Collars and hardware dog tags are the traditional way to ensure your pup is accounted for in the event of an accidental escape. But, in today’s digital world, dog owners everywhere have begun searching for more modern solutions.
The primary issue with standard dog tags is that while community members or shelters may be able to identify your dog and contact you when they are found, this is only a one-way form of communication.
In other words, dog owners have no way of knowing where their pet is before a good samaritan contacts them– and they also must depend on the expectation that they will even be contacted in the first place.
This reality has pushed many pup parents to try out newer technological solutions– most notably, turning to Apple’s AirTag device.
AirTags are button-like Bluetooth devices that can be bought for as low as $29 and aim to help people keep better track of their belongings. Simply stick an AirTag to your wallet, keys, or even that pesky water bottle you always leave at the gym. Then, at any time, you can check the Find My app to locate your items.
Ever since Apple unveiled AirTags in April 2021, though, some users have begun sticking the tiny devices on their pets in an effort to upgrade the age-old collar-and-dog tag system.
New reports, though, have shown that this makeshift strategy is not safe for our four-legged friends.
In a recent Wall Street Journal story, one dog owner named Colin Mortimer recalled how after he stuck an AirTag to his pet Sophie’s collar, it went missing. He later tracked the device using the Find My app, initiated a sound alert, and realized that the device was beeping from inside the stomach of his other pup, Sassy.
Thankfully, Sassy was able to vomit up the still fully functioning AirTag without issue. However, in other cases, these instances of accidental swallowing can require costly surgery.
AirTags are only 1.26 inches in diameter– which make them an attractive size to place on a dog’s collar. However, this device is also tiny enough to be a big choking hazard– especially among medium and large-sized dogs.
Not that long ago, one panicked owner of an 80-pound doberman took to Reddit after their pet swallowed an AirTag. Similarly, another community member revealed that they witnessed an AirTag ingestion first-hand at a park.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, one Louisiana veterinarian even claimed to have treated six dogs that had ingested AirTags within the last 18 months. In each instance, the devices were initially attached to the dogs’ collars.
Apple has clearly stated that its AirTag devices should only be used for tracking items, not other people or pets. This is because accidental ingestion can not only pose a choking risk, but the device’s internal components could have other severe consequences.
Primarily, AirTags contain a CR2032 battery. So, if the device were to become damaged after ingestion, the battery could leak a toxic substance that can damage a pet’s mouth or stomach or lead to poisoning.
This means that if you realize your pet has swallowed an AirTag, it is crucial that you go to the vet and get the device out as soon as possible.
And if you are really interested in tracking your pet’s location, it is vital to remember that there are other options on the market with this exact purpose in mind. For instance, smart dog collars are now available for purchase which offer similar tracking benefits and no ingestion hazards.