Pets are part of the family: they entertain us with their antics, snuggle with us when we’re sick or sad, and provide unconditional love and companionship. However, they’re family members that accompany us everywhere, so we make sure they have food and water before heading to work and enlist the help of pet-sitters when we go on vacation. You take all the commonsense precautions, such as keeping poisonous houseplants out-of-reach and locking up potentially harmful house cleaning supplies. But is there more we can and should do to ensure our pets’ safety when we’re away? The following are five technological solutions you can implement to keep your pets secure and healthy until you get back:
1. Security Camera System
Security experts agree that the presence of cameras can act as a deterrent to would-be robbers. Nobody wants to risk breaking into a home if the chances of getting caught on camera are high. This helps ensure the safety of your dog or cat as well as your valuables. Secondly, many security companies (including Holicong) utilize cameras and equipment that connect to apps, which can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet. This allows you to check up on your pets to make sure everything’s okay while you’re gone.
2. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Make sure that your home is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. While fire and smoke are clear hazards for anyone or anything in your home, carbon monoxide can be deadly to both humans and their four-legged friends. In fact, CDC statistics indicate that approximately 400 people die and 50,000 people are hospitalized each year in the US due to accidental CO poisoning. With winter right around the corner, many of us will be using our furnaces and stoves more often – both are common household sources of carbon monoxide.
Fortunately, we offer tools to help monitor for these potential hazards. While still battery operated, some models of CO and smoke detectors can now be linked to an app that can send your phone a signal if it goes off. Whether you are out in the yard, at the office, or soaking up the sun at a beach, you can take comfort knowing that the detector app will notify you immediately of a potential carbon monoxide or fire situation at your house, allowing you to take necessary action to get Fido to safety.
3. Gas Leak Detectors
Carbon monoxide isn’t the only dangerous gas that may crop up in your home. If you have a basement or crawl space, having a radon detector is a must. According to the EPA, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. While natural gas has a distinctive odor and an additive in propane gives it a rotten egg stench, it can be hard to pick up these smells unless you’re in the immediate vicinity of the leak. Natural gas and propane have the additional danger of being combustible, so if not caught quickly, they can lead to catastrophic consequences.
It’s not all bad news: residential gas detection technology (and its relative affordability) has come a long way in recent years. There are a slew of different options available, some which can integrate with your other smart home devices as well as send alerts to your phone, helping you keep an eye out for these invisible potential pet hazards even when you’re out and about.
4. Programmable Thermostats and Environmental Sensors
App-connected thermostats are probably the most recognizable smart home devices, aside from voice-controlled gizmos like the Amazon Echo. The logical progression from the standard programmable thermostat, these smart thermostats can “talk” to your iPhone or Android, letting you adjust, turn on, or turn off your HVAC system from anywhere you get a cell signal. You can also set minimum/maximum temperatures for your home to stay within, keeping your cat safe by triggering the heat to turn on before it gets too cold and the air to kick in before it gets too hot.
If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, heavy rains, or other sudden influxes of water, you may also want to consider installing flooding sensors. Not only can floods cause damage to your home and belongings, they can spell damage for your pets as well. These sensors, in combination with emergency preparations, can help you and your furry friends escape water disasters relatively unscathed.
5. GPS Microchips
If your pet runs away from home or is stolen by somebody, having a microchip implanted can help you find where they are. The chip injection procedure is no more involved than a typical shot, and most veterinary practices are equipped to perform it these days. In the event that your cat or dog strays from home and is found by or brought to a shelter or vet office, the staff can scan the microchip and use the microchip registry to reunite you with your pet.
If you don’t feel comfortable implanting a microchip, there are also GPS chips available that can be attached to your pet’s collar. These chips can all be tracked on your smartphone or computer, which means you can keep tabs on Fluffy whenever you’re away from home.
Seeing as how your pets are some of the best friends that you can have, the last thing you want to do is risk their safety or health when leaving them alone, whether for an afternoon or for a week. These five technological solutions will make it easier to take care of your pets and to keep them safe and healthy while you’re gone.