5 Alexa skills and features your pet will love

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Amazon Alexa is not only a phenomenal voice assistant for the needs, wants, and personalized automations of human beings, but it’s also all of that for our pets.

Would you believe us if we told you that you can use Alexa to play exclusively curated music for your dog, or that you can call a virtual pet trainer in case your dog starts misbehaving? Well guess what? You can! And the intuitive, interactive pet technology doesn’t stop there.

Alexa can use many of its default features, in addition to a host of downloadable skills, to optimize the lives of our furry companions, and we’ve put together this guide to educate you and yours on a number of pet-friendly Alexa capabilities. .

Soothing music to stop the screaming

A constantly barking dog is a highly stressed dog (and an equally stressed group of neighbors). Also, when we are away, when there is a storm, or when a stranger visits your dog or cat, he may not bark or hiss, but may be anxious inside. This is where fantastic skills like Comfort my dog and Calm my cat get in the game.

Free to download and simple to activate (with a voice command or using the Alexa app), these two Alexa skills are essentially the same. If you know (or have a hunch) your pet is stressed, you can activate Comfort or Calm to start playing a stream of soothing, pet-friendly music from one of your speakers or smart displays. Alexa compatible.

Even better, you can use the Alexa Sound Detection feature to create a custom routine that automatically starts the skill in the event that an Echo device hears your dog barking (currently no support for meowing or hissing).

And if you’re not a fan of the yoga-adjacent playlists that Comfort and Calm bring to the table, you can always schedule an Alexa routine that will start playing music from a playlist of your choice, whether through Spotify, Apple Music, or another Alexa-supported streamer.

Help in the kitchen when you need it most

Feeding Rover table scraps is a tradition of man’s best friend as old as time itself, but the last thing we want to do is give our pet something to make him sick. This is where skills like Dr. Dog come in handy.

Around Halloween, you might be tempted to give the dog a small handful of Twix or Snickers bars (don’t!). Well, before making such a decision, with Dr. Dog installed, you can ask Alexa if your dog can eat chocolate. And once Dr. Dog answers with a resounding “no,” we hope you put foods for humans aside.

You can ask Dr. Dog whether or not your dog can eat a variety of different foods, from meats to vegetables, but ultimately it’s an Alexa skill, and there’s no better advice than the words transmitted to you. by a professional veterinarian. Think of Dr. Dog as the unpaid intern of the pet health world.

A virtual trainer like no other

Oppo Find X5 Pro photo of a dog.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Pet training is a profession that can be easy to take for granted, especially when you look at how much a reputable trainer charges per hour or per session, which is why Al the Dog Trainer is an Alexa and budget-friendly alternative to traditional training.

In the event that your dog is misbehaving, or you have a question about his behavior, how to get him to respond to commands, etc., you can call Al the Dog Trainer (via Alexa) to explain what kind of problem you’re having. you have with your pooch, and Al (a human being with a wealth of dog training experience) will provide an insightful answer on how to handle your problem.

And if you have a really difficult time with your dog, you can even contact Al directly! It’s an Alexa skill that goes beyond virtual assistance settings.

Smart home cameras for the win

Our pets enjoy our company and are often devastated when we go to work or hit the road for a little getaway, so what can we do to remind them that we are still there and to keep interacting with them? It’s there that a smart home camera comes into play and thankfully most of the reputable brands are all about interactivity these days. Let’s unpack this a bit further.

Let’s say you want to be able to just glance at your furry friend. Well, just about any smart security camera, indoor or outdoor, will give you the ability to call up a live stream from a remote location, and Alexa can help you start those real-time images. through some routine customizations.

Using the Alexa Sound Detection feature, you can program an Alexa routine that will automatically send a notification to your phone in case the dog starts barking. If this is an everyday occurrence (your dog barks when you leave for work), it might be a good idea to create a window of time where Alexa doesn’t react to the sound — maybe between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. After all, he or she may need to get over the initial stress of your departure.

Then, in case your dog starts howling after that window of time, when you get the routine notification, you can use Alexa to show a live feed from a security camera. Arlo, Ring, and Google Nest are all great options for keeping tabs on the home, but so is a regular Echo Show display. And while you can’t rotate a Show 5 or 8, the Echo Show 10 relies on a rotating axis, which will allow you to rotate the lens around the room in which the barking was heard.

Here’s a unique idea: If you’re considering investing in a robot vacuum, you can opt for a vacuum that includes a built-in security camera. Use Alexa to create a routine that triggers the vacuum when the dog starts barking, so not only will your home get cleaner, but you can also control the vacuum (using its companion app) to see what’s going on. go with the mutt.

Now, let’s not forget the two-way chat capabilities. Once most of these cameras start showing a live feed, many models (including robot vacuums) will allow you to converse with people (or animals) in the room, and they can respond as well. And for many pets, nothing is more soothing than the sound of their owner’s reassuring words.

Programmed treat feeding

A dog and his human companions surrounding the Petcube Bites 2.

Giving our pets a treat is a simple yet satisfying exchange that both parties can enjoy, especially when Alexa can help give and receive. While the smart assistant can’t open the pantry to retrieve bones from the top shelf, there’s a whole market of smart pet tech that’s more than suited to the job of distributing snack foods.

One of our favorite treat dispensers is the PetCube Bites 2, a vending machine that can be programmed to launch treats at pre-determined times. In fact, the Bites 2 is also a great way to keep tabs on and interact with your pets, as the device includes an onboard camera and the option of two-way chat. And best of all, the Bites 2 integrates Alexa right into the device, allowing the charger to function as a standalone Echo device.

Here’s our Alexa-optimized suggestion: Let’s use the example above (smart home cameras) to start a routine. Every day between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., Alexa will simply ignore your dog’s barking. But after 10:00 a.m., in case the dog starts to rebel, you can program Alexa Sound Detection to listen for the barking, with the action being Alexa scatter a treat from the Bites 2.

Of course, without Routines, you can always use the Alexa app (and the Bites 2 app) to manually dispense a treat any time of the day, or use the camera and two-way chat capabilities to confer with your four-legged friend.

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