Letting your pets outside comes with a number of fears and anxieties. They could be hit by cars, attacked by other animals, or maybe bringing in fleas or other bugs inside. The greatest fear for many pet owners is simply if their companion gets lost. Maybe it decides to escape from the house, or has simply gotten lost outside and can’t find the way back home.
Thankfully, finding a lost pet has become much easier thanks to digital pet trackers that use smartphone and GPS technology.
Dog and cat owners can purchase special collars with GPS location chips that can be tracked on their owner’s phone. Most of these collars also have ways to track a pet’s health and activity, which makes them useful on a daily basis.
Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker and Activity Monitor
The Whistle 3 is the current version of one of the best digital pet trackers. It includes Wi-Fi hardware so that owners can get email and text notifications if their dog or cat leaves their home. It also sends alerts to the owner’s Whistle smartphone app. If your pet happens to return home on their own you can follow the pet’s location over the last 24 hours so you can see where they are going every time they leave the house.
If they leave for a long period of time, the Whistle 3 also uses GPS and connections to a cell phone network so that owners can track and find them anywhere in the US. The cellular tracking feature does require an extra subscription fee. In addition to the tracking features, the Whistle 3 also tracks a dog’s daily activity, so you can see if it is staying active enough for its age, weight and breed.
The Whistle 3 is supposed to have a battery that will last up to seven days, depending on usage and the strength of the cell and Wi-Fi networks. The battery itself can be recharged in about two hours. The tracker is designed to work on any collar up to one inch wide and is waterproof. The hardware is recommended for pets that are 8 pounds and above. The Whistle 3 is currently available at Amazon for $79.95.
Pod 2 GPS + WiFi Pet Tracker and Activity Monitor
The makers of the Pod 2 claim that its device is the smallest (0.9 inches wide) and the lightest (1 ounce) on the market for digital pet trackers. This diminutive size should allow it to be attached to any size collar. Even with its small size, the Pod 2 has Wi-Fi and cellular hardware inside, which allows dog and pet owners to find their furry friends inside their home as well as outside. The cellular service is free to access for the first year and $49 for each year afterward.
Unlike the Whistle 3, the Pod 2 can actually work outside the US in 175 countries in case you are travelling with your pet. The “Find” button on the Pod 2 smartphone app shows owners their pet’s current position on a map in real time. It can also be used to set up a “safe zone” at home, which creates a virtual fence outside the house. If a pet leaves that fence, an alert is sent out to the owner’s phone.
The Pod 2 also records your pet’s activity, and you can set daily goals for your dog or cat to achieve. The battery life for the tracker is supposed to last up to 6 days, and the rechargeable batteries themselves are designed to be interchangeable as well, so you can charge one up while having another connected to the tracker. The price for the Pod 2 is a bit more expensive, with Amazon selling it for $165.
Nuzzle Pet Activity and GPS Tracker
The Nuzzle tracker got started via a successful crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. The makers of this entry in the digital pet trackers field wanted to create a product that doesn’t charge fees for its cellular and GPS connectivity. The company also says that their technology allows users to track their pets when they get lost and find them within 10 feet of their true location.
In addition to the Nuzzle’s tracking features, it also supports the creation of virtual geo-fences so pet owners can be alerted when their dog or cat leaves home. It also has activity monitoring and even pet insurance management features via the Nuzzle app, along with ways to monitor the ambient temperature outside.
The tracker is also supposed to be waterproof, just in case your pet goes into the pool or gets caught in the rain. The Nuzzle comes with two batteries that can be recharged independently, so one is in the tracker while the other recharges. The Nuzzle’s only real weak point is that it’s pretty expensive. Amazon’s sales listings start at around $236, which may explain the “free” cellular tracking.
LINK AKC Smart Dog Collar
Unlike some of the digital pet trackers on this list, the LINK AKC is designed to look like a standard leather dog collar. Inside the collar is a tracking unit that connects to a base station when it needs to charge up its battery.
You will have to spend some extra money to get the tracking features enabled. The subscription fees for the LINK ARC are as low as $6.95 a month. It also includes access to the Pet Poison Helpline, a 24 hour animal poison control center. The tracker has a remote light and sound feature so you can see your dog in the dark, along with ways to train your pet with sound, or for sending alerts for high or low ambient temperature. The app even comes with a way to keep your veterinarian records safe, including quick access to vaccination records.
The collar comes in four different sizes (small, medium, large and extra large). The price for the LINK AKC on Amazon is currently at $169.
Tractive Motion Pet Activity Tracker
The Tractive collar add-on device is for owners of dogs and cats who don’t want or need any positional tracking features. Instead, this entry in the digital pet trackers field is all about tracking your pet’s daily activity. It’s perfect for owners who have indoor-only pets. In fact, this device can be used on any animal that weighs 2 kg or above.
The Tractive product can not only monitor the activities of your pet, the app can actually categorize his or her movements as either “lazy”, “active”, or “dynamic”. It can also alert you in case the data shows that the pet needs to be more active to remain healthy. The app lets you set a daily goal via Pet Points, which use steps, movements, playtime and more via data gathered by the Tractive sensors. It also supports unlocking achievements and even lets you compare your pet’s activity with others animals around the world.
If you have more than one pet, you can purchase more than one Tractive device and monitor all of the data at once via its smartphone app. It’s also very lightweight at about 7 grams. The price of the device is currently priced at $84 on Amazon.
Paby GPS Tracker
Paby is a relatively new entry in the digital pet tracker industry. It’s a small device that’s designed to attach to a regular collar via a durable band. It uses 3G cellular networks, along with GPS, LBS (Location Based Services) and Wi-Fi technologies to monitor a pet’s location and activity to its owners.
Like many of the devices on this list, the Paby lets owners create “virtual fences” at home. The device sends out a notification to the owner’s smartphone app when a pet breaks that fence. It also has activity tracker features to monitor a pet’s daily steps calories burned, and even their sleep patterns. The smartphone app can monitor up to 20 Paby devices at once.
The Paby comes in a variety of different and colorful art styles. The device is waterproof and also includes an LED flashing light for when owners want to walk their pet at night. The device comes with 30 days of free cellular service, and after that, owners can sign up for the optional service which starts at $7.99 for one month, up to 12 months of service that’s discounted down to $4.99 a month. The Paby is available now for for $79.99.