dog collars for a while, a flashing light might be a little more attention-grabbing.

Halo 3290 UV ST Ultraviolet Vacuum

Product Claim: Equipped with ultraviolet-light technology, this full-size vacuum cleaner kills potentially dangerous micro-organisms and pathogens living-and reproducing-in carpets, mattresses, and other home fabrics.

Maybe Worth It: This special vacuum has a UV-C light that is supposed to eliminate bacteria, dust mites, fleas, lice, mould, etc. If you’re a germophobe-type who doesn’t think a regular vacuum cuts it, consider this fancy upgrade.

QuickFinder Nail Clipper

Product Claim: This nail clipper’s red, yellow, and green lights help you know when it’s not safe to cut, when to proceed with caution, and when it’s safe to clip.

Maybe Worth It: These high-tech clippers will let you know when you are in danger of accidentally cutting your pet’s quick (the blood vessel in the nail). If you don’t want to spend money on a professional groomer, but feel nervous about taking matters in to your own hands, these clippers might prove useful.

DNA Pet Portrait

Product Claim: A DNA Pet Portrait is a beautiful way to celebrate the spirit of your friend.

Maybe Worth It: The DNA Pet Portrait is exactly what it sounds like: an artistic rendering of your pet’s DNA. This definitely doesn’t suit everyone’s taste, but if you’ve got a beloved pet, money to burn, and a thing for nucleic acid, then why not? For the truly committed, DNA11 can even assemble a portrait of your deceased pet using its hairs.

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The Not So Useful

The Not So Useful

Manners Minder Remote Reward Behavior Training System

Product Claim: The Manners Minder features a remote-controlled feeding tray that lets you reward Fido with a snack for good behavior-all without getting out of your lounge chair.

Not Worth It: Personally feeding your well-behaved pet a treat not only strengthens your bond but is essential to your pet’s happiness. Part of the joy in having a pet is the fun of interacting with them. A device like this eliminates part of that crucial contact. If you’re not careful, this machine just might replace you.

New Wave Penthouse Dog Potty

Product Claim: Wish you didn’t have to go out in the cold, rain or heat? Then having a dog in a high-rise just got a whole lot easier.

Not Worth It: If your home has no green space, but has access to a patio or large balcony, this device might be useful. The Penthouse Dog Potty is a small piece of green space that your dog can use to do his business when you lack the time to bring her out for a walk. But here’s a better idea: make time to walk your dog instead, like a real pet owner.

Pet Treadmill

Product Claim: This treadmill provides versatility in exercise, develops muscle strength and stamina, provides exercise in adverse weather, and prevents obesity and associated health problems.

Not Worth It: Again: you bought a dog. Walk her. Unless your area experiences poor weather frequently, this device would only serve you if you have a particularly energetic pet. Taking your pet out for regular walks is still the best way to keep her in shape and happy.

Panasonic Network Camera and Pet Cam

Product Claim: Place this webcam in your home, office, vacation home, or almost anywhere else that you’d like to keep an eye on things, with no PC required on location!

Not Worth It: In contrast to some of the aforementioned products, this gadget takes the human-pet relationship a little too far. The purpose of this device is to monitor your pet’s activities via the internet while you are not at home. It uses basic webcam technology and lets you log into a secured website that displays video feeds coming from all the pet cams you have set up. Just relax: Fluffy is probably fine.