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Pet-Friendly Burglar Alarms: How to Secure Your Home Without False Alarms

Whether for security purposes or companionship, pets truly are one of the best things about life. They add positivity, provide unconditional love, and create such a loving and positive bond that it is hard to not get so attached to them.

Of course, just like you would protect any other precious possession, most homeowners believe in protecting their pets like their own children.

However, security systems for pets aren’t as straightforward as for humans. Many home security systems falter when it comes to pets since they can not only misidentify threats but can also cause false alarms.

In fact, false alarms triggered by pets are a growing concern in the security industry. According to statistics, cats and dogs are one of the biggest reasons for false alarms, only second to the owners themselves setting their burglar alarms off by mistake.

Infrequent false alarms may be tolerated in some cases, but if the triggers are constant (in the case of hyperactive animals) they can quickly become a nuisance to not just the pets themselves but to homeowners and neighbours too.

In this guide, we will cover the basics of pet-friendly burglar alarms, how they work, and how they can provide solutions against false alarms:


Got pets? Then you definitely need a pet-friendly burglar alarm system! This seems to be a non-negotiable term for homeowners who want maximum security with none of the nuisance caused by false alarms.

In the past, some pet-loving homeowners would go so far as to install a fake burglar alarm, disable the alarm system itself, or get rid of it altogether – all of which is not ideal!

Owing to improvements in detection technology, pet owners don’t have to resort to such extreme measures.

The basics of pet-friendly alarm systems are the same as traditional burglar alarms, except that they can omit false triggers by using advanced sensor technologies and local processing to differentiate between animals and humans.

One example of how these systems work is with the use of passive infrared motion sensors or PIRs. These sensors integrate seamlessly with an existing security system and provide a pet-friendly environment along with maximum security.

PIRs work by scanning an environment for changes in thermal activity. This requires a bit of science so we will quickly go over how this system works.

All warm-blooded living things (including humans) emit thermal energy through bodily processes that generate heat. The larger the warm-blooded animal, the more heat it dissipates from its body. So, logically, a small animal like a cat or a dog, would dissipate less heat than a human would.

Once the PIR system activates, it uses various baselines embedded in its system memory to discern various thermal profiles. For example, if a pet were to walk past the sensor, it would scan it and register its heat signature. However, if a human walks past, it would give off a stronger signature which would prime the sensor to send a signal to the primary home security system.

The sensor can trigger either a traditional burglar alarm or initiate the CCTV cameras installed in your home to start recording.

Seems like a simple solution, right? Not quite.

The problem is that thermal activity can vary depending on the ambient temperature and various other factors like clothes and other obstacles that might tamper with the heat signature of a person.

Furthermore, PIRs improve detection rates by limiting the thermal scan area to about 2-4 feet above the ground, so only tall humans will register as threats. However, if you have kids, or pets that have a habit of being acrobatic in the living room, then you would certainly face false triggers.

So, these systems, while excellent in some cases, aren’t as accurate.

In other words, PIRs address the problem of false triggers by lessening their instance but they don’t entirely fix the problem. This is why we need to look into a more comprehensive and smarter solution:


A smart security system is what you get when you marry advanced software with sensors and security hardware.

The result is a system that can “think” and make logical choices for when to sound the alarm. On the surface, these systems work like any other traditional security system – but under the hood, they process large amounts of data to differentiate between friend and foe.

Smart systems are always connected to the internet so that they can “talk” to other security hardware in your home and even send notifications to you over the web. Smart systems use advanced algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect threats.

These systems are trained on exabytes (a very, very large set of data) to teach the system to differentiate between animals and humans. The result is an extremely smart system with way more detection capabilities than a regular alarm system.

The best part is that many security companies like Ring or Alexa provide smart systems that are specifically designed to not just detect animals but to also avoid false triggers.

For example, continuing from the above scenario using PIR sensors, smart systems can integrate with these thermal sensors to help provide accurate heat signatures and use advanced computer logic even when the data is incomplete, like in the case of obstacles, kids, or random jumping cats.

In the case of smart burglar systems, these systems effectively detect potential threats and send a snapshot of the threat to you on your phone using CCTV cameras connected over the internet.

What’s even better is that smart security systems also help homeowners keep an eye on pets when no one is around. Most of these smart systems can be integrated with smoke and fire detectors too so that you can be alerted in the case of a fire and take the necessary steps to ensure your pet’s safety.


When it comes to avoiding false alarms, homeowners can also make additional and conscious decisions for the installation, type, and placement of the sensors and other components to maximise security and eliminate false triggers.

Here’s how:

Gait and Shape/Size Analysis

Pet-friendly sensors don’t just scan for thermal signatures, but they also consider the gait, size, and shape of the object that they scan.

Every person’s gait (the way they walk) is a bit different – and this difference is even more apparent in animals who use four limbs to move around the house. Advanced pet-friendly sensors use this information to differentiate between humans and animals.

This way, the system automatically ignores small, or even large, pets below the set limit.

Height Sensors

To maximise security and eliminate instances of false alarms, it is important to place the sensors in a way where they can only detect human threats.

Burglar alarms with height sensors will ignore movements at the floor level while catching movements only at a certain height level, such as two to three feet above the floor.

Furthermore, since these systems are smart and trained on data to omit animals, they can be used for even hyperactive animals who are hellbent on setting records for the biggest jumps off furniture.

Call in Professionals

 When in doubt, always call in the professionals! Security companies like Calder Security have blueprints for successful security systems. These blueprints are based on experience and use a similar successful layout that is used in homes with pets.

So, instead of having to meticulously plan everything, you can discuss all your concerns with a professional security consultant who can conduct a site survey and recommend the most suitable alarm system for your needs while also considering your little (or large) animal companion.


Burglar alarms can be used for perimeter protection to avoid false triggers, strengthen security, and make the system more pet-friendly.

Here’s how:

Entry-Point Contacts

Strategically placed sensors like door contacts can be fitted to the doors and windows of the house to detect any unauthorised opening or closing when the system is armed. Since most domestic pets don’t have opposable thumbs, it is almost impossible for them to open doors.

Door sensors work great with homes that have a lot of pets, especially if you install a pet door that they can easily use without unnecessarily triggering the security alarm.

Break-in Detectors

Advanced sensors like glass break detectors go a step further to provide even more precise security by detecting forced break-ins.

Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have always had to physically force their way inside a restricted area to access it – and these sensors are designed specifically to detect just that!


Not all pet-friendly burglar alarm systems are built the same.

Here are a few top features to look for when investing in a pet-friendly burglar alarm system:

Algorithmic Detection Technology

As discussed above, smart security systems use advanced algorithms and logic to detect threats and differentiate between animals and humans. If you have a lot of pets, then you must go with a system that is specifically designed to omit animals.

For example, if you go with motion sensors or PIR sensors, then you must confirm that they are specifically built to recognise animals and have a good detection rate. Most smart systems use Artificial Intelligence to actively learn the gait, face, size, shape, and thermal signatures of the residents of a home.

This way, once the system registers you as an authorised person, it will actively ignore you when you walk past it but immediately detect an unrecognised person.

These systems use facial recognition much like your phone or other security systems that use facial identification. The benefit of these systems is that they can remain armed even when you are in the house!

The best part is that these systems can also be integrated into home automation systems thereby allowing you more convenience over the system. We recommend that you check the specifications of the security system to make sure that it can integrate with Alexa, Google Home, or other third-party security vendors for the best experience.

Smart CCTV Systems

Smart CCTV cameras are the future of surveillance since they can provide better detection rates and work seamlessly with other security hardware to provide comprehensive home security.

Not only are smart CCTV cameras great for keeping an eye on pets when you are away but they can also be used to differentiate between specific animals or humans.

For example, the system can learn the colour, shape, type, and even estimate the weight of an animal from visual information. Then using artificial intelligence, the system generates a separate identity or profile!

The benefit of this technology is that it can remain armed throughout and you don’t ever have to tamper with the settings when you are around the home.

In fact, some CCTV cameras are so smart that they can even detect unusual pet activity and send a screenshot or video snippet to your phone. This way you can never miss out on those rare but hilarious moments when your pet tries something cute or funny on camera.

For outdoor pets, we recommend that you go for outdoor cameras that can withstand weather conditions and allow you to set up custom zones for monitoring so that you don’t infringe on anyone’s privacy.

Advanced Fire Alarms and Smoke detectors

Fire and smoke detectors have come a long way. Modern sensors are smarter and more precise than ever. These sensors can not only provide better detection, but they can also directly alert the authorities or send immediate snapshots to your phone so that you can take quick action.

Having a fire and smoke detection system is a great way to keep you, your assets, and your pets safe – even when you are away.

If you have pets, then installing extra sensors is always a good idea to keep them safe. We recommend that you install these sensors around areas of the home where your pet(s) hang out. This way, the sensors can give an early warning and allow enough time to evacuate the premises in the case of a fire.

For even added security, you might want to consider having the fire and smoke alarms monitored by a professional security company like Calder Security so that the fire and rescue services can be dispatched to your house immediately in the event of an alarm trigger.

Please keep in mind that pets are usually the immediate casualties during a fire emergency, especially if you are not around the home. This is why every homeowner must at least consider the idea of having these important sensors monitored by a professional alarm receiving centre.


We are professionals working in the security industry for over 40 years and our vast experience enables us to understand the various needs and requirements of different types of properties including homes with pets.

We provide a comprehensive range of security solutions that includes not just professional installation of security systems but also their monitoring, maintenance, and repair.

We are SSAIB-approved installers and follow all the best practices in the industry. We do not compromise on quality and install only high-quality, state-of-the-art security equipment.

We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre using Dualcom and BT Redcare signalling, which is the most secure alarm monitoring system and the largest supplier of intelligent alarm signalling services in the UK.

We understand the importance of having to regularly maintain security systems since the inability to do so might result in serious faults and consequent vulnerabilities.

We provide professional maintenance services and reminders for when the checks are due to help you stay compliant with the law and work fast to restore your security systems to excellent condition.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security experts right away!

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash