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Wouldn't it be terrible if your best friend didn't have a phone? Or keys to lock and unlock her house? Or fresh water to drink whenever he is thirsty? Luckily, most of our best friends are fine in this regard – most of our human best friends, that is. But don't worry: the technology exists to bring our furry, four legged buddies up to speed!

Automatic products can be effective middlemen to help you and your pet communicate and live in harmony.

Check out these ingenious gadgets that make caring for your pet's needs easier than you'd even imagined possible:

1. Drinking and thriving.

How many times have you walked up to an empty water dish, wondering how long your pet has been trotting around parched and waiting for a refill? You are not alone – this is such a common pickle that automatic solutions have been created to ease your guilt. Products like the Bergan Autowata Automatic Watering Bowl For Dogs or the PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda Fountain for Pets to ensure that a fresh dish of aqua is available for Fluffy at all times. (We are still hoping that scientists are still working on a tongue silencer for impolite lapping). See more here

2. Dinner Reservations.

Just like people, many dogs and cats need special attention toward their individual dietary needs. And just like their owners, pets sometimes like to snag bites from each other's plates – sharing is caring, all species can agree! If you have a multi-pet home, try an automatic food dish like WonderBowl Selective Pet Feeder Station . Sensing the lightweight infrared collar key, the dish will open only when the key wearer approaches, and will shut after she struts away, satiated and ready for a nice nap in a warm sunbeam. See more here

If you're a pet owner on the go with some dough, Petnet's SmartFeeder connects to your smartphone or tablet to dispense chow, no matter where you are. Plus, the app sends you reminders like when it's time to buy another bag of kibble. Since it's not yet released for commercial sale, no customer reviews are available, but reservations are currently at a discounted price. See more here.

3. Private Entrance.

The days of the two-way doggie door are flapping behind us. Beneficial to the safety of both pet and person, automatic doors use radio wave keys to unlock and lock themselves according to the pet's range of proximity to the house. The PetSafe SmartDoor is insulated and weather-resistant, a boon during gusty winter months. Besides their convenience, securely locking doors of all sizes are a necessary precaution even in the safest of neighborhoods. See more here.

4. A-Door-A-Bell.

Perhaps you prefer to preserve the integrity of your exterior doors and can't quite get on board with installing one just for Fido. In that case, it's likely you are finding it impossible to prevent frantic scratches and muddy paw prints on those doors - loving tokens of his communication that he's ready to move in or out. Employing classic positive reinforcement with treats, Pebble Smart's Doggie Doorbell attempts to train Fido to associate nudging his nose against the button with you opening the door whenever he needs to pass through. It's the next best thing to a Canine-to-English dictionary. See more here.

5. Fun for One

Just like all your pet's needs, daily playtime is nonnegotiable. Whether you're stuck at the office or just want fun to be on Princess's own terms, there are plenty of outlets for entertainment that don't require a human touch. For feisty felines, Frolicat has a line of moving laser pointers, automatic feather teasers, and other interactive toys. See more here.

For rambunctious dogs with admirable energy, automatic toys are a little more useful in a wide open area. If your arm usually gets exhausted before Spike does, check out an automatic ball launcher like the GoDogGo G3 Fetch Machine. By loading only one ball at a time, some dogs can be trained to dump it back into the catchment area after chasing it down. And repeat. See more here.

BONUS

Petcube, funded through Kickstarter crowdsourcing, contains a sleek wide-angle nanny cam, laser pointer, microphones and speakers, and the ability to interact with your pet – or any others set to public access – with your mobile device on the go. These begin shipping out in May 2014 and are hoping to be the next big social media trend among tech savvy pet owners. See more here.

Chris Long is a Home Depot on-the-floor store associate in the Chicago suburbs. Chris also provides DIY tips to homeowners on windows, doors and flooring for The Home Depot website. He has been working at The Home Depot since 2000.

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