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About Pawscout

The Next-Generation Pet Tag and Tracker With Social GPS Pawscout Pet Finder works with your phone and a worldwide community of animal lovers to keep your pet safe with no monthly fees. www.pawscout.com

4 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Deaf Dog

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Four days after the birth of Camilla’s son, she was bored and breastfeeding. A friend of hers who worked for a pet rescue mentioned that a new litter of puppies had come in, and all had been adopted—all except one. This puppy was deaf.

Immediately, Camilla—who had previously owned a “daredevil” deaf cat, and currently had two rescue cats and a dog—was moved by the pup’s plight, but her husband wasn’t so sure. They already had a lot of animals, and Camilla would have to balance the new pet with her work in tech support and the new baby.

When three months had passed, and the lonesome pup still hadn’t been adopted, Camilla convinced her husband to make the two-hour drive to visit the dog in person. He fell in love, and Charlie came home with them.

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Camilla has always been passionate about rescue animals. “I like the rejects,” she told us. Recently, we interviewed Camilla about Charlie’s training, what she wants people to know about adopting a deaf dog, and how Pawscout has helped with some of the unique challenges of caring for a deaf pet.

 

1. Deaf dog training may be easier than you think

The question most people have about adopting a deaf dog is, “How will I train them?” Camilla had similar concerns herself, but Charlie proved a pleasant surprise.

Charlie caught on quick to basic signs: sit, eat, stay, calm. At night, when hand signals aren’t visible, the family uses flashlights to get Charlie’s attention. He’s very attentive to his people, so most of the time Camilla wants him to look at her, Charlie already is.

“We really thought it was gonna be a much bigger challenge than it was.”

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Charlie also takes a lot of cues from Vader, his dog brother. Vader, a three-year-old pit bull mix, is also a rescue; his owner abandoned him in an apartment. Charlie always wants to do whatever Vader’s doing, which is not only adorable, it’s helpful for a pet parent. When Camilla tells Vader to “get off the bed” and Vader follows the verbal command, Charlie will jump down after him!

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It hasn’t been totally smooth sailing. Potty-training was a challenge. Since you can’t order a dog to poop (and believe us, we’ve tried here at Pawscout HQ), Charlie’s family had to be proactive. They took him out every hour or hour and a half, waited for him to do his business, and rewarded him each time with praise, pets, and treats. It took Charlie less than a month to stop having accidents.

 

2. Deaf dogs will quickly become a cherished part of your pack

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Now nine months old, Charlie is part of the family. Sweet to everyone and gentle with the baby, he can typically be found hanging out with Vader (who is usually by Camilla’s feet). “He’s so easy to handle and so easy to love.”

Camilla reports that Charlie’s a chewer, but that he tries hard not to chew things he isn’t supposed to. And of course, he’s got a few of those fabulous dog quirks that fill our hooman hearts with glee: Since Charlie is so sensitive to light, he’s freaked out by shadows, and tends to follow his around while barking at it.

 

3. There are unique challenges to caring for deaf pets

Camilla told us that before she found Pawscout, she fretted about Charlie’s safety. “I was always afraid that he was gonna run away, because we have a fenced-in backyard, but he’s a tall dog.” Camilla’s fears demonstrate some of the issues that can arise when you lose track of a deaf pet. A deaf dog investigating a nearby garbage can won’t be able to respond when you call him, and may not be paying attention to hand signals. During the daytime, flashlights won’t look different enough from surrounding lighting conditions to grab his attention.

Enter Pawscout. Camilla uses Pawscout to receive instant notifications when Charlie tries to leave the yard, providing her with an estimate of his location that doesn’t rely on visual confirmation. She also talks to fellow pet owners on Pawscout’s built-in social feed.

 

4. You don’t have to raise a deaf dog alone

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If there’s one thing Camilla wants people to take from her story, it’s that deaf pets are just like hearing ones. “People get weirded out,” Camilla told us, but she maintains that anyone who can care for a dog can care for a deaf dog.

“It’s the same as training another dog, same amount of effort. Instead of verbal commands, they’re gonna have to learn visual commands. It’s not hard, it’s just a challenge until you get used to it.”

But you don’t have to get used to it alone. Camilla participates in a number of online groups for deaf dogs (including the aptly named Reddit sub r/deafdogs), which provide a valuable network of deaf dog owners who can answer questions and give advice. She also recommends the book “A Deaf Dog Joins the Family,” which gave her a lot of information about what to expect and how to handle it.

 

If you’re wondering whether to adopt a deaf dog, we hope Camilla’s story will help you decide. In the meantime, download the Pawscout App and start building your own community of pet lovers.

Get the App

 

Airplane Travel with Pets: Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet

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Pets make everything better, so naturally that applies to vacations too. But before you can drink mimosas and puppuccinos by the pool with your golden lab, you’ve got to get there. And that opens up a whole new world of travel headaches, especially if you’re traveling by plane: Cabin or cargo? Pet carrier or no? What about emotional support animals?

Stick with Pawscout, kids. We’ve got the answers to all your burning questions about flying with pets.

(Note before we start: The following guidelines apply to pets you’re traveling with primarily for fun–not because you need them for reasons of health and wellness. Specific rules and rights apply when you travel with emotional support/comfort animals or service animals!)

Are there any pets that just can’t fly?

Before you head to the airport, you’ll want to make your you can take your pet on the plane to begin with.

  • Pets with heart conditions generally should never fly, whether in cargo or cabin.
  • Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) cats and dogs are at high risk for respiratory issues, which are often exacerbated by air travel. They should never fly in cargo, and it’s not super safe to fly them in the cabin.
  • Be aware of airlines’ breed restrictions. Snub-nosed breeds are banned on many airlines, but so are other breeds you may not expect.

Should my pet fly in cargo, or with me in the cabin?

We recommend that whenever possible, you should have your pet fly with you in the cabin. Some tips to bear in mind:

  • Under normal circumstances, a cat or dog can travel in the cabin only if they fit in a pet carrier that goes underneath your seat. (You can find a breakdown of underseat dimensions by airline here.) Typically, pets must be 15 lbs or less.
  • Your pet will need a recent health certificate from the vet. Check with your airline as to how recent it should be.
  • Acclimate your pet to the carrier you will use on the flight. During the flight, line the carrier with pee pads.
  • If you have a layover, research pet relief area locations in the layover airport. If possible, exit security with your pet and take a little walk.

We don’t recommend letting furry friends fly in cargo. But if you have no other option, you should do your best to maximize their comfort and safety.

  • Call the airline at least a few weeks ahead to make sure they have room for your pet. Be prepared to pay additional fees.
  • Research the airlines’ crate requirements and make sure you have the right food and water containers for the crate.
  • Many airlines have climate-controlled areas of their cargo holds for pets. However, ask your airline for specifics, including when the climate control is enabled.
  • Avoid excessively hot or cold seasons.
  • Trim nails. Pets can injure themselves trying to claw out of their containers.
  • Before the flight, make sure to place something with your scent in your pet’s crate.
  • Remove any collars or bandanas that could get caught on something.
  • Nonstop flights only.

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And of course, to stay safe wherever your travels take you, make sure your pet is #pawscoutprotected! Get your Pawscout Tag and custom nameplate today (not the day before vacation starts):

Shop Pawscout Tags

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5 Things to Look for in a Shelter Cat

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There are so many benefits to adopting a shelter cat. Apart from the warm fuzzies of giving a pet its forever home, adoption is less expensive than getting a cat from a breeder. An adult rescue cat has already settled into its temperament, so it’s easier to see how it’ll fit into your life. And if you happen to have your heart set on a purebred kitty, good news: up to 25% of shelter cats are purebreds.

But to find the right shelter cat for you, we recommend going beyond breed. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a shelter cat.

1. Behavior problems (that might not be problems).

Sometimes, overcrowded and underfunded shelters produce cats who aren’t at their best. They may be depressed, shy, or even aggressive—but experts warn that these “problem behaviors” don’t necessarily reflect a cat’s personality.

Talking to Maddie’s Fund, cat expert Joan Miller notes, “Almost all cats need gradual exposure to everything.” An unfamiliar environment filled with weird sounds and dozens of strange cats can cause even a well-adjusted feline to lose her cool, so don’t despair if a cat you like doesn’t have glowing personality recommendations. To get a better sense for the cat’s personality, you’ll want …

2. One-on-one time with the shelter cat.

Shelters often provide quiet rooms where pet-parents-to-be can get to know a cat in a calm environment. If this kind of space is available, take advantage of it! See what you can glean about the cat’s personality. Does he play with toys? Is he shy? Is he young and pouncy, or older and more sedate? The answers to these questions can help you find your purr-fect match.

3. Cats who are “hard to home.”

If you’re already considering adopting a rescue cat, chances are you want to bring love and happiness to a pet who’s had it rough. Think about whether you have the time, patience, and resources to pick a cat that others may pass by, such as senior cats or cats with chronic medical problems.

These cats can sit unadopted for ages compared to playful kittens, but they have plenty of love to give! Just make sure you consult with the shelter so you fully understand your new fur baby’s needs.

4. Health issues.

Shelter cats can experience health problems ranging from cat colds and fleas to scarier (and much rarer) ailments like feline distemper. A little planning will save you a lot of anxiety over your pet’s health.

Step one is to determine what vaccinations the shelter has already provided. This information may be available on their website, or you can ask in person. Be sure to inquire about your cat’s medical and vaccination history as well. Last of all, try to schedule a vet appointment on the same day you pick up your cat, especially if you have other pets at home—that way, you’ll avoid exposing furry housemates to anything communicable.

5. That special connection.

Adopting a cat is so exciting to many pet parents that they fall in love with the first fluff they see! There’s nothing strictly wrong with this, but it’s worth your while to take a look at all the adoptable cats in a shelter. Figure out which one you connect with—you’ll know when it happens.

Once you’ve brought your shelter cat home, make sure they’re protected with Pawscout! Our free App connects you with a network of engaged pet parents:

Get the App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

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Independence Day is upon us! Shelters see a marked increase in lost pets over the July 4th holiday, so it pays to have a plan for keeping your pet safe. Just in the nick of time, here are our top five pet safety tips.

  1. Keep clear of kebab sticks.

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This rule also applies to alcohol, citronella candles, used-up sparklers, and all those other fun summer accessories that will inevitably wind up in your pet’s mouth when your back is turned. Enlist your July 4th guests to safely handle and dispose of their food, drinks, and party favors. After all, it takes a village.

  1. Glow is a no-go.

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The image of your pet with a glowstick necklace is oh-so Instagrammable. But like a lot of things seen on Instagram, it doesn’t work out so well in real life. Glowstick decorations for your dog come with a risk of intestinal issues, so consider sticking with a nice stars-and-stripes bandana.

  1. Avoid diet disruptions.

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Even a tiny bite of people food can result in stomach troubles. If you’re going to give your pet a special treat, make sure it’s something their system can handle! We suggest this two-ingredient peanut butter and banana dog ice cream.

  1. Contain yourself (well, your pet).

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If you’re traveling with pets this July 4th, make sure you have a pet carrier or crate, like this one from Sherpa. (A carrier is also a good solution for escape artist kitties who can’t be trusted to stay confined to a room.)

  1. Skip the identity crisis.

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Up-to-date identification is a safety must every day of the year. Take this opportunity to get your ID ducks in a row! At Pawscout, we recommend a combination of traditional nametags, microchipping, and a smart pet tag (like oh, say, this one) to offer comprehensive pet protection.

Lost Pet Behavior: Lost Dogs vs Lost Cats

Much of the research we encountered in the creation of this article comes from the Missing Animal Response Network. Check them out!

Losing a pet is upsetting enough! Now you have to be an expert in animal behavior to get them back?

Not on our watch. We’ve reviewed all the info we could get our paws on about lost pet behavior, so you can learn what you need to know without a degree in Pet Psychology.

How Lost Dogs Behave

animal-blur-canine-551628If dogs’ noses are as amazing as science says, why do they get lost at all? It may surprise you, but a dog’s ability to smell can decrease significantly if they’re scared. This is something that happens to humans as well: When we’re in crisis, our hearing and vision can become impaired by as much as 33%. It’s the result of ancient, fight-or-flight survival urges, and while it’s understandable, it can be a real headache when all you want is to find your pooch.

If your dog is the social butterfly type, there’s another obstacle to her finding her way home: well-meaning strangers. Friendly dogs are prone to “self-adoption,” meaning they wiggle up to whoever and get picked up. This may mean that rather than looking for a lost dog, you’re looking for the person who’s found her.

There’s good news! Once a dog has calmed down, they can be quite adept at finding their way back to you via scent trails. Research indicates that dogs can even track overlapping familiar scents in a sort of mesh network of smells. Huh! Sounds like a certain pet tracker we’ve heard of …

How Lost Cats Behave

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Cats are prey animals, which means that when they feel threatened, they find a nice safe place to hide until things blow over. The good news is that in all likelihood, a lost cat is very close to home. An indoor cat is likely just a house or two away, while an outdoor cat or indoor-outdoor cat is often found just slightly beyond his normal territory.

He could be under your porch, in a neighbor’s tree, or secreted in an attic corner.

The bad news is that despite how close he may be, a terrified cat will hide in silence, and is unlikely to respond to even your voice or food until he feels confident. And that could take awhile: cats can stay holed up for as long as three weeks.

If your furball is a dedicated hider, you’ll need to be patient and not give up! You may eventually need to lure him out with a humane trap.

Factors That Influence Lost Pet Behavior

Since every pet is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to lost pet behavior. Here are a few factors that may influence how your own pet could behave while lost.

  • Age/disability. If your pet is elderly or has mobility issues, the distance they can travel is limited. Focus on hidey-holes and secluded spots near the area where they were last seen.
  • Personality. Arguably, personality makes the single biggest difference when it comes to a lost pet’s behavior. Friendly pets may bound into the arms of whoever’s nearby. Meanwhile, skittish pets might exhibit behaviors that well-meaning rescuers interpret as signs of “abuse,” making them less likely to look for the pet’s owners or turn them in to a shelter.
  • Indoor vs. outdoor pet. This is especially true for cats. A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that although most lost cats tend to stay close to their point of escape, those with outdoor access often traveled up to a mile further than their indoor-only counterparts.

 

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Pawscout App Now Available on Android (Beta Release)

Android AppToday we are extremely excited to announce the beta release of the Pawscout App for Android devices. Since 96% of all smartphone users have Android or iOS devices, that means more than 1 billion devices can now protect our pets by installing the free Pawscout App for iOS or Android.

The Pawscout App turns your phone into a magical pet-finding device. With the free app, your phone can answer an SOS from any pet parent suffering the heartbreak of a missing furry family member. If you install the app and pass within range of a lost pet wearing a Pawscout Pet Finder, Pawscout will be able to alert the owner of his pet’s location. Be a hero and help reunite lost pets with their families!

To install the beta build, please visit:

https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.rulegrid.pawscout. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear from you!

The more people with the Pawscout App installed, the more pets we’ll be able to reunite with their families. Please encourage all the animal lovers in your life to protect our pets by installing this free app.

Pawscout Pet Finder Is Officially Waterproof!

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 4.50.56 PMAs we move closer to shipping out our first units, we’re going to start posting more regular updates to keep you updated on our progress and everything involved in our first large production run.  We’re very excited!

This week we officially received our certification for IPX7.  An IPX7 designation means that the Pawscout Pet Finder can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes!

In the next day or two we’ll post photos of our recent factory tour where we saw some of the first Pawscout Pet Finder units come off the line. Stay tuned!

Pawscout Shipping Schedule

Happy 2015!  We are pleased to update you on our shipping schedule.  Even though we celebrated the start of 2015 more than a month ago, our friends and manufacturers in China are just about to usher in the Year of the Sheep.  As a result, much of the country is taking time off to celebrate with family, which has pushed back our production calendar.

We want to be completely transparent in our production schedule and give you insight into what’s involved in manufacturing and shipping a product:
  • February 19 – 27: Chinese New Year celebrations
  • March 2: Mold for the Pawscout Pet Finder goes into production
  • March 9: First units start to come off the line.
  • March 16: Each Pawscout Pet Finder undergoes a 17-point quality inspection to make sure it’s waterproof, durable and will keep your pet completely protected.
  • March 23: Retail packaging is folded and assembled into our sleek design. Check it out!
  • March 31: First Pawscout units are shipped by air from China to our U.S.-based engraver.
  • Mid-April: Pawscouts are shipped to users on a first-ordered, first-delivered basis.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write to support@pawscout.com.  We are extremely sorry for the delay but we promise that the wait will be worthwhile.  If you want to see photos of the Pawscout tag, our retail package and the factory where it’s all coming together, check out this link: http://ppl.ug/pDRm_WWNN8E/.

Brit + Co Rave About Pawscout Pet Finder

Brit + Co is the latest media site to show Pawscout Pet Finder some love in an article titled “Protect Your Pet With This Cool New Technology.”  Check out the full article http://www.brit.co/pawscout/.

Here are our favorite tidbits:


“A new company called Pawscout has introduced a next-generation pet finder to ensure a lifetime of protection for your furry friend, making sure they NEVER get lost again.”

For only $30, it’s a pretty sweet deal…Pawscout is set to ship in 2015, but early birds/cats/dogs can get a custom-engraved nameplate if they order before December 31, 2014.”

 

 

 

 

WIRED Loves Pawscout Pet Finder!

We are extremely excited that WIRED showed Pawscout Pet Finder some love in an article titled “This App Uses Your Neighbors’ Phones to Find Your Lost Pet.”  Check out the full article here:  http://www.wired.com/2014/10/pawscout-finds-lost-pets/.

Here are some of our favorite quotes:

“Rather than building on traditional pet-locating methods like microchipping, it’s created a separate connected pet ID tag that tracks your pet’s location by creating a mesh network of smartphones.”

“But it’s when you put the app in lost mode that the full utility of Pawscout comes out…In lost mode, anyone who has the app and comes within 250 feet of your pet can be notified that your pet is lost. Through mesh networking, your pet’s location is updated and relayed to you.”

“…just by downloading the app, you could end up helping someone find their missing four-legged friend.”