Pets are great, but feeding them? It's a challenge on par with the space program, and few have really mastered how to feed a dog.
There are so many variables to consider — what kind of animal is this? is it hungry? how much food should I give it? — that most of us just give up and don't feed our pets at all, leaving them to fend for themselves and find nutrition from couch cushions and strips of carpeting, like they do in the wild.
But no longer. A solution to the problem of feeding animals is being pieced together by Petnet, a Los Angeles tech company that has developed a kind of pet-feeding robot that connects, as all things must, to your iPhone.
And today, the company said its robot will grow more intelligent:
Petnet(io) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire SlimDoggy Inc., giving Petnet access to SlimDoggy's world class pet food database and patent pending technology which the company plans to incorporate into its "Smart" line of pet products. Together, Petnet and SlimDoggy aim to make feeding a pet and selecting appropriate pet food as simple and convenient as possible. The acquisition allows Petnet to leverage the data and methodologies SlimDoggy has developed into an innovative pet feeding system that empowers pet owners to improve the overall health of their pets through proper diet.
"Petnet will be integrating the SlimDoggy pet food database of almost 6,000 dog and cat foods, as well as our patent pending feeding and food analysis algorithms into all of the Petnet Smart products," SlimDoggy said in an announcement of its own.
The Petnet SmartFeeder device costs $199, although the company says limited supplies mean you'll need to reserve one ("request an invite").
But once you're let into the exclusive circle, the SlimDoggy acquisition means a whole new layer of data-enabled dog feeding. "The amount and type of pet food is the single biggest decision a pet owner can make to impact their pet's health. With the long and confusing pet food labels, consumers are left to guess when trying to make intelligent, healthy food and portion control decisions," said Steve Pelletier, SlimDoggy's founder.
"We are excited to work closely with Petnet to improve the way pet food is served, evaluated, and purchased, all the while helping to keep pets as healthy as possible."
SlimDoggy, which has a sister site called SlimKitty, says its founding inspiration came from a 105-pound labrador named Jack, who managed to drop 25 pounds by eating based on SlimDoggy algorithms. "Little did we know that there are a lot of dogs like Jack," the company says on its site. "We decided to share our work and create an iPhone App (Android version coming soon) and attack the dog obesity problem head on."