GPS Pet-Tracking Devices

Keeping track of things like your car keys and wallet are hard enough, but what about when the object you're looking for is your lost four-legged friend?

Consumer Reports just tested three GPS devices to see how well they can track pets that wander off.

Jessie Nell runs a pet-sitting and grooming business. She also has pets of her own and says it's not uncommon for a dog to run off.

Nell says, "I get a real sick feeling in my stomach, but the best things to do is just to breathe and not to panic."

Consumer Reports tested three GPS tracking devices to see if they could help find a runaway pet-the RoamEO for $200, the $170 Garmin GTU 10, and the Tagg Pet Tracker for $100.

With the Garmin and Tagg you create virtual boundaries online, or what's called "geofences." Then you can use your smart phone to keep tabs on your pet's location. The RoamEO uses a radio handset.

Bernie Deitrick of Consumer Reports says, "To test these I had another engineer carry them around outside, and I tried to locate them."

The good news-no engineer was lost. But testers did find pros and cons with each.

The RoamEO's handset made it very easy to track. The cons...

Deitrick says, "It had limited range-terrain and buildings could affect that-and it only had 24 hours of battery life."

Tracking with the Tagg was quick and easy, but its minimum virtual boundary is about four acres-much bigger than your average back yard.

Deitrick says, "You dog could be next door digging up the flower bed, and you'd never know it."

With the Garmin you can creat up to 10 different geofences-andy size. Location updates are quick if you use its deluxe tracking plan for an additional five dollars a month.

Deitrick says, "It's easier to track, but battery life is shorter."

But it just migh be worth it.

Both the Garmin and Tagg link to a cell-phone network to relay information.

The Garmin uses AT&T and charges fifty dollars annually after the first year.

The Tagg charges $7.95 a month after the first month to use Verizon's network, so Consumer Reports says make sure to factor in those costs if you are considering getting one of theses.

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