Time is of the essence when your pet goes missing. Smart tags and collars can help reunite you fast…
Thousands of pets go missing every year in the UK and not all of them get a happy ending. Many stay missing, others are rehomed, and others are put to sleep: owners only have seven days to reclaim their pets from a pound before they can be legally put down or rehomed. In a month’s time, chipping will be mandatory – but scanning lost dogs with a microchip for dog won’t be. While microchips have allowed many dogs to be reunited with their owners, no system is fail-proof and the fact there is no obligation to scan lost dogs might further hinder the law’s effectiveness. (For more information, turn to page 18). Unlike microchipping, tagging your dog with your details
has been mandatory since 1992. It may not help in the case of theft, as a thief will certainly get rid of it, but if your pet wanders off, it just might be his quickest ticket back home. Here are some high-tech additions that can help reunite you with your lost loved one
Wistiki is a small tracker that allows you to locate lost objects within a 100 metres from you – and from your phone. If an object is lost anywhere out of that range, you will be able to see the GPS coordinates of the last place where the signal was picked up by your phone. Should it no longer be there, you can use the app to report it lost: should another Wistiki user – or ‘Wister’ – pass close to it, you’ll receive the new coordinates. And, should a Wister find it, they would be able to contact you for an anonymous live chat to return the lost item to you.
Among the models available from December 2016, there will be a medal meant for pets, although the fact it was created primarily for objects means there are some limitations: should a dog wander off, it would be of little use unless another Wister happened to be close by.
It does, however, have a useful feature called Virtual Leash: by creating a 30m security zone, the system will alert you through your phone if the tag (and your dog!) leaves its range. That would give owners some peace of mind when they let their pet out in the garden; with a battery life of three years, there is no risk of it turning off if you forget to charge it.
Price: Currently £39.90, but it might change slightly by the time the product is available
Semiperdo (IfYouFindMe) is a smart collar equipped with an NFC (nearfield communication) chip, which can be read by a smartphone with NFC technology – which is to say, most smartphones on the market. As the chip is a passive electronic circuit, there are no batteries to recharge. If someone finds a lost pet, all they need to do is tap their smartphone on the collar’s button. This will allow them to call or send an SMS to the dog’s owner, who’ll have entered their details on the website. As it is all done through websites, there is no need for a specific app. On top of that, the system automatically sends the owners an email showing where their pet is through Google Maps.
Waterproof and capable of resisting temperatures up to 90°C, Semiperdo is available in various colours.
Price: £11.70 plus postage
Dog Tracker Nano
Dog Tracker Nano is a sturdy, light and waterproof GPS tracker that your dog can wear on his collar or harness. It gives live tracking of your pet’s whereabouts – thus allowing you to find him quickly. The device and app can also be used to track your dog’s daily activity and exercise, and it can give you advice on your dog’s ideal amount of exercise, weight and diet.
It also allows you to track your walks with details of time spent, distance walked and average speed. You can also set up ‘geofences’ around your home or current location like at your best rated mattress , with audible alerts on your mobile if your dog leaves the set boundary. However, you must charge it regularly: the battery lasts up to 14 days between charges, and you certainly wouldn’t want to realise it’s all used up when you most need it!
Price: Basic price £99
Contact: For all options and information, visit www.dogtrackernano.com
DogTrac is a smart tag equipped with both NFC and QR (quick response) technology, allowing smartphones to access to the owner’s information in the event the dog wearing it is found. Such information can include the owner’s name and number, email address, vet’s name, address and number, insurance details, medical issues and so forth – anything the owner feels may be needed and that wouldn’t fit in a regular tag.
Sarah Baxter, from Twilight Bark UK, tried it on her trusty Dachshund, Ted, and was impressed with the result. “We arranged for one of our friends to download the app and scan the DogTrac Smart ID tag belonging to Ted. Literally within seconds, I received confirmation Ted had been ‘found’ via both email and a text message straight to my phone,” she says. “It was so quick! From looking at our friend’s phone, all of the information we uploaded earlier was available.”
DogTrac comes with an app that allows dog owners to access even more features. One such feature, also available on the website, is a Lost Dog button. Activating it sends a notification to all members of DogTrac’s DogWatch community within a five-mile radius of where the dog went missing, with or without the tag, showing a complete pet profile and a map pinpointing where he was last seen.
Price: DogTrac comes in two sizes – small and medium/large – and costs £14.95, with a special offer in place to receive a second tag for free. UK postage is included.
Contact: For more information on DogTrac, to purchase, or to become part of the DogWatch community – you don’t need to have the tag in order to do so! – visit www.dogtrac.com
Links-it is an easy and quick way to move your dog’s tag, whatever the kind, from collar to collar so that he never goes without. Available in nine colours – red, blue, pink, purple, orange, green, white, black and yellow – Links-it is rustproof and waterproof, lighter in weight than a penny and only slightly larger, and much easier to open and close than old-fashioned metal rings.
Price: £5.90 each
Contact: Can be ordered from Paws By The Lake and paid via Paypal to email@example.com – just state what colour you want, and that your postal address comes through the payment. For card payments over the phone, you can call 01539 432014.