Iams wants to use the cameras that nearly everyone has in their pockets to help reunite lost dogs with their owners. The company has launched a new app, NOSEiD, that uses your smartphone’s camera to scan your dog’s nose. If your dog is lost, the scan of its nose acts like a fingerprint, allowing someone to track the lost dog back to you.
When a dog runs away or is lost, it can be a traumatic experience for humans and dogs alike. Of NOSEiD, Iams says, ‘The app helps you capture your dog’s unique nose print and guides you through what to do in case your buddy ever gets lost. It can even help people who have found your dog get in touch with you faster.’
As we saw earlier this month, cameras can help save lives and hopefully photography can help lost dogs find their way home. Iams states that nearly 10 million pets are lost every year in the United States and that one in every three pets will be lost at some time during their life. While microchips help, as humane societies and vets will always scan for a chip in a found animal, only 3-5% of dogs are chipped.
Unlike microchips – which are an excellent idea for your pets, by the way, should the unthinkable occur – NOSEiD isn’t intrusive at all. You simply take a photo of your dog’s nose, ideally in bright light, and have your dog face the camera head-on. The wrinkles of a dog’s nose are distinct, and Iams believes that NOSEiD can scan your dog’s nose with enough accuracy and fidelity that false positives are avoided. Iams writes, ‘Your dog’s nose print is completely unique, like human fingerprints. By scanning and saving their unique nose print, NOSEiD creates a form of ID for your dog that can help bring them home if they ever get lost.’
In addition to the scan of your dog’s nose, owners are also asked to include traditional photos of their dogs and include a physical description of their pet. The additional information will help speed up the process of reuniting lost pets with their humans. The app also works in reverse if you find a lost dog. You can use the app to scan the dog’s nose and check it against Iams’s NOSEiD database.
‘Pets are irreplaceable family members, and with the NOSEiD app, we’re hoping to help keep more pets in their loving homes and out of shelters – taking another step toward our goal of ending pet homelessness,’ Craig Neely, vice president of marketing at Mars Petcare, the parent company of Iams, said in a statement. Neely continues, ‘The app is designed to be a community resource, so whether someone has a dog or not, they’ll be able to join the NOSEiD community to help reunite lost dogs with their families in their own neighborhood.’
For NOSEiD to work best, it will require widespread adoption. As of now, the program is being tested in Nashville, TN, ahead of expansion to additional regions. The free app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. For more information, visit the dedicated NOSEiD website.