Pet Trackers and GPS collars.

 

Losing a pet can be a very upsetting and worrying situation for any pet owner. Walking your dog is essential for their health but, sometimes, pets can run off and become lost. The reasons for this vary, but it is a common occurrence – thousands of pets either go missing, or are stolen, every year in the UK. If you have issues keeping track of your dog, or you simply want peace of mind – technology can help you out. Pet trackers and GPS collars are becoming more sophisticated and give pet owners peace of mind –  knowing where their pet is, at any given time.

How many dogs go missing, or are stolen, in the UK every year?

According to National Pet Register UK thousands of pets thousands of much-loved family pets go missing every year in the UK. This might be because they wander off and become lost, or they are spooked by something. Sadly, many are also stolen.

Why do dogs go missing and what are the risk factors?

According to the kennel club the number of dogs that go missing doubles during fireworkdog sitting, pet sitting season. Fireworks can be extremely frightening for many dogs, causing them to escape and run away.

In addition, the kennel club reports that many dogs go missing during the summer months when people are spending more time in their gardens and outdoors.

Also, dogs left unattended in the garden are more at risk of being stolen. Dogs that have not yet learned a solid recall, or other training skills, are more likely to run away and not come back. This leaves them open to becoming lost, or stolen. Pet trackers and GPS collars can minimise this risk.

What are the odds of being reunited with a lost pet?

Sky news reported that, according to police figures, just one in six pets were reunited with their owners in 2023. Figures from police reports suggest that 2,290 pets were stolen last year. Many cases were in London, Kent and West Yorkshire.

Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine and also patron of Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance  says that, current figures for missing dogs is probably underestimated. Many cases go unreported.

Pet theft.

Pet theft is considered to be low-risk, high-reward enterprise for thieves and illegal puppy traders. This is because many cases of pet theft go unpunished. preventing dog theftCampaigners, including television personalities such as Ricky Gervais and Claire Balding, have joined forces to endorse the fact that, family pets should not be considered as inanimate items.

As the law currently stands, pets are officially regarded as, ‘property’. As such, the punishment only reflects the monetary value of the pet.

Despite the fact that the Theft Act of 1968 allows a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment, in reality this never happens. Most often, pet theft results in a small fine, or the perpetrator gets away with it entirely.

However, there is a private members bill currently making its way through Parliament which would address pet theft specifically. The Pet Abduction Bill would recognise the emotional value of pets as well as the distress that pet theft causes to owners.

How do pet trackers work?

Pet trackers work with either blue tooth or GPS ( Global Positioning Systems) technology. But which is better?

Blue tooth tracking systems were originally designed for lost items around the home, such as wallets and keys. Hence, the range of blue tooth systems is only around 10 metres, which is obviously a distinct disadvantage if your pet has strayed further.

Blue tooth trackers can be useful for tracking your dog within 10 metres (or 30 feet ) on walks. However, they are not effective for finding a pet that has gone missing completely.

GPS systems work from the tracker on the pet’s collar and gives the exact location of the pet, no matter how far away they are.

Owners can track the movements of their pet using a mobile app. GPS systems have global coverage, so you can track your pet wherever they are. You could even track your pet’s movements at home, while you are on holiday abroad.

GPS trackers can also record a pet’s movements during the day, generating a bread-crumb-like path on the phone app. This is useful for cat owners keen to know where their cat goes all night.

GPS trackers come with sim/data cards which can access networks. Some trackers only work with specific phones, so check this out before buying.

In addition, bear in mind that many GPS systems involve a monthly subscription ( to access networks). Prices on subscriptions vary.

Which pet trackers do we recommend?

We definitely advise you do your own research as, products vary considerably in price and features. It is essential to consider the size/type of pet, distance range and app. features available.

We think the PitPat dog tracker represents good value for money in pet trackers. Better still, there’s no monthly subscription. In addition, the PitPat tracker has features that can monitor your dog’s activity levels, weight and calories.pet trackers and gps collars

Another market leader is the Tractive GPS dog tracker which does have a subscription fee ranging from £4 to £12 per month. In addition, this tracker has a long-life battery, meaning it only needs to be re-charged every 10 days.

It is also less bulky when fitted to a dog’s collar, than some trackers on the market, but they do come in a range of sizes – including trackers for cats.

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