People frequently ask can I still have an alarm system if I have pets.
The answer is certainly.
The real question should be “Do I have to or how much should I be willing to restrict my pet’s access to the whole house in order to accommodate my security system?”.
You can confine a cat or a dog to a particular area (room, basement, etc.) of the house and essentially use virtually all the security devices you want throughout the rest of the house.
What if you do not want to restrict your pet to one area?
For the technician who knows who he is trying to keep out and understands the vast number of devices available to him this is not much of a problem either.
Just remember that each time you attempt to accommodate a pet (especially a large one) you may lose a little bit of security (not a whole lot) and the “work around” could cost you a tad more in system outlay.
First of all BASIC burglary protection consists of door and window contacts. If a door or window sash is opened – it trips the alarm. Whenever practical all systems should have this minimal level of defense. If you wish to enhance your basic security the next step would be to put enough glass break detectors in so that if a door or window is opened and, or if a glass window pane or door pane is broken it trips the system. Window & door contacts combined with complete glass break detection provides an extremely high level of security without going any further. In fact in many cases only partial perimeter detection provides a great deal of safety. Perimeter protection is not effected by pets and is generally totally pet friendly. Perimeter protection is both people and property protection while motion detection is generally property protection. Remember that the bad guys are already in the house if they are detected by a motion detector.
The reason why every “Free Marketed” system has a motion detector is because they do not want to waste all of that time providing sufficient door & window perimeter protection (PRIMARY PROTECTION). So they throw that motion detector in – contact 2 or 3 doors and get out of there with their highly inflated monthly payments to pay for all of their marketing costs. No matter that the system they sold you provides little protection against actual criminal intruders or severely limits you own comfortable movement about your own house.
Motion detectors, regardless of whether or not you have pets may have a significant place in your home security system. When trying to design an easy system to live with in a home with pets moving about it is frequently easier to emphasize PRIMARY BURGLARY PROTECTION (perimeter protection) including glass break detection. Any kind of motion detector application should only be considered upon the direction of an experienced security professional.
Things To Avoid When Designing Around a Pet:
- First of all, avoid like the plague buying a “Free System”.
(They are simply too basic to accommodate pets while assuring a reasonable level of security.)
- “Pet Proof” or “Pet Immune” Motion Detectors” simply do not exist – “Pet Resistant Motion Detectors Do Exist”. Be cautious when an over confident but not well trained salesman assures you that he has a motion detector that will absolutely not trip for the smaller size dog or cat that you have. Yes there are motion detectors that are fairly efficient at eliminating false trips on smaller pets however, remember that:
- two cats running after each other end to end looks like one giant cat to a motion detector,
- a motion detector also sees any critter as a lot bigger than it really is if that critter gets up close to the detector,
- Certain maneuvers by some animals can represent a significant problem for motion detectors as well. Have you ever seen a startled cat literally spring straight up into the air? The vast majority of motion detectors are far more sensitive to vertical movement than they are to horizontal movement.
- Cats love Window Sills – vertical leaps to window sills can cause problems for motion detectors. If they actually jump high enough to get on a casement window sill in the basement they may interfere with some of the mounted protection hardware so be cognizant of this issue.
- Tiny Dogs Barking – some less expensive glass break detectors are sensitive to the pitch of the barking sound from small dogs. I have found this to be particularly true of Chihuahuas. This can generally be resolved with upgrading to a dual technology glass break detector but make sure the dealer understands that if a problem occurs – resolving it is on him.
- Birds if Allowed to Fly Around Freely – No matter how small the bird is, if allowed to fly around they are simply not compatible with any motion detectors.
- Snakes are Strange – Without going into the where and how, snakes will often not trip motion detectors so long as they do not get too close to the actual detector. There are however scenario’s which, for security reasons I will not discuss here, in which un-contained snakes may trip motion detection.
- Rabbits, Chinchillas, Ferrets and other Small Warm-blooded Critters – Most pets of this size can be worked around by simply using a good “Pet Resistant Motion Detector”.
- Dogs Scratching Toe Nails on Glass – This is a rare one but I have seen it affect glass break detectors.
- My Dog Is A Security Device Himself – Actually while everyone always tells me that, my experience dictates otherwise. Most dogs are in fact a very good perimeter device. That is to say that most dogs will hear a stranger/prowler before he even gets in and will alert you through growling or barking but they are an inferior property protection device. If the burglar is in or has a silent path into the house he is already where you don’t want him and if no one is home to hear his barking he is poor property protection. In fact if no one is home the dog may well be a liability unto himself unless he is an overtly friendly dog. I have seen relatively aggressive dogs attacked (and in some cases killed) along with one pretty surly attack cat who survived multiple stab wounds. Believe me that bandaged up cat had to be locked up while we were installing a system in the house. He was a no nonsense tabby that had me on edge the whole time I worked in that house. Anyway, experience dictates that without you there to protect them most dogs can be marginalized with patience and the proper treats, which happens to be a standard component of most burglary tool kits.