The Wired Pet

The latest litter of gizmos and gadgets targets man's best friends


Doggles shades for pooches.

The past three or four years have witnessed the confluence of technology and pet care. “The change has come with people treating their pets like real members of the family, and looking for products to make them more comfortable,” notes Ken DiLullo, co-owner of California-based pet products manufacturer Doggles, which sells its pet eye wear and other goods at PetSmart, Pet Co. and online. “Prior to that, the market was just food and basic toys.”

Not so today. Enterprising pet owners can find everything from heated kitty beds to automated doggie drinking fountains to instructional DVDs for birds. Read on for more reasons why the family pet never had it so good.

Hot Stuff

Like a down duvet on a cold winter night, a heated kitty bed can keep your feline (or dog) cozy when the thermostat dips. K&H Manufacturing offers heated beds for both indoor and outdoor use. The Outdoor Heated Kitty Pad is constructed of durable ABS plastic and can be dressed in a soft washable faux lambskin cover. The complementary indoor Thermo Kitty Nest can be adorned with a washable cover in mocha or sage. K&H also offers heated windowsill perches, tunnels, cabins, throw blankets and more. Visit www.Khmfg.com.

Four Eyes
Doggles has been making eye gear for dogs of all sizes for close to a decade. Most owners purchase dog glasses to protect their pet’s eyes from wind, debris and bright light. But the lenses can also be made to fit a prescription, which is a real boon if your pet is one of the 30 percent of dogs that have undergone cataract surgery and can’t tolerate the implanted lenses. Protective or prescription, the shatterproof goggles fit a dog’s protruding nose and deeper-set eyes. Price: $21.99 and up. Visit www.doggles.com.

Cool Idea
Standing water in outdoor bowls gets hot and creates a breeding ground for insects. The WaterDog automatic outdoor fountain connects to an outdoor faucet or garden hose. It senses a dog’s approach at a distance of three feet and automatically dispenses a cool, clean stream of water, then automatically turns off when the pet walks away. Price: $79. Visit www.contech-inc.com.

Allergy Relief
Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from seasonal allergies and other airborne irritants. Doggles offers a portable, pint-sized ionizer that pets can wear around their necks. Like similar units for the home, it reduces the presence of

airborne allergens, viruses and bacteria around the animal. For smaller dogs and cats, there’s a snazzy little vest that belts on and holds the ionizer in a hidden pocket. Price: $29.99. Visit www.doggles.com.

Birds of a Feather
Feathered Phonics offers specialized CDs and DVDs that can teach talking birds words, phrases and music, basic retrieval skills—and even how to ride a mini scooter. If your other pets get upset that Polly is monopolizing the TV, the company also has entertaining “adventure” movies for dogs and cats to watch while their owners are away. Price: $12.99 for CDs and $24.99 for DVDs. Visit the Web site
www.featheredphonics.com.

Luxe Litter
Less high-tech but certainly décor-minded, the Hidden Litter Box by Best Pet Products marries form and function. The boxes combine a litter box with an attractive plant holder. Ideal for highly trafficked areas where a regular box would be unsightly, the Hidden box is available in three styles and two colors. All models contain a discrete rear entrance.
Price: from $69.95 to $629 for a deluxe, extra-large model.
Visit www.hidnlitter.com.


Heated Kitty pads

WaterDog automatic outdoor fountain.

Hidden litter box for cats