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Can you get a GPS implant for dogs?

Ever had that heart-in-mouth moment when your dog runs off or goes missing? So have we. 

Most of the time they’re just around the corner nose-deep in a hedge, but sometimes they’ve got themselves into more serious trouble and need you to track them down as soon as possible. 

One of the biggest concerns is that they’ve been stolen. With dog theft at an all-time high, owners are rightly concerned and seeking out ways to keep their dogs safe.

It’s what leads thousands of us to ask, ‘Can I get a GPS implant or microchip for my dog?’

The answer is no, and it’s because the technology doesn’t exist yet.

To find out more, we’ve dug into the facts when it comes to tracking your dog.

What’s in a dog’s microchip?

When you have your dog microchipped, a tiny chip about the size of a grain of rice is implanted between your dog’s shoulders, under their skin. It’s so small they don’t even notice it. 

Your dog’s microchip contains one piece of information, a reference number. When a vet or dog warden scans your dog’s microchip, they can find the reference number and search for it in pet microchip databases. This will bring up a profile that contains your contact details, meaning you can be reunited with your dog in no time.

Your dog’s microchip is intended to identify their owner if they get picked up when lost, similar to the tag that they wear on their collar. It cannot track your dog’s location and tell you where they are at any given moment. 

Don’t forget that it’s a legal requirement in the UK to have your dog microchipped, with the details kept up to date.

What kinds of dog trackers are there?

There are several different types of dog trackers on the market. Some use GPS technology, whereas others use Bluetooth. Bluetooth trackers have a minimal range, meaning you’ll only be able to track your dog when they’re nearby, whereas GPS devices enable you to find the device’s location from almost anywhere in the world.

Most GPS trackers for dogs come as either a full collar or a device that attaches to their collar or harness. This means that they generally go unnoticed by all but the smallest dogs.

GPS trackers usually allow you to see your dog’s real-time location with about seven metres of accuracy. This makes them incredibly useful in case your dog runs off or gets lost, as you’re able to find them in no time to bring them home. 

Of course, if you’re relying on a GPS tracker to find your dog when they’re missing, you need to choose an accurate device with good battery life, that’s waterproof and robust enough to stay on your dog’s collar throughout their adventures.

But what happens if your dog is stolen?

Well, the sad truth is that a thief would remove your dog’s collar and GPS tracker and dump them as soon as possible to avoid detection. Surely a GPS implant under your dog’s skin would offer them greater protection?

Can you get a GPS implant for dogs?

GPS dog trackers contain complex hardware to receive and interpret location information from satellites. Currently, this hardware is simply too big to fit inside an implant that sits underneath your dog’s skin. 

Additionally, GPS trackers need to be charged, unlike your dog’s microchip. There simply isn’t yet a practical or ethical way to include and charge a battery in a device which is implanted under your dog’s skin.

Will the technology for GPS dog implants ever exist?

With technology evolving at the rate it is, nothing is impossible! Perhaps innovative pet tech companies could use nanotechnology and wireless charging to create a device that is as unobtrusive as your dog’s microchip.

For now though, this technology is a long way off. 

Can GPS trackers keep my dog safe?

GPS trackers can be a valuable tool in your arsenal for keeping your dog safe, happy, and healthy. Used with your dog’s microchip and a tag with your details, it’ll help you be sure that your dog will eventually be found and returned to you should they ever get lost.

Of course, dog theft is still a significant concern for many dog owners. Whilst an implantable dog tracker doesn’t exist, there are still plenty of steps that you can take to keep your dog safe, such as anti-theft leads and opting for safe walking routes. 

Are GPS trackers worth the money?

Most GPS trackers worth their salt come with a hefty price tag. Many will also include additional functionality, like the ability to measure your dog’s activity and rest.

Whilst it might be tempting to opt for cheaper alternatives, such as Apple’s AirTag, you should proceed with caution – at the end of the day, you need to know that when you need to use the GPS tracker it’ll work, and quickly. Find out what happened when we put AirTag to the test.

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