Need some calm details about everyday threats to your furry little companions? Dogs and cats are as prone to getting fat as us humans, particularly older pets. PetMD says 17.6 per cent of US dogs (13.9 million) are obese, and 35.1 per cent (29.9 million) are overweight. And according to the American Humane Association, more than 10 million pets—cats and dogs—go missing every year, either lost or stolen.
Those numbers are perturbing, especially when you consider exactly how much happiness our fluffy friends bring into our lives. We should keep them happy, healthy, and safe. And keep in mind that regular trips to the vet along with some good old-fashioned TLC do wonders, technology can help play a pivotal role as well. We’ve tested a number of pet trackers and GPS collars designed to trace your pet’s activity, location, and more.
HOW PET TRACKERS CONNECT
All the trackers we’ve tried use applications for Android or iOS devices to give you a quick read on the information they collect. A few numbers of pet tracker provide a web-based interface—PetPace does, but only to veterinarians who pay extra for it. In case you’re not a smartphone user, you’re probably not going to be a tracking customer.
Base stations are now and then used to establish a line of communication between the tracker and your phone via Wi-Fi. They come in lots of shapes and sizes. The Fi and Link AKC have bases that double as battery chargers. The Whistle doesn’t need a separate base station—it has Wi-Fi built-in, so it uses your home router to create the base station.
Most pet trackers use Bluetooth for the initial setup. A few use Bluetooth exclusively. For instance, the Link AKC uses Bluetooth to talk to your smartphone and its base station/charger—as long as it’s within range of either, your pet is considered to be in a safe zone. It isn’t until your pet wanders out of range that the alerts arrive warning it might be on safari.
TRACKING YOUR PET’S ACTIVITY
The very first pet trackers were all about activity, like fitness trackers—we evaluated them as “Fitbits for pets,” and that description still largely stands.
Some have hurled themselves into the activity tracking business in a big way. PetPace, with an ethical spotlight on working with vets and dog health, is all about creating fitness reports, showing various movement levels from resting to high-activity, plus pulse and respiration. Most of the trackers calculate activity using proprietary algorithms, so pick a gadget based on the activity that’s essential to you.
FINDING YOUR PET VIA GPS
GPS location is an important reason behind getting a tracker now. Note that trackers should be used in conjunction with microchips in a pet, not as a substitute. Ninety-nine per cent (99 %) of shelters and vet clinics have scanners. It’s about as foolproof a way of being reunited with a lost pet as exists.
If you’re in an area with coverage, the tracker sends your pet’s whereabouts to its companion application. It’s not always immediately—there can be a few minutes delay while the device realizes your pet is out of the safe zone. That’s enough time for a fast pet to make a getaway, but better than not knowing at all that Fido jumped the fence.
Note that there are typically monthly or annual fees associated with GPS tracking; Perhaps the biggest issue you’ll have with these devices is battery life and charging. Some have batteries that can last a month (Fi or Whistle) or just a couple of days at best (Link AKC). Not surprisingly, location services negatively impact battery life. If a dog is on a prolonged leave without leave, talking to cell phone towers to get a GPS signal can chew through battery quickly. So, find that missing pet fast. GPS Pet Tracker is available at banggood.com at an affordable rate.
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