The Korea Herald


[Weekender] Smart gadgets make pet parenting easier

Pets emerge as lucrative niche for IT and home appliance makers  

By Lee Sun-young

Published : Oct. 18, 2019 - 10:06

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Technology is making our lives easier. So why not make our pets’ lives easier too?

Evolving technology and creative new ideas are bringing changes in pet parenting, with a dazzling array of smart products that make feeding your pets, playing with them and watching them from afar easier. Pet gadgets, some too gimmicky for a mainstream push, come mostly from small tech startups -- but big home appliance brands are going pet-friendly too, introducing new functions to existing products. 

Home spa tub and dryer (Shinil) Home spa tub and dryer (Shinil)

In Korea’s budding pet-gadget scene, Cuckoo and Shinil are among the names to be reckoned with.

Cuckoo, based in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, is widely known here for its rice cookers. It recently launched its first pet appliance line, Nello. So far it has two items -- the Pet Air Shower & Dry Room and the Inspure Air Purifier. 

Inspure air cleaner/purifier (Cuckoo) Inspure air cleaner/purifier (Cuckoo)

The dry room product saves people the hassle of drying wet pets with a blow dryer. Pet owners just need to put their furry friends inside for them to get a feel-good “air shower” with much less noise. It is available for rent for a monthly fee of up to 33,000 won depending on the duration of the contract.

The air purifier, also available for rent, is ideal for pet-owning families concerned about dog or cat fur.

Cuckoo had already added a pet safety lock on its induction products after a cat started a blaze at a home in Busan earlier this year by stepping on a cooker and accidentally turning it on.

“There are a growing number of cases of pets starting fires at home or getting burns. We’re considering applying pet safety functions to more home appliances,” a Cuckoo official said.

Busan-based Shinil, known for its electric fans and heaters, has a big presence in the pet category, having released a series of pet products under its Furby brand, such as automatic paw cleaners and a spa tub that doubles as a dryer.

Paw cleaner (Shinil) Paw cleaner (Shinil)

The paw cleaner features gentle silicone bristles that scrub off mud and dirt after a walk, freeing the owners from a tiresome duty.

Electronics giants Samsung and LG are adding pet modes to their premium home appliance lines.

LG Electronics’ popular air purifier, Puricare 360, boasts a 35 percent greater capacity to reduce fur and airborne pollutants from pets and a 55 percent increase in odor control, compared with its other products.

Samsung Electronics’ Z vacuum cleaner line comes with a special brush for pet-owning homes. Its electronic wardrobe Air Dresser claims to eliminate 99 percent of pet fur and pet odor from clothes.

Another well-known air purifier brand, Winix, has a pet line, while German brand Millet is marketing its C3 Cat Dog vacuum cleaner, saying its ultra-powerful motor and dust brush are ideal for families with furry pets.

Automatic ball throwers, GPS and activity-monitoring collars, smart feeders and automatic drinking fountains -- developed by small IT firms here and abroad -- are also drawing the interest of pet owners who want the best for their furry children.

Automatic self-cleaning litter box for cats (Litter Robot) Automatic self-cleaning litter box for cats (Litter Robot)

US-based Litter Robot has a Korean-language website explaining its automatic self-cleaning litter box for cats, and Chinese robot vacuum maker Ecovacs is marketing its DeeBot series to pet-owning households.

By Lee Sun-young (