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International Dog Day lands on Wednesday, Aug. 26 this year, and there's really no better way to celebrate than by giving your pup a gift. Because we're all about tech (and pups) at ZDNet, we rounded up a few gadgets, gizmos, and subscriptions to consider. All these are well-reviewed across the internet, and many of them cost less than $100.
We even included a few non-techie items at the bottom in case your dog isn't interested in the latest hardware. Either way, we're sure you'll find something no matter your budget.
So, this first one is more for mom and dad -- but c'mon! How cool would it be to find out Spot's exact breed makeup and whether they're predisposed to any genetic diseases? While Embark's top-of-the-line Breed and Health Kit is more expensive than some of the others, it is the highest rated dog DNA test on Amazon and at other retailers. Embark also claims to have developed its "research-grade genotyping platform" in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Neat, right?
If you really want to spoil your best friend, ditch the dry kibble and get them human-grade food made with locally farmed fresh ingredients from New York. There's no artificial additives, preservatives, or fillers. The best part is you don't need to go to the grocery store to pick it up. These recipes are formulated by veterinary nutritionists and arrive on your doorstep every week in pre-portioned, vacuum-sealed packages. The amount is determined by your pup's weight, age, and lifestyle. Every pet parent gets 50% off their first order.
Does your dog like to try new toys and treats all the time? Then this monthly themed collection will be fun for them (and you). In each box, there is two toys, two full-size bags of treats, and a chew. If your dog is is extra rough on toys, we recommend you upgrade to the Super Chewer option. Everything is made in the US or Canada, and none of the treats contain wheat, corn, or soy. There's even an option for dogs with food allergies, and further customization is available if you chat with a customer service representative.
There's so many smart home cameras that you could convert into a dog camera, but we like the kinds with treating options. The Petcube Bites 2 is one of the best-rated ones, offering a 1080p (HD) camera with a 160-degree viewing angle, night vision, zoom, and a four-microphone array and speaker to let you and your dog talk to each other. It also has a feeder so you can remotely treat your dog. Finally, it's Alexa-enabled, and with a monthly subscription fee, you can enable bonus features like pet detection and smart alerts.
This piece of kit will give fur parents some peace of mind. It leverages AT&T's wireless network and Google Maps to notify you whenever your dog leaves their designated safe space and offers up live location tracking with GPS monitoring. It can also be used to track physical activity goals and some health behaviors like licking, scratching, and sleeping. The only downside is it requires a monthly or yearly subscription plan in addition to the cost of the tracker.
If you live somewhere without reliable cell service, consider the $185 Findster Duo+ pet tracker. It works up to half a mile in congested areas and up to three miles in open outdoor areas without any cell phone service.
The Whistle Go we mentioned earlier is an excellent activity monitor, but if you're looking for something a little cheaper, the FitBark is an on-collar monitor worth considering. It comes in black with colored cover options, is strong and durable, has a long battery life (3.5 dog years), and can link to your own fitness tracker (Fitbit, Apple, and Google). It will measure your dog's overall activity and health, including sleep quality, distance traveled, calories burned, and behavior. There is no monthly subscription fees, and it's even waterproof.
It pains us to mention such an expensive system, but it truly is state-of-the-art. SpotOn uses GPS signals to let you set a fence for your dog anywhere, no Wi-Fi needed. Just turn on the collar, walk around to set the perimeter, and put the collar on your dog. You don't have to use the shock points either if you train your dog to notice the sound alerts when they approach the boundary. You can create a fence of any shape up to 1,000 acres big. Use it at home or when you're on the go, as there's no wires or base stations required.
Pitched as "a bath without the splash," this portable dog bath and grooming unit reminds us of a carpet shampooer, but for your dog. It features a 13-foot hose and separate water tanks hold the clean water for shampooing as well as the dirty water. It's easy to set up and ready to go within minutes. The spray gets right down to the skin and is immediately suctioned right back up into a separate tank.
The GoBone is a rolling, bone-shaped toy that moves on its own so you can easily keep your dog entertained. There is an "auto mode" that alternates 10 minutes of play with 20 minutes of rest, or you can switch on the "interactive mode" so that you can take control and steer the GoBone from your smartphone. GoBone says the toy's removable, replaceable exterior is tough and made from FDA food-grade materials.
This door is so cool. It uses radio-frequency technology to reads the "SmartKey" worn on your dog's collar to trigger the battery power-driven flap to unlock. The door is programmable for up to five pets and comes in small and large to suit different dogs. Plus, after your dog passes through the SmartDoor, it will automatically lock, stopping other fur creatures from escaping. If you have a secured fenced-in area, this is the perfect gift.
If you prefer to get your best friend something that doesn't plug in or require a subscription, here are some top-notch options: