It is estimated that 10 million pets go lost or missing each year. Roughly 90% never return home. The chances for finding your pet have now increased, thanks to some innovative products and modern technology.
1. Microchipping- Microchips are tiny radio transmitters, about the size of a grain of rice, that are inserted under the skin of a dog or cat. The device is not harmful and is non-corrosive, so it never needs replaced. After the device is registered, the pet can be scanned by any Veterinarian's office or Humane facility that owns a scanner. The scanner reads the unique ID associated with that animal, and the pet can be safely returned to the matching owner. Companies like HomeAgain, offer online microchip registration databases available for searching. The fees for microchipping vary, depending on the type of facility and where the chip is registered. The average cost is $50.
2. Glow/Light Collars- An LED or glow-in-dark collar, can bring instant gratification when a pet has dashed out of the house at night. It also helps others to see your pet, upping the chance a driver may notice a cat or dog near a roadway. Local wildlife may also be alerted, giving that bird a chance to fly away from kitty. The Cat Light is a collar clip-on that runs on a watch battery. Prices for collars are about $5 and up.
3. GPS- Global Positioning Systems, or GPS technology, is used daily to correct the wrong turns of weary travelers and track shipping crates to their desired destinations. Dogs and cats now can be privy to devices that help guide fighter jets. Garmin's DC 50 is a wearable GPS collar, that utilizes two satellite receivers to transmit the location of your dog to a handheld device. Several different companies now boost similar GPS models. The minimum price for a GPS collar is about $150, and the monthly tracking fees start at $10.
4. Homing/Training Devices- Homing/training devices emit a light and/or a sound that can signal both the pet and the owner, of 'out of bounds' activity. The pet hears an alert via the collar attachment that is set off by the owner via a handheld device, or the system itself. A homing device utilizes Ivan Pavlov's Classical Conditioning theory that suggests that a pet can associate a sound with a reward, in this case it's going home. Some training collars and receivers are used in conjunction with a home fencing system. Other, more simple homing devices, like The Cat Caller, is a remote light and sound locator that has a 250 foot range. Devices start at $25.
5. ID Tags- ID tags, commonly made of aluminum, can be engraved with any pertinent pet information and then attached to the animal's collar. Proper pet identification is necessary in some jurisdictions where stray animal are picked up by Animal Control Officers. Personalized tags come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, allowing owners to have some fun options. This two-sided tag by PetCo, has a black and gold Steelers logo on the front. Tag prices start around $3.00.