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Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Gifts from $20 to $499 for your furry companion

  • If your dog gets lost, anyone can scan this PetHub dog tag on a cell phone using a QR scanning app and immediately get access to the dog owner's name,...

    Brian Seales / Pethub

    If your dog gets lost, anyone can scan this PetHub dog tag on a cell phone using a QR scanning app and immediately get access to the dog owner's name, address and phone number.

Technology is having an impact in every area of the pet world, including food, toys and care products, said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association.
Rehab equipment for pets, such as treadmill, are no longer just for veterinarian clinics. Pet owners can buy the DogPacer's Minipacer treadmill ($479), which is made for dogs under 55 pounds. The original DogPacer treadmill will accommodate dogs up to 179 pounds and sells for $499, about the same price as a human-size model.
For owners who exercise with their pets, the Sharper Image Pet-O-Meter Pet Pedometer ($19.99) counts steps, calculates distance and tracks the calorie intake of the human partner.
Meanwhile, the proliferation of apps for mobile devices offers clutter-free options for urban pet owners with little living space.
There are apps that track pets' whereabouts, like the GPS-based monthly service Tagg Pet Tracker, which can alert owners if a dog leaves a designated area or monitor a pet's physical activity. For a simpler option, PetHub dog tags and collars make owners' contact information accessible through a scanning app on a mobile device, and animal shelter and GPS tracking services can be added.
Vetere believes the best high-tech pet product is the microchip, which can be implanted in dogs, cats, birds, horses and other animals and will help reunite owners with lost pets.
"They are also widely used by industry professionals to track vaccinations, test results and other records. With GPS microchips now available as well, your missing pet can not only be tracked back to you, but you can now track them down and prove ownership if need be," he said.
Another hot item is a microchip pet door, which opens using a chip implanted in the animal.
On Vetere's personal wishlist is "an automatic yard cleaner that would pick up after my dog, but I don't see how that would work without a robot," he said.

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