The new “Dog Caller” collar is programmed to send pet parents a text message should their dog become too hot.
Unfortunately, it’s not an ingenious replacement for the despised-by-all-dogs thermometer. No, the collar is intended for dogs left alone in parked cars.
The high-tech collar, which is still in the prototype stage, will include a SIM card, thermistor, LEDs and a coded chip, according to PCWorld. When the dog’s neck temperature reaches 78.8 degrees Farenheit, an alert will be sent to the pet parent’s cell phone. (Pets.webmd.com states that the normal body temperature for dogs is from 101 to 102.5 degrees Farenheit.)
Aaron Starkman, a partner and creative director at Rethink, a Canadian ad agency, was part of the team that came up with the idea. Starkman’s Golden Retriever nearly died years ago when he left him in a car for 20 minutes.
“I almost was one of those awful people you read about,” he told the Toronto Star. “Nobody knows it’s just a matter of minutes.”
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), on a warm day the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in 15 minutes, even if the windows are slightly open. A dog left in the car can quickly suffer brain damage, heat stroke or suffocation.
Leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle is against the law in several U.S. states, including California, where a Palm Desert veterinarian was arrested and charged with animal endangerment earlier this month for leaving his Shepherd mix locked in his car while he was inside his clinic performing surgery. The dog had a seizure and died.
Whether it’s illegal or not, most animal-welfare organizations advise pet parents to leave their dogs at home on hot days. “Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any period of time,” warns the HSUS.
The online reaction to the Dog Caller has not been particularly positive. “Such a device will only encourage people to leave their pets in a vehicle and will end up causing more pet deaths,” commented shanedr on the PCWorld article.
“Is there an app for the dog? I’d call it ‘I have a stupid owner,’” Imno commented on the Star story.
Starkman insists the collar, which will be available sometime next year and cost around $20, is not meant to encourage irresponsible pet parenting.
“We never, ever under any circumstance want anyone leaving a dog in a car,” he told the Star, but “if the collar does end up saving a dog in a car, we’ll obviously be thrilled in that result.”
PHOTO: The Consumerist