User’s review: Tagg – the pet tracker
By June Hurt
Anyone who receives the safety alerts from the CYCA, or regularly visits our Facebook page, should notice that we spend a lot of time looking for our residents’ lost pets. For the most part, it’s the sneaky canines that decide to slither under fences or wriggle through unknown loose boards, sometimes snagging and losing their collars on the fence during their escape.
Microchips definitely help if you are fortunate enough for a kind neighbor to take in your pet to the local vet for scanning, but there are now options available for those of us who want something more.
I recently purchased GPS trackers for both my dogs called Tagg – The Pet Tracker through www.pettracker.com. This is the first system I have found that I would consider “affordable,” and the cost is much lower compared to what I would pay to get either of my lost dogs back home safe.
I purchased a First Pet Master Kit for $99.95, which included one Tagg tracker, docking station, collar clip assembly and power kit. This also includes one month of free monitoring service. After 30 days, you are charged $7.95 per month for services. Because I have a second dog, I also purchased an Add-A-Pet Tracker Kit for $89.95, and after 30 days, 95 cents is added to the monthly monitoring services for every additional tracker. Shipping was $9.95, and the package arrived in a couple of days.
The trackers weigh next to nothing. I thought initially that they were a tad cumbersome on the collar, but the dogs didn’t seem to even notice them. The website states that they are intended for animals more than 10 pounds, so cats and dogs that can hide in your purse are out of luck with this system. It took a couple of hours to charge each of the trackers before I was ready to set up the system at home.
Home setup begins with plugging in the docking station in the right location, which is described in the instructions. Then you just go to the website, set up an account, register each tracker, setup a “home” zone, enter your notification preferences, and you’re done!
I did have to go through the steps a couple of times when registering one of the trackers, but the whole process took under 30 minutes.
I was hoping that these things would notify me the second one of the dogs left my property, but there is a minimum zone size to deal with, so I had to settle for a home zone that included the houses on each side of my property. Not too big of a deal. I chose to receive my alerts via email and text message in case either system is ever down.
Since I also own an iPhone, I was able to download the Tagg Mobile App. I love that at any moment I could locate either of my dogs through the application, which shows their location in Google Earth. I believe that the mobile app is available in other mobile platforms like Android, and you can also track your pet through the website.
The battery life of the trackers is about 30 days if they don’t leave the home zone. They somehow stay in “battery saving” mode until one of them sneaks out of the zone, and at that time the location services ping that tracker like crazy until you tell it to stop or the battery dies in a few hours.
The alerts start coming in within a couple of minutes, and they give you an approximate location, like “Gracie is within 15 yards of 2298 Young.” That is the time to act, because you have to find your pet before the battery dies. You can also hit a button and switch the tracker to “trip mode” for 15 minute increments if you take your dog for a walk or something, which saves the battery and turns off alerts. However, if you lose your pet while the trackers are in “trip mode,” you can still track their location through the mobile app or website.
Overall, I have been very pleased with the system. The first week, I told everyone who would listen to me about it. I would whip out my phone, open the app, hit locate, and show them an aerial of my street and house showing that my elderly dogs are asleep at home, which is where they are 99.9 percent of the time.
For a chronic worrier, like me, it is incredibly satisfying to check it every day from work, just because I can. It even tells me if one of the trackers come off their collar, like if some sneaky-type criminal gets the bright idea to kidnap one of my pups and removes the tracker to escape detection. That was what I thought had happened one day when I got the “Lucky’s tracker detached from collar. Last known location near HOME docking station” alert. After flying home at the speed of light, I discovered Lucky asleep on the bed with her tracker still on her collar. Angrily, I tore through the instruction manual until I discovered that if you didn’t snap the tracker on perfectly, it could lose connection and trigger an alert.
I would recommend the Tagg Pet Tracking System to anyone who loves their pet. The $8.90 monthly monitoring fee is well worth the price for a little peace of mind, and eventually, when one of my dogs passes on, I can use the Tagg tracker on my next dog.