There is very little that can ease the emotional trauma of having a pet go missing, and remain lost forever. Unfortunately, it’s a kind of pain that many people have to deal with. Fortunately, it’s largely preventable, thanks to microchip identification and a host of pet tracking devices that allow pet parents to know where their beloved furkid is at any point during the day.
The catch is that pet parents have to ensure personal details are always correct so they are reunited with an adventurous pet. It’s estimated that over 50 pets go missing per hour! That’s a lot of heartache.
The good news for pets is that microchipping makes it easier to identify lost pets and return them to their loving homes. Pet tracking devices allow pet parents to be more proactive. Instead of putting up posters and driving around your neighbourhood calling your pet’s name while you wait a shelter or veterinary clinic to call, you can see exactly where they are.
There are plenty of affordable pet tracking devices on the market.
Cats vs. dogs
Cats and dogs have different needs when it comes to wearing a permanent tracking device. Ultimately, the weight, size and shape of the tracking device will determine just how well your cat or dog adapts to wearing it. Range is also an important consideration. Your cat may need a wider ranging tracker than your dog; but that depends on how far away from home you walk your dog and where they are likely to go missing.
You also have to consider battery life, subscription fees, and additional features, which may be optional but add to the subscription cost.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best pet tracking devices currently available on the market to help you in your search for a tracker that is best suited to your needs.
One of the best trackers for cats, the Tabcat is lightweight and consists of a handset and a tab, which you attach to your cat’s collar. The handset bleeps and flashes faster as you get closer to your cat. The RFID-radio frequency identification-pinpoints your cat’s proximity within 2.cm irrespective of walls or other obstacles. However, the range is limited 122m, so you have to get pretty close for it to be effective.
You get two tags for a once-off fee and there is a button in the handset that enables you to potentially train your cat to come home whenever you beep it. It uses CR2032 lithium batteries which have a lifespan of approximately one year.
The Pod 2 pet tracker comes with a free Android or iOS app that makes it easy to find your lost pet using either Android or iOS maps. It has some great features, including the ability to set up safe zones. You get an alert whenever your pet strays beyond the safe zone. You can also track your pet’s activity level via syncing to Bluetooth.
It uses GPS, Wi-Fi, and 2G mobile networks. It’s also waterproof and small enough to be unnoticeable, unless pets are very sensitive to things dangling from their collar. You will get two batteries, which you can rotate during charging. Unfortunately, battery life is not great. In standby mode, you’ll get between 4 and 6 days’ worth of use. That dwindles to less than three days when in safe zone mode and less than 8 hours if you use the activity tracker.
Tractive, while small, may still be noticeable for small dogs, so it’s recommended for medium to large dogs. It allows you to set up a safe zone or virtual fence. You are alerted as soon as your dog wanders beyond the boundary limits. It works with iOS and Android apps, which turn the tracker into a ‘pet management tool.’ This allows you to monitor activity levels, vitals, and set reminders about important dates, like veterinary appointments. Battery life is 2 – 5 days.
Marco Polo Pet Monitoring/Tracking & Locating System
According to PetsLady, one of the biggest things in favour of the Marco Polo system is the cost. There are no monthly service fees, so after your set up costs, you are free and clear. The system consists of a handheld portable locator, collar tag and charger. There is the option to add another tag to the system. It has a 2-mile range and 4 safety ranges, so you are alerted whenever your dog goes walk about. It’s not dependent on internet or cellular service. So it offers a degree of convenience that other higher-tech devices don’t.
Loc8tor boasts that virtually every pet imaginable, including tortoises and chickens, have been successfully monitored with its wireless pet locator. The super-lightweight devices (5g) are ideal for cats and miniature dog breeds, as well as larger pets. It has a range of 400 feet, but doesn’t do well if there are obstacles in the way. The system includes 2 homing tags, 2 splash-proof cases, key ring loop and multi-language user guide. It also has an alert system to let you know when your pet has strayed beyond set boundaries.