Have you thought about the challenges of settling in once your relocation is complete? This guest post from Home Depot's Chris Long offers tips for helping pets stay safe and comfortable in your new home.
Automatic Pet Gadgets: Keep Your Pets and Your Home Safe
Relocating with a pet raises all sorts of concerns -- from making sure a pet door prevents your dog or cat from running away during the moving process to figuring out how your pets can access their food while you're busy unloading boxes. There are a bunch of great new gadgets out there for pets that will not only make life a little easier when it comes to moving, but can also reduce stress, save time and increase efficiency after the move. Some of these pet gadgets will even help keep your home safe from burglars.
Automatic Pet Doors
Do you worry about your pets getting locked out during your move and trapped outside the patio door while you unload your boxes? Did you know that rather than figuring out how to build a pet door yourself and creating a complicated maze of wires surrounding your exterior door, your dog can actually wear a collar that unlocks an automatic pet door whenever he wants to go inside after playing in the yard?
Communicating through a radio frequency, there are several electronic pet doors on the market that unlock the door on the pet's way into the house and relock the door as the pet enters or exits. Not only is this convenient and safe for your pet, but the garage door-like function of the pet door can actually help prevent burglars from entering your home. If the pet door is big enough to let a large dog -- say a German Shepherd -- come in and out of the house, then your home may be vulnerable to a burglar breaking in through the dog door. Four-way security locks may not be sufficient to deter intruders, so you may want to consider an electronic pet door.
TIPS: When deciding whether to build or purchase a dog door, ask yourself:
How much time do you have to build a pet door yourself? If you decide to build the pet door yourself, be sure to properly measure the door before you begin cutting a hole and installing the pet door. An easy way to test the size is to cut a hole that matches the door size in a large sheet of cardboard and see if you can tempt your pets through the hole, perhaps with a treat.
How big of a door do your pets need? If your pets are large, and a person could squeeze through the pet door, consider purchasing an electronic pet door to prevent burglars from entering your home.
Programmable Pet Feeders
From eliminating the need to scoop and measure pet food on your way out the door to ensuring that your pets get portion-controlled meals while you are at work or busy hauling your belongings from storage during a hectic move, a programmable pet feeder can be set to dispense the proper amount of food to your pet up to three times a day. It also eliminates the daily chore of scooping and measuring, which makes life a little easier. This could make feeding your pets much more efficient, both during and after your move. Spend less time worrying about feeding your pets, and more quality time easing their transition to a new home.
TIPS: When selecting which product to purchase, ask yourself:
How big is your pet, and how much food will you want to dispense?
How exact do you need the portion sizes to be, and will you need to monitor the pet's food intake? Various models will offer different amounts of food that can be dispensed per serving. Some products dispense both wet and dry food.
Do you want to be able to feed your pets remotely? Some products have advanced technology that allows you to feed your pets by remote, using a laptop or a smartphone to schedule feeding times from anywhere in the world. A network camera even allows you to watch your pets in real time.
Automatic Cat Feeder (Dog Proof!)
A lot of dogs are not the finickiest of eaters, so to protect your cat from having her food devoured by the dog in the house, consider purchasing an infrared feeder that ensures your cat food is only accessible to the cat. The automatic lid will close as soon as the cat is done eating. How does this work? A light-weight infrared key, which your cat wears on her collar, will open and close the feeder and keep away a curious dog (or a small child). If you have multiple cats and one cat is on a special diet, the automatic cat feeder will make sure your special-needs cat gets the meal she needs.
Consider getting a virtual fence to make sure your dog stays in your yard and doesn't wander off in the new neighborhood and get lost. The Tagg Pet Tracker is a sophisticated GPS system that works in all 50 states of the US; the collar your dog wears will work with a docking station that acts as a virtual fence and will notify you via email or text if your pet gets out of the yard. A monthly subscription will be required for the service.
Have you found any pet gadgets that make your life and your pet's life easier? What most concerns you about your pet's safety as you prepare to relocate? Let us know!
Chris Long has been an on-the-floor store associate at Home Depot since 2000. Chris also writes DIY tips for windows, floors and doors for the Home Depot website. You can view Home Depot's entry doors selection page here.