GPS Pet Tracking Devices Versus Microchips: Which Tracks Pets Better?

For many pet owners, we don’t just treat our pets as domesticated animals; they are already beloved members of our family. And for that, we often give to them the same care that we give to our own children. We want to make sure they’re healthy, comfortable, and safe all the time. If they have any health concerns, we take them to their veterinarians. But in case they go missing, what do we do then? Who do we run to?

Pets going missing is so much more common than you’d think. In fact, the American Humane Association has estimated in a report that nearly 10 million cats and dogs are lost or stolen in the country each year. And according to the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, less than 23 percent of those lost pets ever get the chance to be reunited with their human owners. Majority of those pets end up as strays or in animal shelters, where they’d have a likelihood of being euthanized if they’re not adopted after some time. In addition, the AHA also reports that 1 out of 3 pets will be lost at one point in their lifetimes. As a pet owner, you’d want to prevent this from happening. But what are the things you can do?

Ways to Prevent Lost Pets

  1. Put a collar and an ID tag on your pet, which he should wear all the time. The tag should include your name and up-to-date contact numbers. In case your pet ends up lost, the person who finds him will see the tag and will know from it right away that he has an owner and will then likely get in touch with you.

  1. Have your pet spayed or neutered. According to studies, animals who have been sterilized are less prone to wander, and thus, they’re less likely to get lost.

  1. When you’re out and about with your pet, always make sure they’re secure and safe. For their mental and physical well-being, it is important that you take them for their daily walks, but be sure to always keep them on a leash. Also, keep them close to you at all times and away from vehicular traffic.

  1. When you have to leave them alone for a while, make sure they are fully comfortable. Don’t leave them leashed outside an establishment or locked up in a car, especially if it’s a very hot day as they can get heat stroke this way.

  1. Invest in tracking devices like GPS pet trackers or microchips. These devices make it possible for you to track your pets or have them be traced back to you. But which of them is the better tracking device?

GPS Pet Trackers Versus Microchips

When it comes to GPS pet trackers and microchips, how do you know which one is the best for your pet? Or which one is more effective? Let’s break down what each of them are and how they work so we’ll know.

All About GPS Pet Trackers

GPS pet trackers are so named because they are capable of tracking your pets and they work because of GPS technology. GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and at the center of this type of technology are satellites that circle the Earth and transmit radio signals, which are then received by the GPS pet tracker. These signals enable you to monitor your pet’s location in real time. Such is the basic function of the GPS pet tracker, but they can also do so much more than that. Based on the specific brand and model you get, trackers have various sets of specifications, but the most common are the following:

  • Real-time tracking – This enables you to get accurate location updates of your pet live or as it happens. This means, that if any moment your pet ventures outside to your backyard, his present location will also instantly reflect on the corresponding monitoring app or website.
  • Geofencing – This is a special feature that allows you to customize the device and set up safety zones for your pet. For instance, a certain safety zone would be within the boundaries of your house and your backyard. If, at any moment, your pet goes beyond those geographical boundaries (that is, he wanders out onto the street or to your neighbor’s house), then you are instantly alerted. 
  • SOS button – In the event that your pet ends up being lost, the person who finds him will hopefully find the device and use the SOS button to send out a call for help to you. This will alert you to the emergency as well as the present location of your pet. 
  • Audio monitoring – This will be helpful for when you want to listen in to your pet’s immediate environment so you can find out what he is doing and what is happening around him. Such sounds will help clue you in as to where he is. 
  • GPS, GSM, Bluetooth, and WiFi connections – Not all GPS devices will have all four of these connections, but with the few that do, such as Tracki, you can expect strong, reliable connections no matter what time of day it is and no matter where you are. 
  • Long-lasting battery – Again, this would depend on the specific unit you have, but with Tracki, you can expect battery power that’s long-lasting that you can use your device for several days without needing to charge it. 
  • Vital stats monitoring – A tracker can not only monitor your pet’s location but it can also check his vital stats, like his temperature or heart rate. It can also check his physical activity, such as when he has been actively running around or barking. This feature will be helpful in case your pet is lost because it will clue you in as to his physical condition even if you are apart from him. 

All About Microchips 

In comparison to GPS pet trackers, microchips do not rely on GPS technology. Instead, it relies on radio frequencies, and it is for this reason that they are called Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID). Unlike a tracker that is normally worn by the pet on his collar, a microchip is implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin, usually under the shoulder.  Each chip contains a unique serial number that is specifically assigned to your pet in order to identify him. In the event that your pet gets lost, he is usually taken to a veterinary clinic or an animal shelter, where the first thing they do will be to scan him for microchips to check if he has an owner. The information on the chip and the registry will be linked to your contact details, so they can contact you right away once they are able to scan your pet.

You should note, however, microchips don’t have much function other than to serve as an identification for your pet and as a way for other people to contact you as his owner. Also, it’s up to you to make sure you renew your pet’s registration in the database regularly and keep his information as well as your contact details updated. 

The Verdict

When you consider what both devices can do, it’s obvious that GPS pet trackers are the more reliable and versatile option when it comes to tracking your pets. While microchipping is useful for identifying your pet, the technology itself is not self-powered. It also doesn’t allow for real-time tracking of your pet. Your lost pet would need to be taken by someone to a professional for scanning before you can get any idea of where he is. 

A GPS pet tracker, on the other hand, can allow you to know the exact geographical location of your pet within just seconds of you noticing his absence. Thus, you’ll be be quicker in recovering him. And we all know that when it comes to a missing pet, time is of the essence. The longer the time period of his being lost, the greater his chances of being injured or harmed. Also, there are more things that you can do with your tracker other than just using it to locate your pet. It can also help you identify right away if your pet is feeling ill or is in poor condition. Aside from that, it can alert you as to his physical activity even if he is not within your line of sight. 

Ultimately, both devices are good for what they are created to do—microchips for identifying your pet and GPS trackers for monitoring his location. So our suggestion is this: why not get both? Your tracker will be useful for locating your pet quickly, and the microchip will serve as a backup device just in case. When it comes to the safety and security of your pet, you can never be too sure. 

If you are on the lookout for the best GPS pet tracker in the market, Tracki is the device for you as it boasts the widest set of features you’ll ever find. Also, it has the lowest monthly service fees, so it won’t break the bank.