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Review: Pawscout Pet Tag

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Erin L

Erin L

As we get ever more connected, apps and technology are entering all aspects of our lives. Now there’s all kinds of technology for your pet too. Pawscout is a connected pet ID tag that promises digital record storage, and Bluetooth tracking for keeping tabs on your furry Houdini.

Pawscout review: What is Pawscout?

PAWSCOUT pet tag review how to

Pawscout is a plastic pet tag that can store information including medical records, digitally. You can add a custom name plate too. The tag will also allow you to keep tabs on your pet while it’s in Bluetooth range of your smartphone.

If your dog is lost, you have the power to send an alert to the Pawscout community in your neighbourhood to help locate it.

Setting up Pawscout

Setting up Pawscout tag is easy. You’ll download the Pawscout app, create an account and fill in information about your pet, including a photo. You can add as much medical or vaccination info as you wish too.

Using Pawscout

Pawscout has some basic functions for owners: one is a simple ID function, where you can print your name and phone number on it to have people reach you in the event of an emergency.

There’s a Virtual Leash function, so that if your pet strays from Bluetooth range, which is about 300 feet, you’ll get an alert.

You can also log walks and share “points of interest” like vets, groomers, shelters or great parks.

There’s not much to say about using Pawscout. If your pet doesn’t go missing, you’ll never know what you’ve got. The tag will hang on you pet’s collar for months and years, and nothing will happen. If something does happen, that’s when you’ll find the true value. Our dog is safe and sound, and I wasn’t about to put out a false alarm for a missing dog, just to see what would happen. Instead I talked to Pawscout’s team about the lost dog process.

How does Pawscout find a lost dog?

The tag uses Bluetooth, which some may wonder gives you enough coverage to track and find a lost dog.

“The Bluetooth signal goes about 300 feet in all directions; that’s about a 600 foot radius, or about five football fields in square footage. But you need to understand that how well the tool works depends on other users in your network,” the Pawscout team told me in a conference call.

How can you know how many other users there are in your network, enough to see if it’s worthwhile? There’s a Coverage map inside the app.

Go to Settings (the Gear Icon in the top right corner) and look down in the list for Coverage Density Map. You can zoom in and see approximately how many other users are in your city, area and neighbourhood.

Surprisingly, Calgary and other major Canadian cities are very well covered. Even in my own neighbourhood around my home, I can see more than a dozen other users encircling my home. Though I haven’t seen a lost dog alert from any other owner yet, it’s comforting to know there’s already a bit of a mesh network being created here.

Is Pawscout Waterproof?

The Pawscout tag is waterproof, with an IPX7 designation. That means it should be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. This means if it gets wet or your dog goes for an impromptu swim, that shouldn’t wreck things, but if your dog is a water hound, you’d probably do well to remove it, just in case.

Pawscout Battery Life

The Pawscout uses a coin style battery that the company says should last 6 months. The battery is easy enough to change. The Pawscout case twists open and you can easily swap the battery.

Why is Pawscout app not seeing my dog?

After about a month of use, I checked in on the app and noticed that it wasn’t seeing the tag. I assumed the batteries were dead, so I popped the unit open to change them. Turns out the tiny metal forks that hold the battery compartment down has become disengaged from the base, so no connection was being made and the unit was essentially dead.

I mentioned this to a friend who also had been using a Pawscout tag, and she said the same thing happened to her unit. I reached out to Pawscout on Twitter to see what they’d say. I’ll post my response when I get it.

PAWSCOUT pet tag review how toQuestion and Answer:

I posted about early testing of the Pawscout on my Facebook Page and was flooded with questions. I’ll answer some of them here.

If I come across a dog with a Pawscout tag, how can I reach the owner?

If you find a lost dog with a Pawscout tag (assuming no name and phone number are printed on it) Pawscout’s website is printed on it. Going to the site will prompt the ‘finder’ to download the app, then log in and set up an account. From there you should be able to see any lost dog alerts.

Can a veterinarian access your dog’s medical info from the tag?

“Rescuers will be privy to the medical info that you want to share,” the Pawscout team told me in a phone call. “We want to empower pet parents. You can give access by marking someone as a guardian, or if the pet is marked as lost you can elect to share certain info like lifesaving medication needs, so that whoever finds him will know it.”

How will I know if there are any other users in my neighbourhood?

The app gives you access to a Coverage Density Map which shows general info about how many other users are out there. Personal data and exact location isn’t shared, but it gives you the power to see and be part of a mesh network in your neighbourhood.

How big is Pawscout?

Pawscout is a bit larger than a Twoonie and weighs as much as a quarter. It’s about 1/2″ thick.

How much does Pawscout cost?

Pawscout sells for $19.95 from Pawscout’s website.

Update: Overall thoughts on Pawscout

After several months now of use, this device seems a little flimsy and like it needs some hardware design tweaks to guarantee better and more reliable operation. The battery also doesn’t lock in well and the open ended battery compartment makes it easy for the battery to slip free and become powerless. The included attachment ring for a collar is also quite thin and will easily tear open if you accidentally clip a leash to it (yes, I did that).

I also think that Bluetooth is not the best way to find a lost dog; since you’re relying on a potentially scared animal to pass in close contact with humans using the app in order to find it. While I like the idea behind Pawscout and its community, I don’t think this iteration of the pet tag is ready for primetime. I’d take a pass on Pawscout.

Pawscout is available on Amazon.

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog.

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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