5 Ways To Upgrade Your Dog’s Life

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
It may seem silly, but you and your dog could both totally benefit from some 21st century upgrades.

While you may not need or want to give your pooch its own Instagram account (although Manny the Frenchie does has over 700,000 followers), joining a pet-focused social network can help you find friends for doggie play dates, and find answers to odd habits and behaviors. It may also help you find an animal caretaker to make day trips and long hours at the office much more manageable for your canine.

Whether you've got a few weekend getaways planned, or just want to up the ante on your fury friend's life these five tips are sure to do the trick — for both you and your pooch.
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Photo: Courtesy Dog Vacay.
Take the stress out of a hectic day or a weekend getaway. Whether the dogs are staying the night, or they are just going for a walk, you can use these platforms and apps so Fido has fun, even when you’re busy.

On Dog Vacay, you can select a dogsitter from a pool of 20,000 vetted animal lovers in the U.S. and Canada. You schedule, book, and pay through the website or app, and once you’re gone, you’ll get daily photo updates so you know your canine is safe and happy. Rover is another option for in-home dog-sitting. You can browse sitter profiles, and even schedule a meet-and-greet before you book them.
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Photo: Courtesy Innotek.
Invisible Fence
If you’ve got a yard, Innotek makes Invisible Fence dog collars that keep your dog in line — no more worrying about Lulu slipping underneath the fence and going for a car-chasing joyride. The basic system starts at $150, and is fairly simple to install. Innotek also makes some dog-training solutions like no-bark collars, but we don’t really want to use that on our pups.
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Photo: Courtesy Pack.
Social Networking
Social media for dog lovers is booming. Join Pack if you want to see, and share, your dog’s antics. It’s the perfect way to bring you and your pooch together with other canines and their owners; especially if your dog isn’t actually the social type that enjoys doggie dates. MIT Media Lab is even in on this trend. The SNIF project is a social networking pet collar that allows pet-to-pet, pet-to-owner and owner-to-owner interactions.
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Photo: Courtesy WonderWoof.
Activity Tracking
First, microchips ensured that your best friend wouldn’t get lost. Now, you can track not only their identity and location, but also their activity, using apps and products like WonderWoof and Whistle.

WonderWoof is a small bowtie you affix to your dog’s collar. It lets you track its daily activities, including how much it’s sleeping, walking, and playing. You can also use the app as a hub for all things dog, like using it to schedule reminders for when it’s time for its meds. Whistle makes two products: Tagg, a GPS pet tracker, and Whistle, an activity tracker. Both let you keep tabs on your dog’s well-being and behavior trends, but the GPS tracker, which requires a small monthly subscription, also helps you out if your pooch gets lost.
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Photo: Courtesy OxGord.
Automatic Feeding
My dog Lulu is always so fussy and demanding when it comes to food. An automated pet feeder is spot-on with what she wants. If you’re feeling crafty, my favorite feeders are built by littleBits; using an app, you can control it so that you can even feed your pets while on a holiday. Or you can buy an automatic feeder for around $50 from Amazon, like this one.