What Technology Could Be Used To Locate Lost Pets?


If your pet suddenly goes missing, it can be a very stressful, emotionally distressing, and scary situation for a pet owner. Thanks to the advancement of innovative technology, the chances of a reunion with a lost pet are much higher.

A wide variety of innovative tools and solutions are available to aid in the search for lost pets. The tools include microchips implanted under the skin, GPS trackers attached to collars, RFID technology, mobile applications and community networks, and smart home integration. You can choose whichever one works best for you and your pet. These technologies help pet owners locate their lost pets quickly and efficiently. They also provide peace of mind, knowing that there are strong measures that they can take to safeguard their pets. 

A 2012 pet lost statistics showed that 11–16 percent of dogs and 12–18 percent of cats go missing at least once in five years, meaning roughly one in three pets will get lost in their lifetime. It is estimated that around 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen annually. A disappointing fact is that the recovery rate for lost pets is disappointingly low. Less than 23 percent of lost pets find their way back home. 

In this blog, we will examine the technology that could be used to locate lost pets, how it works, and the benefits of leveraging technology to increase the chances of a reunion with lost pets. 

1. Microchip

Microchip technology has reformed the pet identification and tracking processes. A microchip is a tiny electronic device, around the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted under the skin of a pet. The microchip is typically between the pet's shoulder blades. The small size of the microchip means that it does not cause the pet any discomfort whatsoever. 

How Does  Microchip Work?

By scanning the microchip with a compatible scanner, you can read the unique identification number stored on it. When a lost pet is found, animal shelters, vets, and other pet-related institutions, such as animal humane institutions or animal control, can use a handheld scanner to detect the microchip's ID number. The number is then cross-referenced with a database that contains the pet owner's contact information, enabling a faster reunion. The unique identification number is registered with the National Pet Recovery Database. When your pet is microchipped, register your relevant contact information, which needs to be updated from time to time. 

Advantage of Using Microchip to Locate Lost Pet

Two key advantages of microchip technology are its permanence and its reliability. Microchips provide a permanent form of identification that stays with the pet throughout their lives. Microchips are unlike collars and tags, as collars and tags can get lost or removed. Microchips are relatively inexpensive and virtually painless to implant, making them a practical and widely adopted solution for pet identification and tracking. Veterinary clinics offer pet microchipping services, which can range from $25-$75. In some states in America, microchipping your pet is required by law.

Success Rate of Using Microchip to Locate Lost Pet

Microchip has been instrumental in reuniting countless lost pets with their families and significantly improving the odds of a reunion. A study showed that 52.2 percent of microchipped dogs are reunited with their families, whereas only 21.9 percent of unchipped dogs are reunited with their families. Microchip technology, when used in conjunction with other tracking technologies, provides comprehensive pet security and pet safety.  

2. GPS Trackers

GPS (Global Positioning System) Tracker is another transformative technology that revolutionized the way pets can be tracked and monitored. GPS Trackers offer pet owners real-time location tracking capabilities. GPS Trackers have proven to be a highly effective technology for helping to reunite lost pets with their families. GPS Trackers for pets can come in various forms, like collars, tags, harnesses, and pet cameras. Each form has its own unique feature and application. Now let's have a look at some types of GPS trackers. 

GPS Collar

GPS Collars are the most common type of GPS Tracker for pets. They are worn around the neck like regular collars and contain a GPS receiver that communicates with satellites to determine the pet's location. The GPS Collar sometimes comes with additional features such as activity monitoring, health tracking capabilities, and geofencing, which is the setting of virtual boundaries.

GPS Tags

GPS Tags are smaller and lighter and can be attached to an existing collar or harness. GPS Tags provide tracking functions similar to GPS Collars but are more suitable for pets who may not be able to wear a bulky collar.

GPS Harness

GPS Harness is a pet harness with GPS trackers integrated into it. It provides a comfortable and secure way to track pets, especially those who are not accustomed to wearing collars or tags.

GPS Pet Camera

The GPS Pet Camera is an innovative device that combines GPS tracking with a built-in camera that allows pet owners to track their pet's location and also see live footage of their surroundings. 

GPS Trackers have a success rate ranging from 80-90 percent in locating and recovering lost pets, according to studies. The success rate of GPS Tracker technology in locating lost pets depends on a variety of factors, such as the quality of the device, the environment in which the pet went missing, how quickly the owner responds to alerts, location, and distance. The GPS Tracker technology provides peace of mind for pet owners and increases the chances of locating a lost pet.

Success Rate of Using GPS Tracker in Locating Lost Pet

According to a study conducted by the ASPCA, 90% of pets fitted with GPS trackers were successfully reunited with their owners.

3. RFID Technology

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is a powerful tool for tracking and identifying objects, including lost pets. RFID technology consists of small electronic tags or transponders that contain a unique identifier and a reader device that emits radio waves to communicate with the tags. The RFID tags can be passive, meaning they rely on the reader's radio waves to power them and transmit data, or active, containing their power source and capable of transmitting data independently.

How RFID Technology Works

In pet tracking, RFID tags are typically attached to a pet's collar or implanted under their skin. RFID readers, installed at strategic locations such as pet doors, shelters, and veterinary clinics, can then detect and read these tags within a certain range, typically a few inches to several feet, depending on the type of RFID system used.

When a lost pet with an RFID tag comes within range of an RFID reader, the reader emits radio waves that activate the tag. The tag then transmits its unique identifier back to the reader, which can be used to identify the pet and retrieve owner contact information from a database.

Compared to standard microchips, which require a handheld scanner to read and have a limited range, RFID technology offers the advantage of automated and contactless identification within a designated range. RFID systems generally have shorter read ranges compared to GPS technology, making them more suitable for localized tracking applications rather than tracking pets over long distances.

Limitations of RFID Technology

RFID technology has limitations despite its effectiveness in pet tracking and monitoring. The range of RFID readers is limited, making them less effective for tracking pets over large areas. RFID tags can be susceptible to interference from metal and other materials, potentially affecting their reliability in certain environments.

RFID technology remains a valuable tool in pet tracking, offering a cost-effective and reliable solution for identifying and locating lost pets within a confined area.

4. Mobile Apps and Community Networks

Mobile apps play a vital role in pet recovery efforts, using the power of technology, community engagement, and community networks to efficiently reunite lost pets with their owners. The apps offer a range of features designed to aid in pet tracking, reporting, and alerting, creating a network of pet lovers and concerned neighbors ready to lend a helping hand.


Nextdoor is a neighborhood-focused social networking app that allows users to connect with their neighbors. It's commonly used for posting lost pet alerts within local communities, reaching a large audience of people who may be able to assist in the search.


PetRescue is an Australian-based app that connects rescue organizations, shelters, and pet lovers to facilitate pet adoption and reunification efforts. It allows users to search for lost pets, report found pets, and connect with nearby rescue groups for assistance.


Whistle combines a pet GPS tracker with a mobile app, allowing you to track your pet's location in real time.

If your pet goes missing, you can use the app to activate tracking and receive notifications when your pet's location changes.

Missing Pets - Find Lost Pet

Missing Pets is a free app that makes finding lost pets easier. The app can be used to post about your lost pet or about a pet that you found. The app has in-app purchases called Super Visibility for $7.99, Super Post for $29.99, Boosted Post for $14.99, and Greatest Post for $59.99. Even though it has paid features, it is not a requirement to post on the app. 

Spot - Bring Pets Home Faster

Spot is a smart notification system to bring your lost pets home faster. Instead of wasting time by printing and putting up physical posters in your neighborhood, use Spot to notify users about a lost pet or a found pet. If others ‘spot’ your lost pet, they can contact you via the app. 

Lost Pet Alerts

The Lost Pet App is a comprehensive platform designed to assist pet owners in locating their lost pets. The app features a dedicated section for reporting lost pets, allowing users to provide essential information such as a description, location, and contact details. 

The app serves as a marketplace for pet accessories and facilitates pet adoption or sales. With a user-friendly interface, the Lost Pet App aims to connect pet lovers, streamline the process of finding lost pets, and offer a convenient platform for buying or selling pet-related items.

Success Rate 

The success rate of using Mobile Apps to locate lost pets is dependent on what app you are using. It is recommended that you use multiple apps to cast a wider net to search for your missing pet

5. Smart Home Integration

Smart Home Integration technologies offer innovative solutions for monitoring and locating pets, providing pet owners with peace of mind and the ability to keep a close eye on their furry companions even when they're not at home. Devices such as smart cameras, door sensors, and home assistants can play a crucial role in pet location and monitoring.

Smart Cameras

Smart cameras equipped with motion detection and live streaming capabilities allow pet owners to monitor their pets remotely in real-time. By strategically placing these cameras throughout the home, owners can keep an eye on their pets' activities and behavior. Some advanced smart cameras even offer features like two-way audio, allowing owners to communicate with their pets and offer reassurance.

Door Sensors

Door sensors can be used to create virtual boundaries, or "geofences," within the home. When a pet equipped with a collar or tag containing a compatible sensor crosses a designated boundary, the sensor triggers an alert that is sent to the pet owner's smartphone or smart home hub. This alert notifies the owner that their pet has left or entered a specific area, enabling them to take immediate action if necessary.

Home Assistants

Smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant can be integrated with other smart devices to enhance pet monitoring capabilities. For example, pet owners can set up routines or custom commands that trigger specific actions when their pet is detected in certain areas or when they're away from home for an extended time. These actions could include sending alerts, activating smart cameras to check on the pet, or even dispensing treats or toys to keep the pet entertained.

By leveraging the Smart Home Integration technologies, pet owners can create a comprehensive pet monitoring system that provides real-time updates on their pet's whereabouts and activities. In the event that a pet leaves a designated area, the system can send instant alerts to notify the owner, allowing them to quickly locate and retrieve their pet before any harm occurs. These technologies offer the added benefit of remote monitoring and control, giving pet owners greater flexibility and a sense of peace knowing that their pets are safe and secure, even when they're not physically present.

Success Rate

Success rates of having a Smart Home Integration may vary.  Depending on factors such as the reliability and coverage of the technology, the responsiveness of the homeowner, and the pet's behavior and familiarity with the home environment. Combining smart home integration with methods such as traditional search efforts and community outreach can increase the chances of you locating your lost pet.


Microchips, GPS monitoring, RFID technology, mobile apps and community networks, and smart home integration are just a few of the innovative technologies that pet owners may use to improve the likelihood of a reunion with their cherished pets. 

With the use of these technologies, lost pets may be quickly and effectively identified and tracked, which cuts down on the time and effort needed to find them. Technology helps spread information about lost pets quickly by utilizing social media and community networks. This information reaches a large number of possible rescuers and increases the chance of a speedy recovery. With technology, pet owners can rest easy knowing that their pets are protected and that there is a greater likelihood of a successful reunion in the unlikely event that they go missing.


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