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Pet-tracking GPS devices

April 17, 2012 8:23:38 PM PDT
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.

- RoamEO - $200
- Garmin GTU 10 - $170
- Tagg Pet Tracker - $100

With the Garmin and Tagg you go online to create "geofences," or virtual boundaries.

Then you can use your smart phone to keep tabs on your pet's location. The RoamEO uses a radio handset.

The RoamEO's handset makes it very easy to track your pet. But it has limited range, which can be affected by terrain and buildings, and it has only 24 hours of battery life.

Tracking with the Tagg is quick and easy, but its minimum virtual boundary is about 4 acres, much bigger than the average yard. Your dog could be next door digging up the flower bed, and you'd never know it.

With the Garmin you can create up to 10 geofences of various sizes. Location updates are quick if you use Garmin's deluxe tracking plan for an additional $5 a month. With that plan it's easier to track, but battery life is shorter.

Both the Garmin and Tagg link to a cell-phone network to relay information. The Garmin uses AT&T's and charges $50 annually after the first year. With the Tagg it costs $7.95 per month after the first month to use Verizon's network. Consumer Reports says to be sure you factor in those costs if you are considering getting one of the tracking devices.

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