a photo of a dog and a robot vacuum in a hallway

5 best smart devices for your pet

Here's how to make your pet-parent life easier even while you're working from home.

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As lovable as our pets may be, sometimes we need our furry friends to give us a break and entertain themselves. While fetch is usually a two-man or two-creature game — and doors tend to need a human to open — these five can help a pet parent take a few moments for themselves.

Certainly, our pets have provided us with some comfort over the past year amid the pandemic — whether we've been holed up at home or even on the road, safely distanced outside, for a camping trip with our favorite pooch. Americans coughed up an estimated $136.8 billion in 2022 on their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association, up from the $123.6 billion spent in 2021. Here are some smart options that won't cost nearly that much but may be able to give pets some entertainment and their humans a bit of rest.

a photo of a smartphone and Whistle Health 2.0 Smart Device Whistle Health 2.0 Smart Device for DogsWhistle

Whistle Health 2.0 Smart Device for Dogs

Whistle Health Limited Edition is a smart wearable that helps dog owners understand their pet’s health by monitoring behaviors like scratching, licking, eating, drinking, and sleeping to identify potential health issues. The device also shows whether a dog is getting enough exercise based on their breed, weight, and age. The device also has a food portion calculator, medication reminders, and an ‘ask a vet’ feature. It comes in an updated, sleek, gorgeous, and simple design.

Whistle Health Limited costs $69 (device only) or $99 (device and 1-year subscription for personalized tracking/insights in the app). It is available in 4 color combos on the company site.


Fi Smart Dog CollarFi Smart Dog CollarFi

Fi Smart Dog Collar

Fi Smart Dog Collar

Fi is now on Series 2 for its collars, great for keeping an eye on your pet while they're out with a dog walker — but also if you're prone to taking them off leash in wilder areas and want to know exactly where they are at all times.

The Fi Series 2 collar also dovetails with a mobile app via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that works as a fitness tracker to ensure a dog stays active. Dog walkers can also be added to the app. The collar starts at $149 and comes in four different colors.


Petcube Play 2Petcube Play 2Petcube

Petcube Play 2

This update from Petcube is designed for dogs but is likely best for cats, It has a smart HD camera with a 160-degree field of view and a laser light that owners can control.

Whether you're back in an office setting or even in another room with the door shut, taking a Zoom call, Petcube Play 2 lets you talk or listen to your cat or dog and also move the laser pointer along the floor, which your pet can chase. And yes, you can even set the light to an autoplay mode when you need to focus on something else.

Alexa is also built-in inside, so you can ask Amazon's assistant to read a story aloud or even start some music to entertain your pet while you're cooking dinner. Priced at $99, you can sometimes find Petcube Play 2 on sale for less.

Cheerble Wicked BallCheerble Wicked BallCheerble

Cheerble Wicked Ball

From the company that brought you the Wickedbone, the colorful Cheerble Wicked Ball is a bit less expensive at $40. Crucially, though, it still moves on its own like its more expensive cousin, rolling about the floor and letting a dog or cat chase it on their own.

It recharges via a USB cord in just an hour and can work for up to eight hours. Some users have said the ball hasn't stood up to their bigger pets, which have managed to chew and destroy the ball fairly quickly. But for smaller dogs and cats, Cheerble may be the thing needed to give pets some active time — and an owner some downtime.

a photo of Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus robot vacuum on a kitchen floorEcovacs Deebot X1 Plus Robot Vacuum and Mopping Cleaner

Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus Robot Vacuum and Mopping Cleaner

This vacuum robot is going to pull double duty for you — working to keep an eye on your dogs and cats and also working to clean up after them as well.

The Ecovacs Deebot X1 Plus Robot Vacuum and Mopping Cleaner, which GearBrain reviewed, is excellent at pulling up dog and cat hair. But hidden inside is also a camera that can let you look around your home, turning the vacuum into a robot sentinel. You can get a live feed, capture still images — and even talk to your pet if you catch them doing something they shouldn't.

When it initially launched, the vacuum was priced at $1,149.00 but is currently on sale for only $699 on the Ecovacs site. You can also buy a Deebot X1 Plus on Amazon, Home Depot, and Best Buy.

Buy Deebot X1 Plus Robot Vacuum on Ecovacs

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