GPS tracking collar or health monitor?

Superficially, the two devices look similar – each is a small device attached to the dog’s collar. However, there’s a world of difference in their capabilities. Most owners who have invested in a dog GPS collar do so out of concern for their dog. However, it could be they are on the right track but in the wrong vehicle, and a dog health monitor better meets their needs.

Informed pet parents want to know what each device has to offer, and ensure they’ve made the right choice for their fur-friend.

The Dog GPS (Global Positioning Systems) Tracker


Have you discovered the peace of mind of tracking your dog’s location?

The concept of a pet GPS tracker is the inverse of a navigation app. Whereas a navigation app shows your current location in order to navigate to a different place; a GPS tracker tells you where an object (your dog or cat) is right now, so you can go to them.

This technology has several uses, such as recovering the cat that strays or keeping tabs on the dog walker to ensure your pet pal is getting adequate exercise. Great! But arguably a rather narrow use of technology.

Whilst you are to be applauded for caring enough to track your pet’s location, there’s a legitimate question to answer: How likely is your pet to get lost?

Indeed, many professional dog walking agencies, such as Wag!, now offer a location tracking app via your phone. You can follow the dog’s walk real-time on a map, and better still, receive notifications when the dog has a poop!

Are You Blind to a Bigger Risk?


When it comes to protecting your pet, it’s easy to overlook real issues posing a regular risk to your dog or cat.

For example, is your dog overweight, suffering from arthritis, or have a heart murmur? All of these have the potential to cause distress to the pet on a walk. But more than that, what about when your arthritic dog is safe in their bed at night? Are you 100% certain that while you sleep the dog isn’t restless and in pain?

Or what about heat stroke? What if on the walk you are tracking remotely, the dog is suffering from heat stress: His body temperature rising to dangerous levels and his heart racing.

Rather than knowing where the dog is, wouldn’t it be great to know how he is? Such is the difference between tracking and monitoring.

Dog Health Monitoring Benefits


A dog health monitor is much more sophisticated than a GPS tracker. A PetPace collar monitors parameters such as:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Body temperature
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
  • Activity levels
  • Body position

For example, when you’re out at work wouldn’t it be great to know your healthy dog is asleep and not getting up to mischief? Or your older dog is frequently shifting positions in his bed possibly indicating pain or discomfort?

Then there’s the dog with a health problem such as heart disease or arthritis. A readout of their vital signs, HRV or activity levels gives an invaluable insight into their state of health, and help you to spot a deteriorating heart condition or painful arthritis in a stoic dog.

Heart Disease in Dogs


When your dog goes for a checkup, the veterinarian checks the dog’s heart rate and rhythm. These are yard sticks that help assess how well the pet is doing. When the heart is struggling, one response is for the heart rate to rise in order to try and push more blood round the body.

However, what happens when you visit the vet? The dog gets anxious, causing his heart to race anyway. But this isn’t a problem when your dog wears a health monitor. When resting and relaxed in his basket at home, the vet receives a readout that accurately reflects resting heart function without the “white coat effect”.

But more than this, you are empowered to spot deterioration. If the dog’s vital signs change at home, this gives a valuable early warning that something needs attention.

Arthritis in Dogs


How stoic is your arthritic Labrador? The chances are it’s against his good nature to complain about anything as he hobbles around wagging his tail. But this doesn’t mean he’s not in pain. Indeed, when bony remodeling of his joints makes him walk with a permanent limp, how can you know those pain meds are working? Good question!

The answer is health monitoring. Telltale signs of pain are restlessness, increased heart rate and decreased HRV. So when you are asleep at night and assume the dog is too, it might be that he’s restless because of joint pain. To find out, you have two choices: Stay awake and watch, or use a health monitor.

The health monitor tracks whether he’s lying down, sitting, standing, or pacing. It also follows the his HRV, so a combination of decreased HRV and restlessness are a good indicator of discomfort.

But if all this sounds too technical, don’t worry. PetPace collars can give your vet access to readouts so they can do the interpretation and work out what’s best for the dog.

The Weighty Matter of Obesity


One reason you may opt for a GPS tracking collar is because your overweight dog needs to slim down. A tracker allows you to know their location and see how far he’s walked. This is a good start.

Now imagine knowing how many calories the dog had burnt and how active they are and at what times. This opens up so many avenues to explore, in matching his calorie intake to what he’s burning.

Then indeed there is the serious matter of health complications. By their very nature, overweight dogs are at greater risk of joint pain, respiratory problems, or straining their heart. When your dog wears a PetPace collar you have peace of mind of knowing he’s exercising within his capabilities and, indeed, recognize impending health problems.

GPS Tracking Vs Health Monitoring

A GPS dog collar or health monitoring collar: Two devices that outwardly look similar and yet produce very different data. Before choosing wearable technology for your dog, ask yourself the following question:

“Which is more important to me, knowing where my dog is or how my dog is?”