Cover photo courtesy of Tractive
If you have ever lost a pet, you know the heart wrenching feeling that doesn’t go away until you track them down. These days, you don’t have to go door-to-door or put up signs in the neighborhood. To keep your pet safe and secure, even if they get lost, you need to buy a GPS collar. Even after you make that decision, there is a lot more you need to know.
GPS Trackers employ the most recent tech to zero in on your pet’s location in real time. This can be useful, even if your pet isn’t lost. By reviewing the history, you can find out every place your pet has been in your absence. In fact, they can be invaluable training tools. For example, some GPS trackers alert you if your pet wanders out of a certain area (geo-fence), like your yard. This kind of interactive usage of GPS requires cellular data connections and towers for real-time use.
These collars use GPS technology to help you track and find your lost pet. Newer GPS collars use A-GPS (assisted or advanced), which improves the time it takes to find your pet once the unit is turned on. Regular GPS collars use satellites that take about 30 seconds to transmit and receive signals indicating your little one’s location. However, in urban areas with little open sky or bad weather, the lag goes up to 12 minutes. A-GPS also uses networks to help lock in the signal. In bad conditions, the transmission lag is under three minutes, a dramatic advantage when moments are precious.
A-GPS will find a pet that is indoors, even without a clear view of the sky. Regular GPS won’t. One factor to consider for A-GPS is that it’s restricted to areas with cell phone reception, due to the network’s tracking software and signal.
WAAS-GPS, or Wide Area Augmentation System GPS, is more accurate than regular GPS and can pinpoint a pet within a 10-foot radius. Meanwhile, regular GPS is accurate within 30 feet. However, WAAS-GPS’s accuracy comes at a cost. Its’s slower than GPS or A-GPS.
Now that you understand the technology, let’s look at five top brands, based on consumer and expert rankings.
…works in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and can be ordered at www.thepawtracker.com. This is a great product. However, order directly from the manufacturer to receive the SIM card, tracking service and technical support. The Paw Tracker finds your pet via GPS satellites then utilizes cellular SMS to relay location data to the company’s servers. This U.S.-based company has good customer support that usually responds within a couple of hours to non-emergency questions.
The Paw Tracker has a very cute design that comes in three colors, which is very appealing to fashion-forward pet owners. The Application Download works for iOS and Android tech. This is the lightest GPS tracker, making it the best choice for cat owners. It comes with an activated SIM card already activated so you can use it with your current cellular plan. Here are the highlights.
This 33-gram collar costs $99.95, with a monthly subscription of 6.95-$9.95. The battery life varies from two to ten days.
…is a lightweight GPS tracker and activity monitor for both dogs and cats. It attaches to any size collar. You can use it on demand to see want adventures you pet gets up to by tracking their activity via your smartphone of computer. This 28-gram tracker costs $197.94, but that includes 1 year of service, and the annual subscription is just $49.99 per year after that. The battery last two to five days.
is designed for comfort and fashion. You can track a lost dog, monitor their activity, and even log vet information. The LINK AKC app helps you become more involved in your dog’s life. It can even send you ambient temperature readings. It’s a great way to connect to your animal from the office or while running errands. This smart collar comes with a lot of accessories, including a Latigo leather collar and carrying case.
This tracker weighs 150 grams and costs $179.99, with a monthly subscription of $9.95. Its battery lasts one to three days.
…device for pets also lets you check your pet’s whereabouts on demand using an iOS or Android app to retrieve your furry pal’s GPS coordinates. Whenever you are thinking about your pet, you can ease your mind by checking in on them with a smartphone or tablet. This transmitter weighs 35 grams and is recommended for animals over ten pounds. It costs $129.99 with a monthly subscription of 9.95, and a battery life of two to four days.
…is a durable, water-resistant tracking device suitable for active dogs. It’s attractively styled and utilizes a browser-based application for tracking. This means you can access data any time via an internet connection on your phone, tablet or computer. Check up on your four-legger using Google maps. Its innovative “safe zones” allow you to define safe zones. If your dog leaves these areas, you receive a text or email alert. This device attaches to most collars, so it’s very flexible to use.
This 43-gram tracker costs $99.99, with a monthly subscription of $9.95. The battery lasts one to four days.
Whichever collar you pick, you will feel much more at ease knowing you can find your dog or cat if they become lost. Some GPS trackers make great training tools and help you keep tabs on your buddy. In some ways, investing in a GPS tracker is as important for your well-being as it is for theirs.