More and more, pet owners are turning to GPS tracking devices to keep their furry friends safe in the event they wander away from their home.
One such dog, a stray named Lightning who was living in the woods of New Hampshire, was rescued with the help of GPS tracking technology. He was not fond of humans and would bolt whenever those attempting to capture him would get close. He spent a year on the loose.
When rescuers did capture Lightning, they placed a GPS tracking collar on him so that his new owner, Linda Copson of Sugar Hill, can track him down in the event he goes missing on her 13 acre property.
How They Work
Each GPS tracking tool works a bit differently, but the principles are the same. It relies on GPS satellites to obtain the exact GPS location of the animal which is visible online via the GPS tracking site, and some have smartphone apps associated with them to search on the go.
You can set up a geo-fence, a predetermined area the animal is allowed to roam, and receive an alert via email or text message when the animal leaves this area. Most allow you to customize how often the system pings the GPS device as well.
You can usually track the life left in the battery, as well as see the path the animal travels on any given day.
Tracking Pets: Becoming More Common
Just how many are relying on this important tool? Bob Vetere, president of the American Pets Products Association, said that although the data is not yet available as to the sales of GPS monitoring tools for pets, electronics sales related to pets in general is a $56 billion industry. He expects these numbers to climb over time.
He said, “We are helicopter parents and we hover over our kids all the time and now we are hovering over our dogs and cats.”
Chips vs. GPS Trackers
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates 7 million pets are brought to animal shelters each year, a small percentage of which have microchips implanted or tags that identify the pet and its owners. The shelters and veterinarians offices can scan the chips to obtain this ownership information.
However, the chips cannot be used to determine a pet’s specific location. The tracking systems help the pet owners before the animal is turned in to the shelters, reuniting them sooner.
Copson is allowing Lightning out on a leash for now, as he is still adjusting to life with an owner. When an animal lives on its own for so long, it can become leery of any human contact. When the time comes for him to roam free on her property, the GPS tracking collar she relies on will become crucial to his safety. She said, “It’s all about having peace of mind.”