5 Genius Smart Home Ideas That Will Help You Look After Your Pets Better

It’s not just humans that can benefit from smart home technology — these clever gadgets can make caring for pets easier, too

a dog sat on a designer chair
(Image credit: Hugh Metcalf)

Smart home technology isn’t just for humans. If you’ve got animals roving around your house, you’d be surprised at the genius smart home tech that can help out with the petcare.

There's plenty of ideas out there to make looking after your animals easier — and we don’t just mean investing in one of the best robot vacuums to deal with the relentless shedding. Whether you want to keep track on them or make their day to day care a little less demanding, here are 5 smart home ideas to help with pet care.

1. Keep an eye on them from anywhere

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a dog interacting with a furbo camera

(Image credit: Luke Arthur Wells)

Yes, you could keep tabs on your pets using any of the best indoor security cameras, but ones designed with pets in mind are worth a look for the extra features they offer.

Take the Furbo 360° Camera for example. Not only can the camera spin 360 degrees to automatically track dogs as they roam around the room, but you can use the bundled app to toss treats for remote playtime from anywhere with an internet connection. It can also keep an ear out for unusual dog-related sounds — like continuous barking or the sound of an animal vomiting — and pop a notification your way if anything is happening.

Livingetc editor Hugh Metcalf invested in a Furbo a few years back — so can vouch for these features. 'It's so useful you get the variety of notifications, rather than just general noise and movement ones — it helps you tell how long barking has been going on, too.'

2. A litter tray that cleans itself

Five genius smart home ideas that will help you look after your pets better

(Image credit: Litter Robot)

Ask any cat owner, and they’ll tell you the worst chore is cleaning out the litter tray. Litter robots aim to automate the process, sifting the waste away automatically once the cat is clear to prevent odors and facilitate easy clean-up.

The most popular model is the Litter Robot 4, from Amazon. At $899, it’s certainly not cheap, but as well as automating one of the most unpleasant parts of cat ownership, the accompanied app can also provide useful insights into your cat’s health by tracking both weight and toilet habits.

3. Track their movements, food and water intake

a cat entering through a pet door

(Image credit: Sure Petcare)

You may wonder how you can make a pet door or food bowl smart. While it’s true that the actual mechanics are simple, Sure Petcare’s selection of smart products not only do their core jobs well, but provide oodles of analytics along the way.

I’ve reviewed both the company’s Pet Door Connect and Feeder Connect elsewhere, and the data that the combined app provides is extremely useful. How much a cat eats, and how much time they’re spending inside and out can be a proxy for general health, so having this data to hand is a handy tool when deciding whether a vet trip is in order. 

On top of that, both the feeder and door can be locked to a specific microchip, meaning that if an animal needs medicine on their food (as one of mine does) the others can’t accidentally snaffle it down instead.

(Note: all these products connect to the SurePetcare Hub, which costs an additional $84)

4. Never worry about losing your dog again

Five genius smart home ideas that will help you look after your pets better

(Image credit: Tractive)

If you’re worried about your dog escaping, then the Tractive GPS tracker could be for you. It’s a simple, lightweight GPS tracker for your canine pal that can be worn around the collar. Not only can you use it to track your dog if it wanders off on a walk, but you can set a geofence around your home and be notified if he or she leaves the area.

Yes, it has a subscription cost and needs charging (with a battery life that lasts around five days), but it offers invaluable plenty of peace of mind. And, as an added bonus, it also offers activity and sleep insights into your pet — sort of like a Fitbit for dogs!

5. Keep your pets hydrated, without the constant refills

Five genius smart home ideas that will help you look after your pets better

(Image credit: PetKit)

For whatever reason, some pets don’t like drinking from a regular bowl. Water fountains with running water can be a whole lot more appealing to your cat or dog.

The PetKit EverSweet Solo 2 moves water quietly so as not to spook skittish pets, while filtering out hair, dust and other nasties. The accompanying app will advise you when it needs cleaning, refilling and when the filter needs changing, too.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. He often writes for T3 and Tom's Guide. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.