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Upgrade your dog door

A smart doggie door is a great way to update your smart home. For example, the SureFlap pet door has an app that allows you to control the door remotely. Here are five reasons why you'll want to upgrade to a smart dog door.

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Talk to your cat using Skype

Animals that are lonely are more prone to destroying stuff around your home. One way to keep your pets company while you're away is to turn an old tablet into a communication center. Here's how, using Skype.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford
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Make a nanny cam

Or, if you just want to check in without disturbing your pet, turn your security camera to point at where your pets hang out and use the app to spy on them.

Published:Caption:Photo:Ry Crist/CNET
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Give them treats remotely

If you check on your pet and they're being good, give them a treat using a remote feeder like Furbo Dog Camera or the Petzi Wi-Fi Camera and Treat Dispenser. As a bonus, these feeders take a digital photo of your pet and send it to you. Aww, cute!

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Get Alexa to talk to your dog

Another way to keep your pet company is to have Alexa talk to your dog. The Dog Talk skill lets the Amazon assistant talk to your dog using their name and proper gender. That's a good girl!

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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Audible for dogs

Audible for dogs is another skill Alexa can use to calm and soothe them during lonely times by reading audiobooks while you're away.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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Feed your fish, too

If you're going to be gone for a few days, you don't need to hire someone to feed your fish. Try an automated feeder like Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder or the EcoSmart Live feeder. With the EcoSmart you can even tell Alexa to tell the feeder when to drop food.

Published:Caption:Photo:Patrick Holland/CNET
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Search for answers

When your pet is acting sick and you don't want to leave its side, get your home assistant, such as Google Home or Alexa to look up symptoms for you. Then, have it call your vet.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller
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Order food with your home hub

Don't forget that you can order food and treats using your Alexa, too. For example, you can order Wag, Amazon's new pet products brand for Prime members, and get two-day free shipping.

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Vacuum your dog

I have two Husky furbabies, and they shed enough for five dogs. A good solution to keep your home fur-free is to get an attachment for your vacuum that brushes the coat and sucks up loose fur, like the Dyson Groom Tool or the Beam Pin Comb. Of course, this is only a good idea if your dog isn't afraid of the vacuum cleaner.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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Find pet photos fast

If you're the type of pet parent who loves showing off photos of your babies, then you'll like this tip. To find photos quickly, activate your phone's assistant, such as Siri, Google or Bixby and say, "Show me cat/dog photos." The assistant will search your photos and show you all that it could find featuring your pet.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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Learn more about your pet

Want to know more about your pet? Take a snap of your cat, dog, bird, lizard or whatever with Google Lens. The app will scan the photo of your pet, then give you information about their breed or type.

Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET
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Don't let your smart home drive your pet crazy

According to an article by CNET's Brian Cooley, sounds and lights triggered by your smart appliances and gadgets may be aggravating your pet. Here are some ways to lessen the effect of technology on your animal.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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Spray away smells

Pet make an oopsie? I like to call this quick fix pee-be-gone spray. Mix 16 ounces (about 500 ml) of warm water with 10 drops of peppermint essential oil or two tablespoons of peppermint extract in a large spray bottle. Spray the spot after you've cleaned it and let the spray sit a few hours. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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More tips

Here are more ways to get rid of cat pee odor, dog smells and other bad scents that pets may cause

Published:Caption:Photo:Jennifer Bisset/CNET
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