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The pros and cons of pet-related technology for Denver pet owners

Denver is 6th most pet-friendly city in the US, pet-sitting service says
Posted at 8:26 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 10:26:44-04

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We love our pets in Colorado and the tech boom doesn't discriminate. There are tons of gadgets out there that promise a happier life and a happier pet. But is all pet tech a good thing?

The Furbo is one of the more popular pet tech gadgets out there. It's an automatic treat dispenser equipped with a camera. Owners can watch their pets from their cell phone and dispense treats just by pushing a button.

Suzie Johnston said she uses it because she can see what her pets are doing and she an interact with them from afar. In addition, one of her three pets, Bubba, is getting older.

"It gives me huge peace of mind that I know he hasn’t fallen down," she said.

But not everyone thinks pet tech is a good idea. Retired University of Colorado professor Marc Beckoff said pet owners need to use machines sparingly. Dogs especially need lots of human interaction.

"My biggest fear is that people who don't have the capacity to own a dog will get one because they think they can take care of them with robots," Beckoff said. "A robot should not be a substitute for you."

Pet trackers are also a hot item these days. The Pawscout helps track down your dog or cat if it runs away. It uses Bluetooth through your cell phone. Pawscout CEO Andrea Chavez said it's about time pet tags got an upgrade.

"It's been the same for 200 years," she said. "It was very important to us to maintain a price point that is very affordable."

Some smart collars can even track your pet's movements and health. This is where veterinarian Sarah Grier weighs in. She owns Indian Peaks Veterinary Hospital in Boulder.

"I think it makes since in some cases," she said. "Say a dog has heart disease. A smart collar would be a way to track their heart rate, energy level and activity level."

In the long run, Grier said it's best not to rely on new technology alone.

"Looking at your dog and taking it to the vet and having it evaluated with a hands-on type of experience is way more valuable than looking at numbers," she said.

The moral of the story: No matter what new technology is out there, our cuddle bugs still need some tender loving care.