Pet selfies, one-on-one video chats with your dog, livestream lost pet tracking and remote treats are all within the realm of possibility with the pet-related tech now available.
If you've ever been sitting at your desk and wanted to check in to find out what your dog does all day long, now you can find out with a range of tech options from the Petzi to the PetChatz to the PetBot.
The PetBot uses artificial intelligence to recognize your pet and let him spam you all day long. If your pet walks up to the PetBot, it will begin sending selfies and videos to you via an app. You can send treats remotely to your pet to encourage more interaction. A surefire way to test Pavlov's theory.
If you're more interested in a video chat, for the truly spoiled pet, the PetChatz allows real time video chats with your pet, and you can click on an icon on the app to immediately dispense a treat even if you're not home.
This is similar to the Petzi, although the Petzi only allows you to watch a real-time video of your pet, instead of your pet being able to see you as well. However, you can still talk to your pet, and dispense treats remotely, and share photos via social media. So there's no real risk of your pet feeling unloved.
Speaking from personal experience, one of the best features of the Petzi is the handy night-vision toggle on the camera, in case you find yourself away from home after dark or didn't think to leave any lights on when you left home in the wee hours of the morning.
If simply watching your pet is all that you need, without the treat dispenser or the video chat options, the Panasonic Home Monitoring System was intended as a baby monitoring system, but it's perfect for pets and allows you to chat with your pet while you're away.
Keeping your pet healthy
It's not all fun and selfies, however. For those more serious about health issues with, perhaps, older pets, PetPace is a medical collar that measures your cat or dog's vital signs and looks for indications of pain. If any problems are noted, you will be immediately alerted via phone, text or email.
The FitBark activity monitor tracks your dog's daily activity and sleep so that you can compare with other similar dogs and see if there are any potential problems.
And for someone who needs instant access to veterinary advice, the new Vet24seven app allows you to talk to a vet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an online consultation to see if further treatment is warranted.
As anyone who has ever lost a pet knows, there's practically nothing worse than having a runway dog. The Motorola Scout 2500 and the Scout 5000 both feature GPS tracking and allow you to set geo boundaries via an app that alerts you if your pet goes past the pre-set range. The Scout 5000 goes one step further, by also allowing you to talk to your dog and livestream to see what they are seeing.
The Pip is another tracking device for a pet's collar, and it also comes with an app.
For dogs (and cats) that just want to have fun
And for those dogs and cats that just want to play all day, the iHelmet sends out laser beams to let your pet play even when you're not home. You can remotely send out random patterns or ones that you create. And the iFetch will allow your pet to chase balls until he or she is content. Your pet can be trained to insert the ball into the iFetch and it will shoot out the ball to chase indoors or out.
Of course, all of this comes with a price. The Petzi retails for $169.99, the PetChatz for $349 and the Motorola Scout 2500 and 5000 for $99 and $199, respectively. But what's a little money among friends - and pets?
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.