It’s part of a broader US consumer trend.

Sales of tech-based "smart" durable petcare products reched $400 million last year, according to a new report.

The products create a "connected" lifestyle between pet parents and their fur babies, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the report Durable Dog and Cat Petcare Products, 2nd Edition.

"Americans love their pets. And they love their devices. Pet tech products satisfy both affections by creating a closer bond between pet and owner, and by using technology to make petcare easier," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "Make no mistake, pet tech is big business, and products that can connect pet owners with their pets, whether via Bluetooth, over WiFi, or using a home network, are in high demand."

In the report, durable petcare products include toys; collars, leashes and harnesses; beds; carriers, crates and housing; bowls, feeders and waterers; apparel and fashion accessories; and litter boxes and accessories. The market accounts for about $5 billion a year in sales.

The trend toward connected products is part of the much larger trend in the consumer packaged goods market, with U.S. consumers using the internet to connect themselves to brands, companies, and other consumers, not to mention marketers increasing their market penetration via e-commerce sites and social media, according to a Packaged Facts press release.

Many technology-focused products work with smartphone or desktop apps that allow pet owners to interact with the products and their makers, and Packaged Facts expects smart products to play a larger role in 2018 and beyond.

Products designed to perform a service are well-established segments of categories formerly limited to manual items, from self-cleaning litter boxes to automated feeders to collars with Bluetooth monitoring capabilities.

Packaged Facts also expects products that monitor a pet's activities, vital signs, body functions and location to become a norm among engaged pet owners, enabling them to detect health problems — and spurring them to take action — earlier.

Such products will increasingly interface with petcare services, with product makers, marketers, and service providers working together (or merging) to create new paradigms of pet monitoring, according to the firm.

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