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JoAnna Lou
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Technology for Lost Dogs
ID tags with QR codes bring pets home

Little black and white squares have been popping up everywhere—on advertisements, business cards and magazines. These Quick Response (QR) codes are barcodes that are designed to be read by smartphones. People can take a photo of the square and retrieve text, contact information or open a webpage on their phone.

Now these QR codes can help bring your dog home. A new company, PetHub, engraves QR codes on identification tags. When the square is scanned, it takes the user to the PetHub web site where the pets' information is stored.

The idea for PetHub was born when founder, Tom Arnold, was on vacation. The former Microsoft employee was worried about his dog at home and thought that technology could help keep his pup safe.

QR codes certainly look cool hanging from dog collars, but I wouldn't use it as a sole form of identification. Not everyone has a smartphone and even for those who do, the code creates one additional step to getting the information needed.

However, QR codes do have their advantages. Information can be updated instantly through the PetHub web site, which is useful if you go on vacation. You can store more data, like medical information, which wouldn't fit on a traditional identification tag.

Would you get a QR identification tag?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by King/5 News.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Timothy | September 9 2011 |

Great idea for the backside of the tag.

Submitted by Tom Arnold | September 10 2011 |

One thing not mentioned is that we will also allow the pet owner to receive email alerts when the ID tag is scanned.

It's not meant to replace micro chips, but it is meant to get pets home before it becomes necessary for someone to take a cat or dog to a vet or shelter to scan for a chip. As you correctly pointed out: the power is that the data displayed comes from the website pointed to by the web address and QR code so data can be updated as often as you like without requiring changes to the physical tag. (Plus, the web account is free).

Thank you for a great article!
Tom

Submitted by Carolyn | September 13 2011 |

I'm all for as many means as possible to ID and get my dog back if she ever gets lost. Microchips, blanketid.com, and many others offer great services, depending on the circumstances. And sometimes something simple like an old fashioned name ID works too. Such as the time when I was calling my lost dog and someone shouted across the park: "Are you calling Suki? We have Suki!" allowing a quick reunion.

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