Microchip Implant vs. GPS Tracker – Which is right for your pet?

Microchipping your pet

Long story short: you need both!

It’s one of the most common misconceptions that GPS trackers and microchip implants do the same thing but that couldn’t be further from the truth. To better understand why it’s important to both microchip your pet and track them with a GPS, keep reading!

We’ll be the first to say how critical a microchip implant is for your dog or cat. Pet microchipping is so crucial that over 75 countries around the world have made it mandatory. Microchip implants are very small – about the size of a grain of rice – and are inserted just under your animal’s skin by a veterinarian. They have no power requirements which is why they’re able to be inserted. The procedure is quick, safe and simple causing little discomfort for your pet.

The microchip acts as a permanent form of identification for your animal in the event they go missing. Shelters and veterinarians use a special scanner to retrieve important owner contact details from the chip. Unfortunately, this is also the main drawback of the microchip as it will serve no purpose unless there is a scanner available to extract the information and the microchip has been registered. This means your pet must be found, captured and taken to a vet or shelter to begin the process of reuniting the animal with its owner. Days or weeks can pass in between, leaving time for a tragic accident to occur. There are often high costs associated with this process as well, and it’s quite common that registration of the chip is not completed. This is why attaching a GPS tracker to your pet’s collar is also necessary.

GPS pet tracking devices

GPS trackers are just as important as microchip implants but serve a different purpose – to find your pet. They’re used by owners themselves before a vet or shelter ever gets involved. This means you have the power to act immediately to recover your pet in a scenario where your pet runs off or escapes. Click a button and find them within minutes. No need to wait hours or days for a microchip to be scanned.

GPS trackers range in size and should remain attached to your animal’s collar at all times. Most devices have an app which will allow the owner to request the pet’s location and show it on a map in real time. They often have perimeter alerts if your animal escapes. GPS pet trackers do require a power source and there are health risks associated with embedding one into an animal. The other issue is the size requirements of an internal GPS tracker and the smallest unit is not something you could place comfortably into an animal so they are all currently external.

Why both?

Simple. They serve different (and very important) purposes! Hopefully, now it’s clear that microchip implants are designed for identification and GPS pet tracking devices are designed to find your pet. You should have both in the event that the other fails. It’s not a perfect plan but it’s about as close as you’ll get and will certainly increase the odds of finding your lost pet. GPS pet trackers work immediately but are worn externally and can fall off or be damaged. If they do, your pet will have a microchip implant as a back-up!