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It’s saddening that more than 10 million pets are lost every year, and 90 percent of them end up in the shelter, some are left roaming around the streets—homeless, while some are even euthanized because the owners either have no way of finding them or didn’t make an effort to find them even through dog tracking.

But the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) conducted a research study called National Lost and Found Pets and found out that about 93 percent of the reported lost dogs in the last five years have been returned to their owners, and 15 percent of them were found thanks to the dog tracking tools that were installed or attached to the dog’s collar.

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The data above only proves that losing a dog is a likely scenario and owners need to be responsible and prepared enough in case unfortunate event like this happens. Thankfully, dog tracking technology is now available. Pet owners can now do dog tracking with microchipping and GPS tracking their pets.

Many pet owners don’t think this is a serious problem, which is probably because of their lack of awareness or misinformation about the issue. Having said that, we will provide answers to the most frequently asked questions of pet owners about the proper dog tracking and identification.

GPS vs Microchip for Dogs

We now live in the 21st century where almost everybody is using location tracking apps and identification systems. Most of us are familiar what is GPS navigation for. We have it inbuilt in our smartphones or smart wristwatch, but sometimes, we fail to notice that it’s there, that through it, almost all Web-based applications on our phone know our every move. So it’s a a little bemusing why many of us have not yet applied the same method when it comes to dog tracking.

Many have the common misconception that the microchip implanted by the vet on your pet’s skin is the same GPS microchip in the device used for locating a lost dog. In fact, the two are different. Though both are being used by pet owners to secure their dogs, each has different set of benefits and drawbacks.

A microchip is a very tiny integrated circuit, as small as a grain of rice that are embedded under the skin of the animal. It uses passive radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. It doesn’t have battery nor does it transmit signal continuously. It contains all information about the animal such as the unique ID of the chip, breed, description, vaccination schedule, owner’s name and contact details, and the vet’s contact details—but all of these can only be read by a special scanner. This means that a lost dog implanted with a microchip can only be reunited with its owner if brought to a shelter or to the proper authorities.

Microchipping Dogs

Animal Planet

GPS microchips, on the other hand, are larger devices, almost the same size as a matchbox. It has an internal battery and uses global positioning system (GPS) to transmit location information, just like how the car’s GPS system works. It doesn’t have to be inserted under a dog’s skin because it’s wearable. It can be inserted in the dog’s collar.

The GPS microchip gives out the dog’s exact location through SMS or e-mail alerts. Some modern GPS devices provide additional alert information such as extreme temperatures, health status, etc.

After reading all the information above, you are probably asking which technology is the best for dog tracking, the microchip implantation or the GPS tracking device. If you live in a country that requires microchip implantation on pets, then it’s likely that your furry friend is already microchipped. If that’s the case, then what’s left for you is to decide whether additional layer of security is needed or you’re content of what you currently have.

But if your dog has no microchip yet, then it won’t harm if you put one on your beloved dog, regardless if you want an external GPS chip for your pet. Though each works differently, both are helpful in keeping your dog safe. A combination of the two is better.

Advantages and Disadvantages


The main advantage of microchip implantation on your pet’s skin is the presence of your dog’s permanent identification. In the event that your pet is lost and then found, once it is brought to the shelter or animal clinic, the information can be extracted and you will be informed. The problems with the microchips are the following:

  • You have no means of knowing where your pet is, you will have to wait for a good Samaritan to call and inform you its location.
  • Not all animal shelters are equipped with microchip scanner.
  • There is no standardized microchip data encoding. If you travel abroad, there’s a chance that your pet’s implanted microchip is not readable in other countries.

GPS Tracking Device

GPS pet tracking device like Trackimo is small and lightweight enough to be attached to a dog’s collar. It transmits the dog’s real-time location information to any smartphone. Using a specific app, the dog’s exact location will be displayed on a map along with the direction on how to get there. As long as your pet is wearing the GPS tracking device, you can monitor its location at any given time. You can even prevent losing your dog using the device through its geo-fence feature. This function allows pet owners to set virtual fence on the map and they will be alerted once their dog enters or exits the specified area.

Like microchips, GPS devices also have disadvantages:

  • If not fastened securely around the dog’s neck, the device may fall off; or if the dog is stolen, it can be removed.
  • Battery powered—if the device runs out of battery, you won’t be able to track your dog anymore.
  • Some GPS devices only work where there is ample network coverage.
  • Expensive

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Trevor Wilson