Can technology really reunite dogs and owners?
The emotional attachment we dogs develop with our humans is one unlike any other. We know that losing your pup pal is an emotionally exhausting experience that only those who have experienced such a pain can relate to. Just imagine how scary and nerve-wracking it is for us, your faithful dog!
Like humans, dogs can get sick and they can get old. Although such situations are never easy for our owners to handle, they are driven by natural causes. However, when your dog goes missing, it’s a completely different story. The panic that it causes our owners is not natural and extremely difficult to handle. According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, around 38,000 dogs were lost across Canada in 2014, and only 10,640 were reunited with their families. Based on my simple math, that’s a lot of panic, heartache and fear.
Until recently, microchipping was seen by many as the best way to assist in reuniting you with your lost pup. and although I recommend that all us pups have a microchip, it still requires someone find us first. They then have to bring us to a vet clinic or shelter to scan for identification. This can sometimes compound your pups anxiety when they are already feeling scared and alone.
When the microchip is scanned, it must have accurate information encoded in order for the owner to be contacted about their lost dog. Unfortunately, not all dogs are microchipped and even fewer have up-to-date information! Hey dog owners, let’s make sure you are at least updating your microchip information.
However, thanks to advancements in mobile and GPS technology, smart collars are able to solve the issues associated with microchips.
Smart Collars to the Rescue!
Over the past couple of years we have started to see the emergence of smart collars. The majority of theses collars typically pair with a mobile app on your smartphone and use GPS, cellular data and wi-fi that allows your owner to set a pre-determined geo-fence area. If your pup leaves this geo-fence, you are alerted and then the mobile app can track your dog’s location.
We are starting to see increased functionality in the next generation of smart collars. So, not only can you geo-fence and track, but with some you can monitor daily, weekly and monthly activity, or even monitor your pup’s health. And thank goodness, we are even starting to even see some nice designs. The initial smart collars were more function over form, but as the technology gets better and the electronic components smaller, collars look less like a big chunk of hardware around our neck.
Here are a few pros and cons for smart collars
- GPS can track your dog’s location at all times
- Mobile and web apps to monitor your dog
- Water resistant or water-proof
- New features being added: ambient temperature alerts, custom activity monitoring, health health metrics
- Expensive initial cost
- Typically require monthly
cellular plan or service fees
- Limited battery life
- Possible roaming charges outside your country
- Latency of signal due to cellular signal – dog’s location may be as much as 5 minutes delayed
- New technology so may have bugs
GPS tracking collars provide a preventative measure, as well as a potential solution for finding your pup if it get’s lost. Although this can be a costly solution which provides for an ongoing expense, it’s important to remember that pups are priceless.