A person shakes a woman's hand.

Entertaining your dog while at home may be easy, but tech options have started making it possible to keep your dog stimulated while you're apart as well. (Getty Images)

Long known as man's best friend, dogs aren't just valued pets, but in many cases they're considered the most important member of the home. According to the 2017 to 2018 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, more than 60 million U.S. households have at least one dog. To better care for them, owners want to know when their furry friends are awake, and that they're safe, happy and out of trouble.

Many new products for pet owners incorporate cutting-edge technology that allows you to easily manage time apart from your pet. In some cases, these pet products can help your dog feel less lonely, give you peace of mind, and maybe even eliminate the need for doggy day care. Here are four new technologies you can incorporate into your home to benefit the health and happiness of your family's furry friends.

[Read: What Every Pet Owner Must Know About Selling a Home]

PetCube


PetCube is an interactive two-way HD camera that allows you to monitor and interact with your pet while you're away from home. The camera system has night vision options and connects to Amazon's Alexa functionality, and the related app allows for motion and sound alerts to keep track of what your dog is up to. For more interaction with your pet, owners can fling treats at their pet to reward good behavior and play fetch with the PetCube Bites camera, which allows you to stock the machine with treats before you leave home.

Price: $129 to $199 for PetCube Play, the standard model. PetCube Bites is $249.

[See: 7 Secrets You Can't Hide From Your Landlord.]

GoDogGo Fetch Machine


GoDogGo Fetch Machine was the world's first original fetch machine and automatic ball thrower of its kind, and still remains popular today as a way to help dogs exercise more without having to tire out their owners. This tennis ball launcher is designed to toss toys, with an easy return bucket your dog can drop the ball back into to keep playing. A fetch machine like this can help mellow out a high-energy dog or give you more options if you're struggling to help your dog lose weight. Time and distance settings make it easy to customize the automated game of fetch based on your dog's speed and the size of your yard.

Price: $149.99 or $179.99, based on the size of your dog.

Food Delivery Services


As food delivery services become increasingly popular among people in the U.S., there has simultaneously been a surge among pets who receive fully customizable meal plans. With dogs seen as a valued member of the family, many pet owners are foregoing traditional pet food in order to introduce more fresh and healthy ingredients that are made to order. The Farmer's Dog and NomNomNow are two services that deliver freshly made pet food with simple recipes. Bear in mind, however, that the cost to feed your dog fresh food increases compared to traditional dog food.

Price: The Farmer's Dog starts at $16 per week, while NomNomNow starts at $28 per week, and both prices increase based on your dog's weight, according to consumer products review site Reviews.com.

[See: 7 Secrets You Can't Hide From Your Landlord.]

CleverPet


For when you're out of the house and don't have time to check in on your pet, CleverPet offers a source of entertainment and stimulation for your furry friends. Serving as a kind of game console for dogs, CleverPet has dozens of color-based puzzles for pets to solve, and is designed around their limited color-seeing ability. This energizing game rewards pets with treats and can even be a training tool for your dog, as owners can track progress over time. Accessible through an iPhone, this game allows pets to be engaged for hours on end with up to 500 turns each day.

Price: A refurbished CleverPet unit costs $249, purchased through the company.


The True Costs of Owning a Pet – and How to Spend Less

Pets are expensive.

Dollar and a cat

(Getty Images)

American pet owners will spend $63 billion on Fluffy and Fido in 2016, according to the American Pet Products Association. Major expenses include food, vet care and grooming and boarding services. Click on for a look at some common, pricey pet expenses – and how to save money on them.

Vet visits

Vet visits

Cat lying down on examining table at veterinarian office.

(iStockPhoto)

Americans reported spending $235 to take their dog and $196 to bring their cat to routine vet visits in the past year, according to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. While they're not cheap, regular checkups can catch expensive illnesses early.

Pet security deposits

Pet security deposits

German Shorthaired Pointer digs in yard

(Getty Images)

Your dog doesn't care if you lose your pet security deposit after he digs up the backyard, but you should. For renters, a pet deposit can cost up to a full month's rent, so do what you can to note pre-existing damage and encourage good household behaviors in your pet.

Adoption fees

Adoption fees

Shelter dog is cute dog in an animal shelter poking his nose through the fence wondering who is going to take him home.

(Getty Images)

Buying Fido from a breeder could run you $1,000 or more. The animal shelter is cheaper – but will charge you an adoption fee, typically somewhere in the $100 range.

Food

Food

Cute cat eating at home from a pink cat bowl

(Getty Images)

Pet food can be worth splurging on if it improves the health of your animal. One trick to choosing quality food is to look for product labels with meat listed as the first ingredient.

Training

Training

Group Of Dogs With Owners At Obedience Class

(Getty Images)

Dog owners should consider the cost of training their furry family member to sit, stay and roll over. A six-week puppy training course at PetSmart runs about $120. Cheaper routes to well-behaved canines include dog training television shows, online videos or books.

Doggie and kitty daycare

Doggie and kitty daycare

Dachshund dogs

(Getty Images)

Prepare to spend the big bucks if you can't get a friendly neighbor to take care of Fluffy when you're away from home. Pet owners spent $333 to board dogs and $130 for cats over the past year, according to the 2015-2016 APPA survey.

Insurance payments

Insurance payments

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The jury is still out on whether pet insurance is worthwhile. It can run the gamut from basic coverage (for a family pet) to life and theft insurance (for expensive and championship breeds). Research and compare rates for the best deal.

Destroyed shoes, rugs and furniture

Destroyed shoes, rugs and furniture

Dog tore apart her toy and laying in bed of stuffing looking rather guilty.

(Getty Images)

Depending on how frisky your pet is, you may find yourself shelling out for replacement clothing and household items after your furry friend inevitably knocks them over, scratches them up or devours them indiscriminately.

Toys and treats

Toys and treats

Brown persian kitten prepares to pounce on toy

(Getty Images)

Toys, treats, costumes and more – sometimes you just want to spoil your pets. Americans spent $47 on dog toys and $28 on cat toys in the past year, according to the APPA.

Grooming

Grooming

professional cutting yorkshire terrier after washing.Other images and concepts of this puppy in this lightboxe

(Getty Images)

Save money on grooming your four-legged friend by doing it yourself. Regular hair-brushing and nail-trimmings are good for you pet, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which provides guides for do-it-yourself dog and cat grooming.

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Tags: real estate, pets, dogs, personal finance, home improvements


Sally Forster Jones is recognized as one of the top real estate brokers in Southern California. Forster Jones is an expert in the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles and internationally. Her extensive knowledge ranges from residential sales, luxury and architecturally significant properties to new developments and commercial transactions.

She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.

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