From the first domesticated wolves to today's service animals, dogs, cats and other furry creatures have been a mainstay.
In fact, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Product Association, sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, which is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.
In addition to providing companionship and being fun friends, there are approximately 500,000 service dogs and around 10,000 guide dogs in the USA, helping their disabled people navigate the world. We love them so much, we spend over $70 billion a year on them.
So what's up in the tech world for our best roomies? EVERYTHING.
While a lot of pet tech addresses luxury and comfort, the practical accessibility applications are far reaching.
Like when you're already settled in for the night, your caregiver has gone home and the dog MUST go outside. With smart tech that's no longer an issue. Program the fob and the door opens when they approach.
No fob? The door doesn't open. There's tech for sliding doors as well.
It doesn't end there either. Smart beds monitor their sleep and other details, interactive robots toss treats while you video chat, and what pet palace would be complete without indoor plumbing? There really are cat boxes that clean themselves. Some attach to actual water sources near the toilet, and others self clean then deposit the used litter into self contained packages that you can just toss out, no more falling into the box or having someone else clean it.
These benefits are just the beginning. It's settled science that petting an animal lowers blood pressure and releases seratonin, and oxycotin
and a lot of other good things happen helping with overall health. Depression, anxiety, and loneliness can be address and possibly even alleviated with the company of a loved pet.
Many disabled people, elderly, and Veterans could provide a home for an animal with these basic concerns covered. It would be a win for everyone, as people's health is improved and there are fewer animals in shelters or roaming the streets.