From scientifically backed dog DNA tests to a wireless water fountain that will appease your finicky cat and a pet cam that helps you keep track of them all, here’s all the pet-parent tech you didn’t know you needed.
The way things are headed, there will be a day that our pets, who (usually) don’t have thumbs will be able to utilize an iPhone of their own. Thankfully, we are still the only ones who can utilize the complex capabilities of a touchscreen, but tech still has a place in our lives in pet parents.
From interactive cat toys to smarter ways to determine your dog’s DNA, the latest technology is all over these products. We haven’t forgotten you — the being with the thumbs, either. With a recommendation for a powerful pet-hair fighting vacuum, smart litter box and litter box odor eliminator, we’re here to upgrade your life right along with your pet’s.
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Best Smart Dog Toy
If your first thought after seeing the Wicked Ball PE is that it looks like something out of a Star Trek episode, you’re not wrong. Because the device is truly the next generation in dog toys. With three interactive modes that’ll see the ball roll, bounce, and light up on its own, it gives dogs mental stimulation and physical exercise. Plus, all that dodging, dipping, ducking, and diving will help alleviate stress for them. Made of natural and water-proof rubber, the smart toy is durable, chew-resistant, and will provide pups hours of entertainment. Cheerble also offers a tinier version of the toy for smaller breeds. —Sean Zucker$55 at Cheerble
Best Health Tracker
Your dog can’t tell you if they don’t feel well, but the cutting-edge AI behind Whistle Health can. Whistle Health’s advanced AI — that can analyze daily behaviors for personalized, proactive, preventative care — is truly state-of-the-art. It’s led by the expertise of The Pet Insight Project, an award-winning team of vets and data scientists who’ve studied the medical records and behavior of over 100,000 dogs to determine how certain actions relate to health.
All activity — eating, sleeping, drinking, scratching, and licking — is tracked in your personalized Whistle app, which features machine-learning algorithms to monitor habits and project possible allergies or chronic conditions. What makes all this information possible is an accelerometer device that sits within each collar. “Once [pet parents] are provided with that actionable data, then they can go ahead and seek what the best care is for their pets,” Dr. Aletha Carson, veterinarian and Senior Manager of Data and Clinical Studies at the Pet Insight Project, tells The Wildest. This device fits on most collars and has a fitness tracker for your little athlete. Basically, it’s a tiny robot specifically designed to answer all of your vet’s questions and give your pet a voice.
And just in time for the holidays, Whistle Health just got a glow up! The new, limited-edition design is snow white, sleeker, slimmer, and features gorgeous rose gold hardware. —SZ$99 at Whistle
Best Pet Cam
One of the hardest parts of being a pet parent is seeing the look they give as you walk out the door without them. But we can’t spend the entirety of our days giving our cats and dogs nonstop attention — though not for lack of trying. Petcube is perfect for keeping an eye on your baby while you’re out in the world doing lame human stuff. It offers 24/7 monitoring with HD video, two-way audio, and a laser for long-distance play. The device is especially useful for animals (or people) who suffer from separation anxiety. Besides, when it comes to our pets, we’re not against a little harmless helicopter parenting. —SZ$199 at Amazon
Best Smart Cat Toy
Far from their ancestors who didn’t enjoy the luxury of being served dinner in an elevated, ergonomic bowl, modern house cats don’t need to access their hunting instincts as often. But that’s not to say they don’t want to. According to Dr. Mikel Delgado, “All cats have the instinct to hunt, and play behavior is an expression of their hunting instincts, just directed towards toys instead of prey.” High-tech cat toys can seem needlessly complex to the uninitiated. After all, many cats seem perfectly happy swatting at a piece of string on the end of a stick or wrestling with a sachet of catnip. But just because your cat appreciates the simple things doesn’t mean they won’t derive pleasure from something with a few more bells and whistles. Enter: the Petfusion Ambush, an automatic toy that captivates your cat’s attention and keeps them physically active and entertained. With randomized speeds that mimic prey, your cat will feel as if they are catching their meal like Scar in The Lion King.
If your cat isn’t sold on the interactive toy front or can’t be converted into a #floppyfish fan, at least you can cut back on your cat toy budget by upcycling your TP. —Avery Felman$23 at Amazon
Best Water Fountain
The Petlibro Capsule Water Fountain looks more like something you’d buy from the Apple store than a PetSmart. Its patented water recirculation system boasts ultra-quiet performance, and five levels of filtration offer guaranteed pure, great-tasting water. This fountain also has two drinking modes — flowing stream and gentle bubbles — so your cat can choose which experience they like best. Ahhh, luxury. —Maia Welbel$40 at Amazon
Best Automatic Feeder
Coming in chic matte black, white, and grey colors, the Petlibro feeder will look great with any bedroom or kitchen aesthetic. But, to your cat’s dismay, this cat feeder also comes with a cat-proof twisty lock lid. On the bright side, their dry food will remain fresh, and you can even record a 10-second message to call your cat to the feeder. Here, kitty, kitty. —Heven Haile$140 at Amazon
Best Pet Vacuum
My cat, Pumpkin, hates my vacuum cleaner. It’s too loud. And Pumpkin is a quiet, gentle boy, who likes quiet, gentle things: naps and cuddles and piles of unfolded laundry (both dirty and clean). This is why the quiet Airsign was a welcome addition to our home.
The plastic used in the body of the vacuum is 20 percent recycled. It’s also not overly complicated, and the parts are easily replaceable, which means that, if need be, you can have it repaired, which prolongs its life. That option is certainly much more sustainable than simply buying a new vacuum. Even the bags are fully biodegradable — most other vacuum cleaner bags utilize plastic in one way or another — so you don’t have to feel so bad about throwing them away when they’re full. According to Airsign’s press release, the vacuum catches “an outstanding 99.995 percent of harmful particles via its top-of-the-line HEPA-14 filtration technology.” The Airsign HEPA vacuum isn’t cheap ($295), but it costs less than most Miele or Dyson vacuums with the same capabilities, and it’s powerful, recyclable, and even nice to look at. The Airsign isn’t silent, but it is quieter than other vacuums I’ve had, and Pumpkin seems far less annoyed by it, which feels like a win for sure. —CM
Best Smart Cat Litter Box
Petkit’s Pura Max uses smart sensors to deliver a safe environment for your cat to do their business while you can pay attention to, well, anything else. Its infrared and weight sensors, remote alerts, accident protection system, and smart detections pick up your cat’s presence and even their weight, times and duration of use, and litter capacity so you can further monitor their health. Not to mention that all of this information is available at the tap of a button on the Petkit app, which also conveniently allows you to schedule their litter box cleaning. You can just as easily set your preference to auto-cleaning mode and the Pura Max will remove your cat’s waste as soon as they leave the litter box. We know what you’re thinking: What about the smell? Petkit has you covered there, too, with a detachable deodorizer spray and a smart spraying liquid that will keep your cat’s litter box smelling fresh at all times. —AF$570 at Petkit
Best Smart Cat Litter Box Odor Eliminator
The Petkit Pura Air is like a plug-in air freshener with pet-safe smells and a better sense of industrial design. Much like how an air freshener will put out a little spritz of fragrance when you walk past, the Pura Air has a motion sensor that detects when your pet walks by and begins moving air through a scented filter. The scent itself isn’t overpoweringly perfume-y or cloying; instead, it serves as an upgrade to the expected litter box odors. Unlike an air freshener, the Pura Air uses a replaceable filter, ionizer, and built-in fans to move air and improve that a-cat-lives-here smell of your home. Plus, it attaches to a wall (or just about any surface) with included 3M strips; it also has nail/screw mounting holes, if that better suits your preferences.
In addition to being efficient, this thing looks great. It’s a simple, understated rectangle with a simple logo and a few holes for airflow. On the top are lights that flash when you need to replace the filters and battery, and underneath is where the infrared filter and cartridge door live.
Petkit assures their product’s safety with their website stating that their filter is “an all-natural air freshener vent extracted from 20 plants that is non-toxic that also decomposes odor molecules that elements smells deriving from fecal matter or bad smells derived through urination.” —Tim Barribeau$28 at Amazon
Best Pet DNA Kit
Curious which breeds make up that perfect mix you just adopted? Your dog isn’t losing sleep over their family tree, but discovering their genetic makeup will help you be a better pet parent. Not only is the breed big reveal exciting (I always knew you had some Chihuahua in you, Taco!), it may also explain some of your dog’s quirks, like why your Aussie Cattle Dog corrals your family like a flock of sheep.
The Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Kit boasts the world’s largest breed database, so you can gain near-encyclopedic knowledge of their genetic health. On top of the usual breed breakdown and tests, you’ll get extensive health insights with 210 health tests — developed by world-class geneticists and veterinarians. This matters because many dog breeds are predisposed to certain inherited health and behavioral characteristics. For example, Labrador Retrievers are prone to proopiomelanocortin (POMC) deficiency, which causes severe obesity that begins at an early age.
Armed with this information, you can tailor your dog’s healthcare to their individual needs. Plus, the new relative finder feature allows you (and your pup) to trace your pup’s ancestry back to their great-grandparents. Get that family reunion/playdate scheduled! —Casey Gueren$128 at Wisdom
The Wisdom Panel Complete Cat DNA Test delivers key insights about your feline friend, including breed breakdown, train tests, and potential health risks. It works by analyzing thousands of data points, helping you provide the best care possible for your kitty. It detects over 70 cat breeds, there are over 45 health tests that screen for genetic conditions, over 25 trait tests, and more.
“Wisdom Panel health results are over 99.99 percent accurate,” the brand’s Veterinarian and Data and Veterinary Genetics Manager, Dr. Annette Louviere tells The Wildest, adding that this is in part thanks to “highly accurate quality control guidelines similar to those used by human genetics testing companies.”
Wisdom Panel also offers a relative finder feature, which can help you track your pet’s recent ancestors, including parents, littermates, and distant cousins. “Performing a pet DNA test doesn’t just satisfy curiosity — though that’s often part of the fun! Knowing your pet’s genetic makeup empowers you to tailor training, nutrition, and care to your pet’s unique needs,” says Dr. Louviere. —AF$104 at Wisdom
Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)
The U.S. has a long way to go when it comes to ending what Gov. Gavin Newsom calls “cruel and unnecessary testing.”
Keep the faith; you can fix this pee-action.