WATCH: Japanese pet owners are going hi-tech

Tokyo – An increasing number of home appliances for pets are hitting the shelves in Japan, such as cameras that allow owners to watch the adorable actions of their dogs and cats from outside their home.

Home appliance makers are beefing up efforts to develop high-quality products, pinning their hopes on an increasing trend of pet owners who are willing to spend more money, as they regard pets as family members.

A 54-year-old company employee and his wife in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, both work, so their toy poodle is left at home during the day on weekdays. The man said he is worried about their pet during the working day. "The dog is a part of our family. I wished there was a camera that allowed me to watch it during my spare time at work," he said.

Reflecting the sentiments of such pet owners, Panasonic will release a camera that takes images of pets at home and other places and sends live video to the smartphones of far-away owners. A sensor of the camera detects the pet, enabling the lens to track it, even if they run around. The camera will also be equipped with a function to record video footage.

Sharp will also release an air purifier that has a special mode for dogs and cats. If owners register a dog or cat, the air purifier will release a breeze for dogs, which are normally more sensitive to the heat, and refrain from releasing wind flow to cats, which are more sensitive to the cold.

Sharp entered the pet-related home appliances market in July with a cat toilet that automatically records data on cats such as the cat’s weight and the frequency and amount of urination. 

Owners can also apply for a paid service that notifies them of abnormalities of cats that are detected in changes of recorded data. "We aim to post sales worth 10 billion yen in the pet appliance field within two years," an official in charge of the appliances said.

Japan News-Yomiuri/The Washington Post

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