- What Is A Pet Tracker?
- How Do Pet Trackers Work?
- Are There Different Types Of Pet Trackers?
- What Is The Average Range Of A Pet Tracker?
- How Accurate Are Pet Trackers?
- Do I Need Cell Coverage For My Pet Tracker To Work?
- Do Pet Trackers Monitor My Pet’s Activity & Health?
- Do Pet Trackers Work In Remote Areas?
- What Is Geofencing?
- How Is A Pet Tracker Different From A Microchip?
- Do I Have To Buy A New Collar For My Pet Tracker?
- Can I Attach A Pet Tracker To Any Collar?
- Can I Use My Pet Tracker On More Than One Pet?
- How Often Do I Need To Recharge My Pet Tracker?
- Are Pet Trackers Waterproof?
- Are Pet Trackers Resistant To Impact?
- Can Small Dogs Wear Pet Trackers?
- Can Cats Wear Pet Trackers?
- Are Pet Trackers Safe To Use?
- Are Pet Trackers Reliable?
- Do Pet Trackers Provide Location Information In Real Time?
- Do Pet Trackers Work Indoors?
- Can Someone Else Access My Pet’s Location Information?
- Can Multiple Pet Trackers Interfere With One Another?
- What Happens If A Pet Tracker’s Battery Dies?
? 1. What Is A Pet Tracker?
A pet tracker is a device that keeps track of a pet’s location round the clock and reports location information to the pet guardian. It may consist of multiple elements, but all pet trackers include a tracking unit that is attached to the pet’s collar or harness. The tracking unit may use GPS, radio signals or Bluetooth to determine the pet’s location.
In essence, a pet tracker is a device worn by the pet that allows the guardian to always know where the pet is. It provides notifications when the pet’s movement indicates that he or she may get lost, allowing the pet guardian to easily prevent such an unfortunate occurrence.
? 2. How Do Pet Trackers Work?
All pet trackers use at least 2 types of technology. They use positioning technology to determine the pet’s location and employ communication technology to make the location information available to the pet guardian.
Placed on the pet’s collar or harness, the tracking unit follows the pet wherever he or she may go and constantly checks his or her current location. It may communicate with GPS satellites or use Bluetooth or radio signals to determine the location.
In most cases, the obtained location information is sent to the pet guardian’s smartphone and made available in a dedicated app. Some pet trackers (e.g. radio frequency pet trackers) do not communicate with smartphones but instead come with a handheld locator particularly designed for the purpose of making location information available to the pet guardian.
The guardian can check the pet’s location at any time, using the dedicated smartphone app or the handheld locator. However, constant monitoring on the part of the guardian is not necessary. Pet trackers are designed to provide notifications in case the pet wanders off, thus letting the guardian know that it is time to start searching for the pet using the provided location information.
? 3. Are There Different Types Of Pet Trackers?
Pet trackers are categorized into 3 basic types based on the kind of technology they use for tracking. The 3 types include GPS pet trackers, radio frequency pet trackers, and Bluetooth pet trackers.
GPS pet trackers use GPS technology to determine the pet’s location and they are divided into 2 sub-categories based on the technology they use to make location information available to the pet guardian. The first subcategory includes cellular GPS pet trackers, which use cellular technology to transfer location information to the guardian’s smartphone. The second category includes mixed or multi-tech pet trackers, which usually use proprietary technologies for data transfer and do not rely on cellular technologies.
Radio frequency pet trackers normally consist of a tracking unit and a handheld locator, which communicate via radio signals.
Bluetooth pet trackers rely on Bluetooth technology for tracking and communication.
? 4. What Is The Average Range Of A Pet Tracker?
Different types of pet trackers have different communication ranges. Cellular GPS pet trackers do not have a limited range; they can work over any distance within cellular coverage. With mixed GPS pet trackers, the average range is about 3 miles. Radio frequency pet trackers have a smaller range, usually between 400 feet and 2 miles. Finally, Bluetooth pet trackers have the smallest range, normally ranging from under 30 feet to about 100 feet.
? 5. How Accurate Are Pet Trackers?
Pet trackers vastly differ in terms of accuracy. Their accuracy greatly depends on the technologies used for tracking. Bluetooth and radio frequency pet trackers can be accurate within inches. With GPS trackers, however, accuracy normally ranges between 10 and 90 feet, with an average accuracy of 25 feet.
? 6. Do I Need Cell Coverage For My Pet Tracker To Work?
If you opt for a cellular GPS pet tracker, you need cell coverage in order for the tracker to work. If you opt for a pet tracker that does not rely on cellular technology (e.g. a mixed GPS, radio frequency or Bluetooth pet tracker), you do not need cell coverage and you can use the tracker wherever you go.
? 7. Do Pet Trackers Monitor My Pet’s Activity & Health?
Activity and health monitoring are not essential features of a pet tracker. That being said, some of the best pet trackers on the market do possess these features. They may provide custom activity recommendations based on the pet’s breed, age, and weight, allow you to set activity goals and know exactly how much time your pet spent resting, walking or playing, and even discriminate between different levels of activity. They may provide activity notifications and allow you to keep vet records in the dedicated app.
? 8. Do Pet Trackers Work In Remote Areas?
Cellular GPS pet trackers generally do not work in the most remote areas, as their coverage and range are dictated by cellular coverage. In other words, they can only work if a cellular network is available.
On the other hand, non-cellular pet trackers like mixed GPS pet trackers, Bluetooth pet trackers, and radio frequency pet trackers can work anywhere on the globe, even in the most remote areas, but they cannot work over any distance.
? 9. What Is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a method of creating a virtual geographic boundary. In the case of pet trackers, the boundary is usually set using GPS technology. Geofencing is mostly used to define the safe zone for your pet, that is, the area within which your pet can freely walk and play, without getting lost or hurt.
The safe zone may be automatically set, usually around your home and/or your smartphone. Some pet trackers allow you to custom-define one or multiple safe zones and define the size, shape, and location of the zone. A smaller number of pet trackers do not only use geofencing to define safe zones but also allow for the creation of danger zones, which your pet should not enter.
Notifications are sent when the pet leaves or enters the safe zone or enters the danger zone in order to allow the pet guardian to react promptly.
? 10. How Is A Pet Tracker Different From A Microchip?
A pet tracker is a device designed to allow the pet guardian to keep track of the pet’s whereabouts at all times. It further allows the guardian to quickly locate the pet if he or she leaves the guardian’s property or vanishes from sight.
On the other hand, a microchip is used to identify and locate the guardian of a lost pet that has been found by a third party and brought to a shelter or a vet.
In other words, while a pet tracker is used to track and locate a pet and prevent him or her from getting lost, a microchip is used to locate the guardian of a pet that has already become lost.
? 11. Do I Have To Buy A New Collar For My Pet Tracker?
Most of the time, you do not need to buy a new collar in order to use a pet tracker. Some pet trackers come with a collar included while others fit most collars. Usually, the manufacturer specifies the width of collar suitable for the pet tracker in question and describes the attachment process, thus allowing you to know beforehand whether the tracker fits your pet’s favorite collar.
? 12. Can I Attach A Pet Tracker To Any Collar?
Pet trackers are usually designed to fit most collars. Still, some collars may be too wide or thick, which is why manufacturers often provide information on the recommended collar width and depth.
However, the dimensions of the collar do not constitute the only factor that needs to be taken into consideration. It is also important to keep in mind that metal collars and collars with studs are not recommended since they may prevent the tracker from functioning properly.
? 13. Can I Use My Pet Tracker On More Than One Pet?
Usually, a single pet tracker can be used on only one pet. However, some manufacturers allow you to use the device on different pets at different times. Certain pet tracking systems consisting of multiple elements, such as base stations and handheld locators, may allow you to simply purchase additional tracking units or tags for additional pets, without investing in a whole new tracking system.
? 14. How Often Do I Need To Recharge My Pet Tracker?
A pet tracker’s battery life varies immensely across different types and brands of pet trackers. Just like with a smartphone, it also heavily depends on power use.
With GPS pet trackers, you normally need to recharge the battery every 2-10 days with minimum use. In the live tracking mode, the battery may not last more than 6 hours. However, with some of the best GPS pet trackers, it can last about 12 hours.
Radio frequency pet trackers boast a much more impressive battery life. With these trackers, the battery may last as long as 3 months on a single charge.
Bluetooth pet trackers generally use disposable instead of rechargeable batteries.
? 15. Are Pet Trackers Waterproof?
The majority of pet trackers available on the market are resistant to water. However, they differ in terms of the level of water resistance. Some can only withstand rain and occasional splashes; others are fully waterproof, allow the pet to swim while wearing the device, and may withstand submersion in water of up to 10 feet for 30 or even 60 minutes.
Transparent and trustworthy pet tracker manufacturers provide information on the device’s IP (Ingress Protection) waterproof rating along with additional details on moisture protection, thus allowing you to fully acquaint yourself with the device’s water resistance.
? 16. Are Pet Trackers Resistant To Impact?
Not all pet trackers are resistant to impact, but many of them are. When purchasing a pet tracker, be sure to check the technical specifications in order to ascertain whether the pet tracker in question is indeed shockproof. Some manufacturers may simply state that the device is durable, which is not the same as shockproof or resistant to impact.
? 17. Can Small Dogs Wear Pet Trackers?
Yes, small dogs can wear pet trackers. However, it is important to choose the pet tracker carefully since not all pet trackers are suitable for dogs of all sizes. The key factors to be taken into consideration include the weight and size of the tracking unit, the size of the collar if it is included, and the recommended pet size.
Most pet trackers are suitable for dogs weighing 8 pounds and above. Still, there are a number of pet trackers that are suitable for smaller pets, weighing 5 pounds or fewer. If the device is too heavy for the pet to wear it comfortably when attached to a collar, attaching the tracker to a harness may help avoid placing excess stress on the dog’s neck.
? 18. Can Cats Wear Pet Trackers?
Just like small dogs, cats can wear pet trackers, but only those designed with smaller pets in mind. As recommended in the case of small dogs, be sure to check the weight and size of the tracking unit and the dimensions of the collar if it is included in the package.
The most reliable way to determine whether the pet tracker in question is suitable for a cat is to check the recommended pet size. Manufacturers usually state whether the pet tracker is suitable for cats, but it is important to see whether the recommended pet size, normally expressed in pounds, corresponds to the weight of your cat.
More often than not, pet trackers are not suitable for kittens, as they are mostly designed for dogs and cats weighing 5-8 pounds or more.
? 19. Are Pet Trackers Safe To Use?
Pet trackers are completely safe to use and cannot harm your pet in any way. Although they emit radiation, like other similar devices, in order to enter the market, pet trackers need to comply with a variety of safety standards, usually the same ones that apply to devices for human use. Normally, they are FCC and CE compliant and do not cause any harm, even with prolonged use.
? 20. Are Pet Trackers Reliable?
In order for a pet tracker to be reliable, it should be highly accurate, it needs to have great coverage, communication range, and battery life, and it must provide quick location updates and instant or near-instant notifications. Unfortunately, only the best pet trackers satisfy all these criteria.
? 21. Do Pet Trackers Provide Location Information In Real Time?
Most pet trackers do not provide location information in real time. The best pet trackers update location information in seconds. With others, you may need to wait for many minutes for a location update. For efficient tracking, it is necessary for the location refresh rate to be about 60 seconds or fewer in the active tracking mode.
Thus, considering that pet trackers that allow for real-time tracking are rather rare, we recommend choosing a pet tracker that at least allows for near-real-time location tracking, with location updates arriving in seconds, not minutes.
? 22. Do Pet Trackers Work Indoors?
Bluetooth and radio frequency trackers normally work both indoors and outdoors. On the other hand, GPS tracking is not possible in an enclosed space and only works outdoors. That is why some GPS trackers use additional technologies to enable indoor tracking, such as WiFi and Bluetooth.
? 23. Can Someone Else Access My Pet’s Location Information?
Third parties can only access your pet’s location information with your explicit consent. For example, you may share access with your friends and family by sending an invite or sharing your credentials.
Strangers cannot access your pet’s location information, except in the case of certain Bluetooth pet trackers, which allow pet guardians who use the same tracker brand to exchange data among one another and thus aid fellow guardians in their search.
? 24. Can Multiple Pet Trackers Interfere With One Another?
Fortunately, with modern pet trackers, this is not an option. Nowadays, pet trackers normally come with unique IDs, which distinguish them from all other trackers. Thus, you can use pet trackers on all your pets without any fear of interference.
? 25. What Happens If A Pet Tracker’s Battery Dies?
If the battery dies, the pet tracker is no longer able to track your pet’s location. The last location update is the only information you can rely on in your search if the device’s battery is fully drained. That is why it is important to choose a pet tracker with a long battery life, preferably one that offers low battery alerts, and always recharge the battery on time.