Here's why you don't put an AirTag on your dog's collar

Posted:
in General Discussion
If you're considering putting an AirTag on your dog's collar, don't -- the risks outweigh the rewards.

Apple's AirTag
Apple's AirTag


Apple has been clear about whether or not you should use an AirTag to track a pet -- and the answer is no. While attaching an AirTag to a pet's collar sounds like a good idea in practice, it would only help find them while inside the home network. If they ran away and got picked up by someone, the person finding the pet would need an updated iPhone or iPad nearby to ping the Find My network.

Even if they had an Android device to tap the AirTag for more information, they'd have to know that it was a capability in the first place.

So, while there have been times when an AirTag has helped return a lost dog, that doesn't mean it's a particularly good idea.

Still, that hasn't stopped countless numbers of accessory makers from creating AirTag-compatible collars, harnesses, and clips for doing just that. And it certainly has not prevented many well-intentioned pet owners from attaching an AirTag to their pets, either.

The Wall Street Journal has highlighted stories that exemplify why you shouldn't put an AirTag on your dog's collar.

One owner mentioned he had lost an AirTag that he'd previously attached to the collar of his dog Sophie. When he triggered the AirTag sound alert, he tracked the beeping to the stomach of his foster dog, Sassy.

Eventually, he got Sassy to throw the tracker up, and after purchasing a new AirTag holder, he reattached it to Sophie's collar.





Another couple had attached an AirTag to their dog, Rose, who proceeded to chew the device and ingest bits of metal and plastic while they were out of the house.

A trip to the vet showed that Rose had indeed eaten parts of the AirTag. Fortunately, the battery had not been ingested. The owner admitted that she'd thought it was a great idea without realizing the potential drawbacks.

Another owner wasn't so lucky. When her six-month-old puppy, Luna, ingested an AirTag, she took her to the vet. Unfortunately, after failing to get Luna to vomit the AirTag out, the animal hospital had no choice but to attempt surgery.

Unfortunately for Luna, the surgeon was unable to locate the AirTag and sent her home. Six weeks later, Luna eventually vomited up the AirTag on her own.

And it's not just Apple who warns against using AirTags to track your dog, either. Vets have warned pet owners against using AirTags to keep tabs on their pets.

Because AirTags contain batteries, there's a significant risk that they could leak and cause organ damage. The dangers of battery leaks increase if the battery has been damaged by chewing or if it sits in the dog's stomach for a long time.

Instead of putting an AirTag or other item tracker on your dog, it's better to get your dog microchipped, as most dog shelters and veterinarian offices can scan them to bring up your contact information. Also, be sure to keep your dog licensed and keep their dog tags on their collar or harness at all times.

It's also wise to practice preventative measures to avoid a dog escaping in the first place. Always keep your dog on a leash when not in fenced areas, and ensure everyone in your home knows to leave doors closed tightly when coming in and out of the house.

If you absolutely must use an AirTag to track your dog, ensure that you purchase a collar that holds the AirTag flush. Do not hang an AirTag from the collar where it could come loose or be pulled off by another dog.

Read on AppleInsider
gatorguy

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 171member
    If it’s securely attached to the collar I don’t see a problem. Otherwise GPSc trackers would be
    just as bad
    applebynatureStrangeDaysred oakwatto_cobratimpetuslolliverMplsP
  • Reply 2 of 18
    This is nonsense. While there could certainly be isolated incidents where chewing or swallowing the air tag could hurt the dog, the potential benefits far outweigh these risks. I understand that Apple can't recommend it due to the potential liability for them, but there's no good reason why owners should take advantage of this new tech to track a lost dog.
    applebynatureStrangeDaysgeorgie01red oakunbeliever2watto_cobrasdw2001timpetuslolliverelijahg
  • Reply 3 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,779member
    This is silly. Nothing wrong with a dog collar designed to hold it properly. 
    twokatmewiOS_Guy80mike1red oakwatto_cobrabonobobtimpetuslolliverAlex1NMplsP
  • Reply 4 of 18
    laytechlaytech Posts: 333member
    This is pretty commonsense. The only real danger is risk of the dog chewing or swallowing it, no different from a small child. However, if people are competent, I see no reason to discourage people from attaching AirTags to their dogs - personally.
    watto_cobratimpetusAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Anyone who has had a pet who disappeared would disagree. The microchips that vets implant are passive and have only a range of a few inches with a special reader so they can’t be used for tracking. Ideally for dogs a cellular GPS tracker like the Whistle Go Explore works best. Unfortunately cats require breakaway collars so trackers don’t tend to stay on them.
    unbeliever2watto_cobratimpetushealthy_scratchravnorodomlolliverAlex1NMplsP
  • Reply 6 of 18
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,126member
    Imagine the journey that could be observed on a n AirTag on a wandering beagle.  

    Especially the red baron.
    watto_cobratimpetusFileMakerFellerAlex1NMplsP
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Okay, I've had an AirTag on my dog's collar almost since they came out.  The tag has never fallen out its holder.  The dog does not wear the collar inside the house- and with one exception when she was about three months old, has never bolted out the front door.  (She is 3½ years old now.)
    Having an AirTag on her collar is no different from having her license and rabies vaccine tags on it.  
    watto_cobratimpetusFileMakerFellerlolliverAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 18
    JP234 said:
    sirdir said:
    If it’s securely attached to the collar I don’t see a problem. Otherwise GPSc trackers would be
    just as bad
    Any dog can reach his neck with a paw. That means it could be dislodged, and if the dog is a Lab, he'll eat it for sure. Just get him chipped.

    Or another dog in the house could get at it.  I used to have two dogs who would chew each other's collars off, until I got metal chain ones.

    Just get the animal chipped.
    JP234Alex1N
  • Reply 9 of 18
    I fully agree. More thoughts:

    I had a dog pull a leather strapped keychain off the counter and chew up the strap. Never use an AirTag with your keys, you never know if a dog will  chew the keychain. 

    One time the same dog nosed around inside a briefcase, pulled out some loose paper and shredded it. Never use an AirTag with a briefcase or luggage, a dog may get into it.

    We were going to put an AirTag into our kid’s jacket as it kept getting misplaced. Then I remembered a dog that used to search our clothes for hidden treats. Never attach AirTags to clothes, dogs may investigate pockets and other areas. 

    Do not use an AirTag on a bicycle. Bicycles are ridden outside, lots of dogs are outside. Your AirTag could fall off the bike and be found by a dog or worse, you may be hunted by a pack of AirTag eating dogs. 

    I could go on but you get the idea of all the risks of using an AirTag. 
    muthuk_vanalingammbenz1962bonobobmortarman81mmhealthy_scratchwatto_cobraFileMakerFellerlolliverelijahgAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 18
    The problem is not the airtags. The problem is the unsafe airtag mounting systems like the one shown.  If you have an airtag that securely mounts inside the collar, all of the issues listed go away.  And if an airtag is useless to find a pet, it's also useless to find other non-living objects as well.
    bonobobtimpetushealthy_scratchFileMakerFellerravnorodomlolliverAlex1NCluntBaby92applguyRichD
  • Reply 11 of 18
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,011member
    I don't have my large dogs Air Tagged, but my neighbors have their small dog tagged and it has helped. When he escapes in the neighborhood I assist tracking the little bastard down with my drone.  Let's see you outrun aerial surveillance and airtag tracking.  

    By the way, my labradoodle swallowed a hard rubber ball and then regurgitated it two weeks later.  Completely unscathed (both her and the ball).  So I doubt the battery is going to leak.  



    Now, just to pile on the article:  

    Instead of putting an AirTag or other item tracker on your dog, it's better to get your dog microchipped, 

    Microchipping is not an alternative to tracking.  If you're worried about swallowing the tag, get a GPS collar.  A chip is fine too, but it's not going to help unless it can be scanned by a vet or shelter.  

    "Because AirTags contain batteries, there's a significant risk that they could leak....  

    What risk, exactly? Dogs eat batteries and all kinds of horrible non-food items all the time.  They rarely get sick.  Stomach acid isn't generally strong enough to eat through the plastic and the battery casing.  


    ...and cause organ damage.  

    Are we just making shit up now?  I googled it and saw nothing about organ damage.  It looks like stomach irritation, ulcers and even internal burns from the electrical charge of disc batteries are possible.  That's not what most people think of when they see "organ damage."  

    edited January 2023 timpetusFileMakerFellerelijahgAlex1NCluntBaby92RichDMplsP
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Every site sharing this article just regurgitates the FUD and/or adds more of their own.

    To sum up the actual point: Don't attach an AirTag to your dog in an insecure manner. Know the risks and mitigate them with a better collar mount, or get a GPS collar if you've got several dogs and you know they will eat the AirTag. A small risk of the dog being injured by eating the AirTag vs. the dog starving to death or being hit by a car because it got out is worth it to most dog owners.
    FileMakerFellerravnorodomlolliverAlex1NCluntBaby92RichD
  • Reply 13 of 18
    When my Golden Retriever was 1 year old plus, he kept chasing deer and off into the woods. Twice I had to search for him in the woods. I wouldn’t hesitate to put an AirTag on him if I have to start all over again. Now he’s just too old to take off like that so no AirTag at this stage. 
    edited January 2023 Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 18
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,753member
    While attaching an AirTag to a pet's collar sounds like a good idea in practice, it would only help find them while inside the home network. If they ran away and got picked up by someone, the person finding the pet would need an updated iPhone or iPad nearby to ping the Find My network. 
    Oh right, might as well not bother with AirTags in any situation because they might not be near "an updated iPhone or iPad [snip] to ping the Find My network". WTF.

    It's also wise to practice preventative measures to avoid a dog escaping in the first place. Always keep your dog on a leash when not in fenced areas, and ensure everyone in your home knows to leave doors closed tightly when coming in and out of the house.

    Is this a joke??

    Alex1NCluntBaby92applguyRichDMattlar
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Anyone who has had a pet who disappeared would disagree. The microchips that vets implant are passive and have only a range of a few inches with a special reader so they can’t be used for tracking. Ideally for dogs a cellular GPS tracker like the Whistle Go Explore works best. Unfortunately cats require breakaway collars so trackers don’t tend to stay on them.
    We run a cattery and have each of our breeder cats tagged with an air tag.  1. Cats like to hide and it makes tracking them down easier. 2. When they are in heat, they have a tendency to want to dash out the door to “sow their oats”. These tags have made finding them quick the 2 times they actually got out. 3. The microchips are useless.  They just identify the animal.  In the event your animal gets loose, the only way that it will get back to you is if animal control or a vet scans the chip (a few inches away) and finds your info in a registry (assuming it’s updated).  This does not help in you in finding your animal, especially with the dangers out there: other animals, thieves, cars, animal abusers, etc.

    While AirTags are not foolproof (can be torn off, break away collars come off, taken off by thieves, etc) your chances of finding your animal are far better and quicker outside just putting a gps tracker on it. Because it’s more active than a chip.  Considering many in the USA (sorry foreigners) use iPhones, the network is there to find your pet.  And lost mode can also make tracking easier because it will notify someone who is in range.

    We lost a cat many years ago, weeks went by, we thought he was dead, only to hear 2 months later someone found him hiding under their deck, skin and bones, and called the number on their tag (we’ve changed phone numbers many times over the years so we were lucky the tag was up to date).  I have no doubt AirTags would’ve reunited us sooner.  Each day that passes decreases the chances you’ll find your pet.  After about a week, 2 tops, it’s generally safe to consider it gone.

    I for one can attest AirTags have been useful in finding our pets and breeders.  The pros far outweigh the cons. Especially with our breeders which are much, much more expensive.
    Mattlar
  • Reply 16 of 18
    RichDRichD Posts: 1member
    Seems to me these “don’t put AirTags on your dog” articles are written by people who have an interest in selling pet GPS trackers or don’t securely attach them.  

    What’s the difference between putting it on a dog or a backpack.  The person needs an iOS device to ping the “Find My” network regardless of where the AirTag is attached.  It being attached to a dog is irrelevant.  

    Apple advises against it to simply eliminate any liability if a dog chews and swallows it, just like drug companies list all of the “possible” side effects of a medication.  

    My dog is microchipped and the data is up to date, but that only works if someone finds him and brings him to a vet who can read it.  If my dog is lost, I want every advantage to help find and recover him.  
    edited May 2023 Mattlar
  • Reply 17 of 18
    I’m not sure how this article makes any sense to me at all,1st the AirTag is screwed down into a holder and if it’s on the dogs neck how is it possible for them to eat/ swallow one of them. 2nd a AirTag uses other people’s cell phones to ping off the closest one it can find,sure it could obviously be a issue if you are in a large forest,as far as getting another signal. 3rd the odds of the battery ever harming a dog are so slim it’s gotta be almost impossible to measure,people put them in their bags when they travel, don’t you think if it was that big of a concern the wouldn’t be allowed on planes. My thoughts and mine alone if you let your dog walk around off leash in your yard and for some unknown reasons they bolt,your (most likely) in a regular neighborhood where their are cells phones everywhere, peace of mind if you ask me. I honestly never really get involved in these kind of articles like this but is there a thought process was so all over the place I couldn’t resist. Either they’re trying to make sure you buy a different model for someone who is afraid of everything in the world wrote this. IN MY OPINION THANK YOU
  • Reply 18 of 18
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,889member
    brianjo said:
    The problem is not the airtags. The problem is the unsafe airtag mounting systems like the one shown.  If you have an airtag that securely mounts inside the collar, all of the issues listed go away.  And if an airtag is useless to find a pet, it's also useless to find other non-living objects as well.
    Exactly - the fact that the AI editors actually published this tripe calls their journalistic qualifications into question.
    JP234 said:
    sirdir said:
    If it’s securely attached to the collar I don’t see a problem. Otherwise GPSc trackers would be
    just as bad
    Any dog can reach his neck with a paw. That means it could be dislodged, and if the dog is a Lab, he'll eat it for sure. Just get him chipped.

    Or another dog in the house could get at it.  I used to have two dogs who would chew each other's collars off, until I got metal chain ones.

    Just get the animal chipped.
    As others have repeatedly posted chips only help once the dog is captured and taken to a facility that has a chip scanner. The AirTag will actually tell you where the pet is if it's near an iPhone. It's the equivalent of having a luggage tag on your bag vs an AirTag. Which is more helpful in locating a lost bag?
    sdw2001 said:
    "Because AirTags contain batteries, there's a significant risk that they could leak....  

    What risk, exactly? Dogs eat batteries and all kinds of horrible non-food items all the time.  They rarely get sick.  Stomach acid isn't generally strong enough to eat through the plastic and the battery casing.  


    ...and cause organ damage.  

    Are we just making shit up now?  I googled it and saw nothing about organ damage.  It looks like stomach irritation, ulcers and even internal burns from the electrical charge of disc batteries are possible.  That's not what most people think of when they see "organ damage."  

    Ulcers, and internal burns are most definitely organ damage. There is large body of Emergency Medicine literature on swallowed coin batteries in children that can be extrapolated to dogs. Recommendations vary depending on the age of the child and the size of the battery. The problem arises primarily when the esophageal mucosa conducts electricity between the battery terminals. This heats up the tissue and can cause a localized burn which can become an esophageal perforation, a potentially fatal complication. The risk is lower but not zero once the battery passes into the stomach. 

    Alkali burns can actually be more serious than acid burns in terms of tissue damage. Batteries usually do not leak but it's also not unheard of so the risk is not zero.

    Having said all that, this article is completely lacking in rational common sense. I have an underground fence and have had collars on our dogs for the last 10 years. Amazingly they're both still alive. And in the yard.
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