PetHub, a Seattle company that puts high-tech twists on the traditional dog and cat ID tag, has partnered with a veterinary software provider to help pet owners find their lost animals faster.
The arrangement with VetData.net Marketplace allows veterinarians to integrate electronic patient records with the PetHub database so selected information about tag-carrying animals may be shared with someone who picks up a lost pet. At the same time, practices that take in a PetHub animal may use the database to locate the owner.
PetHub tags are not microchips. The badges hang from a pet’s collar and provide a website address, serial number and QR code that may be used to identify the animal and find its owner. A 24-hour hot line may be called as well.
“Recent statistics show that only 10 percent of dogs and cats are microchipped and of that 10 percent, 58 percent are unregistered or have out-of-date contact information,” said Tom Arnold, PetHub’s CEO. “That may be because the process seems overly complicated or overwhelming.”
PetHub users can choose the medical information they want to reveal to participating veterinary practices and on the website. Such details, for example, may tell someone who recovered a PetHub-wearing animal that the dog or cat is an epileptic who needs medication.
VetData, a product of Veterinary Data Services Inc. of Nicholasville, Ky., integrates with many practice management software systems. Among the company’s other customers are VCA Animal Hospitals and Trupanion insurance.
PetHub, which sold its first tag in 2011, also offers Signal, a Bluetooth-enabled tag that allows smartphone-carrying owners to track their pet from at least 150 feet. The owners, who receive GPS service and other benefits for a monthly or annual subscription fee, can notify app-using neighbors or passers-by to keep an eye out for the animal.
A next-generation Signal tag, set for release in April, will work on most Apple and Android devices and carries a longer battery life.
Signal costs $69.95, compared with a starting price of $19.95 for the standard tags. The tags are available for purchase through PetHub and may be stocked at veterinary practices.