With all the new technology out there, tracking and monitoring our animals is becoming easier than ever before.
ave you ever felt that unique panic of coming home and not finding your dog, only to discover she has a penchant for hiding inside? Imagine that panic ten times worse if they have a tendency to roam outdoors. It's a risky business, giving our animals the freedom to run free, but sometimes it seems cruel not to. Thankfully we now have the means to track our pets to the nearest metre, or watch their every housebound move - keeping them safe and secure, and us entertained.
Keeping an eye
Investing in a controllable Wi-Fi camera helps in more ways than one. You can not only use it as a security measure but also to keep an eye on your pet while you are away from home. You can finally see what they get up to when you aren’t around, and you can confirm your suspicions that while the cat’s away the mice most certainly will play.
Products like PetCube and NestCam come with advanced motion sensing, as well as a speaker so you can talk to your pet during the day. If you want to have more fun – like playing or annoying your pets while you’re keeping an eye on them – you can invest in a Bo-Toys Camera-equipped RC car, which you can remotely control over Wi-Fi.
Petcube Camera is a product that allows pet owners to watch, talk and play with their pets from their smartphone, no matter where they are.
GPS tracking apps
Specialist GPS pet tags are around, and most are waterproof and small enough to hang around the collar and hide in your pet’s fur. You can keep track of your pet through an app that’s provided, but one clear drawback is that the collars require charging.
Whistle’s RF-V30 Waterproof collar has functions including a small alarm and an LED light that alerts you to where your pet might be hiding. It’s also great for cats who are busy hiding in the house while you are out looking for them, as well as for cats who like to make a run for it every time you open the front door. We also like G-Paws, which connects your animal to a community (so they can find their friends too!).
Microchipping has gotten some major headlines recently, as the UK has made it a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. A microchip is a very small, radio-frequency identification transponder inserted under the skin in your pet’s shoulder area. It only takes a few seconds for a veterinarian to implant a microchip and many owners choose to have this procedure done while their pet is being neutered or spayed to save time and reduce any discomfort to their pet. The procedure does not injure or hurt your pet.
A study on lost pets was published in the journal ‘Animals’ in 2014, which shed some interesting light on not only on wandering pets but their owners too. The study showed that about 15% of pet owners had lost a dog or a cat, but that dog owners were more likely to search for their pets (they clearly don't know the cat owners we know). Dog owners were also more likely to find their lost pet than cat owners, each using a variety of different relocation methods, the most successful results occurring where the pet is microchipped.
Each microchip is programmed with a unique identification number that links your pet to your home address and contact information. This can be used by a third party company, of which there are several (including tracktive.com, pawtrack.com and trackmycat.com) to activate its tracking and feed back to a web browser or app you can use to pinpoint your pet anywhere on the planet.