Knowing your pet’s whereabouts is incredibly important, especially if they tend to escape from home regularly. A pet tracker can be incredibly useful in bringing them back home, but what kind should you choose?
There are two well-known options on the market: pet GPS trackers and microchips. But is either right for your pet–and is there an alternative? Let’s dive in and find out.
A pet GPS tracker utilizes a satellite signal or cellular network to track your pet’s location at all times. You can use pet GPS not only to find your pet, but also to get directions once they’re located. Just contact the device via phone or text message, and you’re all set.
Pros: Pet GPS trackers provide your pet’s location data in real-time. When your dog or cat is wearing a GPS device, you can see where they are at all times. A GPS tracker for your pet is non-invasive and may be attached to their collar.
Cons: A GPS tracker for your pet is the most expensive location-tracking option. You may also need to pay a monthly fee to keep your subscription active. Cell phone networks don’t work in all locations, so there’s no guaranteed return on your investment. If you have a small dog, a GPS device might be too heavy.
Additionally, many pet owners are reluctant to use a GPS device due to the low levels of radiation (EMFs) it emits. They’re concerned about their pet’s health and safety, and they feel that any radiation at all–however low the amount–could be detrimental to their pet’s wellbeing.
A pet microchip is a tiny transponder the size of a rice grain that works through low-frequency radio waves. Microchips contain identifying information about your pet, and are placed just beneath the skin–often near your dog or cat’s shoulder, where the skin is looser.
When a lost microchipped pet is found, a vet or animal shelter can use a device to scan the chip and retrieve your pet’s information. You’ll be notified via a database of found pets when your dog or cat is located.
Pros: Microchips are permanent and can’t be lost or damaged like an external tag or collar. They’re inserted via injection, and the procedure is quick with minimal discomfort.
In addition to their convenience and durability, microchips are healthier for your pet’s body than GPS devices. They’re encased in soda-lime glass, which doesn’t cause inflammation at the insertion point. Their radio waves are also lower-frequency than AM stations–definitely lower than EMFs.
Cons: Perhaps the biggest con of microchipping your pet is not knowing whether its chip will be able to be scanned and read successfully. There’s no one scanner that works on all microchips, so it’s always possible your pet might be found, but their chip can’t be scanned and read.
Your pet’s microchip also won’t be able to tell you anything about their whereabouts in real-time. Instead, your pet will have to be found and successfully scanned before you learn what happened to them.
An Alternative Pet Finder: Huan Smart Tags
When it comes to keeping your pet safe at home–and getting a lost pet home safely–GPS trackers and microchips aren’t your only options. Huan Smart Tags are a durable, lightweight alternative. Our tags are powered by Bluetooth and a community of app users who can help you get your pet home, safe and sound.
Huan tags don’t emit harmful radiation that could endanger your pet, and they’re not invasive like a microchip. And, they alert you (and your fellow app users) automatically when your pet is detected away from home or away from you.
Smart Tags come in a variety of brightly-colored silicone sleeves and fit on collars up to one inch wide.
Dog travel anxiety is a common issue for many pet owners. Travel anxiety can be incredibly disruptive to your dog and to you. In fact, many dogs run away on vacation or during travel because they’re feeling anxious.
So what can you do for your nervous pup? Here are 4 tips for managing dog travel anxiety, whether you’re going on a road trip or just taking a quick ride to the park.
How do I know if my dog has travel anxiety?
First, observe how your dog behaves in the car. Does he or she become agitated or act out-of-character?
It’s important to manage your dog’s travel anxiety. Let’s look at a few methods that may help calm and soothe your pup on the road.
1. Identify whether your dog is getting carsick
Many signs of carsickness in dogs overlap with the signs of travel anxiety. Unless your pet is vomiting on road trips, it might be difficult to tell. Talk with your dog’s veterinarian about their symptoms–your dog may need medication or supplements to help alleviate their carsickness.
Some common, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for carsickness in dogs include Benadryl, Bonine, and Dramamine. Nutritional supplements such as CBD and ginger are also popular among pet owners. Your vet may also prescribe a medication called Cerenia, which is a non-sedative treatment for motion sickness that helps prevent vomiting.
Always consult your vet before giving your pet any medication or supplement. Keep in mind that treating motion sickness may not alleviate your dog’s travel anxiety completely. Most likely, they now associate the car with feeling sick.
2. Practice exercises that desensitize your dog to the car
You can do exercises with your pet to help desensitize and counter-condition them for travel. This may involve spending short periods of time in the car with your pet at home, before you try taking them away from home again.
Here’s one method of desensitizing your dog to the car:
Spend time sitting in the car with your dog while it’s not running. Give your dog a reward when they behave in a calm or relaxed manner.
Next, sit in the car while it’s running. Again, reward your dog for calm behavior.
After that, you can take your dog driving for short distances. Go someplace close to home, like the park, and take your pup for a walk (or another activity they enjoy).
Increase your travel distance over time.
As you help desensitize your dog, have patience. Every dog is different, so the length of time will vary from one dog to the next.
3. Help your dog feel more secure in the car
Some dogs feel less anxious about travel if they’re snug and secure in the car. There are several options for helping your dog feel more comfortable:
Have them wear a ThunderShirt or other deep-pressure garment for anxiety
Buckle them in with a dog seat belt or travel harness
Place their crate in a safe place inside the car and have them travel in it
4. Medicate your dog for anxiety
There are a number of anti-anxiety medications your vet may prescribe for your dog’s travel anxiety. Among these are Buspirone, Clomipramine, Dexmedetomidine, Ativan, Xanax, and Valium. Unless your dog experiences anxiety all the time, your vet will want to treat them for situational anxiety.
Treating travel anxiety can help prevent escape attempts
When a dog is feeling stressed or anxious–especially away from home–they’re more likely to attempt an escape. It’s nerve-wracking for your dog to go missing on vacation, so you want to help them feel as comfortable as possible.
Your dog’s anxiety can also cause you to feel anxious. One way to give yourself peace of mind is by protecting your dog with a Huan Smart Tag. Huan alerts your phone automatically when your dog is detected away from home or away from you–which is incredibly useful for those road trips when they’re feeling extra nervous.
Indoor cats sometimes escape from home, just like dogs and other indoor pets. It’s devastating for a pet to run away, and a lost cat can be especially difficult to find. If your indoor cat has run away from home, you might not be familiar with lost indoor cat behavior.
A lost cat doesn’t necessarily behave the same way it does when it’s at home. Lost pets are often scared when they’re away from home. Fear causes them to behave in ways that seem out of character for them.
Knowing how to recognize a lost cat’s behavior patterns is important, whether you have a cat of your own or want to watch out for your neighbors’ cats. And, realizing how your cat might respond to being away from home could actually help you to bring them home more quickly.
Many lost cats stay close to home
A 2017 study conducted in Australia revealed that cats who go missing tend to stay near their home. Indoor cats who left their homes only traveled an average of 54 yards from their homes–in other words, a 2.5-house radius. If your indoor cat escapes from home, it’s comforting to know that in many cases, they’re probably not too far away.
Some lost cats hide quietly
One of the most frustrating things about lost indoor cat behavior is that even if your lost cat is near home, they may hide quietly. This makes it difficult to actually find your cat, no matter how close they are.
Even if your cat is outgoing at home, being outdoors and in unfamiliar surroundings can be frightening for them. To protect itself, your cat will find a safe place to hide, refusing to come when you call.
A normally calm cat may act feral when lost and afraid
An indoor cat may behave like a feral cat when away from home and approached by unfamiliar people. Your cat may be nearby, but they may not act as they normally do. It’s possible that even if you find and approach your lost cat, he or she may hiss, scratch, or behave in an otherwise distressed manner.
Friendly lost cats could be taken into another home
Sometimes, friendly cats who are lost might approach another home. If they’re not wearing a collar or tags, someone else could mistake them for a stray and take them in. Because lost cats stay so close to home, it’s important for you to notify as many people in your neighborhood as possible about your missing cat.
What to do if your cat goes missing
If your cat is missing, don’t panic – your cat could simply be hiding at home. If you’ve looked in every possible place your cat could hide at home, the next step is searching your neighborhood.
Let your neighbors know your cat is missing, and show them photos
Make flyers and post them around the neighborhood (don’t forget to include a photo of your cat and your contact information)
Offer a reward if you like (but don’t put the amount on the flyer)
Contact your local humane society with a description of your cat
Set up a humane trap and put food or an item from home inside
If you’re a cat parent and want to add an extra layer of protection for your cat, adding a Huan Smart Tag to his or her collar is a great way to go. Huan tags emit a low-energy Bluetooth signal to you (and other app users in your area!) when your pet is detected away from home or away from you.