For people whose pets are sneaky little escape artists, there are a number of ways to use modern technology to find out where their four-legged friend went. Some owners have even started attaching an AirTag to their furry companions to track their location (although Apple, AirTag’s maker, as well as vets, discourage owners from using these devices on their pets).
A new accessory from Amazon’s Ring, called Pet Tag, could serve as a new tool in this arsenal. It works like an intermediary between a traditional dog tag and a microchip, and will be available for purchase in early October.
On an engraved name tag, there’s only so much information owners can put. Most tags contain the pet’s name, an address, and a phone number. Microchips, on the other hand, contain unique ID numbers for the animals, but the chips need to be read with special scanners.
[Related: QR codes are everywhere now. Here’s how to use them.]
Ring’s Pet Tag offers a QR code. It works just like scanning the QR code for a menu at a restaurant. If someone scans the QR code on the collar of a lost pet that they’ve found, the owner will get a notification that their pet’s tag has been scanned. The person who scanned the tag will be able to view basic information such as a name and a short description of the animal, relevant health needs, and they’ll have the option to press a button in the web portal to start a two-way conversation with the pet’s owner. These are all a part of Ring’s pet profile, which it launched last year. The tag is just a portable way to tether the profile to the actual animal.
According to Ring, this tag is more privacy-protecting than traditional tags because owners don’t have to list any personal identifying information. It’s pretty low-tech, considering that it doesn’t come with GPS, microphones, or any type of data transmitters (this is unlikely to turn into the CIA’s cat spies project 2.0). Since the Pet Tag costs under $10, it makes it an appealing alternative to other tracking gadgets.
Ring is also launching a feature called Lost Pet Post, which pings a notification into the Neighbors feed in the Ring App, and integrating with the Petco Love Lost database, which uses facial recognition technology to match lost pets with images from found posts.