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Minimizing False Alarms for Pet Owners

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Minimizing False Alarms for Pet Owners
March 28, 2014

Minimizing False Alarms for Pet Owners

Do pets cause home security system false alarms?

Yes. Our furry friends can cause false alarms. Sometimes, we forget to disarm the alarm system and then our dog trips a sensor. In other incidents, our cat gets too close to a sensor. Either way, it is the pet who set the security system off. Unfortunately, the pet owner is left to deal with the mess.

The sensor that is usually to blame for pet-caused false alarms is the motion sensor.

We are big advocates of motions sensors as a valuable part of any home security system package. Frontpoint motion sensors are passive infrared (PIR) sensors that detect intruders through heat.

Gradual increases in temperature, such as changes in weather or household temperature, won’t trigger an alarm. But the entrance of a person creates a significant rise in infrared energy that causes the alarm to sound. However, motion sensors can sensitive and can mistakenly identify a pet’s heat source as an intruder’s.

Now that more counties and districts across the country are ramping up fines and penalties for repeated false alarms, pet owners are making it a priority to reduce offenses. Below are a few tips to prevent your pet from triggering a false alarm.

False alarm prevention for pet owners

SecuritySystemReviews.com recently addressed this issue and released a tip sheet to help pet owners. They include:

  • Place motion sensors high and out of the way. This will help avoid the pet getting close enough to the sensor to trigger it.
  • Consider your pet’s climbing habits. For example, even if you place the motion detector high, a cat may be able to get close to it by climbing. Keep this in mind when deciding on placement, and not only put it somewhere high, but also somewhere away from household items used for climbing by pets.
  • There are motion detectors that have a pet-immunity function. This means that an alarm won’t be sounded for a pet under 80 pounds, but this won’t work for very large pets, or in a house where there is more than one pet.

Another option is to make sure that your motion sensor is not positioned toward the stairs. A pet climbing the stairs may get in the line of sight of the sensor and set off the alarm. Instead, point them toward doors and openings.

If moving and adjusting your motion sensors has had no effect and you’re still getting false alarms, consider installing pet gates to keep pets out of rooms with motion sensors. Alternatively, indoor cameras are a great option if you have a pet. They'll give you the ability to visually check in on your home and your pet, without running the risk of a false alarm.

Picture of the Frontpoint Indoor CameraPicture of the Frontpoint Indoor Camera

Bottom line, you should understand the suggested specifications of your equipment. With a Frontpoint system, we suggest that you place a motion sensor between four and five feet off the ground, for maximum protection. Also, the sensors are only suggested for pets up to 40 pounds.

Pet trouble versus sensor error

If you’re still having trouble and these tips aren’t helping, it’s a good indication that your pet is not the cause of the problem.

  • If motion sensors are appropriately placed away from pets but there are still false alarms, it may be time to investigate other reasons. For example, motion detectors that aren’t securely mounted, or that are placed too close to air vents can mean false alarms.

Use the tips here to make sure your pets aren’t the cause of costly false alarms. It will reduce the chance of you having to pay a fee now that more areas are adopting policies to raise false alarm fees.

Want more information? Read our blog on How Can I Prevent Home Security False Alarms which addresses a variety of reasons for false alarms and how to prevent them.


Frontpoint keeps families safer and more connected in their everyday lives. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.

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