GPS Tracking vs the Microchip
Many pet parents we talk to express a deep fear of losing their pets. Surprisingly, many of those same pet parents know very little about GPS tracking.
Isn't a microchip just as good, they ask? Not only is it not as good, it's not the same thing at all. GPS tracking actually helps you locate your lost pet before they wander too far away or get injured. A microchip is only successful after the pet is found and deposited at a local vet's office where the chip can be scanned.
With the pet wearable market expanding, pet parents have lots of options for GPS tracking to help locate lost cats and dogs. So, with that in mind, how do you choose the best pet GPS tracking device for your furry pals? Here are a few factors to keep in mind and why they're important.
Key Factors for GPS Tracking Devices
How does a particular GPS pet tracking device work? How are you able to see your pet's location? The best wearables work hand in hand with the device and a mobile app, enabling you to see where your little runner is currently AND where they are heading.
Another important factor to consider is whether the app uses a WiFi or Bluetooth to track animals. If the tracker ONLY uses WiFi or Bluetooth, the range will be very small, only about 150 meters, which translates to the end of the driveway on most suburban houses.
Some GPS pet trackers are simply too big, bulky or heavy for smaller pets to wear comfortably. Look for something lightweight without being fragile. A smart collar for smaller animals should be no heavier than 2-3 ounces. Larger dogs can support more weight, but should not go above 5-6 ounces.
Most medium and large dogs have neck sizes in the 12" to 24" range. Most toy dogs and cats have neck sizes between 8" and 12" in diameter. Most GPS collars are made for larger dogs because the units can be large and bulky. Scollar smart collars are made for cats and dogs of all sizes. Mini is for toy dogs and cats and Trek is for medium and large dogs.
NOTE: When you buy a smart collar, you should always leave room to fit two fingers underneath the collar when the pet is wearing it.
When it comes to pet tech, you always have to make sure the GPS tracking device has a charge. If it doesn't, it's essentially useless. Check out the information about battery packs - do they require physical batteries or regular recharging? How long does a battery charge last? Will you have to remove the collar entirely to charge it? Scollar understands this dilemma and created a system to recharge the smart collar without removing it from the pet.
Much like celebrity chef Alton Brown says about kitchen tools, there's no reason to buy a pricey item that only does one job. Look for devices that serve multiple functions! Some newer GPS devices, like Scollar, offer monitoring of activity and health, and work with other pet devices like feeders and doors. It should have LED lighting for night visibility and a buzzer for communication. And, it should be expandable and flexible so as your dog or cat's needs change, so does the GPS tracker.
There's no doubt about it, GPS tracking technology can be expensive. It's not the sort of thing you want to lose, so attaching it to a pet that loves to roam and have adventures could make anyone nervous. GPS trackers are priced all over the map, from $80 all the way up to $1,000. Price is not always an indicator of quality, so be sure to do your research. Reviews are an essential part of choosing a good GPS tracker.
Many folks are surprised by the monthly subscription fee for GPS tracking. Be sure you understand the upfront and ongoing cost of the GPS tracking device. The best GPS trackers now use some form of LTE cellular communication, which is why there is a monthly subscription fee. These fees are generally in the $8-$10 range. Scollar's monthly LTE cost is $5.99, the lowest of all of the GPS trackers.
Ready to make a pro-con list and figure out which GPS tracking device is right for you and your furry family? These tips should help get you started!
If you have any more questions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.