Pet Gear 2.0

Beyond leashes, collars, and those adorable little sweaters, there's a wide world of pet products out there—and we've got the technology industry to thank for most of it. Here are the coolest apps and gadgets for your furry friends.

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The Apps

For Practice:

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Dog Hotel

If you ever had a Tamagotchi, you'll be familiar with the concept of Dog Hotel. The main difference between the two experiences is that instead of one pet to keep alive you now have an entire kennel full of dogs to look after. We actually just got a notification that a bulldog named Bear is malnourished and so we must go. (We also still need to sweep all of the enclosures and brush a poodle before bed.)

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Usefulness: One animal will be a cinch after this

Fun Factor: Low, and yet the game is still somehow very satisfying

Price: Free (purchases can be made within the app)

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For the Day-to-Day:

Wag!

"Uber meets Jiff Pom" is probably how someone described this app when it was being pitched to investors. Wag! connects a community of dog walkers and caretakers with pet owners who need their services, all through the kind of simple-to-use interface we've come to know and love during this magical crowdsourcing app revolution.

Usefulness: There's a 70 percent chance that your primary excuse for not having a dog is now irrelevant

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Fun Factor: Saying "Oh, good—he peed!" without having to go anywhere near that pee is its own particular kind of delight.

Price: Free

wagwalking.com

For Peace of Mind:

Petnostics

We feel confident saying this without even a cursory Google search to fact check it: Petnostics is the first-ever app to come with a urine cup. If you need reassurance that your pet is OK between visits to the vet, you can use this app to analyze your dog or cat's urine and be alerted to possible health problems as soon as possible. (The cat version works a little differently, with a special Petnostics litter instead of a urine cup.)

Usefulness: Alarmingly useful

Fun Factor: There is basically no chance that you will find this fun

Price: Free (plus $10 per test kit; $15 for cat litter.)

petnostics.com

For Your Entertainment:

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Dog and Cat Simulators

Maybe instead of taking care of a pet you would instead like to be a pet. Perfectly understandable. For that experience, you'll want to download either Dog Simulator or Cat Simulator (pick your poison), which allows you to customize your avatar (a collie wearing a pirate hat is one option) and then win points by doing fun pet things, like breaking household items and prancing around in the grass.

Usefulness: Very useful for waiting rooms of all kinds

Fun Factor: As fun as letting a dog lick your ice cream cone when no one is looking

Price: Free (purchases can be made within the app)

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The Gadgets

Play Time, All the Time

Petcube, $200, petcube.com.

Obvious fact: being away from your pet is a bummer. Less obvious fact: If you owned a Petcube you would be able to do many of the things you'd do while you're together—talk to them in a grating baby voice, entertain them with a laser—even if you're apart!

Keeping It Clean

Shake Dog Potty, $99, modko.com.

Pee pads are an imperfect solution to pets peeing in the house—they're ugly, they smell weird, etc. The Shake Dog Potty improves upon the traditional pee pad by offering antimicrobial, deodorizing technology, a modern, portable design, and other features that make cleanup easy.

Easy Feeding

Smartfeeder, $149, petnet.com.

Needing to get home by a certain time to feed your pet and not being able to is a stressful scenario that this feeder completely eradicates, in a simpler, more efficient way that any of the other similar products on the market. Go ahead, order another round!

Tracking and Fitness

Whistle, $79, whistle.com.

There are lots of dog location trackers on the market. There are also lots of dog fitness trackers on the market. This one is both and has the nicest design in either category—a no-brainer, then.

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