Interactive Ball Launcher
Amazon

The Coolest Pet Tech Devices You Didn't Know You Needed

View Slideshow
Interactive Ball Launcher
Amazon

Plugged-in Pets

You've got gadgets and gizmos for work and for play; why should your pet miss out on the fun? Whether you're looking for help with day-to-day tasks such as feeding, new ways to play fetch, or just want peace of mind when leaving the house, there's a high-tech pet product available. Cheapism reached out to pet parents and other animal experts to get their take on what tech is worth the investment.

Related: The Most Family-Friendly Dogs to Bring Home to the Kids

Prices and availability are subject to change.

golden retriever and owner outside
mladenbalinovac/istockphoto

Before You Buy

High-tech pet products may make a difference in a dog's life, but they shouldn't be a substitute for your own presence. "The value of high-tech pet products varies a lot depending on how they are used," says Richard Cross, founder of TheDogClinic.com. "They can be beneficial, but only when used as a way to supplement and improve a dog's care, not as a replacement for mental and physical stimulation."

The same is true for felines, says Dawn LaFontaine, founder of Cat in the Box, an online retailer. "We all know that when we get a cat we are responsible for providing food, water, and shelter. But companionship is as much of a necessity as those things. So toss that little foam ball to your cat, dangle the fishing-rod toy, but don't leave her alone with some fancy electronic gadget and hope it will make her happy."

Related: 14 Cheap Pets That Are Easy to Take Care Of

Petcube
Amazon

Remote Pet Cameras

$40 from Amazon
Shop Now

Remote cameras aren't just for home security; they're also useful for keeping an eye on pets, especially if they're older or in poor health. "Many dog owners aren't aware that their dog is suffering from separation anxiety when they leave the house, so a camera can highlight potential issues that need to be addressed using positive reinforcement training," Cross says. Many cheap pet cams are nearly identical to plug-and-play home security cameras, with two-way audio, night vision, and app-based controls. One fairly inexpensive option is the Petcube, a top seller at Amazon that also gets good reviews from Gizmodo. A pricier version, the Petcube Bites 2 ($200 from Amazon), goes a step further and dispenses treats at the tap of an app. Wirecutter calls it "the best pet camera with a treats dispenser that we tested."

Related: 20 Easy Dog Treat Recipes That Will Save You Money

Self-cleaning Litter Box
Chewy

Self-Cleaning Litter Box

$500 from Chewy
Shop Now

Cleaning a cat's litter box is another of those repetitive tasks that technology has a solution for, though you can pay a pretty penny for the privilege. Case in point is the Litter Robot. Cheap it isn't, but reviewers at Good Housekeeping and Popular Mechanics give it the thumbs-up, as do buyers at Chewy, for being highly effective at doing its job. You can even monitor its performance via an app … if that's your thing. But if spending $500 seems excessive, PetSafe's line of self-cleaning litter boxes also get good reviews from Amazon buyers and cost less than half the price of the Litter Robot.

Related: 25 Hacks to Reclaim Your House From Messy Pets

Automatic Feeders
Chewy

Automatic Feeders

$45 from Chewy
Shop Now

Sometimes, the best tech for your pets is the simplest. "Through my time as a veterinary assistant, some of the most helpful tech-oriented products I've heard pet owners talk about are the ones that help with repetitive tasks," says Wesley Oaks, who runs the site Oddly Cute Pets. That includes automated feeders for dogs and cats. Shoppers at Chewy and Amazon give the PetSafe Eatwell high marks for accurate portion control and being simple to schedule feeding times — and resistant to pets determined to snack between feedings.

Related: 100 Tech Products That Will Make Your Life Easier

Interactive Ball Launcher
Amazon

Interactive Ball Launcher

$115 and up from Amazon
Shop Now

High-energy dogs need lots of playtime throughout the day, but a pet's schedule may not always mesh with yours. That's where an interactive ball launcher can come in handy. There are a number of models you can buy, though the iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher gets most of the attention from reviewers. Satisfied owners say their dogs love the device, though there are a few caveats: As with any robotic toy, not all dogs will want to interact with them, and some buyers note that the iFetch does not use standard-sized tennis balls, and the replacements can be pricey.

Related: 10 Homemade Toys to Spoil Your Dog

Water Fountains
Amazon

Water Fountains

$27 from Amazon
Shop Now

Dogs and cats need an ample supply of fresh water, but some pets are more particular than others about where and how they'll drink — just think of a cat that insists on drinking from a kitchen or bathroom faucet. Cat owners in particular praise this Veken water fountain, which has earned an average score of 4.4 out of 5 from more than 30,000 buyers at Amazon. It can hold 2.5 liters of water, plenty to meet the daily needs of an adult cat, and comes with activated charcoal filters to remove impurities. Although the Veken's pump is quiet, some owners say their pets took some time to warm up to the idea of drinking from the fountain. A larger model that holds 3 liters of water is also available ($30 from Amazon) and may be better suited for dogs, owners say.

Related: The Best Gifts for Cat Lovers That Are the You-Know-Who's Pajamas

Robotic Vacuum
Amazon

Robotic Vacuum

$200 from Amazon
Shop Now

Why chase after a shedding dog or cat with a vacuum when you can let the vacuum chase after all that stray pet hair? The iRobot Roomba 675 robotic vacuum may not be the cheapest of its kind, but it gets strong reviews from more than 32,000 Amazon buyers as well as an Editor's Choice award from PCMag. Owners say this app-controlled vac does a good job of ferreting out pet hair and other debris and is relatively simple to operate.

Related: 30 Popular Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

GPS-enabled Trackers and Collars
Amazon

GPS-Enabled Trackers and Collars

$90 and up from Amazon
Shop Now

Worried about a furry friend whenever you let them outside? A GPS-enabled collar, which can track a pet's movements, can be a worthy investment. "For those taking their dogs out off leash or live on large properties, they're a good way for owners to know where their dogs are," says Joan Hunter Mayer, a certified professional dog trainer in Santa Barbara, California. When used in conjunction with proper leash training and having a pet microchipped, a GPS collar offers an added layer of peace of mind. But bear in mind that even the best of these collars relies on batteries, which need to be recharged or replaced, and they're not foolproof. "Dogs lose or damage their gear often," says Jen Jones, a professional trainer and founder of Your Dog Advisor. "Relying on technology to keep your dog safe should always be a backup plan, and not the first and only thing pet parents rely on." The Whistle Go, a small GPS device that can be attached to a collar, gets the thumbs-up from reviewers at PCMag and from buyers at Amazon.

Related: 47 Adorable Photos of Pets 'Working From Home'

Talking Balls
Amazon

Talking Balls

$13 and up from Amazon
Shop Now

If you'd rather ease into the high-tech pet toy world with something not so sophisticated (or pricey), the Pet Qwerks Babble Ball is an affordable option. This motion-sensitive toy has 20 preprogrammed phrases and sounds to grab your pet's attention and entice them into playing. Available in three sizes.

Related: 8 Cheap Chew Toys Your Dog Will Dig

Pet Cam Harness
GoPro