Everyone loves a good gadget, it's the ideal present to give to those who are the most special in your life.
And it's not been overlooked by manufacturers that often those who are classed as the most reliable and loyal companions are the four-legged variety.
Whether you own a cat, dog or hamster, there is a surprising array of high-tech gadgets out there to pander to their every whim.
Here are some of the best:
1. Pet Sensing Doorbell
If you can't - or don't want to - fit a cat or dog flap, then the PetSafe Pet Sensing Doorbell is the next thing. A smart tag attached to your pet's collar is automatically detected by the system, ringing the bell so you can let them in.
Its maker says each doorbell box can support up to five different smart tags, and the doorbell has a maximum volume of 101dB - the same volume as the motorcycle your clever, clever pet probably rode home on.
The Pet Sensing Doorbell also comes with a low battery indicator (its powered by four C batteries) and comes with a built-in picture frame so it can hold your favourite pic of your pet. Marv.
$79.95 (£56.52) plus shipping • Hammacher Schlemmer 00 1 800 321 1484
2. Litter Robot
If letting your pet dig a hole to do its business seems a little uncouth, then why not indulge them with this automated toilet instead? Aimed at pampered cats, the Litter Robot keeps the fussy thing's litter clean like this: the top cylinder twirls around after the cat has left, scooping up any clumps and dumping them into the waste tray at the bottom.
Unlike other automated cat litter cleaners, the Litter Robot has no rakes so there's no danger they'll get clogged or accidentally attack your cat.
The whole thing runs from a 12v mains adapter and can accommodate cats weighing up to 6.8kg - although presumably they'll be a little bit lighter when they've left than when they entered. [via SuperCool Pets]
€349 (£311) plus shipping • Robotixx 020 8816 8666
3. Automatic Pet Feeder
Automated pet feeders are ideal for feeding your furry charges while you're out at work or away for the weekend. The Andrew James Automatic Pet Feeder comes with a rotating top that automatically swivels around to the next one of four food bay at preset times.
It even includes a voice recorder than enables you to leave up to 20 seconds of encouraging messages, so reducing stress caused by 'separation anxiety'. The Automatic Pet Feeder is powered by four 'C' class batteries and comes with an ice chamber so you can keep your pet's food cool, too.
£29.95 (special offer price) • Andrew James Raclette 0870 013 0211
4. The Canine Treadmill
No matter how much you love your dog, taking it for a walk can be a pain - especially if it's blowing a gale outside and Fido likes spending hours sniffing lamposts (or worse). Luckily Hammacher Schlemmer sells a range of treadmills for dogs from titchy toy dog to fat Labrador in size, so your pet can get some exercise while you put your feet up in front of the telly.
Each Canine Treadmill comes with side rails to keep your dog on the straight and narrow, plus a range of incline and speed settings (0.5 to 8mph) so you can make sure he / she gets a real workout over the 45 minutes.
$549.95 (£388.80) to £899.95 (£636.25) plus shipping • Hammacher Schlemmer 00 1 800 321 1484
5. Critter Cruiser And Hamtrack
Like its name suggests, the brilliant Critter Cruiser And Hamtrack is a race car and track for your hamster that lets him hare around the lounge floor a) in perfect safety and b) while breaking rodent land speed records at the same time.
The cars are available in four different colours - red, green, blue and pink (although which one you get is random, strangely) plus four pieces of curved track and four straights.
OK, it's not that high-tech - unless you count wheels or hamster balls (ahem) as cutting edge, but it is a heck of a lot of fun. Oh, and did we mention that it's more eco-friendly than leccy-burning Scalextric too?
£34.95 • Firebox.com 0844 922 1010
6. The Dog Light Up Lead
Problem: It's dark out and you want to walk the dog. Solution? An illuminated dog lead! Two thousand years of civilisation haven't been wasted, after all.
Actually we can see the The Dog Light Up Lead coming in handy as an early warning system for other members of the public - they'll have plenty of time to get out of your way before you come stomping down the street, dragging your pitbull behind you.
The electroluminescent light, which is powered by two AA batteries (supplied), can be switched on or off, and can even to be set to flash - giving even more reason for people to avoid you and your hairy mutt like the plague. Bless.
£24.99 • I Want One Of Those.com 0844 573 7070
7. GPS Dog Tracking Collar
Let's face it, some of us never need to walk the dog - he goes off for a wander all by himself. If that's the case for you, you might want to fit him/her with the Retrieva GPS Dog Tracking Collar - a collar that enables you to keep tabs on his/her whereabouts via your PC, mobile phone or a handheld receiver.
The Retrieva is clever enough to enable you to set virtual fences (around your garden, say) so you can be alerted when your pet runs off. The collar is cut-proof and comes with a tamper-proof lock that can also warn you if someone purloins your pooch, and there's a panic button in the unlikely event that you come under personal attack.
Suitable for small, medium and large dogs - a harness for very small dogs is also available.
From £249.99, plus £9.99 per month subscription (1 collar package) • Retrieva Ltd 01442 877796
8. Kool Kennel
It must be a pain having to wear hair/fur all the time, especially when the temperature's rocketing up into the high 30s or even 40s.
Luckily the Americans have come to the rescue with the Kool Kennel - a portable air-conditioning system that should keep your pet cooler than an ice sculpture of The Fonz (OK, maybe not that cool - he'd be frozen, wouldn't he?).
The Kool Kennel has been designed to attach to anything from a pet crate to a doghouse and uses a 12v power source to run. Eco-friendly, the Kool Kennel can also be switched to warm up your dog - handy if he gets a bit chilly on his way to the pet shop. [via SuperCool Pets]
$99.99 (£70.69) Kool Kennel 001 800 823 5402
9. Continuously Freshening Pet Drinking Fountain
Why drink out of a muddy puddle when you have a constant stream of cool, gently streaming water on tap?
That's the problem solved by the Continuously Freshening Pet Drinking Fountain, which comprises the fountain, a one-gallon water reservoir and a charcoal filtration system to make sure the water is as free of impurities as possible.
The fountain's built-in bowl is 20cm from the ground - making it easy for your moggie to lap all that water up. And the Fountain has the added benefit that it can double as a toddler plaything/source of water, too.
$69.95 (£49.39) plus shipping • Hammacher Schlemmer 00 1 800 321 1484
10. SNIF Tag
If your life is incomplete without knowing every aspects of your pet's day, then the SNIF Tag could be just what you need.
It's essentially an active RFID tag with built-in accelerometer and motion sensing software that gives you feedback about what your dog's been up to during the day - you can then check out his activities using your Mac or PC.
There's even a social networking component - you can see which other SNIF Tag wearing dogs your pooch has seen and share information with friends or other SNIF Tag users.
Originally dreamed up by boffins at MIT, the SNIF system is available as a starter kit which comes with all the kit you need, including the SNIF Tag, base station and accessories. It's not 1 April, is it? [via SuperCool Pets]
$149.99 (£105.91) • SNIF Labs, Inc
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