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Smart-home kits keep owners connected to pampered pets

Smart pet leash, antibacterial bowl, ‘intelligent’ drinking fountain, monitors and litter trays to analyse output and detect health issues are among innovative connected products available to pet owners

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 9:07am

We dress them up in designer coats, parade them in pricey pushchairs, order custom cakes to mark each birthday and treat them to a day spa.

Yes, we’re talking about pampered pets, an obsession in Hong Kong and across Asia.  Parents of “fur kids” don’t count the cost, sated sufficiently by the perceived returns.  There is a whole suite of smart home kits primarily targeting cats and dogs, who enjoy the same status in the household as human occupants.

From Shanghai-based tech start-up Petkit comes a range of innovative connected products, being distributed to a growing number of international markets. A hot seller is its smart pet leash. Now, when you’re out and about, time spent walking and distance covered can be monitored via your pup’s personal fitness tracker. The leash handle syncs with your smartphone app via Bluetooth; comes in various designer colours; and has a built-in LED lamp to aid night-time walking.

The smart antibacterial bowl from Petkit can help owners to manage their pets’ weight, while keeping them healthy. A 2016 iF Design Award winner, this stylish feeding bowl can weigh the exact food amount as recommended by the companion app, based on your pet’s profile. The bowl is made from hi-tech material designed to inhibit bacteria and keep bugs at bay.

Why leave ordinary tap water out for them all day when you can have an “intelligent”  drinking fountain? The Eversweet water dispenser from Petkit is equipped with a light sensor and level indicator: it filters the water, and automatically dispenses the correct volume to keep the water fresh at all times.

Besotted owners may already have a pet monitor installed while they’re at work. The dual mode Mate monitor from Petkit lets you interact with them, too. Simply turn on the mic on your phone, and Fido or Moggy can hear you at home – and respond to you in real time. Record and upload to your social media feeds to share your own funny cat videos.

The Furbo pet monitor goes one step further: apart from live HD video and audio streaming, it lets you toss treats to your dog when you’re not around.

Throw a robotic ball by remote control with the new pet tech toy from PlayDate, which resembles Sphero's devices. A camera inside the ball lets you see both your pooch and where the ball is going, as if you were there with them.

From the “is nothing private?” department comes a Wi-fi-connected litter tray that monitors your cat’s output, and analyses it to detect any health issues. Vets rate such information highly. Remarked one: “I always say that taking note of the contents of a litter box is like reading tea leaves”. The smart gadget from Tailio also tracks moggy’s weight, and the number of visits to the bathroom, via smartphone app. If you have more than one cat, it can also tell you who’s used it and when.