As a pet owner, you will have had your pet microchipped when you purchased or adopted them. Although pet microchips can reunite you with your lost pet, they can’t actually be used to track your pet when they are lost.
You cannot GPS track your pet with a microchip. Pet microchips are used to identify your pets when scanned at a pet shelter or vet so they can be reunited with their owners. You will need to purchase an additional GPS tracking product to track your pets.
So what do dog and cat microchips do, and how can you track your pet when they are lost? For more information on pet GPS trackers and a list of options in Australia, read on!
Can I Track My Pet With Their Microchip?
No, you cannot track or follow your pet in real-time using their microchip. The main use of pet microchips is to be scanned at shelters and vet clinics. When scanned, the microchip will tell the vet that you own your pet and provide them with your contact details to return your pet to you.
A pet microchip is an inert RFID device that is implanted in your pet. That means they have a scannable biocompatible glass capsule, which contains a unique number that can be cross-checked against a database and traced back to the owner. The microchip itself does not contain your name and contact details.
The microchip is passive and will only reveal its unique number once scanned, so you don’t have to worry about security or harm to your pet. But that also means the person who finds your pet won’t be able to contact you immediately. Instead, they must report the lost pet and bring it to a vet clinic or animal shelter before it can be returned to you.
Does a Pet Microchip Have a GPS?
No, a pet microchip does not have GPS. Pet microchips only contain information that allows your pet to be returned to you when scanned by pulling up your contact details on a microchip registry. This is one of the most common misconceptions about microchipping pets.
With current technology, microchips do not have a GPS or real-time tracking function. Instead, the microchip inside your pet is passive—just waiting to be scanned. Although there are non-powered GPS, none are made biocompatible to be safely implanted in pets yet.
Microchips and GPS trackers are two separate things; if you want to physically track down your furry friend when they’re lost, you’ll need to equip them with a GPS-enabled collar or similar device. If the GPS is still correctly attached to your furry friend’s collar, then you can track it in real-time.
Once you get to where your buddy is, scanning the microchip can prove ownership if your pet was stolen. Without a GPS device, you’re more likely to be contacted if your lost pet is handed in to a vet clinic or pet shelter, where their microchip will be scanned.
Can I Track My Pet’s Microchip With an App?
No, there are no available apps that can track your pet’s microchip. However, many GPS trackers on the market come with app compatibility, so the tracker on your pet’s collar can be tracked using an app.
No current technology allows pet microchips to be tracked with an app. Only GPS devices—not microchips—can be connected to an app so that you can track your pet. However, pet microchipping is still an essential safety measure for your cat or dog, and well worth the cost of microchipping your pet.
Can I Get a Pet Microchip With a GPS?
No, there are no pet microchips with GPS available in the market right now. Even with modern technology, we still haven’t developed microchip-sized GPS systems that are safe as long-term implants for pets.
It’s currently impossible to implant a pet with a GPS tracking device with current technology because of limitations such as size, comfort, compatibility, and power. Having said that, you can simply complement your pet’s microchip with GPS tracking devices that can be attached to a collar or harness.
However, with the rate of technological advancement, we’ll likely see this type of technology developed in the future. Even if this technology doesn’t currently exist, it potentially could within the next decade.
Why Can’t Pets Get a GPS Tracking Implant?
Pets cannot get a GPS tracking implant for several reasons—such as size and comfort, compatibility, and power. Current GPS trackers aren’t small or safe enough to be implanted in pets for the duration of their life.
Let’s talk about size. Most GPS devices have plenty of hardware that can’t fit in a grain of rice, which is the size of a pet microchip. With current technology, it just won’t be comfortable to implant something with GPS-capable hardware on your pets.
Additionally, there is no biocompatible GPS hardware for pets right now. With current technology, it is just too unsafe to implant a GPS device into your pet. On the other hand, a standard pet microchip is a tiny passive implant (ie. has no battery or complex components) and is perfectly safe for your dog or cat.
Most commercially available GPS devices also require power and need to be charged. Having the necessary hardware—such as a battery pack, GPS antenna, and GSM module—will not only make a microchip with GPS big but also unsafe for your pets.
Having an external GPS tracker, like one that attaches to a pet collar, is the safest and most accessible way to track your pets currently. Although this involves purchasing an additional item, it can provide you with peace of mind if your pet does go missing.
How Can I Track My Pet’s Location?
If you want to track your pet’s location in real-time, you can rely on GPS trackers on pet collars or harnesses.
Here are some pet GPS tracking options available in Australia:
Tractive GPS Dog Tracker
Tractive offers a subscription GPS tracker with an activity monitor. Water-proof and shock-proof, this rubber-clipped device can track with an unlimited range. Tractive’s battery-operated GPS dog tracker comes with a SIM card that your subscription will activate.
It comes with an app where you can track your dog in real-time and set safe spaces so that you’ll get an alert if your dog wanders off too far. Location history and sharing are also available so that if you give your furry friend to a dog walker, you’ll know their whereabouts.
The app allows you to monitor your dog’s activities, such as their sleep and active times. You can even set goals for your pet, track their progress, or compare them with other dogs.
Battery Life: up to 7 days
Product Dimensions: 7.2 × 2.9 × 1.6 cm
Weight: 35 g
Price Range: $79 to $98 with $7/month subscription plan
Available at: Tractive (worldwide shipping from the EU), JB Hi-Fi, Amazon
NutTAG SEEK GPS Tracker
Australian-owned company NutTAG boasts of having the world’s smallest and lightest pet GPS tracker. The NutTAG SEEK GPS tracker allows you to track and monitor your pet live from anywhere.
SEEK has an app where you can use its plenty of features, such as:
- Live tracking
- Emergency SOS (24-hour monitoring service also possible upon request.)
- Sensitivity-adjustable fall or collision detection
- Alerts for movement and non-movement
- Alerts for when the tracker is travelling faster than your set speed
- Ring (Please contact Support to enable this and make the unit ring like a phone.)
- Up to 8 weeks of historical location records
- Two-way call through the unit’s onboard speaker and mic
- Listen-in – You can listen through SEEK’s mic without the other side hearing you.
It also has four power modes to ensure that you won’t lose contact with the tracker:
- Live Tracking mode
- Smart Power Saving mode (GPS chip is off, but SIM modem is working; GPS is only activated by motion or incoming calls)
- Deep Sleep Power Saving mode (GPS and SIM go into hibernation when there’s no movement)
- Response mode (GPS is only activated by an SMS, Call, or the SOS button).
Battery Life: 18-24 hours in standard mode, with up to 30 days in power-saving mode.
Product Dimensions: 6.1 × 4.3 × 1.6 cm
Weight: 40 g
Price Range: $269 to $418 with $45/year subscription plan
Available at: NutTAG
BioTRAKA Aware Pet GPS
BioTRAKA Aware uses GPS, WiFi, and LBS (Location Based Services and Cell Tower Services) to ensure you know where your pet goes. The unit is highly accurate within 20 metres when connected to the GPS. On WiFi, it’s within 600 metres depending on signal strength.
This GPS tracker is also dust-resistant and sand-resistant. It is waterproof and has been tested under 15cm to 1m of water, working as intended.
Like other pet GPS trackers, BioTRAKA Aware has an app where you can access most of its functions. You can rewatch the last 24 hours of your pet’s activity on the map, activate the “Lost” function that will trigger the “Lost” light on the device, and mark safe zones.
You can also track your pet’s activities (walk, play, rest), but the accuracy may be affected by how tight or loose your pet’s collar is. A calendar for pet-related appointments is also available on the app.
Tech4Pets 4G Smart Pet Tracker
The Tech4Pets 4G Smart Tracker comes with the tracker itself and a collar as well as a rubber collar case. You can use your own collar and attach the device to it.
The key features of this device are geo-fencing, SOS calling, a health pedometer, and medication reminders. With the SOS call button, the two-way communication function is activated. If you don’t answer, the tracker will call your three pre-set emergency numbers. (Note that this doesn’t come with a SIM card, so you have to purchase a suitable 4G nano-SIM card for it.)
DogOn Pet GPS Tracker
The first Australian-made GPS tracker for dogs, DogOn Pet GPS tracker is compatible with any regular or martingale collar. It is USB rechargeable and sturdy. The tracker is shock-resistant, weather-resistant, and waterproof up to 2 metres.
It relies on GPS, Bluetooth, and cell tower services for tracking your pet. With its partner app, you can activate geofencing and use the activity tracker to manage your pet’s wellbeing. The device also allows you to contact help to locate your lost pet.
Battery Life: up to 5 days
Price Range: $89
Available at: DogOn
Tracki 3G GPS Tracker
The Tracki 3G GPS tracker is advertised not only for animals but also for vehicles and other assets. This Tracki GPS tracker provides unlimited distance tracking in real-time and works worldwide (as the SIM card also works in other countries).
Using GPS-GSM technology, you can track your pet in real-time so that you can have peace of mind. With its corresponding app, you can receive alerts for SOS, speed, movement, fence crossing, and low battery.
You get the tracker itself, a magnet, belt clip, keychain, lanyard, and a waterproof silicone cover with every purchase.
Compared to other GPS trackers, Tracki offers a lifetime warranty and free replacement of a lost device.
Battery Life: 2-3 days with everyday use, up to one month in power-saving mode. Extra batteries are also available for purchase, increasing its battery life for up to 6 months in power-saving mode).
Product Dimensions: 4.45 × 3.81 × 1.4 cm
Weight: 35 g
Price Range: $43 to $88 with $30/month subscription plan (lower subscription costs for long-term plans)
Available at: Tracki (worldwide shipping), Amazon
Pefton Pet GPS Tracker
The Pefton Smart Tracker is coupled with an app so that you can track your pet’s location as well as its activities. The tracking can range up to 5.6 km in an open environment but the accuracy decreases in closed and dense spaces.
It has a handful of helpful features. Similar to other pet GPS trackers, it has a geofencing function. It also has a multicolour alert on the tracker itself so that your furry friend will be easily seen in the dark. Voice recording is also possible should you want to communicate with your pet remotely.
This tracker relies on GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and long-distance transmission technology and claims to work even in the mountains and the wild. That checks out since it’s also made durable—dust proof and rainproof. It also doesn’t require a SIM card like other products on the market.
Do Pet Microchips Run Out of Battery?
Pet microchips do not require batteries, so they can’t run out of batteries. A microchip is inert and does not require power, so you don’t need to worry about it running out of power. Instead, it is activated by a microchip scanner through electromagnetic force, so it’s only active when it’s scanned.
What Is the Range of a Pet Microchip?
Usually, a pet microchip needs to be about 3 to 8 cm close to a scanner for it to be read. Some microchip scanners have a wider reading range of up to 10 cm. An ISO standard microchip broadcasts information at 134.2 kHz, while non-ISO standard broadcasts at 125 kHz or 128 kHz. Universal scanners can read both.
This article is published in good faith, for general informational and educational purposes only. Paws and More Vet Centre does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. This article should not be used as a substitute for veterinary advice, including for diagnosis or treatment of a pet’s medical condition. Always consult a veterinary professional before making decisions on your pet’s health.