Wireless Dog Collars May Track Wayward Pets…and Teenagers

Katherine Albrecht (an outspoken opponent of microchipping humans) won't be happy about this: AT&T is is about to release a dog collar that sends text...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 11th 2010


Katherine Albrecht (an outspoken opponent of microchipping humans) won’t be happy about this: AT&T is is about to release a dog collar that sends text messages to owners when wayward pooches travel outside of specific areas. It’s a great idea in dogs, but the use of the technology in humans is downright scary. AT&T executives already report (joking) requests for versions of the collar fitted to spouses or children. Of course, GPS technology imbedded in cell phones and ubiquitous security cameras that identify license plates and faces (through facial recognition software) already make all of us quite trackable. In dogs, leashes are the best defense against getting lost. That idea may not fly with your spouse.

Here’s a feel-good story: members of a fire department in New York used a special device designed for canine cardiopulmonary resuscitation to save a Golden Retriever’s life after a house fire. The device had been donated to the department, and the story implies that all of the responders were on point and acted with utmost professionalism in the circumstances. The device is designed to fit around a dog’s snout to administer air during a respiratory crisis. I am thrilled with the outcome. Here’s hoping the manufacturer comes out with a Pug version soon.

Several studies have shown that veterinarians commit suicide at incredibly high rates — about four times the rate of the population in general, and twice the rate of other health care professionals. A recent article on cnn.com discussed the matter in greater detail.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’s (ASPCA’s) animal Poison Control Center is a wonderful resource for pet owners and veterinarians. The hotline’s expert veterinary toxicologists have helped me save many animals’ lives during my career, and I am grateful for their service. The Poison Control Center recently released a list of the top 10 household items that are toxic to pets. Click here to read more. To reach the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Hotline in an emergency, call (888) 426-4435.