Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Just as humans use technology to connect with one another, they're now using machines to interact with their pets, too.

The big picture: Apps and devices are now offering pet owners a more intimate look at their animals' well-being, from veterinary care to fitness.

Details: Technology dips into pet care with:

  • Pet fitness trackers: Much like a FitBit or Apple Watch, companies are now producing wearable fitness-tracking devices for pets. The gadgets offer insights into exercise and nutrition, allowing owners to know, for example, when their pet could use a walk or run. The gadgets often come with GPS trackers, giving owners the ability to keep tabs on their animals' whereabouts.
  • Camera monitoring and intercoms: In-house monitoring systems and intercoms can connect to an owner's personal device, allowing them to view their pets and talk to them. Some also come with treat dispensers to "relieve boredom."
  • On-demand pet walkers and sitters: Pet lovers can now support the gig economy, with on-demand dog walking and pet sitting apps. Two popular platforms, Wag and Rover, for example, allow customers to use their phones to request the services of trained walkers. GPS technology even tracks the walker's route and provides updates to owners about the trip's duration and direction.
  • Telehealth for pets: Remote veterinary services are on the rise, allowing owners to access pet care without leaving home.
  • Microchip pet doors: To ensure pesky intruders such as raccoons or mice stay outside, pet doors are now able to recognize animals' microchips or collar tags as a sort of key for entry to locked pet doors.

The bottom line: As the industry continues to innovate, pet owners can expect more insights into their animals and their health, allowing them to better care for their pets.

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