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The World is Going to the Dogs

Apr 04, 2016 12:45PM ● By Julie Ross

In a brief burst of spring-cleaning, I started sorting through a pile of newspapers and magazines I’d been saving to read later. I came across the Wall Street Journal from January 7 and flipped it open to see what had piqued my interest.


Oh, boy. The story on the front page of the Personal Journal section highlighted gadgets from the tech industry’s big annual trade show. The device that had caught my eye (in an are-you-kidding-me kind of way) was “PetChatz HD with PawCall.”


I’m sure you are familiar with pet cams. They have been around for many years, allowing people to keep a remote eye on their furry ones while away. Well, PetChatz already had two-way video chat (what?) and an app-controlled treat dispenser. This year’s innovation is the PawCall accessory, which lets your dog initiate the call by pushing a button. You then get a request on your smartphone or computer for a quick hello-woof, or, knowing my dogs, more likely a demand for one of those app-dispensed treats. If I were foolish enough to purchase such a thing, that PawCall button would be held down all day long.


The article got me wondering what other new dog-related products I’d been missing out on. Spring-cleaning was quickly put on hold for a quick Internet search. I was not disappointed. BowLingual is a computer-based device worn on a dog’s collar to determine his mood by analyzing his barks and whines. For example, a happy-sounding bark might show up on the LED display as “I’m excited!” A whine could perhaps translate to “I’m nervous because putting this bark translator thing on my collar confirms that you’ve lost your mind. Get help.”


Then there’s Puppy Tweets. Yes, really. You set up a Twitter page for your dog.  A sensor on his collar monitors his movements and sends out a Tweet. Who doesn’t want to get messages like, “Guess what I’m rolling in now” during a staff meeting?


On the low-tech side of things, there is Nail Pawlish, with colors like Poodle Pink and Mutt’s New Purple. The website says it’s best to avoid human nail polish, which might contain ingredients toxic to dogs. Or, following my lead, you can just avoid polishing the dog’s nails altogether.


I found Happy Tail Ale on the web, which is a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated “beer” for dogs. Not sure what the point is there, unless you are really hard up to find someone to have a drink with after work. I also came across the Bubble Buddy. It looks sort of like a water pistol but fires peanut butter, chicken, and bacon-scented bubbles to entertain your pet. Sorry, we are sticking to tennis balls and rope toys.


And last but not least, pants for dogs. These are not human-style, two-legged pants cinched around the waist, but rather underbody apparel that covers the length of the dog’s belly and all four legs. This product by the Canadian company Muddy Mutts is in such high demand that there is a waiting list. I urge you to check out the company’s website at Just seeing the photos of dogs wearing the pants on the testimonials page (especially the keeshonds) is well worth it. (Don’t worry, Mack and Wylie, I have not placed an order, but given the vast amount of mud you have brought into the house this year, I am tempted.)


Americans spent more than $60 billion on our pets last year. No wonder, with the cost of food, veterinary care, dog beer, and Nail Pawlish.


Happy April! I hope your attempt at spring-cleaning goes better than mine. Still staring at that stack of newspapers and magazines.


You can reach Julie at [email protected].