Airtag collar, iphone and happy pet and owner

Should you use an AirTag to track a pet?

Is an AirTag tracker appropriate for tracking pets?  There are articles or posts stating not to use the AirTag as a pet-finder.  They aren't saying it is unhealthy or dangerous, it is a case that they do not want to state they should be used as a pet-finder and give the impression they can guarantee you finding your pet.  The stakes are not as high if you never find your AirTag device attached to your luggage as compared to not finding your beloved dog. 

I agree that wearing an AirTag does not guarantee that the pet will be found.  No solution can provide an absolute guarantee.  However, a combination of methods to locate your pet provides the best protection.  An AirTag has some strong benefits to use as the primary tracker with others as a backup.  Let's start with how they work then review the benefits.

How does an AirTag work?  

Using the Find My app on your Apple device you can track the AirTag movement and see the location on the map.  The Find My device function works based on other Apple device near the tag to receive and send the signal.  In a very remote area where there are few people, like a backwoods hike, it may be harder to track the AirTag.  There are many articles online that can provide additional details regarding the AirTags and how they work.  It important to note that there are approximately 135 million iPhone users in the U.S. so the chances are high of receiving a signal.
For Android phone users the AirTag can still be used, and it will link to the Tracker Detect app.

Why an AirTag as the primary?

In my opinion, this would be the primary because it is the fastest and least disruptive to the pet method.  If it fails, a fallback to a microchip provides great protection.  Key AirTag benefits:

    • Avoid the shelter!  It provides the ability to locate your pet quickly and precisely with the map feature and the live view of where your pet is. Shelters are scary places for animals being unfamiliar and busy.  
    • No waiting for your pet to be caught and taken to a shelter or a vet to scan a microchip. For some dogs, the process of being caught is traumatic while others will go happily with a different person.
    • No hoping your pet is caught and taken to a shelter; and hoping you find the right shelter.  
    • To assist with tracking, if your pet is lost you can easily setup notifications in the Find Me app to let you know as soon as a signal is received.

Should you also use a Microchip?

Yes.  Any dog collar can come off and allow a dog to get away without the tracker.  If that happens you still need to be able to find your dog.  It will take longer to find your pet with the microchip.  The process is more stressful as the dog must be caught and taken to a shelter or vet in order to scan the microchip.  It also requires the owner to have kept their contact information current in the microchip company database so you can be successfully contacted.  I know I have had trouble remembering to make that update when we moved and had to scramble to figure out who to contact during the crisis.  

Losing a pet is a stressful and scary situation.  Take all precautions that you can to minimize the trauma on your pet and your family.

  • Get a good quality AirTag collar that won't easily be damaged or torn.
  • Make sure the collar you purchase fits your dog properly.  Buy the right size and be sure to fit it well when you fasten it on.  Don't let your dog slip their head out of the collar because of a poor fit.
  • Activate the AirTag on an app on your phone so you are ready to track the device at any time.  It might be interesting to see which park your dog walker takes the dog each day!

An AirTag is a good tool for finding a missing pet quickly but should not be the only approach. No single approach can guarantee success, so use several to locate your pet as quickly as possible and set yourself up for the greatest chance of success!

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