Pet ownership is a wonderful journey, but even the most responsible pet owners should be aware of the risks. Petfinder reports that one in three animals will get lost in their lifetime. The American Humane Association reports over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year, including indoor cats.
Even more worrisome, the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) reports that less than 2% of lost cats and only 15-20% of lost dogs get reunited with their owners.
Despite those worrisome statistics, pet owners can be optimistic about new technology helping to curb the problem. GPS collars and microchips are making it easier to reunite lost pets with their owners, and ultimately keep them from getting separated in the first place. That means fewer heartbreaking flyers tacked to telephone poles.
When committing to being a pet owner, these forms of technology are worthwhile investments. The question is, which one is better? Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each.
Smart collars have GPS capabilities to tell you your pet’s location and additional features that help them stay healthy. Brands such as the LINK AKC Smart Collar provide you with many types of information, from your pet’s location to their most recent activities before they got lost. Additional features include stored vet records, appointment reminders, and sounds that help in training. Brands like the Smart Collar can track the animal’s daily and past activity, which helps prevent obesity. Tapping a smartphone screen can illuminate its LED light, making the animal visible out in the open.
The benefits of the smart collar are numerous. However, its effectiveness is entirely dependent on it not being removed from the animal. What happens when it falls off, or the owner forgets to keep it on? Enter the microchip.
The size of a grain of rice, the microchip is painlessly implanted between the animal’s shoulder blades. Each chip has an individual code that contains the owner’s contact information. The procedure takes just a few seconds, or about as distributing a routine vaccine, and requires no anesthetic.
Improved statistics on lost pets show the upsides to microchips. According to Home Again, microchipped shelter dogs are about 238% more likely to be reunited with their families than those who are not. Likewise, microchipped shelter cats have a 2000% more likely chance of being reunited with their families than those who are not.
The benefits of microchips are numerous, but so are their downsides. Unlike smart collars, microchips depend solely on other people finding the pet and taking it to a shelter or vet to have the chip scanned. Keeping contact information up to date is a task many pet owners do not remember to do, which can prevent the chip’s effectiveness. Microchips also do not include the collar’s GPS tracking abilities.
The choice between the smart collar and microchip can leave pet owners in a state of confusion. Each gives peace of mind and an extra layer of protection. Whichever you choose, worry less and enjoy your furry companion that much more.