If you have a dog, there’s no doubt that you probably consider them to be a part of the family. It’s easy to think of our four-legged friends that way, which can make it difficult to leave them. Whether you’re heading out for work or planning an extended vacation, considering your dog’s care should always be a priority.
In the past, some of the only options for canine care included kennels, boarding establishments, or hiring a pet sitter to come to your house.
Today, though, technology is changing the game when it comes to dog boarding and dog sitting, and it will continue to do so. Dogs are incredibly important to their owners, and if you have a dog of your own, you know how much you would do to keep them safe and comfortable.
So, what does the future of dog boarding and sitting look like? What technological tools can you use right now to make your dog more comfortable when you’re away?
Some of the most innovative pet-related inventions in recent years have had to do with taking care of your dog when you’re away. Some of these items can work as “digital pet sitters,” taking care of your dog’s basic needs.
Things like automatic pet feeders, for example, have become extremely popular. These feeders can either be set up on a timer, to release food at certain times of day, or they can be used remotely from your phone to give your dog his meal or even a treat! Electronic feeders are great for making sure your dog stays on a schedule, but they can also be useful if your dog has specific dietary needs. They can be used for a variety of different specialty foods, including grain-free kibble.
Of course, what goes in has to come out. Thankfully, choosing a “smart pet door” will let your dog go to the bathroom without requiring a person to physically let them outside. Some of the benefits of a smart pet door include:
They only allow your pet to go through, eliminating the risk of other animals getting in.
They have insulated flaps to keep your house warm.
There are “lock modes” and curfew timers.
Some can connect to apps so you can stay in control no matter where you are.
The only potential drawback to a smart pet door is making sure your dog comes back inside. If you’re away from home and your dog goes out, you don’t want them to stay in the backyard all day. That’s why it can still be helpful to have someone come to your home to check on your four-legged friend, even if their basic needs are met. As a plus, that person doesn’t necessarily have to clean up after your dog if you invest in a robotic pooper scooper.
Yes, you read that right.
You may already have a robotic vacuum for your home, and a robotic pooper scooper works almost the same way, allowing you to simply collect your dog’s “waste” from a sealed container to throw it away.
Thanks to the rise of pet technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with your dog when you’re away from home. In 2018, the pet tech industry was valued at $4.5 billion. As technology continues to advance, that value is likely to increase.
With advancements in things like wearable pet devices, owners can keep track of what their dog is doing throughout the day, including monitoring their health. You can also directly interact with your dog while you’re gone with camera/app systems like Furbo.
These devices let your dog hear your voice while you see a video of what they’re doing at home. Some of them even allow you to release a treat while you’re speaking, so your dog associates the device with being something good, and can still feel connected to you while you’re gone. These devices can even send an alert to your phone when your dog is barking, so you can check in and make sure everything is okay.
While technology will undoubtedly continue to move dog boarding and dog sitting forward, there is nothing that can fully replace human care. Pets thrive on that kind of personal attention and it can’t be replicated by a digital device.
That is especially true for pets that might have pre-existing conditions. If your dog needs to take medication regularly, needs to go outside more frequently, or just needs constant monitoring, boarding them or having someone come to your house to watch them will always be necessary. Pre-existing conditions include ailments like:
If your dog has been diagnosed with any of those issues or other medical problems that need human care, no amount of technology in the world will replace actual attention from a person.
Even if your furry friend doesn’t have a pre-existing condition or require constant care, robotics shouldn’t replace human interaction completely. They can make your life easier while you’re away and ensure your dog has their basic needs met. But, as a long-term solution if you have to be away on a trip or vacation, making sure an actual person is checking in on your dog is still the best answer.