In February, California resident Frank Lucido filed a class-action lawsuit claiming Beneful, a dog food by Purina, made his dogs sick. In his complaint, he alleges the dry food was the reason his three dogs, which were living in separate houses, all fell ill or, in the case of his 8-year-old English bulldog, died. More than 3,000 other pet owners have joined the lawsuit after liver failure and other intestinal issues arose in their dogs.
Unveiled last month, Hello Barbie is a clever toy with a little bit of an oversharing problem. With a microphone, Hello Barbie can listen to what children tell it. With a computer and a Wi-Fi connection, Hello Barbie can take those words, encrypt them, and then send them over the internet to a cloud server where voice recognition software listens to the recording and then picks a reply for Hello Barbie to send back. Only there's a minor hitch: it might be illegal to record children and then store that information elsewhere.
Sony made the Aibo virtual home companion for seven years. For a piece of consumer technology, that's an eternity, but even by the truncated standards of a dog's lifespan it is far too brief. Now, their robotic pets discontinued but beloved, Aibo owners are greeting the end of the technology's lifecycle in a powerfully human way: funerals. For robot dogs.
It turns out your dog really can tell when you're having a ruff day. Research conducted at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna shows that dogs can read human expressions and figure out how you're feeling. It's the first to conclude that animals other than humans can pick up on detailed emotional facial cues.
Be careful at the dog park! There are now anti-vaccination pet owners. Well, they've probably been around for a while, but today, New York magazine published a short story featuring a few veterinarians who have noticed increasing numbers of owners who are reluctant to get shots for their furry friends. Among the illnesses for which folks are refusing immunizations are canine distemper and parvovirus, both of which may be fatal. Luckily, in almost all states, rabies shots are required by law for pets, and some state laws say they'll impound those that go unvaccinated. So presumably cats and dogs are still getting those.