How Google Nest Mini can help calm anxious pets

Okay Google, play relaxing pet music

Nest Mini
(Image credit: Google)

If you have a concerned cat, terrified terrier, a poodle in a panic or a budgie with continually ruffled feathers, a Google Nest Mini could help put their nerves at rest. 

The diminutive smart hub can be used in numerous ways to help pets relax, from playing music and letting you soothe them remotely with your voice, to even wafting relaxing aromas with the help of a smart plug.

What is the Google Nest Mini?

Google Nest Mini is a dinky device that you can use to play music plus control smart devices and more, simply by using your voice. The second-generation gadget has stronger bass than the first, better voice recognition and is covered in fabric made from recycled bottles. It also comes in four colours: chalk, charcoal, coral and sky, so it will look nice in your home, as well as being handy. But how will it help your pet?

Why do I need one?

While you’ll certainly use the Google Nest Mini to play your favourite songs, control your home, and access information quicker than before, you can use it to put your pet at ease too. As their owner, you’ll know if your pet is unhappy or stressed, but signs frequently include crying or howling, spraying, scratching or chewing, hiding, fighting, not eating or overgrooming. Here’s how the device can help ease their suffering:

1. Remote reassurance

Nervous pets like reassurance and to hear their owner’s voice, and the Nest Mini can help. You can tell your cat or dog you’ll be back soon if they are alone in the house and you’re just outside (within range of your home’s Wi-Fi network), by saying to Google Assistant in your phone, “Ok Google, broadcast, I’m almost home,” or any other message.

If your house is quite big and you have a number of Google Home speakers, you can broadcast a message through the house, which might be handy if you can hear your dog or cat whining and pining in the kitchen when you’re trying to get to sleep upstairs, for example. In this instance, you could send broadcast messages from the assistant in the app, or a home speaker, to relay soothing messages to all home speakers in the house. (Just make sure there are none in the kids’ rooms or you might wake them up, which would not be relaxing for you!)

2. Establishing routine

Cats and dogs love routine. They tend to like their home just-so, they don’t like their habits disrupted or their belongings moved or modified in any way. You’ll know this if you have ever tried to clean a favourite toy or swap out a tatty basket. The good news is that it’s easy to use a device like the Google Nest mini to help establish a routine – by playing music or switching on lights for example, at a certain time.

3. Calming music

Perhaps your pet has some music that they like, or white noise helps them unwind. Maybe they chill out with Snoop Dog or the Pussy Cat Dolls. Whatever their musical tastes, you can use Google Nest Mini to play them some relaxing tunes via your streaming service of choice, using a voice command. Having their top tunes on-demand is particularly handy if your dog or cat gets anxious around visitors or reacts badly to loud noises. For example, you could switch on some tunes to muffle noise from a delivery at a certain time while you’re out, or leave music running during any loud building work.

4. Making them feel at home

Google Nest Mini works with over 200 smart devices from more than 50 brands, allowing you to control your smart home’s lights, switches or thermostat, for example, using voice commands. This means that if your dog or cat is stressed when it’s cold, you could use the device to turn your smart thermostat up by talking to it. 

If your Google Nest Mini is hooked up to a Philips Hue light, you could dim the lights for your pet from afar if bright light stresses them out, or switch on a night light from upstairs if they are scared of the dark in the hallway. You could even invest in a smart socket complete with a Feliway plug-in diffuser. This means you that using your voice, you could switch on the plug-in, which is designed to mimic pheromones created by cats when they are feeling calm and happy, and relive stress and anxiety. 

If your anxious pets rule the roost, there are probably loads of solutions you could tap into thanks to smart plugs, but it might require quite a bit of investment in a smart home ecosystem. Then again, you can’t put a price on convenience, or your pet’s happiness.

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Sarah Griffiths

A journalist with 10 years experience, Sarah specialises in Science and Technology, writing for the BBC, national papers and consumer magazines, including T3, of course. Sarah has reviewed a range of products for T3, from children’s electric toothbrushes to water bottles and photo printing services. There's nothing she can't become an expert in!