If you have a pet you love, you want to keep him safe. If he’s lost, you want clear, up-to-date address and phone numbers with him so he can be returned to you safely. If your pet has an illness or needs special care, you want to be sure the people who find him can care for him appropriately until you can get there. I’m not so concerned about my dog, Teddy, getting lost. But Teddy was just diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and I wanted a central location to store all his medical records so they could be available at a moment’s notice. At the same time Teddy was diagnosed, MobiPetTags introduced their new pet identification system to The Gadgeteer. MobiPetTags uses the Microsoft Tag system and a smartphone app to identify your pet and make important vaccine and medical records immediately available. I asked if I could try MobiPetTags; Julie assigned me and George at MobiPetTags was kind enough to give me access to their full line of services for this review.
Many of the photos in this app can be clicked for an enlarged view.
As I mentioned, MobiPetTags uses the Microsoft Tag system. Microsoft Tag is “a new kind of bar code that connects almost anything in the real world to information, entertainment, and interactive experiences on your mobile phone. When you scan a Tag using the free Tag Reader application on your mobile phone, it will automatically open a webpage, add a contact to your address book, display a message, or dial a number – there are no long URLs to type or SMS messages to send.” These square bar codes are read by a free app you can install on your smartphone (Apple iOS, Microsoft, Android – virtually any platform). MobiPetTags assigns a unique bar code to your pet and displays that information on various tags and cards.
Teddy has a microchip, but MobiPetTags are different than microchips. First of all, how many people are going to be carrying a microchip reader with them when they find a lost pet? Teddy also has an AKC tag and a rabies tag – but those don’t provide medical information.
MobiPetTags take four forms. The Collar ID tag is a simple plastic-encased printed card that’s about 1-3/8” long X 7/8” wide. A metal grommet strengthens the attachment hole. This tag is thin and flexible, and MobiPetTags says it won’t get caught on fences or trees. One side displays the unique bar code, and the other side has the pet’s ID number and name. The pet’s information can be downloaded to a smartphone after installing an app found at the URL also shown on the back of the tag. There’s even a phone number to reach MobiPetTags so the finder without a smartphone can still get information for your pet. I received two collar tags.
MobiPetTags Collar ID tags are now also available as etched plastic or metal tags.
The Keychain ID is also a plastic-encased printed card that’s 1-7/8” by 5/8”. It also has a metal grommet for strength, and it comes with a 0.5” split ring to attach to your keyring. One side has a picture of the pet, his ID number, and the bar code. The other side has the bar code, pet ID number, URL to download the free reader app to the finder’s phone, and the phone number for MobiPetTags. I received two keychain tags.
The Wallet Card is a plastic-encased printed card that’s 3-5/8” X 2.25” – a bit bigger than a credit card. One side of the card has the pet’s photo and two bar codes – one is a direct link to his information page, and the other is a link to help the owner create pet posters and start sending out information to shelters and rescue organizations when a pet is lost. The other side has a list of URLs with information about your pet and about MobiPetTags. I received two wallet cards.
There are also TravelSafe cards that look very much like the Keychain cards. They are attached to your pet’s crate or travel cage to identify your pet and provide contact information for you and for MobiPetTags if you can’t be reached. I did not receive these tags, so I can’t provide measurements for them.
To get started, I filled out an online form with Teddy’s and my information. You can choose to have your street address omitted from the online information; you’ll still be able to list phone numbers, email addresses, even Facebook and Twitter IDs in the public information. I sent scans of Teddy’s vaccination record and all the medical records relating to his chylothorax diagnosis and treatment to be added to his online records. Right now, the only way to get those files in your pet’s record is to send them to MobiPetTags and have someone there format them and associate them with the pet’s records. I asked if they would be implementing a method for the owner to add files as needed and update the other data, but that is not available now. George at MobiPetTags says the data can be added very quickly now, but I worry that updating will get slower as their client base grows. Hopefully they’ll expand their online services to allow user modification of data.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a smartphone. I do have an iPad 2 with a camera, so I took a chance that I could use that to scan the bar codes. I went to the URL from the tags to download the tag reader app, but I was told there was no camera detected. I was still able to download a TagReader app for iPhones that works perfectly in a small window on my iPad’s screen.
Note: Because these tags and URLs connect you directly to my personal information, I obscured the bar codes themselves and blurred out any contact information on the information pages. I trust you will still be able to see enough to understand the function and the value of MobiPetTags and the services they provide.
Once the app was installed, I simply started the app and centered the bar code in the viewfinder “crosshairs” on the screen. I did have to find an angle where there was no glare or reflections on the plastic coating, and then the TagReader app immediately read the bar code and opened up a browser window with Teddy’s ID information as shown. I needed multiple screenshots to show Teddy’s page. Because this is designed for use with smartphones, the data area is narrow. You simply scroll down the page to see all the information. You’ll notice that Teddy’s medical condition is a hyperlink; it takes you to Wikipedia to learn about his illness. I like this feature. A veterinarian treating Teddy would of course know what chylothorax is, but it might help a person who might find Teddy understand the urgency of getting him back home so he can receive his proper diet and medication.
There is a link from the information page to Teddy’s medical records. The person who will care for your pet until you retrieve him or the vet who may need to have access to medical records can find that information here. You can see we stored everything from his rabies shot record to his prescription for the low-fat food required for his condition.
If Teddy should be lost, I can scan the lost pet bar code on my wallet card to begin the things I need to do to help me locate him. The information I’ve stored is used to create a lost-pet poster that I can print copies of and hang in the area he was last seen. Learn more about this feature in the PetTagAlert System description below.
There are several levels of service you can purchase from MobiPetTags. The Starter Pack gives you two collar tags, two keychain tags, the pet information page with your contact information, free replacement tags, and 24/7 emergency service. From the “Things” section, MobiPetTag provides links to: “Travel Tips, Travel Maps, Feeding Tips, Useful Blogs, Rescued/Adopted Dog and Cat ownership Tips and many more topics – only accessible from your PetProfile Page.” The Starter Pack is $9.95.
The Records and Photo Pack adds medical records storage and access to the Starter Pack. You’ll also be able to store up to ten photos of your pet. The Records and Photo Pack is $14.95.
The PetTagAlert System adds the wallet card with the URL for reporting a lost pet. It “will notify (with pictures and key information) shelters, clinics, volunteer pet rescuers, animal emergency hospitals, pounds, rescue organizations, highway departments, and police departments within a 5 mile radius of where your pet was lost when you activate a PetTagAlert Lost Pet call to MobiPetTag. Recipients are then encouraged to photocopy the posters and to post at least 10 copies around the local vicinity.” The PetTagAlert System is $19.95.
The Fax Pack is a $7.95 add-on to the above packages. You’ll be able to instantly have a copy of vaccination records or other health information faxed to a vet’s office, a groomer or boarding facility, or a pet-friendly hotel wanting proof of vaccinations. You won’t have to carry all this paperwork when you travel with your pet.
The TravelSafe Pack is a $4.95 add-on to the above packages. You’ll get a tag to attach to pet carriers and travel cages to identify your pet if he’s separated from his other ID tags while traveling.
The PetProfile Suite is $34.95. It contains all of the above services.
The MobiPetTags system is an ingenious method to identify your pet and to help get him home safely if he’s lost. It’s really convenient to have all his records in one place and available for viewing online or to be faxed to a new vet. My poor Teddy is very ill. If you love animals, please keep your fingers crossed for him so he’ll be able to make use of his MobiPetTags for many years to come.