Christmas Gift Guide 2016: 18 gadget gift ideas for animal lovers

Give your cuddly furball something to bark (or meow) about this Christmas

If your name is Fido, Tibbles or Mr Kitten Paws, then congratulations: you've gained the ability to read and peruse the internet. And all without opposable thumbs.

If, on the other hand, you're the human companion to said furry friends, then this selection of the best Christmas gift ideas for animal lovers should be right up your scratching post.

We've even chucked in a few treats for your pets, so everyone's happy. Bring on the wagging tails.

Leuchtie Plus LED Dog Collar (£33)

There isn’t much we can say about this one that isn’t obvious from the picture: it’s a collar, for dogs, that's lit by LEDs. Ah, but there is a clever twist: built-in sensors turn the lights on automatically when it’s put over a dog’s head. Nifty.

It comes in a wide range of colours and sizes, and is waterproof to boot. So, if you know someone whose pooch likes going out after dark and isn’t averse to splashing in the occasional puddle… 

Buy the Leuchtie Plus LED Dog Collar here

Petcube (£149)

Do you miss your pet when you’re at work? Do you sit there, so riddled by concern for your fluffy companion that you don’t notice the phone ringing? Well, we hope you’re not a 999 operator. 

Anyway, Petcube could be the answer: it’s a camera that sends a live feed from your home to your smartphone, with a built-in mic and speaker for two-way ‘conversations’. You can even control a laser beam for the rascal to chase. 

Buy the Petcube here

Cat's Meow (£11)

Some cats would be happy with a yellow circular mat to play with. Jump on the mat! Hide under the mat! Scratch a dirty great hole in the mat! Do a poo on the mat and expect someone else to clean it up!

But Cat’s Meow is much better than that, because underneath this durable nylon disc is a silent, direction-changing ‘mouse wand’ for your domestic predator to hunt. It imitates the movements of a real terrified mouse, and has four speed settings.

Buy the Cat's Meow here

Tractive Motion Pet Activity Tracker (£50)

Does that dog really spend the whole day asleep on the sofa while you’re at work? Was that cat really “staying over at a friend’s house” last night? Well, it had to happen: there's now a thriving market in wearables for quadrupeds, including this dinky fitness band (and the Tractive GPS, for real-time tracking)

There’s a basic display on the collar-mounted device itself, but the Bluetooth-synced smartphone app (£free / iOS, Android) tells the whole story, allowing owners to manage daily activity targets – so they’ll know exactly how many more laps of the park Daniel the spaniel has to do before he’s allowed to come home and hump a table. 

Buy the Tractive Motion Pet Activity Tracker here

Owner tech

iFetch (£130)

The most efficient device for throwing a ball for your dog to run after is, in most cases, the human arm. But how many people's arms can chuck balls for 30 hours straight without getting tired? How many people’s arms are always available when the dog wants to play? And how many people’s arms look like unplumbed bidets? None. So the dog lover in your life needs one of these automatic, distance-varying ball launchers.

Buy the iFetch here

Kitty Laptop (£19)

Cat videos have long been the boon of the web, but, now that chickens are tweeting, it’s time to take your kitty to the next ‘net level with this paw-ly designed play pad.

OK, so it’s not a real laptop - in fact, its cardboard get-up is distinctly less connected than Google’s - but little soft-paws need never know. With a super scratchy keyboard and a fluffy mouse for a, well, mouse, it’s the perfect plaything for your on-the-net pet.

Buy the Kitty Laptop here

CatGenie (from £280)

Cats are such refined and fastidious creatures. Cats that poo in other people’s gardens, especially. Cats that poo in your own garden, slightly less so. Cats that poo in a stinky box of gravel next to the washing machine, less again.

This self-flushing, self-cleaning litter ‘toilet’ comes with everything needed to keep it running for four months. Apart from the cat. 

Buy the CatGenie here

Replace the kitty litter

Dyson pet hair tool (£33)

Oh Fluffy, whilst your adjectively-inspired name makes you such a soft lap-thing, it does also make for sock-sticking levels of carpet-coating fur.

Delightfully, Mr Dyson has done the deed and invented this counter-rotating turbine tool to end the war against pet hair, forever. From dirty paw prints to roll-around muck, this hi-powered not-a-Hoover has bendy heads that draw dirt from all directions for unprecedented pet palace cleanliness.

Buy the Dyson pet hair tool here

Keep it moist

Hedgehog Box Cam System – Wireless (£260)

Give the gift of 24-hour, live hedgehog action this Christmas. You know those nature programmes where they hide an infrared camera in some nocturnal mammal’s lair and you can see them scurrying about in black and white? This cosy hedgehog home includes the camera, a wireless transmitter and even a microphone so you can hear them arguing about household chores. 

Buy the Hedgehog Box Cam System here

GoPro Fetch (£35)

Where doth doggy go? Who be his puppy pals? Where art his canine companions? All questions never answered with video evidence - until now.

Simply strap on this over-and-under sling and mount up your mongrel with not one, but two GoPros so you can get a truly dog’s-eye-view of the world. Pleasantly padded and fully adjustable, there’s no better way to watch the world as your buddy bounds through leaves and selects the perfect tree. Woofing brilliant.

Buy the GoPro dog harness here

Choose a snapper for the strap

biOrb Flow 30 (£120)

Thirty litres is bigger than a cartoon goldfish bowl but smaller than the sort of aquarium that takes half a day to clean, up to your shoulders in dark green slime and guppy turds.

The Flow 30 is a little more conventional-looking than some of biOrb’s trendy aquariums, but the emphasis is on ease of set-up and use. Besides, you’re supposed to be looking at the fish, not the tank. 

Buy biOrb Flow 30 here

Big Brother Bird House (£53)

As the burglar creeps around the side of the house towards the back door, he suddenly sees it: a CCTV camera, and it’s pointing right at him. Rumbled! But then he sees a chaffinch fly out of the ‘lens’. He realises it’s just a cleverly disguised birdhouse for security-conscious twitchers, and proceeds to steal Grandma’s laptop. It’s her own fault for letting the chaffinches stay up past their bedtime. 

Buy the Big Brother Bird House here

Kitty Coin Bank (£24)

Place your coin on the little fishy dishy and a pussycat will pop up to paw it back into the box with a grateful meow. How about that for encouraging kids to save their coppers? There’s also a dog version which, dogs being dogs, transfers the coin into the box not with its paw, but with its anus.

Buy Kitty Coin Bank here

Thunder shirt (from £35)

Little says “I care” more than a doggy jacket that applies gentle, constant pressure akin to being cradled in an owner’s arms.

Designed to appease petrified pooches and soothe scared sniffers, ThunderShirt is loved by (almost) all canines and keeps them happier than a baby after brandy. Used by vets, trainers, shelters and owners across the woofy world, it’s a tummy-tickler of a T-shirt that’ll put an end to friction-bashed fur-niture.

Buy the Thundershirt here

Neon Jellyfish Tank (£60)

If you kept real jellyfish in a small plastic tank in the corner of your bedroom, they’d be furious. They’d also be dead after a bit, which wouldn’t look very impressive under the vivid illumination of 18 colour-changing LEDs.

So, these are fake jellyfish, gliding around in the fan-powered current and waving at everyone with their lifelike tentacles. And no, they don’t sting.

Buy the Neon Jellyfish Tank here

Grow what you want

Dorothy Rock ’N’ Roll Zoo (£30 for set of three prints)

Even though vinyl doesn’t purr when you stroke it, some people love records more than they love animals. Ridiculous, isn’t it? But, no matter: these arty/funny 12in prints cover both bases, and will liven up the walls of any nature-fancying audiophile’s listening room.

There's a range of themed ‘box sets’ of three to choose from, including Indie Kid, Beatles, Cool Cats and Hot Dogs. Our favourite image of the lot is Diamond Dogs, complete with Bowie-style mismatched eye colours.

Buy the Dorothy Rock 'N' Roll Zoo here

Cat Scratching DJ Deck (£13)

Cats need something to scratch because they can’t operate nail scissors. DJs need something to scratch because they can’t play the guitar. This product is for cats, not DJs. 

Buy the Cat Scratching DJ Deck here