Q: Do you have any favorite apps or tech toys for training, playing with or protecting dogs and cats?
A: Do we ever! There are apps to help lost pets get home, devices that deliver treats remotely and more.
The Pawscout tag emits a low-energy Bluetooth radio signal. If a dog or cat designated as lost comes within 300 feet of a phone running the Pawscout app, the phone signals the person carrying it to notify the owner with the pet’s location. It works best if you ask lots of neighbors, friends and family members to install the app, increasing the likelihood of someone locating your pet with it. You can also use it to track the length of dog walks in urban areas. The tag is $19.95, with no monthly fees, and the app is free.
The Gibi tracker attaches to a collar or harness. Using the app, set up a safe zone for your dog, and the device monitors your pet’s location, notifying you by text or email if your pet leaves the safe zone. Through the app, you can then check Google Maps to pinpoint your pet’s location.
Cats are masters of relaxation, but sometimes even they need a little help to chill. The Relax My Cat app uses music specially composed for cats and offers options for different moods or events, such as playtime or bedtime, including one for separation anxiety. The Android version is free; iOS is $2.
PetCube Bites, an HD camera, allows you to see, talk to, play with and reward your pet remotely. Load it with up to 100 treats and program it to fling them up to 6 feet away. Ask your dog or cat to do tricks for treats. It’s a great way to provide play and attention, even if you’re not home. $229. Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker
Cock-a-doodle-don’t! Los Angeles County joins other municipalities in limiting ownership of roosters in unincorporated areas. The new ordinance went into effect after authorities seized 8,000 birds last year in a cockfighting raid. Cock-fighting aside, many towns and cities nationwide limit or ban residential roosters because of the noise they make. The new rules in LA County allow people who keep chickens to have up to 10 roosters, depending on the size of their lot. Hens are not affected by the ordinance.
The global trade in live parrots has contributed to the worldwide spread of psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), according to a study published in August in the journal Conservation Biology. The viral disease, reported in several wild parrot populations, has been detected in eight countries where it was previously unknown. The researchers also documented the presence of the beak and feather disease virus in wild populations of Psittacula krameri (rose-ringed parakeets) in Asia and Africa, as well as in four other species in Africa, the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Seychelles, Asia and Europe. The findings highlight the need for more effective regulation of the international parrot trade.
Berger Picard? He’s not a captain on a Star Trek series but a rare French herding breed known for his comic sensibility, brains and athleticism. You may be familiar with him if you saw the 2005 family flick “Because of Winn-Dixie.” The 25- to 35-pound dogs have a rough, shaggy fawn or brindle coat. Heavy eyebrows and a bearded face contribute to their comical expression. A J-shaped tailÂ â like a shepherd’s crookÂ â is a distinguishing characteristic. Expect to provide this busy dog with a job, whether that’s herding sheep, becoming involved in search-and-rescue activities or taking up a dog sport such as agility or nose work. The name? Say “bear-ZHAY pee-CARR.”
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and journalist Kim Campbell Thornton of Vetstreet.com. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Send pet questions to askpetconnection@gmail.