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Best DIY Gadgets for Your Pets

As Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.” We know this is true intuitively, but a recent survey confirmed that most Americans treat their dogs the same way as their children.  So, here are some great DIY electronics projects for all the pet parents out there.


We know the pangs of guilt pet owners feel for not being able to find time to spend with your pets.  Whether it’s taking the dog for a walk, making playtime with your cat, managing the fish tank, and even finding the time to prepare food for your pets, all these tasks can be neglected now that we are forced to spend every free moment snooping on Facebook and swiping our Twitter feeds.

So, in an effort to spare no tweet, we found these DIY projects just for you. Some of these projects are actually pretty useful and could automate taking care of your pets so you can finally stop worrying about missing their next meal – or the next trending cat meme.



 

DIY Pet Trackers

How many times have you walked all around your neighborhood looking for your dog or cat, just to find him gnawing an old bone in the dog house? This simple and cheap DIY pet tracker will put an end to those days for good.

This extremely simple project was put together by Your Wildlife Project to let you easily build your own tracker for your cat or dog. It was built with an i-gotU USB GPS Travel & Sports Logger for the tracking and a Cat-It H-Style Harness to strap it in. Both of which you can acquire through Amazon for less than $75.

Follow the instructions on the video to get started making the GPS tracker and to learn how to use it. Find the list of materials and links here.

Surely, you’ll be able to improve the project if you put a little more effort into the design. Maybe find alternative/cheaper materials and 3D print a nice case for the tracker. Also, if you’re interested in taking it a bit further and want to add more advanced features — such as logging the data of your dog’s running activities — follow this project to turn your pet tracker into a GPS tracking harness. The GPS dog collar is also a nice project worth looking into.


DIY Pet Feeders

No need to hire pet sitters to look after your cat/dog every time you leave the house, this DIY cat feeder and dog treat dispenser will make sure your pets get their meals on time.

This homemade automatic cat feeder was built with nothing but an Arduino board, a continuous rotation servo, a cardboard box and a glue stick case. The system uses the glue stick case attached with the servo as a linear actuator to hold a platform inside the box, which will be lowered every 12 hours to dispense food through a hole in the box.

All the instructions are explained here with pictures for easy understanding. Obviously, before long, cats will figure out the system and start clawing through the cardboard. So, it will probably be a good idea to use a stronger structure to hold the food. With a little bit of customization, the system will also serve as a dog food dispenser

 

As always, there’s a million ways to skin feed your cat,  so if you prefer a different approach, this Arduino controlled dog treat dispenser might work for you.


 

Internet Enabled Fish Tank Monitor

What if there was a way for you to automatically feed your fish, set timed lighting while monitoring and controlling the system via a website? Hayden Kibble’s DIY Internet-enabled fish tank project does just that and more.

It also has a scrolling matrix display, digital thermometer, underwater fish-cam and even speaks out messages. The fish tank was built with an Arduino Mega and a Raspberry Pi. Head over to Hayden’s blog for the pictured build process. The source code for the program is available here.

Or, if you’d rather have a simple, cheap automatic feeder for the fish tank, go build this Instructables project. And for those of you who still don’t own a fish tank, or fish, but are considering a new aquatic friend, check out this project to learn build a cool fish tank out of an old CRT monitor.


Some more DIY projects to keep your pets happy:

ROBOTIC CAT LASER POINTER

The CatBot is an interesting project that might help with your cat’s cardio workout. This robotic arm attached with a laser and controlled by two servos, and Arduino will make sure to keep your cat busy, all day long.

 

 

ROBOTIC DOG TOYS

Why should cats get all the cool toys? This brilliant invention by Instructables user Randy Carney shows you how to build a robotic toy that your dog can play and interact with. The system built with an Arduino MEGA, ArduMoto Shield, Arduino ProtoShield, is even capable of keeping scores and dispensing a treat everytime your dog complete a level.

 

 

AUTOMATED PET DOOR LOCKS

The aptly-named Pet Curfew is another great DIY project that will come in handy if your cat/dog likes to sneak out during unusual times. Using a couple of roller switches and a servo controlled by an Arduino Nano microcontroller, this system is capable of locking the cat door according to a previously set time table. The clever thing about the Pet Curfew is that the door can be opened from the outside while it’s locked, so your pet doesn’t get locked out.

Integrate the RFID cat door with the Pet Curfew to add an extra layer of protection as this system only opens the cat door to the animal wearing the RFID tag. It will make sure to keep those strange animals away from your home.

 

During your DIY builds always remember to follow appropriate measures, especially when dealing with electrical equipment, to make sure your pet’s safety. And keep in mind, “A well-fed cat is a happy cat.”

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