Tech Thursday: Denver startup creates device to help monitor your dog when left in the car

Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 19:57:50-04

DENVER – It’s happened to most dog owners: You take your four-legged friend out for a hike or some other excursion in the car, and on the way home you need to stop to run an errand or get a bite to eat.

You can’t take your dog with you, but leaving your pet in the car can be dangerous if it’s hot out. Even when it’s 70 degrees, it takes a matter of minutes for the temperature inside your car to reach unsafe levels. What do you do?

Denver-based startup PuppTech thinks it has a solution with a small device called the PuppComm, which works kind of like a baby monitor for your dog.

The device tracks the temperature and humidity in your car and sends the data to your smartphone in real time, so you can monitor if conditions are getting unsafe. The device also features a microphone so you can hear if your dog is barking or in distress.

It’s not a substitute for keeping an eye on your dog, but it can help in situations where you don’t have a choice but to leave the dog in your vehicle, says PuppTech CEO William Loopesko.

“People are doing this and people want to do this and it’s normal,” Loopesko said about leaving dogs in cars, and he wants to make sure people can do so as safely as possible, if they have to.

Loopesko said he hopes to eventually partner with manufacturers of portable cooling systems so they can be integrated with PuppComm to keep your dog comfortable and safe.

Earlier this month, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that grants immunity to a person who breaks into a car to rescue a pet that’s in danger. The bill requires that person to make a reasonable effort to contact the dog’s owner, and Loopesko said the PuppComm system aids in that process.

Each PuppComm comes with large window stickers the dog owner can place in their car to alert passersby of the technology. Using a code on the sticker, a passerby can even get a text message update on the temperature in the car or contact the owner.

Creating PuppComm isn’t about enabling dog owners to be reckless or irresponsible, Loopesko said. The device is made for use during a quick trip to a store or a restaurant – situations in which you have to leave your dog behind because they’re not allowed inside.

“Nobody got a dog just to leave it at home,” Loopesko said. “We’re trying to promote loving, responsible dog ownership.”

PuppTech is currently taking pre-orders for the PuppComm system. Loopesko said he hopes to have the first batch of devices shipped out by the end of the summer, with full retail sales to begin in time for the holiday season.

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