A natural disaster doesn’t have to occur to lose a pet, however, news media is heightened during this time and you may hear more about it. According to FoundAnimals.org, 1 in 3 pets go missing at some point during their life. According to the APPA (American Pet Products Association) there are 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats owned in the U.S. alone. That tells me there are 54.6 million dogs or cats that go missing through their lifetime. Also, according to FoundAnimals.org 26% of dogs and 12% of cats have been microchipped. So basically, there are approximately 133.2 million pets left with no microchipping and possibly no way to get back home.
While microchipping has become more popular, it also comes with risks. Fear of cancer, tumors, swelling, infection, not to mention the inconvenience keep pet owners from doing it. If there were a more cost-effective, risk-free solution then more pets could be back with their rightful owners. Why is there no better solution than microchipping?
My idea to disrupt the marketplace and assist the underserved consumers seems like a no-brainer. I propose we develop a technology that identifies your pet by facial recognition and DNA profile. This would require your pet to have a DNA profile from your veterinarian. This could be done through cheek swab or blood work during a routine visit. Then the pet owner can download an app or visit the respective website to upload their pet’s vital information, along with address and contact information. Pet owners could use the mobile app to create a facial recognition profile for your pet as well. If your pet is displaced for any reason, the local shelter or other professional organization could perform a blood test and simply login to the app from the professional side (allowing them access to the full database) and find the pet’s owner.
This product would appeal to those pet owners who are prepared and engaged with their pet on a high level, considering them a family member.
Primary benefits to pet owners include:
- Peace of mind
- Reuniting with pet
- Lasts the lifetime of your pet
- Save the pet’s life (if no profile exists, pets could end up in an overcrowded kill shelter)
- Alleviates any risk of physical reaction
- Painless to pet
While there are currently companies that perform DNA testing for animals, they are not tying it to a lost/found application. Some of the companies have terrible reviews online and do not seem trusted.
The development and launch of this new product could be funded and even named after a large pharmaceutical company such as Merck or BD (Becton Dickinson). I believe any pass through costs should go to the veterinarian (a yearly small fee). And, veterinarians could choose to slightly increase their costs of service to cover their yearly subscription. I could also see a fee for downloading the app; possibly $.99.
For the cost of a routine visit and a small app fee, pet owners could reunite safely and quickly with their fur baby. Would you use this technology? Would you encourage your veterinarian and other pet owners to participate?
My inspiration: Sadie Mae, Halo Grace and Tiggi Cole