Having a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. Many pet owners say that their pet is one of their best friends. Pet ownership can give you a sense of life purpose, and it can be a source of great comfort when you're overwhelmed or sad.
Pet ownership does come with its fair share of challenges, though. Whether it's keeping your pet fed or keeping them entertained, animals can be very demanding creatures. There are a ton of inventions that help to make life better for the animals in your life - while taking some stress off your shoulders.
I've compiled a list of some of the best inventions for a variety of different pet needs.
1. Automatic Dog Feeder
An automatic dog feeder can be a lifesaver for dog owners. It allows you to feed your canine pals on a set schedule without worrying about needing to wake up or get home at a certain time. Automatic feeders dispense dog food electronically at pre-programmed times.
Some automatic feeders can be programmed for two-dog households. They may dispense different amounts of food for each different breed. The exact capabilities will vary depending on the design and purpose of the machine.
Vets and pet health experts say that dogs should be fed at set times of the day, rather than having constant access to their food. But that can be difficult if you have a complicated schedule and can't get home for feedings.
Some benefits of using an automatic dog feeder include:
An automatic feeder won't get rid of other important aspects of dog health, like being walked and being taken outside. But it will give you some peace of mind.
2. Automatic Cat Feeder
Like dogs, cats function best when fed at specific times of the day. Cats are much lower-maintenance animals than dogs, and so setting up a feeder takes away most cat management stress. Other than scooping the litter box and occasionally grooming, there's not much left to do.
Cats are even more famous than dogs for waking their humans up at the crack of dawn. As soon as the birds start chirping, it's time for the humans to get up and feed them. This can be particularly vexing if you live in the north in the summer, when the sun sometimes starts coming up at four in the morning.
Automatic feeders also allow for more peace of mind when you're on a trip or working late. Cats are fairly self-sufficient creatures. But it's much better for their health to stick to a routine feeding schedule than to leave a pile of food or entrust their care to a potentially unreliable cat sitter.
Of course, if you'll be gone a while, it is helpful to have a friend or family member who will scoop the boxes. If your kitty doesn't have a clean place to poop, they might leave "presents" in other areas of the house.
3. Automatic Fish Feeder
Automatic fish feeders operate on the same principle as other pet feeders, but they tend to be designed differently. That's because they dispense food into a tank rather than a bowl or tray.
A fish feeder will typically dispense food into an aquarium once a day, although there are some designs that allow for multiple feedings daily. Some are plugged in to the wall, while others run through battery power instead of electricity.
Fish feeders can be used by following these steps:
And that's it. That's all you need to do.
One thing to keep in mind is that some automatic fish feeders will let moisture into the chambers. This causes clumping of the food, rather than letting it stay flaky or pelleted. For this reason, you'll want a design that's specifically made to remove moisture from the chambers.
4. Smart Pet Feeders
A smart pet feeder is a more technologically advanced version of an automatic feeder. It's a great option for people with multi-pet households, especially when the pets eat different diets.
Some of the features included in a smart feeder are:
With a traditional feeding system, you have to program in the amount that your pet can eat. Then you have to calculate how to adjust this amount should your pet need to go on a diet.
That's no longer necessary with smart feeders. Since smart feeders calculate food intake based on your pet's behavior, you don't have to worry about underfeeding. And adjusting for their diet is as easy as programming a few buttons - no complicated calculations are necessary.
5. Bird Feeders
An automatic bird feeder is a great choice for indoor and outdoor habitats. If you keep indoor birds, you want them to be fed at set times. And if you have outdoor bird feeders, you can set the food to be dispensed at specific times of day.
This allows you to see more bird activity when you're actually around to watch. If you have cats, you can have the seed dispensed when the kitties are indoors to keep the birds safe. And it keeps your bird feeder full for longer, reducing the amount of birdseed you waste.
Some features you might find in automatic bird feeders include:
They're definitely worth investing in whether you have a bird as a pet or just want avian activity in your yard.
6. Dog Shampoo
Dogs require more active grooming than cats. The majority of dogs need an occasional bath or else they'll start to get smelly. Some need more frequent trips to the groomer. The exact grooming needs of your dog will vary depending on the breed, and you should always do research to make sure you're meeting your canine pal's needs.
While cats usually won't need shampoo baths unless they've gotten very dirty, dogs are a different story. Dog shampoo is a vital part of grooming, but the shampoo you choose can be a hindrance if it's not right for your breed.
These are some vital things to keep in mind when choosing a shampoo for your canine pal:
Some dogs may have sensitive skin. Others might have dry, flaky skin that needs a moisturizing shampoo. Still others might have very oily skin that causes their fur to need more grooming than usual.
A dog shampoo that does its job correctly will meet the following criteria:
If your dog's skin is sensitive, you'll need specially formulated shampoos. The best ones include aloe vera and oatmeal.
7. Dog Bowl
A dog bowl is a staple of canine life. Some automatic feeders will come with or attach to a dog bowl. This invention is the best means of holding your dog's food, but how do you choose the right one?
Three of the most common materials for dog bowls are:
Wooden and ceramic bowls can be well-crafted, although some ceramic designs are fragile. A metal bowl can stand the test of time, but it's also often loud when your dog eats. If you're not willing to listen to a symphony of slurping, metal might not be for you.
You'll also have to decide whether to invest in a simple or stylish bowl. This one mainly depends on your aesthetic preference. Make sure that whatever you choose, it's good for your dog. That's more important than whether or not it matches your home decor.
8. Horse Saddle
Horses are less commonly owned these days. The majority of people who own them live in rural areas on farmland or open areas of the woods. But if you do have a horse that you ride, the right gear is essential. That starts with the saddle.
There are different types of saddles that are built for different needs. For example, a trail riding saddle will be built for long-lasting comfort. Meanwhile, a racing saddle will be built to help keep the rider secure at high speeds.
Some saddles are built for specialized horses. Horses with wider shoulders may benefit from gaited saddles, while there are mule saddles built to cover a mule back.
The size of the seat itself depends on the rider. Some things to keep in mind:
You'll need to be sure that the saddle fits properly and safely on the horse as well. It should allow for steady seating without causing undue discomfort or pain for the horse.
9. Intelligent Dog Toys
Intelligent dog toys are a vital way of keeping your dog occupied. If your dog stays in a crate while you're at work, crate toys allow them to stay stimulated for hours without needing to leave. Intelligent toys provide puzzles and other ways for your dog to use their mind as well as their body in play.
Some dog breeds are intelligent. These dogs require a lot of mental stimulation to be satisfied, just like active breeds need time to play outside.
Dog toys have a variety of other benefits as well, some of which include:
You can also invest in dog toys that you use with your dog, which makes for a great indoor or outdoor bonding activity.
10. Electronic Cat Toys
Though cats are relatively independent and low-maintenance, they do require play to be stimulated and get out their energy. That's especially important for indoor cats and for high-energy breeds. Cats don't grow out of the need for play when they stop being kittens.
Electronic toys help your kitty get out their exercise needs without requiring your constant attention. They can move, wiggle, buzz, and simulate prey. Different cats will enjoy different types of toys.
An electronic cat toy is a great investment if you're not often home to play with your feline friend, or if you simply don't have the time to entertain your cat as often as they'd like.
Just a few types of cat toy available include:
You can experiment with inexpensive toys to gauge whether your cat likes air prey or ground prey.
There are also games you can open on your tablet to let your cats "chase" mice or catch fish by batting the screen with their paws!
11. Comfortable Dog Kennels
Many dogs spend most of their day in their kennel. It's common for a dog to sleep there, and dogs might also stay in their kennel while their owner is at work. For this reason, kennels and crates must be comfortable homes for your dog.
Dog kennels serve other purposes as well. They're important training tools for puppies, and they make it safer to travel with a dog in a car or a plane.
Some things to keep in mind when kenneling dogs include:
Wire crates are often used for training puppies. They allow the puppy to see you at all times, and they're more ventilated than plastic kennels. They're also more portable, since most designs fold flat for easy storage and transport.
Plastic kennels are good for older dogs. Dogs are den animals. A plastic kennel allows them to have a private and secure area where they feel safe.
12. Microchip Cat Door
A microchip cat door is designed for cats who need constant access in and out of the house. It can be used as a door to your fenced-in yard, or it can be used for outdoor cats.
One of the biggest problems with cat doors is that they allow entrance to unwanted animals. You've probably seen commercials or viral videos about raccoons and even deer coming in through the flap! And wildlife aside, you don't want neighborhood kitties intruding on your cat's private space.
Microchip doors are also good if you have other animals that you don't want to use the cat door. Small dog breeds can wiggle through a cat flap without their leash, which can give pet owners a heart attack.
With a microchip door, the flap stays closed unless it reads the specific microchip signature of your cat. Then it allows your cat to enter while barring entry or exit to other animals.
These doors are connected to electronic power sources. Many of them can be individually programmed with settings like:
This allows you to keep your outdoor kitties inside at specific times, like during the night when predators are out.
13. Dog Proof Litter Box
When your household has both cats and dogs, some unexpected challenges can arise. Among these challenges are the needs of your pets to have their own territory. For dogs, the kennel is a big space of security. For cats, the litter box is a symbol of their territory.
Dogs sniffing around in your kitty's litter box can cause household tensions. That's especially true if the dogs try to use the litter box. And some dogs can make themselves very sick by trying to eat the kitty litter or other box contents.
So a dog proof box is a lifesaving invention. There are a variety of dog proof litter boxes on the market. These are some of the design types:
Enclosed and hooded boxes provide some level of odor protection as well. However, it can be a pain to remove the coverings so you can scoop the box.
Top-entry boxes are great if you have smaller dog breeds that can enter cat-sized entrances but can't jump high. But they might cause some strain on older kitties or cats with arthritic joint issues.
14. Dog Proof Trash Can
Dogs like to eat trash. Sometimes this just causes a nuisance, but sometimes it can pose a dangerous situation for your furry friend, especially if they eat human foods that are bad for them.
If your dog tends to wreak havoc in your kitchen or bedroom, a dog proof trash can is a way to help.
The exact trash can you'll want will depend on a variety of factors. Where are you using it? What kind of waste is being kept inside? How easily does it need to open? How much does it need to hold?
Some features that you might find in dog-proofed designs include:
The best features will depend on your dog breed and the kind of behaviors you want to stop. Large dogs have different means of digging through the trash than small ones.
15. Dog Hair Brush
A dog hair brush is another essential part of grooming. Because fur varies so widely by breed, there isn't a one-size-fits-all design. Some dogs shed more and need more intense brushing, while others just need an occasional run through their fur.
Dog brushes are sorted into four main categories:
Rakes penetrate deep into a thick coat. These allow for the dead undercoat and tangles near the skin to be removed. Most designs look like shaving razors. They should be used with minimal pressure to avoid injury.
Bristles are made for short-haired dogs with smooth, fast-shedding coats. The bristles help to dislodge the shed fur and reduce itchiness without causing discomfort.
Pin brushes look like human hair brushes. While they're very common, they aren't very useful for grooming. They will help remove loose hair so it doesn't end up on the furniture, but they won't benefit your pet much.
Slicker brushes are made for medium and long-haired dogs or dogs with curly hair. They help remove mats. The best slicker brush should have a flexible handle and be large enough to move through your dog's coat easily.
16. Pet Stairs for Bed
Pet stairs are built to give your pets easier access to your couch and bed. They're especially useful for smaller dog breeds, although you might find that arthritic cats can benefit as well.
The steps keep your pets from having leg and back pain due to jumping up and down. That's why they're so popular for elderly pets.
Different steps are designed for different pets. Small dog breeds will need shorter distances between steps than large ones.
17. Life Jacket for Dogs
Many people like to go out swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and boating in the summer. And many people like to bring their dogs to join in the warm weather fun! Not every dog breed likes water, but some are thrilled by the opportunity to spend a day by the lake.
A life jacket is a vital safety measure for dogs, especially if you're going out boating in deep water. If humans need life jackets in the open water, so does your furry pal!
Some components of an ideal dog life jacket include:
You'll also need to pick between a vest and jacket. Jackets cover a greater amount of fur and make your dog more visible and buoyant. They're good for boating and open water. But if your dog swims in a pool, a lighter vest makes casual swimming easier.
18. Vacuum for Pet Hair
If you have a dog, cat, or other indoor pet that sheds, you'll want a vacuum for pet hair.
Pet hair can get everywhere in the house, even if your pets don't climb on the furniture. It floats through the air and lands on the carpets, couch, bed, tables, windows, curtains, and counters.
When searching for a vacuum for pet hair, look for these types of features:
19. Pet Insurance
Pretty much every investment you make can come with its own insurance policy. The same is true of your pet. Pet insurance is an investment that helps to save a ton on potential vet costs by functioning as a healthcare policy. It's basically like health insurance for your pet.
In addition to often covering routine procedures and checkups, pet insurance policies may pay for major surgeries and expensive medical treatment. Pets with chronic illness might need medications that can get pricey. A pet insurance policy can help with that.
The types of treatments covered will vary widely depending on your policy. Some policies cover only emergency procedures, while others cover routine exams but not emergency procedures. Some cover vet bills but not medication. Make sure you'll get the most out of your policy based on your pet's potential needs.
With a policy, you'll pay a certain amount each month to keep your pet covered in case of illness or injury. Afterward, treatments for unexpected events can be partially or fully paid by your insurance company.
20. GPS Pet Trackers
Many pets are routinely microchipped by the vet so that they can be identified if they're brought to a kennel or vet's office. But microchips don't have GPS tracking. If you want to track your pet, you'll need to invest in a GPS tracker.
GPS tracking means that you can pinpoint your pet if they get lost. It's more common for dogs than cats, but there are trackers that can be used for cats as well.
There are several types of tracker, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of the kind you use, you should look for one meeting these criteria:
Some trackers may have additional advanced features like activity logs, location histories, and radars. Many have a monthly fee, but there are some available fee-free.
Your furry, feathery, or scaled pal deserves all the comfort in the world. As pet owners, we want to give our animals what they need for a happy life. And we also want to mitigate the worst hassle of owning pets.
These inventions help to do that. Some keep your pets entertained or safe, while others give you a break from the hassle of day-to-day work.