These gadgets can make pets better family members

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 9:38 p.m.

Cute and cuddly they may be, but even the most beloved pet can have behaviors and needs that its owner struggles to deal with.

Technology might be the answer for keeping your four-legged pals safe, comfortable and well-behaved. Consider these products for helping canines and felines become better family members:


Today's collars do more than hold dog tags or fight fleas. The Canicom remote training collar by Dogtek allows dog owners to combine vocal commands with electronic beeps and impulses. Corrective commands can be given even if the dog is a distance away. Retails for $189. Bark-control collars are available.

Get a peek at your small one's adventures with a camera developed especially for use on cats and dogs. Made by Dogtek and retailing for $99, the Eyenimal Pet Video Camera offers continuous recording of digital images for up to 2½ hours. Images can be transmitted to a computer using the cable provided.

Grooming and feeding

Automated pet feeders can be great for convenience, portion control and feeding a pet during a long absence. Perfect Petfeeder by Pillar Pet Products is a programmable unit that asks questions about feeding times and portions. The hopper holds up to 42 cups of dry pet food. Retail price is $499.

Shedding can be an annoyance for pet owners. Dyson Groom Tool combines a brush and a vacuum for grooming and cleaning. The attachment fits most Dyson upright and canister models and retails for $69.99.

FURminator makes a $16 Curry Comb that removes dust and loose hair from long and medium coats. It has an ergonomic handle, and it's made from antimicrobial plastic. The rubber teeth stimulate natural oil production for a healthy sheen.

Automatic litter box

Among the innovative products in the self-cleaning litter box category is CatGenie, made by PetNovations. The self-cleaning, self-flushing litter box hooks up to the cold water intake at a sink, toilet or washing machine. The drain hose hooks over a toilet rim or to the drainpipe behind a washing machine. The process is intended to be a straightforward, do-it-yourself setup. CatGenie uses washable granular crystals that are considered more environmentally beneficial than cat litter. A litter box and four-month supply of crystals/sanitary solution retails for $234.

Indoor pet barriers

Keep cats and dogs out of restricted areas and off the furniture with Sound Barrier, a wireless indoor sonic fence that uses a collar to trigger noise, rather than an electric shock, to scare pets away. Retails for $79.99.

Michael J. Solender is a writer for The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

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