The facial recognition technology that's reuniting owners with their lost pets

Losing your pet can be an incredibly distressing experience, but now technology could help bring your fur baby home.

That's thanks to new facial recognition technology being administered by the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR), which is helping to reunite lost pets with their owners.

Nygllhuw Morris, NZCAR manager, has been helping reunite pets with their owners for over 10 years.

"On any given day on our database, we have up to 3500 animals listed as missing," he said.

Microchipping can increase your chances of getting your pet back, but the new software provides an additional bonus.

If your pet isn't microchipped, your chances of getting it back are only 25 to 40 percent - but if it is, that jumps to 85 percent. NZCAR says facial recognition technology bumps it up even further, to 95 percent.

All you need to do is go online and register a photo of your pet, and it goes into a database that can also be accessed by anyone who finds an animal. They too can take a photo and upload it, and the software does the rest.

"It uses this amazing technology that is algorithms that compares all these images in minutes and produces a series of matches," Mr Morris said.

For those suspicious about just how accurate it is, Mr Morris says the software can process thousands of images.

"If you have 10,000 animals it can narrow it down to half a dozen quite easily," he said.

The developers say the technology is so good, it can easily tell the difference between animals that people have trouble telling apart.

Even shaving your pet shouldn't make a difference, as the software analyses the pet's face and the position of its eyes, mouth and nose.

The Institute of Animal Management, an organisation that represents animal control officers across New Zealand, is excited for the new tech.

"The more tools we have to reunite dogs with their owners quickly and without delay is a benefit to our industry," said president Bill Kohi.

The technology doesn't replace microchipping - it's simply seen as a way of improving your chances of finding your lost pet.

Right now it's just for cats and dogs, but it's hoped eventually to include all creatures great and small.