A seemingly obvious use of Apple’s new $ 29 AirTag tracker is for pets. As a new dog owner, I wanted to add an AirTag to my dog’s existing leather collar, but the options currently available are poor.
AirTags are small, but they are not Which small. Most AirTag holders currently available from Apple and its partners assume that I am okay with dangling an 11 gram pendant from the neck of my medium sized beagle. I’m not, which is why I came up with the idea for a DIY neoprene cover that holds the IP67 water and dust resistant AirTag snugly to Hank’s existing collar.
Why not buy?
A few companies have already announced AirTag accessories designed specifically for pets. The problem is, none of them are shipping right now, and most of them are downright expensive.
There’s the $ 29.95 Nomad Rugged Pet Tag Case, which can be engraved with your phone number for an additional $ 19.95. But it’s still just a pendant and won’t ship until August. There’s the $ 19.95 AUD Studio Proper DogTag that fits well around existing collars, but doesn’t ship until the end of July. And finally, there’s the expensive $ 47.95 FollowPaw collar with built-in AirTag pocket, which doesn’t ship until June.
One day I’ll probably buy a special AirTag holder for my dog - one that fits snugly around his existing collar and has his name and phone number engraved so I can remove his excess dog tag. Until then, DIY seems like the best solution.
My AirTag cover is made of neoprene, which is a durable and stretchy material that is easy to find. I recommend buying it at a local craft or fabric store so you can see the colors, thicknesses and stretchability in person. You could even haggle for a few free scraps instead of buying in bulk, as required by most Amazon sellers. The neoprene I used is 2mm thick and lacks extra waterproofing, making it soft and stretchy.
If sewing is not an option, you will need some neoprene glue. As an avid surfer, I had easy access to bits of neoprene, which I could mount in a tube with the neoprene glue in my wetsuit repair kit. For everyone else, you can expect the glue and neoprene to cost no more than $ 10 in total.
- Cut the neoprene into a rectangle about 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) long and wide enough to wrap well around your pet’s existing collar with enough overlapping material to glue or glue it in place to sew. A longer tube can help keep the AirTag from popping out over time.
- Form a tube to fit exactly the width of the pet collar and glue or sew the neoprene into shape.
- Slide the collar down the tube and slowly work the AirTag into one end of the neoprene sleeve until it is centered. It helps to rotate the AirTag while you are at it.
- Attach to the dog.
Photography by Thomas Ricker / The Verge