From scientifically backed dog DNA tests to a wireless water fountain that will appease your finicky kitten 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 will be able to use an iPhone of their own (thumbs or not). Thankfully, we are the only ones who can utilize the complex capabilities of a touchscreen for now, but tech still has a place in pets’ lives.
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, an interactive dog toy that will actually succeed in wearing out your puppy, and an automatic feeder that will make your life easier as a new pet parent, we’re here to upgrade your life right along with your pet’s. Bonus: Many of these brands are offering a discount.
Toby has been adopted, but you can meet more adorable pups like him on Adopt a Pet.
Best Smart Dog Toy
“Many dogs are under-stimulated and under-exercised…or pretty bored. They don’t have phones or watch TV,” says dog trainer Stacy Alldredge. “Interactive toys are a great way to give your dog something to do.” If you find yourself a little too busy to give your pup all the attention and playtime they deserve, a tech toy like the Cheerble Wicked Ball PE makes a great temporary substitute.
If your first thought after seeing the Cheerble is that it looks like something out of a Star Trek episode, you’re not wrong — 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 both mental stimulation and physical exercise. Plus, all that dodging, dipping, ducking, and diving will help alleviate stress. 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
Best Pet Health App
Becoming a new pet parent is full of health challenges you might not expect. This is where The Kin comes in. As seasoned pet parents will tell you, health emergencies tend to happen at the most inconvenient times, like, say, the middle of the night. This app gives you 24/7 access to advice from any type of pet expert you need, whether a veterinarian, behaviorist, or nutritionist.
“Our cat Bob started presenting really worrying symptoms at 1 a.m. Dr. Taylor said it sounded like a urinary blockage,” one reviewer wrote about their experience using The Kin. “We took him to the emergency vet, told them what Dr. Taylor had said, and it turns out he did have a urinary blockage. He’s doing so much better now.” The Kin also allows you to upload your pet’s vaccine records right to the app so you can keep them all in one place. No more hunting around those file cabinets for errant papers. Your pet parent life — hacked. —Hilary Weaver
Use code THEWILDEST for your first 3 months free.
Best Cat Water Fountain
The Petlibro Capsule Water Fountain looks more like something you’d buy from the Apple store than a pet fountain. And that’s likely a good thing because cats don’t always instinctively go for still water in bowls. “From an evolutionary perspective, wild cats lived in areas where water was sparse, relying on their prey as their primary source of water,” veterinarian Dr. JoAnna Pendergrass says. “Domesticated cats are very similar to their wild counterparts, which helps explain why so many cats hate baths and aren’t keen on drinking much water from their water bowls.”
The Petlibro Capsule Water Fountain’s patented water recirculation system is ultra-quiet and has five levels of filtration that offer pure, great-tasting water. It also has two drinking modes — flowing stream and gentle bubbles — so your picky cat can choose which experience they like best. Ahhh, luxury. —Maia Welbel and HW
Use code THEWILDEST at checkout for 20 percent off your purchase.
Best Pet Cam
You need a pet cam; and not just any pet cam; a truly great pet cam. Meet: Google Nest. Google Nest comes wired or battery-powered and is super easy to install and start using straight out of the box. The camera records in 1080p and has a 135 degree field of vision with 6x zoom to help you see exactly what you want. You can even hone in on specific regions in the cam’s view, so that it is only activated when action occurs in that spot.
The Nest cam is also able to differentiate between people, vehicles, and pets. You can get multiple Nest cams and link them through the Google Home app and record up to 10 days of continuous 24/7 video when you subscribe to Nest Aware Plus (you can get three hours of recording without a subscription). Nest Aware Plus also stores 60 days worth of video, while the standard Nest Aware package gives you 30 days. —Charles Manning
Best Smart Cat Toy
Your cat likes to stay busy. The best way to keep them (and their smart little brains) active is to give them smart toys to play with, and the ORSDA interactive toy will definitely get those neurons firing. First of all, it has a colored spinning ball that zooms around on a track, keeping your kitty’s eyes engaged and letting them tap into their natural hunting instincts. It also has a fluffy tail, which your cat will definitely want to pounce on as much as possible.
“There are several reasons I like this [toy],” says feline behavior consultant and The Wildest Collective member Cristin Tamburo. “In addition to the ball that can be batted around and the feather that pops out, it goes into sleep mode and will come back on at a certain time interval. It reminds that cat that there is something fun today and helps keep them on their toes.” Getting a toy like this allows your cat to take their energy out on something fun, instead of, say, your couch. —HW
Best Pet Health Tracker and GPS
Your dog can’t tell you if they don’t feel well, but the cutting-edge AI behind Whistle Go Explore can. Whistle’s advanced AI is truly state-of-the-art. It’s led by 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. Plus, the Whistle Go Explore features a GPS tracker so you can know where your pet is at all times — and get escape alerts if they leave one of their custom designated safe spaces (like your home or a dogsitter’s place).
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. —SZ
Best Automatic Pet Feeder
A great automatic feeder can be a life-saver — not just for your busy schedule, but for your pet’s well-being, too. “It won’t just make checking off your to-do list easier, it can also help manage your pet’s weight and help establish healthy eating habits,” says veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee. “Smaller meals delivered more often can be especially helpful for pets that tend to ‘scarf and barf.’”
Coming in chic matte black, white, and gray 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
Best Smart Cat Litter Box
A smart litter box can be a huge win for cat parents and cats alike. You certainly don’t like scooping, and it’s hard to say who loathes a stinky litter box more, you or your cat. “A spot that is wet, dirty, or smelly will deter them from going back,” says Dr. Niwako Ogata, director of the Purdue Animal Behavior Clinic at Purdue University.
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 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. —Avery Felman
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. In addition to being efficient, this thing looks great. It’s a simple, understated rectangle with 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 has a non-toxic and all-natural air freshener vent extracted from 20 plants. —Tim Barribeau
Best Pet Vacuum
For pet parents who live in a home where every surface is coated in a layer of animal hair, this vacuum is a must. The Bissell 2252 is super beloved because it’s designed specifically for tough pet hair removal, with scatter-free suction, easy maneuverability, and pet-specific tools to clean stairs and upholstery.
“My wife and I have two German Shepherds who shed like it is going out of style,” said one reviewer. “This is by far the best vacuum we have ever used.” Another wrote she was “astonished” at how much hair it picked up. While we can’t guarantee you won’t still find hair on your clothes (and in your drink, and in your candles, and in the freezer somehow), this vacuum will definitely improve the situation on your hardwood floors, carpets, and furniture. —Kelly Conaboy
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. 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
Best Dog Go Pro
Do you often find yourself wishing you could see the world from your dog's point of view? The GoPro Fetch Harness offers this with its camera-mounted pet gear. While the harness doesn’t come with a camera, it’s designed to hold most traditional GoPro recorders and can be rigged to connect a device either above the harness or below. In fact, if you’re aiming for Roger Deakins-level cinematography, you can mount a camera on both simultaneously. Simply hit record and watch your next adventure from your dog’s POV.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should set up the camera and set your dog off into the wilderness. You should always keep an eye on your dog when you go on a hike together, but it’s especially important when they’re newly equipped with a six-inch rod attached to them. Look out for anything that could get tangled up on the tiny tripod and harm your pet. Additionally, ensure that the harness properly fits your dog and that they’re comfortable wearing it before heading out on your on-camera adventure. —SZ
Best Electromagnetic Flea Preventative Pet Tag
When faced with a possible flea or ticks infestation, we don’t often consider the ingredients used in repellents as we’re understandably preoccupied with getting the unwelcome invaders off our pet. But many do use harmful chemicals that can lead to other issues down the line.
Catan Dog’s non-toxic, chemical-free flea and tick repellant will help avoid one problem without creating another because it’s not something you spray onto your dog. Instead, CatanDog is a tag that attaches to their collar, sending out electrical signals that dissuade any unwanted pests from approaching. It’s likely the only holistic and scientifically proven flea, tick, and mosquito repellent that offers protection for up to five years. Note: Leave this collar on at all times because it can take up to 30 days to be effective; the tag establishes an electromagnetic field with your pet that keeps them parasite free! —Dr. Lindsey Wendt
Best Cat Laser Pointer
This toy will provide endless, automated fun for your feline friends. The rotating laser has a 360 degree range and offers three modes, featuring different speeds and colors. Laser toys can be somewhat controversial, though. Many pet parents and behaviorists discourage their use because cats have endlessly chase their “prey” but never get to catch it. Luckily, Saolife has a built-in feature that will ease some of these concerns: You can automate the device so that it enters “play mode” for 10 minutes at a time, every one and a half hours, ensuring your cat gets a brief play session without spinning into endless laser mania.
Cat experts also suggest following up a laser session with a wand, play mouse, or another toy that allows your cat to pounce and catch its prey. Also be sure to always keep an eye on your cat’s behavior to ensure that playing with a laser is not increasing their frustration or aggression. Armed with these facts and your new laser toy, go forward and play responsibly! —Kari Paul
Best Flopping Fish Toy for Cats
“Electronic toys can be great for cats,” says feline behavior consultant and The Wildest Collective member Cristin Tamburo. “They are no substitute for human/cat play sessions, but they are an excellent way to keep cats stimulated when humans are busy.” This electronic toy by Potaroma is great for cats who enjoy a little wrestle and kick. The USB-charged flopping action makes it a stimulating option, and there’s a pouch for catnip to entice your kitty to hunt. —CM
Best iPad Game for Cats
Has it really come to this? First, we set the kids in front of our iPads to keep them amused and now we’re doing it to the cats? Really? Damn right! Not all the time — after all, no electronic toy can ever fully replace IRL human/cat playtime — but Mouse for Cats is a brilliant (and inexpensive) tool for those times when your cat is bored and you can’t give them the attention they're craving.
And the experts agree. “In the over thousand cats I’ve worked with, I’ve met very few that were not interested in this game,” says feline behavior consultant and The Wildest Collective member Cristin Tamburo. “[It] gives them the visual stimulation of watching the mice run around on the screen and even fulfills some of their hunting needs.” It has 11 levels built, timed, and optimized for cats. “Some cats may just watch the mice run around, without going after them, but even just the visual stimulation aspect of it is enough to keep them mentally active and stimulated,” says Tamburo. —CM
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?)
Photography: Felisha Tolentino
Styling: Lindsey Hartman
Hair: Phoebe Seligman
Makeup: Jessie Bishop
Art Direction: Hannah Huffman
Production: Hyperion LA
Producer: Adam Cohen
Models: Noen Eubanks & Toby
Special thanks to Stray Cat Alliance
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.