5 pet tech & gadgets that'll help your business 5 pet tech & gadgets that'll help your business

5 pet accessories & gadgets that'll help your business

When you look after other people's cats and dogs for a living, or as a side-business, keeping pet parents happy is a top priority. With the pet tech industry booming, now's the time to dip your toe (or paw) in and find out how these gadgets can work for your business. Here, we explore the world of pet accessories and reveal how they can help you stay heads (and tails!) above the rest.

The pet camera

What is it?

Cat and dog cameras are a popular choice for pet owners who want to see their furry beloved when they aren't around. There are many different styles out there - from free pet camera apps that sync your smartphone with another device at home, to state-of-the-art cameras worth hundreds of pounds.

Is it any good?

With so much choice, you're bound to find one that suits the needs of your business. For example, some styles are multifunctional and have built-in pet-feeders (more on these later) which can be useful. Others include night vision, so you can see your pet after dark. Cameras with motion detection and two-way speakers are also available, and some even have built-in games to keep your furry companion happy.

The downside? Most models run off your Wi-Fi connection, so if it's poor, you're not going to get a good quality stream.

How can it help my business?

Offering your clients the chance to see their fur baby on screen when they're away will help reassure them that they're in safe hands. You can also set up a camera to keep a closer eye on the pets you're looking after - particularly if you need to pop out.

The pet GPS tracker

What is it?

In a nutshell, it's a cat or dog tracker that tells you where your pet is using GPS technology. They're usually worn around the neck - for example a GPS dog collar - and are great at helping you find your cat or dog if they go exploring...

Is it any good?

GPS trackers let you accurately pinpoint your pet's location in real time and many have geo-fence technology, so will alert you if the wearer leaves a specified area. Curious to find out where your little adventurer likes to hide and play? Most pet GPS trackers let you see a history of locations the pet has visited, too.

You'll need to spend a bit of time setting up the tracker, and don't forget the batteries will need recharging or replacing. Also, double check any subscription or maintenance costs before you buy, so you don't get caught out.

How can it help my business?

Dog trackers are great if you walk pets for a living, as you can quickly find (and retrieve) any stray pooches who might have wandered off. Pet sitting an outdoor-loving feline? GPS trackers will let you keep an eye on their whereabouts to give you peace of mind.

The pet fitness tracker

What is it?

These clever gadgets are essentially Fitbits for dogs. They usually attach to your pet's collar and can monitor everything from activity levels and sleep quality, to how many calories they burn. Trackers usually ask you to input information like the pet's weight, age, height and breed, so they can give you recommendations on how much to feed your four-legged friend and the amount of exercise they need.

Is it any good?

With 54% of dogs in the US affected by obesity (according to FitBark,) it seems there's definitely a place for a fitness tracker that can help keep pets happy and healthy. What's more, you can sync them with your own fitness tracker, to make sure you're both getting a great workout. Aside from helping to keep your pet at a healthy weight, this tech can be very helpful in detecting early signs of health problems.

Some models also act as GPS trackers, giving you two pet accessories in one.

It's worth shopping around for a style that will stay secure on an active dog, and be prepared that if you look after pets of different sizes, you might need to invest in a few trackers; what might be fine for a retriever could very easily weigh down a chihuahua.

Doggy-loving Gina uses a fitness tracker for her furry Instagram star; a maltese called Joy. She says "I love using it because it helps keep track of my dog's activity, sleep quality and overall health. It keeps me accountable, so I make sure Joy gets enough exercise every day. The version I have lets me customise daily goals based on the average activity of similar breeds, which is great."

picture of joymaltese

Photo courtesy of @joymaltese

How can it help my business?

As a dog walker, these trackers mean you can share pets' exercise stats with their owners and track their pooch's progress against different health goals. You can also plan walks and exercises around the fitness needs of each dog. These insights are sure to please concerned pet parents, and provide extra value to the service you offer.

The dog ball launcher

What is it?

As the name suggests, this gadget takes all the hard work out of throwing a ball for your dog by launching it into the air for you. There are different models to choose from, depending on the size of your hound and the distance you want the ball to go.

Is it any good?

If you asked a dog their opinion, the answer would be a firm yes. Most dogs love to play fetch, and this nifty tech makes it easy - especially for owners or walkers who are elderly, have an injury or can't throw a ball very well themselves. Most run on standard batteries, which you'll need to replace (although some models, like the iFetch, can run from an AC power supply, too).

Of course, if you're happy to do the throwing yourself, the value you'll get from an automatic ball launcher might be limited.

How can it help my business?

Regularly having to cut a game of fetch short thanks to an achy arm? The appeal of the dog ball launcher is probably clear. But aside from avoiding sore muscles, automatic ball throwers can play an important role in dog training - for example, you can teach a pet to retrieve the ball and return it to the launcher - which could be a great way to expand your dog walking business (and keep your clients happy).

The automatic pet feeder

What is it?

Welcome to the future of pet mealtimes. Put simply, automatic pet feeders control how much and when your cat or dog eats. These gadgets come in many different forms; from battery operated styles that pop open on a timer, to more sophisticated models that release food when the peckish microchipped pet approaches.

Is it any good?

In their simplest form, automatic pet feeders let you feed cats or dogs when you aren't around. They don't need to cost a fortune and most aren't complicated; basic versions just need batteries and perhaps a cool pack to keep wet food fresh.

But beware of low quality feeders, else you might find your clever pet susses out how to break in and gorge ahead of schedule.

How can it help my business?

If you're looking after more than one pet, microchip feeders will help make sure they stick to their own meals. This is particularly useful if one of the pets is on a specific diet.

Pet tech sorted? Now make sure you have the right insurance to cover yourself and your business. Find out more about our insurance for dog walkers and pet sitters here.

Small Business Insurance

Added: 2 Jan 2019