As a pet owner, I know how scary it can be when a furry friend goes missing. It’s especially common around the Fourth of July when fireworks and loud noises can frighten pets and cause them to run away. While microchipping is a great way to increase the chances of finding a lost pet, it doesn’t always guarantee a quick reunion. That’s where Fido Alert comes in.

Fido Alert (for dogs) and Tabby Alert (for cats) are innovative pet collar tags that use QR codes to help reunite lost pets with their owners. The tags are the brainchild of John Bradford, a pet lover who wanted to create a more efficient way to find lost animals.

“Years ago, I’m like, why isn’t there a more instantaneous process to connect pet owners with lost pets?” said Bradford. That’s when he came up with the tags.

Here’s how it works: when you sign up for a Fido or Tabby tag, you enter important information about your pet, including their name, breed, physical description, and any identifying features. You can also add photos of the pet. 

You then provide up to ten emergency contacts with their email and phone numbers. If someone finds your pet, they can simply scan the QR code on the tag with their smartphone. This will send a text message to all of your emergency contacts, alerting them that your pet has been found.

“We collect their (the finder’s) name and number and we text it to all ten people and all of them get an instant text message,” explained Bradford. “When you call that person they’ll say ‘yeah, I’ve got your dog’, and you coordinate and go pick up the dog or cat.”

One of the best things about Fido Alert is that it doesn’t require an app or any special software. All you need is a smartphone with a QR code scanner. 

Another feature of the Fido and Tabby Alert tags and network is a sort of “Amber Alert” for pets. 

If someone loses their dog or cat they can enter the information on the Fido Alert website along with the last known location of the animal.

“What we do is take that location and we go out 3 miles, and we text everybody in our network a link that’s a flyer of your pet,” said Bradford.

“This is why it’s important to keep adding people to the network because if you’re in the middle of Wichita, Kansas, we have people in Wichita who’ve signed up. But we don’t have everybody. So the idea is the more people that are in the network more people will get a text message that there’s a dog on the loose.”

While Fido Alert tags aren’t a replacement for microchips, they offer a simpler and more immediate way to connect with people who find your lost pet.

“The challenge with the microchip,” Bradford says, “is someone who sees a stray dog has to be willing to put that stray into their car and drive them up to a vet or a shelter,” said Bradford.

With Fido Alert, the finder can simply scan the QR code and contact the pet owner directly.

Bradford said his company isn’t trying to make a lot of money from the Fido and Tabby Alert network and the company does not sell data to Chewy, PetCo, or another pet store. There is no monthly service fee either. 

Signing up is free and the tags are about $5. When I signed up myself another user had “paid it forward” and offered to buy my tag. I only needed to pay a little for shipping.

If you’re looking for an added layer of protection for your furry friend, I highly recommend checking out Fido Alert. It’s a simple, affordable, and effective way to increase the chances of finding your lost pet quickly and safely.