PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Animals can be our best friend.
It’s estimated that 44 percent of households in the United States have a dog. But when a pet runs off, it can be devastating for the family.
Now, though, there are some new devices that can track your pet in real-time. But they have their pros and cons.
Sally Butters felt the loss of her toy poodle, Gigi, when she was stolen nearly a decade ago.
“There was no trace of her until now, this lady’s daughter found her on the street,” said Butters.
After several years, someone found Gigi 30 miles away. They checked to see if she was microchipped, when it came back a hit, they called Butters up to say they found her dog.
“I never expected it. I thought she would be dead,” said Butters.
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Now, new technology can pinpoint your pet in real time, locating your pet’s whereabouts right on a map.
Emily Hurrle, with PABY, knows that losing a pet can be painful.
“I think everyone knows someone who lost a pet at one point in their life and it’s devastating,” she said.
PABY just came out with a GPS tracker for pets. It’s an $80 device that attaches to your dog or cat’s collar. For as little as $4.99 a month, cell technology tracks your pet and alerts you if they leave a virtual fence area. To work, your pet must be within cell range, and the battery has to be charged every three days.
Hurrle says, “If we could have an unlimited battery that never expired, trust me, we’d find a way. But unfortunately, the technology is not that advanced yet.”
PABY says their device sends reminders when the battery is low, and it takes about 90-minutes to charge. She recommends taking your pet’s collar off every night to charge it.
A competitor, The Whistle, offers a similar service. The device costs $80, and the service is as low as $6.95 a month.
Another product, Pawtracker, has a battery that will last you up to 10 days if you set it to check on your pet just once an hour. But Pawtracker’s device costs $99 with a service fee of $9.95 per month.
This technology was not around when Gigi went missing, but a good old-fashioned microchip helped bring her home to Butters.
“I’m very, very happy. Very happy to be able to see her again,” said Butters. “It’s just a joy, it’s just a miracle.”
With battery fires in many consumer products, PABY is offering some reassurances that their product will not overheat. They claim there is a special breaker in their product that if it gets too hot, the equipment shuts off.
These devices might not work on a pet that chews up or takes off their collar.