A Review of GPS Pet Tracking Systems

by Joe Mueller on August 13, 2009

GPS tracking is getting small, and the smaller it gets the more uses we are thinking up. One of the more recent uses is GPS pet tracking. This works just like you might expect. The first think you do is you attach a GPS tracking device to your pet, with the most popular place for this being the collar of your animal. This is not the only place that a device could be attached, but it is definitely the most popular. Then, when your pet wanders off to an unknown location you simply go to your GPS tracking software and find out exactly where they are at.

Some GPS pet tracking devices make use of cell phone technology to transmit the location information from the dogs collar while other devices use radio signals. Each of these systems have their positives and negatives. For example, a device that uses cell phone modems will end up having a monthly subscription fee so that they can make use of the cell phone towers to transmit the information. It also means that your pet has to be within the reach of a cell signal for you to get information about where they are. The positive of this system are that the tracking can occur irregardless of your proximity to your pet. You could be in Paris, France and still know exactly where you pet is in Wasilla, Alaska as long as they have a cell signal.

For radio transmission models, the downsides include a higher purchase prices and a limited area of operation. Most models only let you track your dog up to a mile from your current location since this is the limit to the radio transmitter found inside the device attached to your dog’s collar. These pet GPS tracking systems do have a lot of upside too. The first is that they don’t cost a thing to operate. Once you purchase the device you won’t have to pony up any more cash for a monthly service fee. Another benefit is that you they can be used anywhere in the world as long as you are within range of your pet. Hunting in a remote area without access to a computer or a cell phone signal? Out camping with your pet in the wilderness? Exploring Antarctica? Then a radio transmission GPS pet tracking device is what you will want to take along.

Here is a short list of some of the available GPS pet tracking devices:

RoamEO GPS Pet Location System

The RoamEO GPS pet location system is a high quality tracking device that works on the radio transmission model mentioned above. It uses the MURS band at 154.60 MHz and has a functioning radius of approximately 1 mile. It also supports simultaneous tracking of up to three pets, making it great for hunters with a pack of dogs or a group of hunters moving together. It also works well for a family who wants to keep tabs on the family pets while they are out on an extended camping trip or who call the wilderness their home.

The LCD color screen is bright and easy to read in the sunlight. On the screen you will see your pet’s exact location along with their current movements and their current speed. If they are racing off the edge of the screen you know that your dog is getting close to being over a mile away and you better get going on find them. You can get all of the following on your LCD screen: your location, your pet’s location, distance in feet between you and your pet, your pet’s velocity in MPH, direction your pet is heading, a general compass to get your bearings, the location of your GeoFence if you have set one up, the battery remaining in the collars, battery life of the handheld unit, GPS signal strength, radio signal strength, and zoom scale.

The GeoFence feature allows you to set a GPS based “fence” for your pet. If they leave this defined boundary you will receive an audible alert so that you can go to the device and find out where your pet has wandered off to. This can be a real time saver for those that are going to be doing other things while they let their pets roam free.

If you like forest walks but your pet is often distracted by the random scent here and there and goes flying off into the wilderness then this pet tracker will probably be a good fit.

Garmin Astro GPS Dog Tracking System


The Garmin Astro GPS pet tracking system is very similar to the RoamEO device. It too transmits the position information of the dog via radio signals, but this time it is via VHF. The system includes a bright LCD screen and a tracking device called the DC 20. You keep the handheld LCD screen and your dog gets the DC 20. All you need to do to get the ball rolling with this system is to get it outdoors, turn it on, and attach the DC 20 to your dog’s collar or strap it on using a neoprene harness over its shoulders. Then you can just sit back and watch the tracking commence.

If you wanted, you could be updated with your dog’s position every 5 seconds with this GPS pet tracking device. This information will be breadcrumbed on your screen, giving you an electronic trail that your dog has taken. You can also switch to another view – the Dog Tracker page – where you will get an update on your dog’s current status. A dog’s status can be whether or not they are running, sitting, on point, or treeing a quarry. Great information for a hunter.

The Astro has an astonishing range of five miles (depending on terrain) and comes with a powerful GPS receiver that is capable of getting a satellite fix in the densest cover. You can also track up to 10 dogs at one time, making it much superior to the RoamEO even though it is being offered at a significantly lower price.

Also, since the Astro is a Garmin it has some of the best maps int he business and features some of the other features that one of their outdoor hiking GPS devices might have. It has a barometric altimeter, celestial information, a waterproof exterior, a microSD card slot of loading and downloading information, an area calculator, and a 3-axis compass. You can even get detailed city street maps and turn-by-turn directions making it the only GPS you will need when making a hunting trip.

Zoombak GPS Dog Locator

The Zoombak GPS Dog Tracker is essentially the exact same device that Zoombak sells as a personal locator and teen tracking device. As such, it uses cell phone technology to transmit GPS coordinates to the Zoombak servers where they make it available to their users in a variety of different formats (text message, email, Website). Unlike the previous two models, you always need to have access to the Internet to find your dog and your dog must always have access to a cell phone signal in order to be tracked.

The Zoombak also has a battery life of 5 days when on standby mode (when it is not transmitting any data) or it can send 150 locations. Most people will probably get somewhere less than 5 days and less then 150 location requests because no one immediately asks for 150 location requests as soon as they put fresh batteries inside their dog GPS.

The Zoombak is not for hunters or other outdoorsmen but is instead for more urban and suburban use. If your dog escapes your yard and is out on the lamb then this is the pet GPS tracking device that you probably want to use. It will enable you to find out where your pet is in reasonable amount of time, helping you recover your pet and avoid an unnecessary animal death.

GPS Pet Tracking Systems In Review

The main thing you need to decide when making a GPS pet tracking system purchase is what type of device you want, one that uses cell phone towers or one that uses radio signals to transmit information. The former is used mainly for lost animal recovery while the later is best suited for hunter, hikers, and adventurers who want to keep an eye on their pets. Once you have decided which one you want, finding a pet GPS tracking system that works for you is a piece of cake.

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