How to Use AirTags to Track Dogs or Cats

AirTags are tracking devices developed by Apple. They were created to find your keys, wallets, and other small devices that can easily get misplaced. But have you ever considered using them for tracking your pets?

How to Use AirTags to Track Dogs or Cats

Keep reading to find out how to use AirTags with dogs or cats.

How to Set Up AirTags

Although AirTags are not originally meant to keep track of your pets, you can definitely use them for that purpose, and it’s very easy to set them up.

  • Simply connect the AirTag to your device, add it to your pet’s collar, and you are all set.

How Do AirTags Track My Pets?

AirTags use ultra-wideband technology to send out a signal to your device. Why is it called ultra-wideband technology? Because it can transmit info across a wide bandwidth, anywhere from 500 MHz to several gigahertz! It’s, therefore, compatible with different wireless technologies without interrupting other signals.

Ultra-wideband technology is not new on the market. It was known as “pulse radio” at the beginning of the century, and it was used in military and medical equipment. Since it’s extremely precise and provides data in real-time, ultra-wideband technology found its purpose right here: in locating things.

Most pet trackers use GPS satellites and cellular connections to track their furry friends. Unlike other trackers, AirTags don’t use this technology, and they can’t connect to the internet. They send out secure Bluetooth signals to iCloud, informing you of their location in real time. You can access the location if you open your “Find My” app on your Apple device.

However, if your pet runs away or gets lost, the AirTag will not be in your Bluetooth range anymore. In that case, you can put it in Lost Mode. So, if your pet passes by any Apple user, you will automatically get a notification. If someone finds your pet and sees the AirTag, they can tap it and see the information you provided, such as your name and phone number, and contact you immediately.

What’s great is that AirTags are not limited to Apple users only – any device with NFC functionality, including Android, can get your contact info by tapping the AirTag.

Upsides of Using AirTags With Pets

There are many upsides to using AirTags for tracking your pets. Let’s take a look at them:

  1. Efficiency – AirTags enables you to view your pet’s exact location at any given time. If you’re an iPhone 11 or 12 user, you have the option of Precision Finding – this enables you to view the exact distance and direction of your pet when in range.
  2. Price – unlike pet trackers that can cost up to several hundred dollars, AirTags are cheap! Their price starts at $29 apiece, which is not a lot for a product that can save you the trouble of searching for your pet for hours. You can also buy a pack of four AirTags at $99.
  3. Easy to set up – AirTags are very user-friendly. You just take it out of the box and pull out the tab to activate it. Then, hold a compatible mobile device next to the AirTag, and a notification will pop up on your device for you to set it up. You can add a name to your AirTag, for example, the name of your pet.
  4. Size – AirTags are small and light, so they won’t be too heavy for your pet. The diameter of the AirTag is 1.26 inches (31.9 mm), its height is 0.31 inches (8.0 mm), and its weight is 0.39 ounces (11 grams).
  5. Battery life – AirTags have a great battery lifespan – it lasts for about a year! When the battery is low, you will receive a notification telling you to change it. What’s also great is the battery type. AirTags uses a CR2032 battery, which is often found in devices such as remote controls. You can buy them in almost every store, and they are cheap.
  6. Resistance – AirTags are splash, water, and dust resistant, so they make a great tracking device for your pet.
  7. Personalization – if you order your AirTag from the Apple website or Apple Store app, you can get your AirTag engraved for free. So, for example, you can put your pet’s name on the AirTag, or add a few of the 31 emojis available.
  8. Security – location is never stored inside the AirTag, and only you can access the location. Another great feature is that iOS devices can detect an AirTag that isn’t with its owner, thus enhancing the security. This reduces the chances of your pet ending up in the wrong hands.
  9. Multiple pet tracking – you can connect up to 16 AirTags at once, so if you have more than one pet, AirTags can be a great option.

Downsides of Using AirTags With Pets

  1. AirTags are not pet trackers – although AirTags are used for tracking, they are meant for tracking objects.
  2. Doesn’t work everywhere – if you live in a city or a town, AirTags can be great for tracking your pets. However, if you live in an area where there aren’t a lot of Apple users, you won’t be able to track your pet if it runs away since there will be no devices nearby that can mark the location of your AirTag.
  3. Resistance limitations – although they are advertised as being splash, water, and dust resistant, AirTags do have their limitations. For example, they are water-resistant up to 1 meter and up to 30 minutes. Their resistance may also decrease over time. If your pet likes to run around and swim, this will affect the resistance of your AirTag.
  4. Pets can damage it – pet owners know how much they like to play around. Pet trackers are built to sustain this kind of damage. Since AirTags are not meant to be used for pet tracking, they can get damaged more easily, which can cause them to malfunction.
  5. Pets can lose it – if your pet gets lost or runs away and loses the AirTag, you will be able to locate the AirTag, but not the pet. If the AirTag is loose or not attached to your pet properly, it can easily detach from your furry friend. And since AirTags were not designed for pet tracking, Apple doesn’t offer any official accessories that can keep the AirTag safely attached to your pet.
  6. No Family Sharing options – Since the location of an AirTag can only be viewed by the owner, it’s not possible to share it with any family members. This can be a problem for people from the same household, especially when AirTags are used to track pets. If someone from your household takes the dog for a walk, and the dog disappears during the walk, they will not be able to find the location of the AirTag. The same goes for tracking keys, wallets, purses, etc.

Should I Track My Pets With AirTags?

While AirTags weren’t designed to track your pets, you can use them for that purpose. They are cheap, reliable, have a long battery lifespan, and if you live in urban areas, they will be efficient. However, if you want to be 100% sure that you will be able to track your pet at any given time and in any condition, you should get a tracker specifically designed for pets.

Tip: If you decide to track your pets with AirTags, make sure the AirTag is properly attached to your pet, but also check if your pet is comfortable with it. If it’s not, it might try to detach it.

Additional FAQs

Can I Get Pet-Friendly Accessories for AirTags?

Apple doesn’t recommend using AirTags for tracking pets and doesn’t offer any official accessories of this kind. However, numerous manufacturers have already created different kinds of accessories that can keep your AirTag safe and your pet comfortable.

For example, you can buy a tag holder or a protective case in which to put the AirTag and attach it to your dog’s collar.

Also, there are various options when it comes to the collars themselves. They come in a range of different materials, colors, and sizes, with sleeves or pockets specifically created for AirTags. Depending on your preferences, you can choose the one you like best – just make sure the AirTag is safe.

How Long Do AirTag Batteries Last?

AirTag battery has a great lifespan. Due to the technology used, the battery lasts for about a year. When the battery is low, you will receive a notification saying you need to change it. Since AirTags use a CR2032 battery, which is common for devices such as remote controls, and they are cheap and easy to find.

The AirTag battery has a great lifespan. Due to the technology used, the battery lasts for about a year. When the battery is low, you will receive a notification saying you need to change it. Since AirTags use a CR2032 battery, which is common for devices such as remote controls, and they are cheap and easy to find.

Pet Tracking with AirTags

Knowing where your pets are at all times can be quite reassuring. After all, it’s a big world out there. Given their low cost, durability, and ease of use, using AirTags to track your cats and dogs is a choice made by many pet owners. Even without the official approval by Apple for using it this way, AirTags can provide some security when it comes to keeping track of your pets.

8 thoughts on “How to Use AirTags to Track Dogs or Cats”

Judy says:
If this is all bluetooth based, the finding limit is a few hundred feet. How does this help if the dog is a mile away? An old fashioned metal tag with engraved name and phone number would identify the dog more easily than needing an electronic device to get the pet owner info.
Steve Larner says:
I believe that other iOS users receive the Airtag location as that is how it works (iOS detects Airtags to share the information through the app with the owners) and then it gets shared to your app.
Paul C says:
There are downsides. WSJ has an article describing dogs ingesting them if they are not securely mounted. The “hanging tag” mount shown in this web is not secure since it can be grabbed by the mouth by this dog or another dog, but there are collars, (not tags) the incorporate the device safely in ways it or not other dog can chew or swallow
Karl Svensson says:
You can “Tap” it with an Android phone, like Samsung etc with NFC and see the tag owners name and telephone number.
Janaya Roby Banks says:
There is a stray cat that my husband started feeding who had an airtag and I would like to find the owner. How can I track them when I do not have an apple phone?
Steve Larner says:
Find someone with an iPhone 11 or newer. It’s the only way.
Miss Caryn L Meyer says:
Take the cat to the vets, its most likely to have a chip
Steve Larner says:
I would have never thought of that. However, they’d need an iPhone, Mac, or iPad to do it too.

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