‘My dog is microchipped, why do I need a GPS collar?’ is a question I have been asked often. I’d like to clear a few things up.
Let me start by saying microchips are great. All of my pets are microchipped because it can help lost dogs be reunited with their humans. Should your dog go missing, you can only hope someone will find them and work to return them home. The Humane Society or a veterinarian has the capability to scan the pup to find an identifying chip and use it to find the owner’s contact information.
Microchips, however, do not contain a GPS tracking device - this means The Humane Society or a veterinarian cannot locate a pet by simply searching the microchip database. Someone needs to bring your dog to a facility that scans for microchips for you ever to be alerted of their location. You should think of microchips as a reactive way to find your lost dog. The Fi Collar is the proactive route.
A GPS collar puts the power of recovering your lost pup in your hands (rather than the hands of a stranger who finds it) and will result in a much quicker recovery. With a GPS collar like Fi, you can locate your dog straight from an app on your phone. The Fi Collar will also alert you if your dog leaves any of your designated Safe Zones - allowing you to catch your escape artist much quicker (often within minutes) than someone is able to recover them and have them scanned at a shelter or by a veterinarian.
A friend of mine recently had a dog hiding in her front yard, the dog was scared and slightly aggressive - they called me to come try to coax her out. It took an hour (and lots of chicken!) to get the dog to trust me enough to put a leash around her, and I was able to scan her microchip. After getting in touch with the folks connected to her chip, I learned she was a recent rescue from China and had escaped from her foster home 29 days earlier, so she’d been roaming the streets of LA for almost a month! After all that she likely went through, I didn’t have the heart to let her go back to another foster. Georgie is now the newest addition to our family. Can you imagine how much easier it would have been to find her, track her, and how much safer it would have been for her if she had a GPS collar on?
Gone are the days of posting ‘Lost Dog’ fliers around the neighborhood and hoping for a miracle. If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know how valuable a quick reunion is - so I’d recommend a microchip as the second line of defense, and a GPS tracking collar as the first.
Dr. Jeff Werber, D.V.M.