Do you want the security of knowing your pet’s whereabouts at all times? A tracking collar will finally offer you peace of mind. Whether you choose to use a GPS or an RF tracker, this innovative technology can be a life-saver for your pet.
Types of Tracking Collars Technologies
There are currently two types of technologies used for tracking collars: Global Positioning System, or GPS, and Radio Frequency, or RF.
GPS tracking collars use local positioning satellites to pinpoint the exact location of your pet. They communicate the information to a receiver—either to a cell phone via text message, or to a handheld receiver via simple radio frequency.
The plus to using a GPS collar is that you can often view the specific position in real time, making it much easier to find your pet.
The biggest issue with using this technology is that smaller dogs and cats will find it difficult to carry the electronic device because it tends to be a bit heavy. For larger breeds, this won’t be a problem. Another small drawback is for devices that transmit data via cell phone network because it costs a monthly fee to use. But with the increased number of people with unlimited messaging plans, this fee may be less of a concern. Finally, because it relies upon satellites, it won’t work well in heavily-wooded areas.
An advantage of the RF systems is that they don’t rely on satellites, which makes them more dependable in heavily-wooded areas. RF systems often have a lower cost because of the lack of monthly fees typical of GPS systems. They come in primarily two types of technology arrangements. Long range systems are typically used for hunting dogs, as they can locate pets several miles away. The only downsides are that they have large power requirements; therefore, are better suited for larger dogs capable of carrying the heavy device.
Short range RF systems are a much more realistic option for smaller dogs and cats due to their low power requirements. These tracking collars only need a small battery for operation. The lighter weight allows small pets to carry them easily, but it also makes the area of operation much more limited (only a few hundred feet) than that of a long range or GPS collar. Luckily, most small breed dogs’ and cats’ range is usually within this limitation.
The greatest downside to all RF collars is that they cannot provide data on the exact location of your pet like a GPS system can, and can only render directional information, but as long as whichever tracking collar you choose accommodates your pet’s needs, there is no wrong decision.
How to Choose the Right Tracking Collar
While tracking collars can be a great device to help you locate your pets, you need to determine which of the many types are best suited for your cat or dog for it to be most effective in your lifestyle.
- What features are necessary for your device? Some only come with the basic location, while others can provide directional data as well as the speed and distance traveled by the animal. It’s important to determine what the necessities are for your tracking device prior to shopping to avoid getting overwhelmed.
- How much money you are willing to invest in this purchase? RF collars typically range from $50 to $200, and GPS systems can range from $100 to $1,000. These prices are contingent upon not only quality, but also the features that come with it.
- What size will best suit your pet? The majority of GPS collars work well for dogs in the 40+ lb range. If you have a cat or a small dog, RF systems would offer a more lightweight collar that pets of this size could carry comfortably.
- Do you live in a rural or urban area? With rural areas, you run the risk of your dog being in a heavily-wooded environment in which a GPS system will not work well, and an RF collar would be a better option.
- How will you receive information? Some GPS systems communicate data via cell phone, which costs a monthly fee. If this is a problem, make sure to purchase a unit that sends the information to a handheld device.
- Does the unit have either a replaceable or rechargeable battery? Avoid buying a device that you have to repurchase when the power runs out.
- How durable is the device? Make sure what you purchase is waterproof and sturdy enough to handle your pet’s routine. If these are not applicable to a certain model, do not purchase it.
- Is the system user-friendly? Make sure whatever device you choose can be easily operated, and sometimes this means the fewer buttons, the better. If you can’t handle many instructions or this is your first time purchasing a tracking device, opt for a more basic tracking collar that is easier to manage.
- Do you have access to a customer support line? It is important that there is a toll-free number available for questions and concerns regarding your device and locating your pet, preferably a number that is monitored 24/7.
- Have you thoroughly researched the device you are planning to purchase? Make sure to read consumer reviews about the unit’s effectiveness, durability, support staff, etc. prior to buying the item.
By answering the above questions, you can get a better idea of what model to choose for your tracking collar to insure satisfaction in all areas.
The Best Brands on the Market
One well-known brand of GPS technology that always proves reliable is Garmin. Often referred to as “the industry standard”, Garmin has shown to be capable of many GPS systems, from watches to tracking collars. The Garmin Alpha GPS Training and Tracking Collar Combo has received top ratings for pet tracking devices, especially for hunting dogs due to its training capabilities. This collar allows you to view where your pets are located, and what they are doing. As a preventative measure, the “geo-fencing” feature alerts you if your pet is about to cross customized boundaries. The handheld allows you to see your pet’s speed, distance, and direction, and the location is updated as often as every 2.5 seconds. Plus, you can view a trail of previous locations on the map page. This collar allows security for any pet owner who wants to be able to let their pets roam worry-free.
The Garmin Astro DC-40 is another top product from this brand. It provides an exact position, your pet’s distance from you, direction traveling, and what they are doing: treeing, pointing, running, or sitting. This model has been adapted from the previous DC-30 and DC-20 devices so that it can withstand even the most grueling field conditions. It’s is perfect for anyone who wants an easy-to-use good quality tracking device.
The Loc8tor brand is another big name in the tracking industry, known mostly for short range RF collars. Loc8ter Pet is one of the better known tracking devices for smaller animals and has a range of up to 400 feet. The tracker provides directional information and works through doors and walls. This product has some of the smallest tags in the pet tracking market due to the patented aerial technology, and the pack comes with water resistant cases to keep the tags safe. This collar is ideal for cats and small dog breeds due to its light weight.
While these are only two great pet tracking brands, both Garmin and Loc8tor are outstanding from so many angles that it is nearly impossible to go wrong with their products.
Having a clear conscience when it comes to your pets has never been easier. Tracking collars now give you the comfort in knowing your pet is safe at all times, so why not take the first step to full assurance by purchasing a pet tracking device?