SMALL DOGS ON THE RUN
Marly is an escape artist. Geena, her pet parent, told me that Marly sees the open front door of their house as the perfect invitation to go exploring. Even though Marly wears a small dog collar with an ID tag, when Marly sprints out the door, catching her is challenging. Geena worries that the next time Marly runs off, she will not be able to reach her dog before something bad happens or Marly simply goes missing.
Patty recently contacted us about her son’s little dog, Franky, whom she described as “…a runner”. She was desperately searching for a small dog collar that would keep track of Franky before he runs off again. Franky has a microchip, but it proved useless the last time Franky got out of the back yard. He never made it to the vet’s office where the staff could reconnect Franky with his owner. A neighbor found Franky a few days after he ran off, scratched up and dehydrated.
For Geena and Patty, keeping track of their little escape artists is a huge source of concern. They both know that their dogs will seize upon a door or gate left open as an invitation for adventure. What options do pet parents have beyond the limited effectiveness of the ID tag or microchip?
The introduction of smart collars and GPS pet tracking is finally alleviating some of that worry.
WHAT IS A SMART COLLAR?
A smart collar, like a human wearable, helps a pet owner take care of their dog or cat. A smart collar tracks a lost pet and records where they have gone over the course of time. This helps locate the dog when they run off in the future. A smart collar monitors a pet’s vital signs, sending alerts to the pet parent’s smart phone when alarming changes in body heat or respiration occur. Smart collars have reminders and notifications for feedings, flea & tick treatments, and medications. A truly smart collar would be able to open a dog door, keep pets away from certain areas of the house, makes them visible at night, and help locate that lost collar in the yard.
GPS TRACKING FOR SMALL DOGS
As dogs and cats become more important members of the American family, pet tracking technology becomes more important. We surveyed pet parents and learned their top concern was losing their pets. Surprisingly, a startling number of those same folks are unaware that GPS tracking exists for dogs and cats.
Pet trackers are available today, mostly as “attachables”, meaning they clip onto the dog’s regular collar. Most trackers are designed for bigger dogs weighing over 9 pounds with necks over 15″ in diameter. Think Basset Hound or Bulldog. Finding a smart collar that keeps track of small dogs is virtually impossible. There are two notable attachable trackers for small dogs:
- Trackr Bravo – Small, round, disk that hangs from a pet collar D-ring. It uses Bluetooth tracking (100 feet) and crowd GPS tracking (worldwide) to help you locate your pet. Must be replaced yearly. Cost is $30.
- Gibi – Rectanglular tracker that clips to a dog’s collar. Uses GPS real time tracking with cellular. Cost is $100 plus $10 a month subscription fee.
CALLING ALL SMALL DOGS
When we first began developing Scollar, we chose to build a smart collar for cats and small dogs. Trackers for larger dogs have been available for a few years, but small dogs and cats remain underserved. The chips are finally small enough to enable development of smart collar technology for smaller animals.
Companies developing tracking for small dogs include Scollar, Nuzzle, Link, and Kyon. All of these tracking devices are still in pre-order and slated for delivery in 2017. Scollar and Kyon are actually smart collars, designed to replace the traditional collar, and offer multiple functions beyond small dog tracking.
Finally…, anxious pet parents will have a smart collar designed for their little furry escape artist.