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Wendy Diamond

Wendy Diamond

Posted: April 22, 2010 06:14 PM

Digital Pets in the Digital Age

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Take a second to think about when you got your first cell phone. What about an e-mail address? These everyday entities seem so normal in our lives, but try and think back ten or even twenty years when these "necessities" were brand new, exotic and, at times, unaffordable. Now think about our pets. Ten years ago our dogs were as simple as apple pie. Nothing has changed with dogs, but our pampering has gone digital. Let us take a moment to briefly go over some of the digital advancements made in the pet world, advancements that ten years ago we could have never imagined.

On The Radar : Pet Microchips & Pet GPS

Microchips may sound like a futuristic concept, but they have become more and more popular and, in some cases, are required in pets. And though they may sound like a painful process they require no antiseptic, feel like any standard vaccination and the microchip itself is no bigger than a grain of rice. Once a pet is tagged, if they are lost and found elsewhere, once scanned, your pet immediately comes up in a national database no matter how far (or long) they have traveled. Pet alerts are sent out which ultimately saves costs at shelters, shelters that need all the space it can get for needy and abandoned animals. If you're curious about microchipping your pet, consult your veterinarian for more information.

If you're worried about chipping or would like to proactively protect your pets, there are chipless GPS alternatives.

SpotLight GPS Pet Locator ($199.99) has introduced its own chip-free Pet GPS, giving pet parents the ultimate peace of mind if they fear Fido may slip away. SpotLight GPS Pet Locator boasts "best in show" because they are the only GPS locator teamed with American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR). And with a Pet GPS like SpotLight, you can track your pet through virtually any device including standard cell phones, iPhones, Blackberries and computers. The device is water resistant so if your pet knows how to get wet, you can still feel safe. After all, SpotLight team's mission is one single goal: no missing pet will ever go unfound.

Animal Surveillance: Pet Cams

Some people use tiny remote video cameras to monitor their nanny or million dollar mansion, but what about viewing a pet? It appears that in this digital age, a new trend in pet monitoring is blossoming and pet parents are quickly taking advantage of it, comfortable knowing they can check up on their pet when they're away.

The Vue personal video network ($299.99) is the easiest way to remotely view your pets from any PC or iPhone. The system consists of a network of small battery-powered wireless cameras that can be placed anywhere, and with no software to download installation is easy. The cameras stream real-time video directly to the Internet, viewable on all major browsers and while on-the-go with an iPhone.

Petography: Pet Photos in the 21st Century

Pet portraits are favorites among loving pet parents. Whether you keep them in your wallet, on your fridge or on a social networking site, you want your pet to look good. Red-eye has plagued pet (and human) photos for decades, but new technologies are allowing pet parents to crank out beautiful pet portraits.

The SonyCyber-shot DSC-TX7 ($399.00) was designed with your pet in mind. The camera is so advanced that it can retouch that pesky red-eye instantly. And with features like a touch-screen, facial recognition, and anti-blink technology the camera is guaranteed to document your pet in their true light. Planning a photo shoot? The Cyber-shot even allows you to set your camera scene to "Pet" mode, proving it truly is the pet parent's dream camera.

Robo-Pet: Pet Robotics

Any pet parent will tell you that they love their animal, sometimes they just hate the clean up. But in this century, pet parents have become aware they robots may just allow them more time to spend, and less time worrying about clean-up.

iRobot has introduced the Roomba 562 Pet Series robot vacuum ($369.99), specifically designed to tackle pet hair, pet food and any other mess your pet may have caused. This home-cleaning robot can tackle four rooms at once while you play fetch or hit the dog park. The robot is extremely durable and rather smart too. Watch how it will effortlessly travel from room to room. You can even program it to clean at any time, so you don't have to worry about cleaning or pet messes!

Peternet: The Internet of Pets

In addition to pet-tracking technology, the internet has revolutionized the pet world (and our pets don't even go online)! It's a common misconception that you cannot adopt a specific breed of dog you might be looking for, so you have to find a breeder and purchase them for an outrageous price. The truth is that any dog breed (purebred, cross-bred or mutt) can be found online, up for adoption. It just takes a little searching. PetFinder is the leading adoption rescue site for locating needy dogs from all over the country. Boasting 13 million adoptions since 1995, PetFinder is a one-click site for adopting anything from a French Bulldog to a Great Dane. Just search by location and your new best friend could be only a few miles away and in need of a good home!

Now owners can stream also steam their pets live, a phenomenon, which has become popular on cam sharing sites such as USTREAM. Much like the Truman Show, people love watching puppies grow up. In 2008 a San Francisco couple streamed their Shiba Inu, Kika, litter live, garnering over 20 million views (the biggest hit for USTEAM). Now the Shiba Inu has a new litter guaranteed to get even more views.

You may wonder what the micro-blogging site Twitter has to do with pets, but Twitter has found to be useful in helping lost dogs get found. In addition to a number of Twitter accounts dedicated to live-Tweeting of lost dogs and cats, celebrities like Jessica Simpson and Jesse James have taken to their accounts to spread the word on their missing pooches. Due to the capacity of the Twitter market, pet's like James' Pit Bull Cinnabun have been found.

Now that we have reached a new decade, should we expect technology to continue zipping through time, or will we witness a slowdown? Either way our pets have been included in this modern, modern world.

 
 
 

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