2018’s best techie gifts for your pets

Lizz Whitacre knows a lot about tech and pets. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native originally came to Nebraska to study entrepreneurship at UNL. She loved the city’s startup community so much that after graduating in 2017, she decided to stay and found her company, Pawlytics. Pawlytics is a web application that helps pet rescues save…


Hooch, Turner, Scout, Teddy, and Comrade with their humans.

Lizz Whitacre knows a lot about tech and pets.

The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native originally came to Nebraska to study entrepreneurship at UNL. She loved the city’s startup community so much that after graduating in 2017, she decided to stay and found her company, Pawlytics.

Pawlytics is a web application that helps pet rescues save more lives by centralizing their information, automating their operations, and visualizing their data so it can be easily understood and used.

“In other words, we help pet rescues get off spreadsheets and paper so their data can be in a centralized location accessible to the entire organization at any given time,” said Whitacre. “By them inputting the information like they normally would, we help them automate operations like recruiting fosters and volunteers and matching adoptable pets to adopters. We then derive insights from the patterns in this data and help rescues understand what the data means and what good next steps would be.”

Pawlytics is currently in an open beta with 30 rescues signed up and using it from around the midwest, south, east coast, with a couple being internationally located.

In 2019, Pawlytics will be growing relationships with other leaders in the pet tech and companion animal big data space.

“Our goal for the end of 2019 is to have a minimum of 550 rescues using the program and expand our product into streamlining other areas of rescue,” said Whitacre. “These expansions can be attached to the software but sold as a Saas model. This allows rescues to pay for what they need and completely ignore stats and data fields they don’t need that would otherwise be a distraction or hinder the experience of using our software.”

Lizz’s picks for this year’s top techie pet gifts

SPN asked Whitacre to use her unique knowledge of pets and tech to put together a list of her favorite gift ideas for the techie, pet, or pet techie in your life.

Here’s her list (no particular order):

1. PetDroid Boltz Hanging Automatic Interactive Laser Cat Toy

What is it: an automatic interactive laser for your cat to chase, pounce, and hunt.

Lizz says: I love this product because it is cheap and effective. The random patterns, unique to this interactive laser, on the floor and walls taps into your cat’s hunting instinct helping curb boredom and destructive tendencies. This laser will also turn off after 10 minutes to prevent your kitty from getting overstimulated. With an easy set up and affordable price, any cat would be lucky to have it!

2. Petronics Mousr Interactive Robotic Cat Toy

What is it: The first autonomous mousing toys for cats but it does come with a remote control if you’d like to join the fun.

Lizz says: Any interactive and automatic cat toys that your cat can play with while you’re away at work will substantially improve your cat’s quality of life. Cats that show behavior issues such at random biting or scratching actually tend to be bored with lots of pent up energy. Interactive toys that still allow humans to be lazy are a fantastic solution to keeping more cats in homes! If you told me this toy was designed by cats, I would believe you. This toy acts like a mouse to engage your cat’s hunting instincts.

3. Furbo Dog Camera

What is it: This is a camera to not only keep an eye on your pet while you’re away, but to continue training, ensure their safety, and really learn about what your pet is up to all day!

Lizz says: I highly recommend this camera for all pet owners. If you have pets that are allowed to free roam during the day (dog or cat), it is important to make sure they are safe when you can’t be there to check on them. This camera will allow you to view the activity live, speak to them in real time, and toss out treats. This camera is also a fantastic training tool as it can help dogs with separation anxiety calm down, or make sure your pets are staying off the counters while you are away. What’s extra special about this camera is that it gets smarter the more you use it and can give you “smart dog alerts” if you are interested in such as when your dog is playing, jumping on the couch, or up to funny business.

4. Litter-Robot 3 Connect

What is it: According to lizz, it’s one of the BEST automatic cat litter boxes. (Ans she’s tried a lot.)

Lizz says: This robot solves everyone’s least favorite part of owning a cat: the litter. The Litter Robot 3 Connect does the absolute best as scooping away soiled litter. This helps so many cats with issues of going outside the litter box. Cats are naturally extremely clean and many prefer not to use a dirty box, even if it is barely soiled. The Litter Robot will automatically scoop after each time your cat goes potty. The soiled litter will fall to the pan below which can be lined with a 13 gallon bag, making clean up a literal snap.

5. Brilliant Pad

What is it: The world’s first self cleaning puppy pad for dog.

Lizz says: This is a truly innovative product. If you live in an apartment, you may have purposely trained your small dog to use a pee pad because hustling down to the first floor with a dog needing to go potty in tow is not ideal. The Brilliant Pad changes the game. Your dog can now continuously use a fresh pee pad even when you are away. Each roll of pee pad is as long as 27 regular pads and can be set to show a clean part of the pad every few hours. The soiled part of the roll is simply rolled up into a chamber where smell cannot escape (yes, I have tested this). And when a roll is used up you simply toss it!

6. Peeva Microchip

What is it: The latest and greatest in microchipping for pets and is for you as much as it is for your pet.

Lizz says: Peeva has created the first patented standardized pet tracking system. If your pets are not currently microchipped, I highly recommend getting on the waitlist for a Peeva chip. This chip will ensure that if your pet goes missing and is found, the chip can be picked up by all scanners. Did you know that not all microchips can be read by all microchip scanners? Once the chip is scanned you will get an alert right to your phone with the exact location and contact information of who scanned the chip in live time. To top it off, Peeva chips contain a full scan history of a pet and can pull your pet’s medical records up to ensure the person who found your pet has an accurate record at all times. 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime…make sure they can get back to you.

7. iCalmPet Speakers

What is it: These speakers are designed to play tracks that are proven to relieve anxiety in pets.

Lizz says: These speakers come with a dog or cat option with different music to calm each species. You can also buy other music packs depending on your pet’s needs and type of anxiety. This is a great training tool for dogs with severe separation anxiety, as it has been scientifically proven that music made to the beat of the heartbeat calms pets. I can’t say enough how well this works. My dogs no longer have separation anxiety but I play these speaker for them while I am away or working from home as it reduces their random barking and helps them relax and sleep during the day. I have also used this product for dogs with severe separation anxiety and it makes a huge difference.

8. AKC Link

What is it: This activity and GPS tracking dog collar is a fantastic gadget to add to the holiday list.

Lizz says: Best for medium to large dogs, this collar comes with a companion mobile app that will display your pets activity, their environmental temperature, vet records, and pinpoint where your dog is if they decide to go on a solo adventure. Compared to other GPS collars, this one is loaded with features far ahead of the others and I would bet the innovation will only get better. This GPS also seems to be more accurate than other collars and devices.

9. Whistle 3

What is it: This is another GPS and pet activity tracker––however, this one is recommend for cats, small dogs, or for people who want to continue using their own collar.

Lizz says: This GPS tracker can attach to your pet’s own collar, meaning when it comes time to charge it, your pet can still be wearing their own collar and tags. Being more lightweight, it is a great product for cats and something I deeply appreciate having if (more like when) my cats decide to dart out the door into the wild suburbs. This battery lasts double the amount of time as the other leading GPS collars meaning, if your pet gets lost for a long time, you don’t have to worry about losing the signal to your pet. You can set up geofenced safe zones and receive text, app, or email alerts when your pet’s leave these designated spaces.


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