The Pet QR Tag offers pet information via a matrix bar code designed
to be read by smart phones. Photo by Arden Moore
By Arden Moore
Our dogs may not be yapping about smartphone apps and our cats might not be purring about identification tags fitted with computer chips, but keeping tabs on their whereabouts and having their medical records available at your fingertips is possible thanks to the arrival of some high-tech pet products.
As we usher in 2012, let’s be best friend to our pets by embracing technology that keeps them safe and healthy. My role as a journalist takes me all over North America to cover veterinary conferences and major pet trade shows. At the recent SuperZoo, a three-day pet trade show in Las Vegas, I spent most of my time investigating high-tech devices in the new pet products section.
Here are a few that merit your attention:
Pet Tech PetSaver App. With the push of a button and the swipe of your finger, you can obtain instant access to your pet’s medical records, locate the nearest emergency veterinary hospital and even receive audio step-by-step instructions on how to treat arterial bleeding on your dog if you are miles away from a veterinary clinic. All of this and more is available on the Pet Tech PetSaver App for $4.99, about the price of a small caramel latte.
This app can be downloaded using an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Windows 7 and Android phones. It is divided into six main menus for dogs and cats: caring for your pet, CPR and first aid, snout-to-tail assessment, poisonous items, essentials and dental care. You can easily input your pet’s health records, make a lost cat wanted poster, download photos of your pet, create a file that reminds you of the medications and the doses your pet needs, and scroll through an alphabetical list of poisonous plants with photos for easy identification.
Not sure what to include in a pet first aid kit or disaster kit? No problem — this app provides that and so much more. Learn more by visiting www.pettech.net.
Tagg — The Pet Tracker. One of our biggest fears is seeing our dog or cat dart out the door and disappearing from sight. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, only about 20 percent of lost dogs are returned to their owners. Hoping to better those percentages is Snaptracs, the maker of Tagg pet tracker. Using Global Positioning System and wireless technology, TAGG is a lightweight device that looks like a wristwatch and attaches securely to a dog’s collar so you can keep tabs on where your dog is 24/7.
TAGG works on all smartphones, iPods, iPads and Mac and PC Windows-based computers, providing alerts as to your pet’s location. I fitted the TAGG onto a special two-piece clip on Cleo, my 12-pound terrier-poodle mix. TAGG kept tabs on Cleo’s whereabouts, including walks we took in several locations. This device shows your dog’s route, so you can also verify that the dog walker you hired did take your dog on a scheduled walk.
TAGG fits pets that weigh at least 10 pounds and costs $99.95, which includes all hardware and one month of service. Each additional month is $7.95 and there are discounts for additional pets. Learn more by visiting www.tagg.com.
Pet QR Tag. Move over, cheap metal ID tags from pet supply stores that barely have space to fit a pet’s name and your phone number. A new generation of pet ID tag looks like modern-day hieroglyphics. The Pet QR Tag is billed as a smart, 24/7 pet identification tag that can be updated with your dog’s information anytime and anywhere. What’s a QR tag, you ask? QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response code. It is a type of matrix bar code designed to be read by smartphones and consists of black or colored modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.
To activate, go online and type in the special URL. When prompted, enter your activation code. From there, you can include your contact info, photos of your pet, details such as his breed, gender, age and whether he is home or on the road with you. You can also include information about his dietary needs, veterinary clinic, his temperament and other details.
If a person finds your pet, all he has to do is scan the QR tag using a QR app on a smartphone and up pops up a photo of your pet and whatever information you wish to share.
I tested this product on Zeki, my travel cat, and the info instantly popped up.
The Pet QR Tag comes in two sizes, costs $14.95 and permits you to update anytime. Learn more by visiting petqrtag.com.
While I welcome this new generation of smartphone apps and high-tech pet IDs, I encourage you to still have your pet microchipped by your veterinarian. Make sure your dog is well-schooled in obedience, especially heeding the “come” and “wait” cues and fit your cat with a harness and leash while providing supervised exploration outdoors. Play it safe — for your pet’s sake.
Arden Moore, founder of FourLeggedLife.com, is an animal behavior consultant, editor, author, professional speaker and certified pet first aid instructor. She happily shares her home with two dogs, two cats and one overworked vacuum cleaner. Tune in to her Oh Behave! show on PetLifeRadio.com and learn more by visiting www.fourleggedlife.com.