Are you a techy with a furry, four-legged best friend? If so, you'd probably love to share your passion for technology with your favorite companion.
There are tons of neat - and some just downright amazing - tech tools out there for dog lovers. The latest pet care gadgets offer everything from doggie fitness trackers to collars that seek to convert your dog's thoughts into human speech (crazy, right?).
With something for everyone, here are eight ways tech gadgets can improve your dog's quality of life, and 11 gadgets that can help you do so.
Comfort your dog from across the state, or country
Sometimes you can't take your dog with you on vacation. Even if you're fortunate enough to have friends who will take in your pets, it's hard to go a week without actually seeing your pup.
PetChatz helps remove separation anxiety from you and your pet and gives you more than just peace of mind.
You can interact with your pet by releasing treats via mobile app or computer and set up a distinctive ringtone so your pet will know when you're calling. You can even program certain scents to be released to help comfort your dog while you're gone.
Keep him in shape - without worries of him running away
Hiking in the mountains? Now you don't have to worry quite so much about Fido running off; you can now connect your pet with your phone.
Few pet owners could argue that a GPS tracker on your pet would be super handy. Companies like Tagg offer features like text alerts when your pet wanders off so you'll know the moment your pet goes missing.
Pet wearables like FitBark (yes - it's like a FitBit for your dog) also track your dog's daily activities so you can be sure he's getting enough exercise. Especially for pet owners who are unsure about leaving their dogs in daycare, you can track your pet's play time from your smartphone to be sure he's getting enough attention while you're at work.
Keep her hygiene in check
If you have a dog who's not bothered by a vacuum cleaner, try the Dyson Groom tool for easy cleaning while you brush your pet. This vacuum-like dog brush caters to medium-to-long-haired dogs who need to be brushed frequently. Using a vacuum attachment during grooming can also reduce allergens and time spent grooming, and makes cleanup easy.
For pet owners who want to keep their dogs clean, but dread flooding the bathroom with water and dog hair, try going to for a ride to a dog washing station like All Paws Pet Wash. These easily accessible stations are cropping up across the country, most notably in Illinois right now. They provide a safe and new environment for bath time, and you get to avoid cleanup.
Understand and develop your dog's intelligence
Ever thought about giving your pet a doggy IQ test? Dognition provides a professionally developed set of games to help you develop a richer understanding of how your dog thinks. Once you complete the specialized assessments, you'll get a full profile report of your dog's intellectual strengths.
While this may seem like overkill to some pet owners, learning more about how your dog thinks can help you a ton when it comes to training and daily communication with your dog. For example, some dogs rely primarily on humans to solve problems for them, while others like to find solutions to their problems independently and rely less on human involvement.
Remote treat dispensers are a valuable tool during dog training, especially if your pet is learning a new trick. Dispensers like the Treat & Train are made for just this purpose.
One key to successful training is rewarding your dog instantly for good behavior or a trick performed correctly. However, this can sometimes be easier said than done.
For example, when my dog was new to our home, she didn't like a lot of the sounds our neighbors made (a lot of bumping and knocking noises come from the townhomes on either side of us). To help her cope with these sounds, we taught her to sit for a treat anytime she heard a bump or knock. However, she would sometimes do this and then have to wait 30+ seconds for me to grab a treat for her, which isn't very effective for the training.
Devices like remote dispensers can help out with a training process like ours because all of you have to do is keep the control near you and release a treat when you dog exhibits the desired behavior.
Have dinner ready, even when you need to work late
We might understand the need to work overtime, but our pets know is that dinner is late. Petnet provides you with a simple and effective way to monitor your pets' health and regulate feeding times via a mobile app connected to the Petnet food dispenser.
The app is so flexible that you can adjust the amount of food dispensed based on caloric need. Yes, Petnet helps you sort out just how many calories your pet needs and, as a huge bonus, will automatically order more pet food when your dispenser runs low on food.
Get that playtime in, even at night
Playing fetch in the twilight hours is one of my favorite ways to give my dog her exercise, but it's also one of the most difficult times to see because the light is changing. That's where LED collars and harnesses will add to a safer game.
Multiple companies now sell LED harnesses in a wide range of colors, enabling you to not only keep your pets safe, but also to find them quickly if they stray from your yard. Squeaker Poochlight Illuminating products offer collars and leashes to keep your pet visible while playing, or while taking nighttime walks.
To make playing easier for your dog, too, consider getting some LED dog toys. Nite Ize makes a K-9 LED ball that has lots of great reviews from satisfied customers.
Understand what he wants you to know
This is the ultimate in tech gadgets for dogs. No, it isn't - thankfully - a shock collar to prevent barking.
Instead, No More Woof aims to use a combination of the in latest micro-computing software and EEG sensors to translate what your dog is trying to tell you into human language. No More Woof began with a crowdsourcing campaign, but the product is due for release at the end of this month (May 2015).
No More Woof's developers note that they are "optimistic dreamers" in terms of how well the product could work, so manage your expectations for this one on a realistic level (i.e. it may not be entirely accurate).
What's your favorite tech gadget to care for your dog? If you don't currently have one, what is a tech gadget you think fellow dog owners would like to see invented? Tell me in the comments section below.
Images by Andrea Arden, Life of Pix and Jay Mantri