Pet Friendly Alarms

If you require a home alarm system and have pets, you will need to buy - what the security industry refers to as a ‘pet-friendly alarm’. Let's discover what they are, how they work and if they're the right solution for you.

What is a pet-friendly alarm?

First; let's be clear on what a pet-friendly alarm is not.

A pet-friendly alarm is not a special, more expensive, alarm system.

In fact, the main control panel of pet-friendly alarm is identical to the main control panel of a standard home alarm.

The different and clever part, which makes the system "pet friendly", is the motion sensors supplied with the alarm panel – the pet-friendly PIR.

It's these PIR's (passive infra-red motion sensors) which are designed to be pet tolerant, to ignore any changes in passive infrared (movement of body heat) at floor level, up to 35kgs in weight/mass.

How do pet friendly PIRs work?

A passive infra-red (PIR) detector is designed to detect movement of body heat (passive infra-red energy). The detector is permanently checking for differences in the thermal environment.

An empty room's passive infra-red energy tends to be quite stable and not prone to change rapidly. However the moment a person enters the room the passive infra-red emitted from a human is seen as a big change in the environment and the detector triggers the alarm.

For those of you as old as me, you may remember the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic film, Predator (released in 1987). As well as being a super bad ass, the Predator (fictitious character) had infrared vision, which allowed it to see Arnie, and the other US commandos, quite easily against the backdrop of a cold wet tropical rainforest.

Infra-red body heat

Below is a simplified illustration of how a pet-immune PIR sensor differs from a standard PIR and works to detect intruders while ignoring movements of small pets.

Standard PIR detector zoning

Standard PIR detector zoning

Pet-friendly PIR detector zoning

Pet-friendly PIR detector zoning

Will cats and dogs set off the alarm?

Big dogs probably will trigger a pet-friendly alarm if they have free roam of the house. Don't fear – there's other options for you 'big dog' owners, more on this below.

Cats and dogs, up to 35kg, should not trigger a pet-friendly alarm system.

However, if your cat tends to jump up onto the kitchen worktop and window sills (as they do) or your dog put's it's front paws up against the window when it sees/hears someone walking down the driveway (as they do), then you may experience issues.

Please note; this does not mean that you can't have an alarm system (more on other solutions below).

All concerns should be discussed with a professional security consultant at the time of a site survey and a good alarm company should be able to design a system to work without problems with your pets in mind.

What if I have big dogs?

There's a good chance that big dog, above 40kgs, will trigger an alarm system. However there are other configuration options to serve a house with larger dogs or very active pets (including flying pets).

If your large pets have free roam of the house then you'll need to consider security devices other than PIR detectors.

For example, door contacts can be fitted to door and windows which would detect unauthorised opening when alarm is armed.

There are also glass break detectors.

As the name suggests a glass break detector detects the sound/frequency of glass being broken. This would obviously trigger the alarm system, when armed, if someone smashed a window to break into your property.

Other considerations – A smarter approach

While this isn't specific to pet owners, it's often a good idea to install a smart alarm if you have pets (which would cost you slightly more).

The main reason smart alarms area great choice for pet owners is 'peace of mind'. The main feature of the smart alarm, I am referring to, are camera PIRs.

A camera PIR is designed to take a snap shot, or sequence of snapshots (in jpeg format), of what the PIR sees in the room at the time of alarm activation. The jpegs are then sent directly to your smartphone through the alarm app installed on your phone.

Why is this a great idea for pet owners?

When a camera PIR is triggered - instead of your alarm ringing for 20 minutes, annoying you neighbours, not to mention driving the dog loopy, you can see (in almost real-time) if the activation is a true break-in or the cat jumping up onto a window sill or the dog running up the stairs, as an example.

From your app, you can remotely dis-arm the alarm system and re-arm.

Pet Friendly burglar alarm prices

Assuming your installer is simply swapping standard PIRs for pet-tolerant PIRs, a pet friendly alarm should cost no more than a standard alarm. Avoid any alarm company trying to tell you otherwise. Other factors, such as fitting different detector (glass break etc) may increase the price.

You can use our free cost calculator below to get a rough idea of how much a pet friendly alarm might cost you. Alternately if you want an accurate quote, use our quick quote form.

Pet-Friendly Alarm Cost Calculator

Complete the details below to see an estimated cost of a professionally installed security system.

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