As a nation of pet lovers, it’s not surprising that we are often asked the question: “If I install a burglar alarm, will my cat or dog set it off?”
Estimates show that there are 9 million dogs in the UK (24% of households have a dog), 7.9 million cats (18% of households), while 1.4% of households have hamsters – there are 400,000 of the furry little creatures – and the same number of lizards. As many as 25 million fish are kept in tanks and another 20 million in ponds. There are around 65 million pets in total – so slightly more pets than people.
A Dog Or Cat Can Set Off An Alarm
We have to say that we have never heard of a lizard or a hamster activating the home security, but a dog or cat is a different kettle of fish. With some burglar alarm systems, it is possible for a dog or cat to set them off as they roam the house. Hence the birth of pet-friendly burglar alarms.
Passive Infra-Red Detectors (PIRs) Are Probably Best
When it comes to assessing the difference between unwanted intruders and pets, PIRs are thought to be the best way to go. PIRs work by detecting infra-red, with a lens which turns that information into “hot” and “cold” areas. The heat of the regions is assessed and related to the room temperature and ascertains if body heat from an intruder is the cause.
PIRs react to any unusual motion within a room and many can be calibrated to ignore certain sizes and shapes of being – human or otherwise. They can also be mounted so that they will only react to movement over a certain height, which permits Fido to pass underneath without setting off the alarm.
However, this doesn’t allow for creatures that can jump up onto the back of the sofa, such as a cat, or those that can fly, like Bertie the budgie.
One solution for a home with athletic pets is a dual technology alarm system which requires two separate sensors to be triggered before the alarm sounds. This allows for a more precise detection system and may be advantageous for homes with several pets of different sizes.
TIP: One problem with PIRs is that, since they operate on infra-red, they can suffer interference from radio waves, which can cause them to behave in an erratic fashion. The solution to this problem is to install an RFI stabiliser which will prevent the PIR from triggering the alarm system under these conditions.
Whichever type of pet-friendly alarm system is used, it should be professionally installed and rigorously tested in order for you to be certain that your pet(s) will not set off the alarm when you are away.
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