5 Best Pet Tracking Systems - Reviews and Recommendations
Today's pet tracking systems are so sophisticated that they can find your cat, dog, farm animal or even tortoise, on your property, at your neighbor's across the street, or clear across town. An investment in one can definitely ease that sense of powerlessness and fear that can overcome you when you've lost your pet.More importantly, a tracker can help you find your pet and possibly save your pet's life. There are powerful systems that come with a hefty price tag, but there are also less expensive trackers on the market too that work pretty well; it all depends on your needs.
While the technology is changing rapidly, there are still no standouts that are clearly better than the rest in pet tracking systems. Many of the dog trackers and cat trackers available today are very good but all have some limitations. In choosing a pet tracker for your dog or cat, you will need to choose which set of features are important to you. Here are 5 pet tracking systems that have the best reputations among U.S. and Canadian customers. They are listed from highest price to lowest.
The Marco Polo Pet Monitoring System simple to set up, simple to use and system to maintain. The best feature of the Marco Polo system is that it has no monthly services fees so it can save you hundreds of dollars over your lifetime use of the product. So for this tracker the price for the tracker is all you need to invest in the system.
The Marco Polo includes a hand-held portable locator, a collar tag and charger and works like a radio frequency portable tracking unit. You can also add tags for monitoring two additional pets. The collar tags are suitable for use on medium and large pets ( recommended for 10 lbs or more but you can probably use it on large cats). It also has a very long battery life. The system range is up to 2 miles depending on terrain and obstructions so your happiness with the product will very much depend on where you live. You can select one of four safety zone settings for your pet and receive warnings in less than 80 seconds when your pet wanders. You can then set the system to tracking mode to go and find your pet. No internet or cellular access is needed so it is great for areas with spotty or no service. Many folks really like the ease of use of the Marco Polo trackers.
The Tractive GPS Pet Tracker is a device designed specifically to track your pets and it works well for smaller pets. It offer accurate real time GPS tracking (with a few minute delay) from your computer or your Android or iPhone smartphone. One interesting feature of the tracker is the Tractive Safe Zone which allows you to set an area where your pets should be, and if you pet leaves that areas, will notify you on your smartphone. Another nice feature of the Tractive is the light and beeper which can be activated to make it easier to locate your dog or cat, especially in the dark. There is an optional subscription service (currently $6.99 per month) that you can turn on and off at your convenience when you want to use their GPS service. Complaints about the system are about the short battery life of the system. It is also important that you have strong cell service to enjoy the features of this system.
While it's debatable if the Loc8tor Pet is the "ultimate" wireless pet finder, customers do like it for its ability to find pets that hang out fairly close-by when they do leave home. The pet tags are small enough to tape to a tortoise's back, but certainly for a 10 - 12 pound cat, are not too heavy to weigh his collar down, and indeed, most customers appear to be cat owners. The system comes with 2 'homing tags, a small hand held locator, and some nick-knacks for mounting and hanging your locator (Customers advise against using these.) Use for two pets, or one pet and a set of car keys! Locate your Loc8tor Pet system here. If you have a much smaller dog or cat, the exceptionally small Loc8tor may be a good option for you.
Tagg Pet GPS Plus is a pet locator and an activity tracker and air temperature sensor, which helps you monitor your pet's health. The locator functions with GPS technology and works with any phone or computer with SMS capability, as it messages you by email or text and then enables you to find your pet on a map. Free apps are available for Android and iPhones even give you driving directions, but the tracking service is not free; it's about $8.00 a month, and you cannot use the system without paying that service fee.
Pet owners define the areas where their pets are 'supposed' to be, and whenever they leave that vicinity, they are alerted. Be alerted too to the fact that tracking is static, not continuous, like the Garmin or RoamEO systems. So you will need to keep asking it to track to get more recent information.
The collar attachments are lightweight but too large for pets under 10 pounds. The Tagg Pet GPS Plus Pet Tracker is available here.
The Petforu Pet GPS/GSM Tracker Real Time Locator is a locator for tracking and finding your pets in real time. It has a really long lasting battery good for 240 hours (that's 10 days!) once it is fully charged. It's takes a bit of work to set it up properly but once that is done, the Locator seems to work well. You just download an app, get a SIM card like one of these as one is not included with the device, then configure the app for the SIM card you have. Reviews of the product suggest that the device is a bit big so it is more suitable for larger pets.
In Britain, one of the favorites is the Retrieva GPS Pet Tracker, but I have not found it available in the U.S.
Popular Item Finders Not Suitable As Pet Locators
A number of readers have asked if the Tile Item Finder would be a good tracker for pets. I don't recommend it. It only works for a range of about 150 feet. That's not enough of a range to really find your pet if it gets lost outside of a very small range. It's definitely better than nothing and if you already have the Tile, it makes sense to add one to your pets collar but it's not reliable enough for me to recommend it.
Others have asked about XY Find It. This device does not provide real time data. Rather, it just reminds you of the last time they had a reading It's great for finding things lost around you but not reliable or really that useful for finding a lost pet.
Some of these small tracking devices can definitely help you find your pet, especially if you are constantly looking for your pet indoors. But they really don't have the features that make them suitable for locating a missing pet reliably. Luckily, a number of companies have products in the works. But for now, the ones I listed above are the ones that are most worthy of consideration.Hopefully with one of these helpful devices, you will never lose your pet....even for a few minutes.
That's the buzz for today!
Originally published in October 2014 and last updated July 2015.