LAS VEGAS - When I was a kid, some of the most stressful times in my life were when my dog ran away. I remember searching for hours while my parents called around the neighborhood asking if anyone had seen her. I would constantly wonder where she was, if she was safe, and when she'd come home.
The Wagz dog smart home system aims to make days like that a thing of the past. You can use it to find Fido, to keep him in the house when he's not allowed out and to train him to behave when he's home. These products cost an arm and a leg but, on the bright side, they may be the best thing that's ever happened to your pup.
The system includes a number of components, but the centerpiece is the Explore Smart Collar ($495). It has a GPS tracker, so you can check in on your pet's location with the Wagz smartphone app. You can also use it to set up an invisible fence system: If your dog crosses the line, his collar vibrates (Wagz emphasizes that it's not a shock), and you get a notification. You'll pair your Explore with each Wagz device so that it can properly identify your dog (this is mostly helpful if you have multiple dogs).
The Wagz Serve Smart Feeder ($249) is (Wagz claims) the first fully autonomous dog feeder that uses data to prescribe a diet. You'll enter your pup's breed, age, and other essential information, and Serve will set up feeding times, serve the correct portions and let your dog know it's dinner time with audio alerts. It can also automatically order food for you when it runs out, using Amazon Dash. Plus, you can use Alexa to monitor your dog's diet.
With the Go smart door ($549), you can use your phone to control when Fido comes and goes (Alexa control is in the works). You can lock and unlock it yourself, or schedule it to let your pup out at certain times. It also has a motion sensor-activated HD video camera, so you can check in on whether that scratching at your door is Fido or an unwelcome visitor.
Finally, the Roam Smart Shield establishes indoor invisible fences around places you don't want your dog (for example, your couch, or your dog-allergic grandmother's room). The Smart Shield hasn't been released yet, but should be available this year.
I'll be honest: I have no idea who will buy this. They're great ideas, though, and I'm sure they would make any dog owner's life significantly easier. It's a lot of money to spend on your pet, but then again, can you really put a price on a dog's undying love?
Credit: Monica Chin/Tom's Guide