Animal ID: the QR code tag with lost dog found notifications

QR codes are used in many aspects of life today including something very important to me, lost pet prevention and recovery. I discovered QR code pet ID tags about a year ago and have been using them with my own dog and creating content so other pet lovers can discover them. 

Technology in the early stages is often not used to its fullest potential. As developers discover uses for new tech they must create systems to bring those uses to life. As with other technology, QR code pet ID tags are an amazing advancement but they are still in the beta stages in my opinion.

As shown in my other videos about QR code tags, how they work is pretty simple. When you buy a new tag you scan the QR code and you are prompted to set up an account. Usually this includes your name, address, phone number, and your pet’s info. There is no app or subscription required, and no fees beyond the $10-$15 purchase price of the tag. 

When someone finds your pet and scans the code, a screen pops up showing the info you entered in your account. From there the finder can call you and arrange to get your pet back home. Most of these tags also have a geolocation feature. When the finder scans, they are prompted to allow their location to be shown to the pet owner for ease of reunion. This may seem unnecessary if your dog is two blocks from home, but imagine if you are traveling and your dog gets away. If you are unfamiliar with the area this can save time and reduce stress. You can just click on the pin to activate Google navigation and away you go. Note: the tag itself does not have GPS. This feature works off of the GPS of the finder’s phone.

Here’s where it gets clunky. For all the tags I have tested, the notification that your dog has been found is sent in email. I don’t know about you, but I only check email a couple times a day, usually when I’m working in my office. I get a bazillion emails so I don’t have push notifications on or my phone would be pinging every minute. I wish the notification was sent via text, or another kind of push notification so you can be alerted immediately that your pet is found. If you aren’t home you may not even be aware that your dog has gotten out, and time is of the essence. If the finder can’t get a hold of you right away they may let the dog go or take him to a shelter. 

I recently discovered a company that is working to solve that very problem. Animal ID is based in Eastern Europe. Their mission is “To create simple tools for the identification and registration of every pet in the world to solve issues with lost and homeless pets, illegal puppy trade, and improve pets’ care.” They are integrated with Pet Microchip Lookup, a free American website that I promote in all my microchip videos and articles, and Europetnet, a similar website for microchip lookup in Europe. 

Their flagship product is the Rover Tag, a QR code tag which works like all the others with one exception: it has an app. In my research I am unable to find any other QR tag company that uses an app. I reached out to one of my favorite companies that I sell in my shop, My Lucky Tag, and they replied that they would like more functionality for their product but it will cost money. I know as a blogger and YouTuber that creating and managing my platforms isn’t free, so I imagine it is the same for developing and maintaining an app. So in order to keep their pet ID service free, it can only be web and email-based with no push notifications. 

There are two ways you can get the Animal ID QR tags. If you don’t want the subscription, you can buy them on Amazon then activate the free service in the app. However, if you are going to subscribe to the paid service, download the app and join first because the subscription includes two tags! This is what I did to test the service and make this video.

The tags come in different styles and are customized with your pet’s name and your phone number. The writing is really small and not super easy to read, but it’s just a backup for the QR code function. The tag comes with a silicone ring which is nice for keeping it quiet and preventing it from being scratched, but you can remove it if you prefer. The tag is smaller and lighter than many others, so it might be a good choice for cats if you put a collar on your cat

When you receive your tag in the mail you simply open the app, click “add tag,” and scan the QR code to activate it. One of the cool features of all QR tags is that with the same tag you can update your info at any time. You can change your address, phone number, and alternate emergency contacts. You can manage multiple pets and tags all in the same account. I only have one dog, Maya, so that’s who I have registered.

Once the tag is registered, affix it to your pet’s collar for immediate protection. When someone finds your lost pet, they can simply read the phone number on the tag and call you. They can also scan the QR code with their phone to access all of your info including alternate contacts, should you not answer your phone.

Here’s where this tag is different from all the others. When the finder scans, you will get a push notification saying your pet has been found. Just tap on the notification to go to the app and see the found location on the map using the finder’s phone (the tag itself does not have GPS).

Once I registered Maya’s tag I tested it by scanning with someone else’s phone as if she were lost then found. My information popped up on the screen so the finder would be able to contact me if she were actually lost. I did get the push notification on my phone but it was unfortunately a little clunky. The notification said your tag has been scanned but when I clicked on it it just took me to the app. It didn’t immediately take me to the finder’s location so I had to kind of fish around to find it. I do plan on sending send some feedback to the company so hopefully they can make some improvements there. The main thing was that I did get an immediate notification when that tag was scanned so that’s a step above the other tags.

So overall I think this is a great innovation and I am going to contact the company to see if they can maybe make some improvements to that push notification. There is a cost, you do have to pay a subscription, but as far as I know Animal ID/Rovertag the only one that does push notifications. One of the cool things about this company is that they do put a percentage of their profits to charitable work including the efforts to take care of pets in Ukraine. Stay tuned for some follow up on that. I have been in touch with someone at a shelter in Ukraine to get more information about what’s going on there and how we Americans can assist them.

Just some general advice with this or any QR tag: do scan it from time to time to make sure that it’s still working. QR tags can still scan even if they are dirty or scratched but if they do get to a certain point where they’re really dirty or scratched quite a bit they won’t read anymore so you will want to contact the company to get a replacement. I hope this has been helpful in keeping your pets safe and at home with you.