Canine Nose Prints Help Reunite Lost Pets with Owners

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson

Faster and more effective than microchips? Time will tell.

Photo Credit: Krichevtseva /

For us pet parents, the first sign our four-legged kid is starting to feel under the weather is typically a dry nose. From allergies to sunburn to something a little more serious, a dry nose tends to be the litmus test we refer to the moment Rover starts to look a little hang-dog.

But did you know that your pet’s nose print – yes, the one plastered across your front window - is as unique to him as your fingerprints are to you? Like most dog owners, you’ve probably never really thought about it. But research is now showing that in addition to that heightened sense of smell that makes a dog so adept at sniffing out everything from truffles to contraband, your pet’s nose may also help safeguard his future with you. In fact, there are a number of labs developing technology that will help improve your dog’s (and soon, cat’s) safety and quality of life. And it involves artificial intelligence (AI).

You see, your dog’s highly distinctive nose print became fully “formed” around the time he turned six months old. And in South Korea, two technology organizations are using this as a differentiator as they create an algorithm that will actually assist in reuniting missing pets with their owners. Now, this is particularly meaningful for those breeds that have become popular in the last few years and are therefore at risk of being stolen and resold.

By having their unique nose print in the database, they can be identified much more easily and ultimately brought back home to their owner. While microchips are often removed from stolen dogs before selling them to unsuspecting owners, nose prints are forever.

Best of all, it’s easy to do. Simply take a picture of your dog’s nose and upload it to the app provided by tech leader, Petnow. Of course, you need to remove dirt, debris, fur, and all that juicy stuff before you take a clean shot. But after that, it’s a snap to get him registered.

Like any new initiative, the challenge is to build a robust virtual warehouse of data. New and existing pet owners would need to submit their dogs to a nose scan that would then be stored and retrieved should their pet go missing. Building this database is a first step but Petnow – who won the 2022 innovation award at the Consumer Technology Association trade show and iSciLab who gained a reputation for their highly successful human iris recognition technology, are determined that canine nose recognition will be a game-changer in the pet industry.

According to Peter Jung, Business Development Manager at Petnow, “Nose print recognition is an inexpensive and non-invasive way of getting the same positive outcome (as a microchip), using nothing more than the phone in your pocket.”

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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