I Lost my Dog!

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Ok, I don't actually have a dog.  So, no need to worry!  But, many times I hear about friends or viewers who are frantically searching for a lost pet.  Now there' s a new way to find Fido that doesn't involve the whole family searching the neighborhood -- GPS Pet trackers.

Consumer Reports just tested three GPS devices to see how well they can track pets that wander off.  They are the RoamEO for 200 dollars, the 170-dollar Garmin GTU 10, and the Tagg Pet Tracker for 100 dollars.

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.

Consumer Reports testers did find pros and cons with each.  The RoamEO’s handset made it very easy to track. The cons …

“It had limited range — terrain and buildings could affect that — and it only had 24 hours of battery life,” Consumer Reports Bernie Deitrick found.

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

Deitrick said, “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 different geofences — any size. Location updates are quick if you use its deluxe tracking plan for an additional five dollars a month.

Deitrick explained, “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 fifty dollars annually after the first year. The Tagg charges $7.95 per month after the first month to use Verizon’s network, so Consumer Reports says be sure to factor in those costs if you are considering getting one of these.