PETA to Debut 3-D Printed Thumbs to Make Dogs Self-Sufficient

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Good news for dogs: Soon, they will no longer have to prance next to the door doing the “potty dance” and waiting for their guardians to come home. PETA is working to develop a new smart device that will become your canine best friend’s, well, best friend.

Thumb 2

Our innovation team has created a 3-D printed opposable thumb prototype for dogs, which we hope to produce in sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large to suit individual dogs’ paw sizes. This pressure-triggered technical aid will attach to the dog’s paw with an adjustable strap. Like other wearable tech, this device tracks heart rate. If the dog reaches for the door knob with his or her thumbed paw, the animal’s heart rate will increase as he or she anticipates the opening of the door so that the dog can get what he or she wants. The combination of the sensed heart rate increase and the pressure sensed by the thumb will trigger the thumb to grip and will allow dogs to open doors, turn on the faucet when their water bowls run dry, unscrew lids on food containers when they get hungry, throw their own ball for exercise, and remove a chew toy from a closed toy box when they get lonely and bored. This breakthrough opposable thumb will add to the bag of tricks dogs have had to master in order to remedy their guardians’ shortcomings.

The first run of smart prosthetic thumbs for dogs will be soon be available in the PETA Catalog. But until then, PETA encourages dog guardians not to wait to ensure that their furry best friends are taken out for walks frequently, have access to toys, and get plenty of fresh clean water, daily exercise, and loads of attention and affection.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind