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A Red Dingo tag on Penny

Posting a flyer on a telephone pole might be the age-old method for tracking down lost pets. But PetHub believes it has discovered a more effective method: QR codes.

The Seattle startup, which started distributing tags in late 2010 and now counts more than 25,000 customers, just sealed a deal with pet tag maker Red Dingo.

Since Red Dingo already sells its tags in 6,500 stores, PetHub CEO Tom Arnold said that the deal could provide a nice boost to his company.

“We are software guys, and we are trying not to be pet tag guys, so we license these codes to pet tag manufacturers,” said Arnold, adding that Red Dingo represents the biggest partner to date. Red Dingo plans to sell the QR-enabled codes beginning this summer at a cost of $15.90.

Pet owners also can upgrade to a silver subscription for $3.95 per month, which also sends owners an email the exact location of where the tag got scanned with a GPS-enabled phone. A gold subscription of $4.95 per month includes a collectible PetHub ID tag each spring and $3,000 in emergency insurance that covers the pet for injuries sustained while lost.

QR code tags don’t solve every problem. After all, the tag or collar could fall off, presenting a challenge for pet owners who want to recover Fido or Spot.

“Our (tags) could obviously fall off, and so that’s why I don’t say to not chip your pet.  But what we can do –since 50 percent of us have smartphones and that’s growing — we can actually scan the tags that I make where you have to take them to a vet or shelter to scan for a microchip.”

PetHub isn’t the only startup attacking the market. Seattle’s DynoTag also recently launched a similar service.

But with the Red Dingo deal, the company says that it has locked in relationships with the most tag makers. (It also has deals with DogTagArt.com, VIP Etching Systems and dogIDs).

PetHub employs 14 full-time employees, with plans to grow to 20 in the next 12 months.

The company also has been encouraging users to submit commercials of the service in a contest. Check this one out:

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