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Busy or traveling pet owners have often faced the problem of scheduling their pets’ feeding. Additionally, with a growing pet obesity problem in the United States, pet owners are more and more concerned about feeding their pets in a timely matter without fear of overfeeding. Traditional automatic feeders meet the needs of the traveling pet owner, but the constant availability of food encourages overeating and can lead to pet obesity and its associated health problems.

pintofeed overview image

via Pintofeed’s Pinterest

Enter Pintofeed, the self-proclaimed “world’s first intelligent pet feeder”, which claims to be the answer to these problems. Pintofeed combines a technologically advanced pet feeder with a synced smartphone application in order to give owners convenient remote control over their pets’ feeding and to assure owners that their pets have been fed when their humans are away.

How does it work? The Pintofeed smartphone app (compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices) creates a feeding schedule based on when owners usually feed their pet. Owners are notified via SMS, email, or social media that their pet has been fed. Additionally, sensors in the feeder detect how much food is consumed, how much food remains in the reservoir, and power usage of the feeder (which can be operated on either battery or A/C power). This information then becomes available to the owner through the app.

pintofeed feeding notification iphone

Feeding notification via Pintofeed’s Pinterest

Alternatively, if an owner finds herself stuck late at the office and wants to make sure her dog doesn’t go hungry, she can feed her pet at an unscheduled time by hitting the “Feed” button on the app. The feeder, which is synced to this app, is signaled to release a predetermined amount of dry pet food.

And the feeder is definitely designed with pets in mind. The FAQ section of Pintofeed’s website answers common concerns owners might have, ensuring that the design is mostly chew-proof and the food reservoir can only be opened with opposable thumbs. The feeder is even prepared for any potential kibble jams—if the food becomes blocked, the feeder will vibrate at a low frequency to try and free the stuck kibble. If the feeder encounters any problems it, the owner is notified.

pintofeed cat

Cat using Pintofeed via Pintofeed’s Instagram

This product is still fresh out of development stages, and actually acquired its funding for manufacture through an Indiegogo campaign. At $149, this is definitely a high-end automatic feeder. However, the sleek design and clever features make this product a good idea for busy-but-caring pet owners.

 
 

As summer heats up, you may find yourself wondering whether or not to shave your pet. On the one hand, common sense would dictate that shorter hair means a cooler pet. However, some owners and groomers think that pet shaving does more harm than good. Each side of this debate has valid points, which are explored below.

yorkie being shaved

Yorkie being shaved via pethub.com

Shave Your Pet

The Skinny

Many people claim that their pets are miserable in the heat of summer (or warmer climates) and decide that the best course of action is to shave the pets in order to get rid of heavy fur coats. Owners who shave their pets often notice a marked increase in pets’ activity levels and overall happiness after their heavy coats have been shorn. An important distinction: pet fur is rarely “shaved” all the way to the skin, which exposes skin to sunburn and bug bites, but is generally cut to a close crop (about an inch of fur left intact). Additionally, cats and short-hair dog breeds generally don’t benefit from getting their fur shaved, so shaving should really only be considered for dogs with longer fur.

boo the dog with food bowl

Boo is a famously cropped Pomeranian. Photo via boothedog.net

Pros

  • Allows cool surfaces and air to come in more direct contact with the skin, as they pass through only a short layer of fur rather than a thick coat
  • May reduce shedding and need for other grooming activities (brushing mats out of long fur, etc.)
  • A quick fix for owners who don’t have time to groom pets daily during the summer

Cons

  • Pets with shorter hair become more susceptible to sunburn and bug bites
  • The coat may not grow back fully, or may take a long time to grow back
  • Could interfere with pet’s natural insulation and affect ability to regulate temperature

 

Don’t Shave Your Pet

The Skinny

People who are anti-pet shaving often cite the animal’s natural temperature regulation abilities. They argue that the fur coat works as insulation to both keep warm in the winter AND keep cool during the summer, and that shaving can interfere with this insulation. Additionally, animals have different ways of cooling their bodies off—they don’t sweat to stay cool like humans do—so cutting their fur might not cool them off in the way people would assume. Shaving opponents often prefer careful grooming, which can manage the heavy undercoat of double-coated breeds.

border collie panting

Border Collie panting via newscientist.com

Pros

  • Preserves the natural insulation system provided by pets’ coats
  • Cheaper: Owners can wash and brush their pets themselves for little cost, but would have to pay a professional groomer to shear their pet (shaving one’s own pet can be dangerous and is discouraged)
  • Won’t have to wait for coat to grow back, as it will already be intact when summer ends and cooler weather returns

Cons

  • Extensive grooming (in place of shearing) is time-consuming and stressful for pets who don’t enjoy being groomed
  • Dogs who are old or sick may be too frail to tolerate having their undercoats combed out
  • Long coats make fleas and ticks harder to spot, and take longer to dry if your dog is a swimmer

 

How do you take care of your pet’s coat in the summer? Let us know in the comments below.