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New device helps track pets who escape during fireworks

How to keep your pet calm this Fourth of July

HOUSTON – The Stone family of Spring is able to enjoy a day at the park with their beloved dog, Daisy, thanks to new technology that helped track her down when she left home.

"She's always doing something, always into something, she's really nosy," Daisy's owner, Aaron Stone, told KPRC Channel 2 News.

The Stones said Daisy can't be contained, especially when the weather turns stormy.

"When thunderstorms come, she's a wreck," Stone said.

During one recent storm, Daisy got out of the yard and took off running. The Stone family was frantic.

"Everybody was upset, so I said, 'We gotta go find her,'" Stone said.

The Stones found Daisy in a neighbor's garage. But that scary experience led the Stones to search for peace of mind. They found a device called Whistle. It's a monitoring tag you attach to a dog's collar that combines GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology to track your dog.

Pet expert and behaviorist Caitie Steffen works with the company that developed whistle.

"July Fourth is the No. 1 holiday when pets get lost," Steffen said.

Here's how Whistle works: You set a perimeter where your dog is allowed to roam -- typically inside the house and around the yard.

"Once your pet is outside of the perimeter of the zone, you'll get an alert that says, 'Fido is 300 feet from home,' and it will show a nearby address," Steffen said.

Notifications to your phone give you updates on your dog's location. Daisy got out of her safe zone recently and Stone's phone immediately got an alert.

"You can turn that device into tracking mode where it will constantly, for 30 minutes, send you notifications where she was last until you can get there to try and locate her," Stone said.
 
Within about 10 minutes, the Stones found daisy a few blocks away.

"It's worked, it's been great,"  Stone said.

The whistle can also monitor your dog's activity to help you meet a health-related goal.

The whistle costs about $80, and the monthly monitoring fee is $7.

Click or tap here to learn more about the product.

To help your pet manage stressful situations like Fourth of July, New Year's Eve and extended vacations, here are some tips from pet behavior experts at Whistle.

  • Have a pet safety net. Don't leave your dog home alone overnight, especially on a high-stress night like Fourth of July. Dogs value a routine, and if their normal routine gets interrupted -- i.e. being left alone -- it can put them at a higher risk to try to escape.
  • Talk before you walk. Ideally, you're home with your pet on July fourth, but if you have plans to leave, make sure they're in the care of someone who they're familiar with and trust. If you have to use a service such as Rover, make sure you schedule time for your dog to meet the sitter prior to the outing so that the person is not a complete stranger to them.
  • The pet perimeter. Secure your home's perimeter, including every window, door and gate, and make sure there are no escape routes. If your dog does get out, hopefully, you have a Whistle so you can track where they go and get them home safe.
  • Hear no evil. Creating a sound buffer for your pet can act as a calming aid. White noise machines, classical music or tuning into a non-animal-related TV channel are all great, affordable options.
  • The canine cave is key. Set up a safe spot inside your home that is your dog's area. If they're crate trained, a crate with a nice fluffy bed and a large blanket draped over it can be an excellent option. And for a nice distraction from the loud noises outside, give them a large Kong stuffed with their favorite treat.
  • Vets know best. If your dog regularly panics around loud sounds, reach out to your vet, or use a service like PetCoach to see if there is any recommended treatment for their anxiety. Sooner is better, as many pet owners flood to the clinic for last-minute appointments in July. 
  • Click or tap here for expert advice about the behavior of pets.

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