Buying Guide: What to Look for When Buying a GPS Pet Tracker
With all of the variety of different products out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin when it comes to choosing a pet tracker.
As we’ve seen with the products reviewed above, it all really depends on what your priorities are, what kind of pets you have, and what kinds of activities you like to do with them.
To give you an idea of what to look for though, here are some suggestions of what the most important features to consider are when choosing a pet tracker.
GPS location tracking
We’ve focused mainly on GPS tracking devices in this article, but there are some brands out there that use radio technology to track pets.
The benefit of GPS technology is that it gives a much wider range, while a radio signal will only cover a certain area. Some devices also might use Bluetooth for tracking purposes.
On the downside, GPS technology isn’t free and tracking pets using satellites that orbit the earth can use up a lot of battery power. Overall though, it is your best bet for being able to cover a wide area.
With all the monitoring of activity that is going on today, it’s natural that this kind of concern can extend to our pets. This is especially true if they live in a city and don’t get out as much as they need to.
Some tracking devices can do both activity monitoring and GPS tracking, but many focus on one or the other. It really all depends on what is important to you and what your priorities are.
If you’re an outdoorsy person that’s just looking to keep your pet safe, a GPS monitor might do. On the other hand, if your pet needs to get a bit more exercise a device that focuses more on activity monitoring could also meet all of your needs.
Works with cats?
Not all pet trackers are designed to work with cats, as they move differently from dogs. However, some are built for both, so just check the exact specifications before you make a purchase.
Since cats do tend to roam, it’s also helpful to take this into consideration – you might be surprised to find out how far your cat really goes!
Some pet owners might keep their dogs or cats indoors most of the time apart from their daily walk on the pavement. If that is the case, there’s no real need for rugged equipment and something that slips onto their collar when you go out could be ideal.
If you’re going to be hiking or roughing it with your pets though, or you live in a more remote area, a device that can take a few knocks and get a bit wet is certainly preferable if you want to be able to keep tabs on an adventurous canine.
Software – is there an app?
The majority of pet trackers work using a mobile app, but some do have desktop-friendly application interfaces.
Regardless, most pet trackers come with an interface that allows you to track their movements and will also alert you if your pet does stray out of a predefined area. Note that you’ll need to set up this defined area yourself though.
Once again, it all really depends on how active your dog or cat is. For adventurous and independent pets, a heavy device might well be cumbersome and annoying and end up getting damaged.
Something light and weather/terrain resistant is obviously preferable, but take note that there needs to be some kind of bulk to support GPS functionality.
This is one of the most important points to consider as the amount of time you’ll need to spend charging a GPS tracker device could affect how often you’re able to use it.
If you’re going to be taking walks daily at certain times, this might not be too much of an issue. But if you’re going on extended trips into the wilderness, battery life is a real consideration.