GPS Systems for Cats and Dogs
GPS or global positioning systems are everywhere these days. These pieces of hardware track your exact location on a portable device by sending and receiving information about your location via satellite. One of the more common uses for these devices is getting driving directions to get from point A to point B. It’s especially useful on road trips as it ‘knows’ where your car is at any given moment and can follow a route that you input into the device. Another use for these GPS systems is tracking prisoners on parole via an ankle lock with a GPS system. This allows the authorities to know exactly where a prisoner is at any given time. You may well guess how this can be related to your pet.
There are now several commercially available GPS systems that are deliberately designed to be attached to your pet’s collar or harness. Depending on the brand or model, some type of antenna is embedded onto a proprietary collar or you can attach it to your pet’s collar. Then you the owner have a receiver that tracks where your pet is on a map. This allows you to track your pet’s location at anytime. This means that if your pet is ever lost, your chances of finding him/her are exponentially increased. This is especially true if your pet is lost close to home as different devices have different signal strengths and of course different price tags.
Aside from your dog getting lost close to home, these types of devices are well appreciated by the sporting/hunting crowd. Many dog owners enjoy hunting with their hunting-dogs and during the hunt the dogs are often visually separated from their owners. These GPS devices are perfect in these cases as they locate where your dog is on a receiver.
Due to the fact that this is relatively new technology (as it applies to pets) the actual distance it can track your pet varies widely. It should also be stated that depending on how rough your dog is, the antenna part that attaches to the collar has been known to occasionally break. There are models with wireless antennas and these seem to fare better for hunting dogs that work in more heavily forested environments. Other models are capable of sending the pet’s location not to a receiver but to your cell phone. At this point in time it really pays to do your research because the technology is changing so rapidly.
It goes without saying that these GPS devices are not a substitute for other pet identification systems. Due to the fact that they are not yet 100% reliable and their range is limited, conventional identification systems are still necessary. Pet ID tags are still an absolute must and micro-chipping your pet is also highly recommended, but using these systems along with a GPS system greatly reduces the chance of losing your pet.