Written by Anna Hollisey
In a world of AI, machine learning and robots taking over, it can sometimes feel that we’re becoming too reliant on technology. But there are some gadgets, gizmos and cool toys that can make your life (and your dogs) much easier and safer. Here’s a round up of some of our favorites as used by the FOTP team…
There are plenty of activity trackers for dogs on the market.
If your dog’s a famous runaway and you want to keep track of their travels, a GPS tracker is a great investment. Check if there’s a monthly subscription fee – the popular Jiobit Smart Tag has excellent coverage, but you’ll pay every month. Pitpat uses an independent mobile network to track your dog and display their location on a map, with no monthly fee.
It's multi-purpose, too – as FOTP Kim told us: “I have the Pitpat activity tracker on [Australian Shepherd] Osric's collar all day, it tracks his steps, how much exercise he’s doing and how much ‘pottering’, and then use the GPS tracker when we go away or he's running somewhere off lead.”
Here’s a new one… Invented in the UK and shown in the British version of ‘Shark Tank’, the Dog G8 is a concertina safety gate which is attached to one side of your front door. When you open the door to receive a parcel or visitor, the gate stretches out to cover the opening. This seems like an invention which could soon become standard in doggy homes!
If your dog has started to show signs of aging (like stiff joints or spine), an inexpensive solution for mealtime is an elevated bowl. It’s great for larger dogs so they don’t have to stoop to reach their kibble.
To help you support their regular routine, you can buy an automated feeding station which dispenses food at the right times. There’s a more affordable alternative which has a built-in timer and springs open at the correct time. But this type needs to be filled between each meal.
Does your pooch constantly tip their water over the floor? There’s a gadget for that, too! Weighted water bowls are expensive. But if you’re tired of walking through puddles, they’ll save you from annoyance. Choose a great-quality weighted bowl (like the Yeti Boomer) which will last for your dog’s lifetime.
Got a dog that howls himself to sleep? “Our neighbors had one of those,” says Steve, “so they bought a dog camera [we love the Furbo] – now they get alerts when the dog howls, and they can reassure them via the walkie-talkie function. Peace at last!”
The Furbo 360 is an update on the original camera. It spins to record the entire room (with clever movement-tracking technology to follow your dog).
Light up the night… If you’re a late-night dog-walker, equip your dog with some light gadgets. As well as a glow-in-the-dark coat or vest, your dog can wear a collar light. We like an LED flashlight for backup – for optimum versatility, choose one that doubles as a poo-bag holder, or one which is built into the rim of a hat!
Love a long walk with your dog? The collapsible water bowl is an essential. This space-saving device clips on to your bag, ready to pop up and give your thirsty pup a drink.
Is it time to surrender to the call of the fanny-pack? In recent years, these humble bags have been upgraded. Choose a bag which is weather-proof and multi-pocketed: ideal when your pockets are cramped, you have lots of gadgets, or you just don’t want your shorts to fall down. If you don’t want to wear a fanny-pack, you could always choose a backpack for your dog to wear – with compartments for poop bags.
Well, you’re already getting some funny looks – why not add a dog carrier to your outfit? It looks unusual, but it also enables you to take smaller breeds or younger dogs for longer hikes. That’s especially important for puppies, who should only walk on-leash for five minutes per month of age (during their first year).
Just like a baby sling, a dog carrier gives your dog a great view of the world; opt for a front-facing sling or a backpack, like the viral ‘Little Chonk’.
Our team is reporting on personal experience. All products linked in this article are suggestions, not recommendations. Front of the Pack is not affiliated with any products and takes no responsibility for your experience with other vendors.