How to find a lost cat or dog with a smartphone

No, it doesn't involve strapping an iPhone to your pet.

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C+N Creative (Natalie Eidelman / Cody Gantz)

There's not much you can't do with a smartphone, so it should come as no surprise that yes, you can track your pet dog or cat with your smartphone. All you need is to kit your furry friend with a GPS locator, and you'll have peace of mind in the event that it makes a mad dash for the hills one day.

There are quite a few pet trackers out there, but when it comes to dogs one that stands out from the rest is Whistle.

Whistle is a collar-mounted GPS tracker that's waterproof to IP67 and incorporates a rechargeable battery that's good for 30 days. Whistle is also small, measuring only 1.5 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches, and weighs only 1.3 ounces.

Not only can Whistle be used to locate your dog if it goes missing, but the app can also be used to track your dog's long-term health trends (information such as vaccination dates and such), and you can also set custom goals or receive notifications if there are significant changes to their activity or sleep patterns.

Whistle is compatible with iPhones and iPads running iOS 7.1 or greater, and Android devices running 4.0.3 or greater.

Whistle costs $79, and requires a service plan that ranges from $6.95 to $9.95 per month.

"But what about cats?" I hear you scream. Don't worry, the internet's favorite animal isn't going to be left out of the wearables wave.

Because cats are smaller than dogs, the tracker has to be smaller. While there are some trackers that claim to work for both cats and dogs, they're only recommended for cats over 8 pounds, and that's a pretty big cat.

But there is a wearable specially designed for cats. It's called Pawtrack, and it is has been "designed especially for cats, for cat owners by cat owners."

Pawtrack allows your pet cat to be tracked both by GPS and the GLONASS constellation of satellites. It also detects when the cat is at home by identifying the Wi-Fi network, and which point the device powers down to save on the battery.

About the only drawback to the Pawtrack is battery life. It's only about three days, so you'll have to remember to charge it regularly.

Because cats are active, the Pawtrack features a safety collar that can come off in the event of the cat getting into any difficulty with it (and I suppose you could always find where the collar is and retrieve it).

Pawtrack costs $160, which includes a 12-month subscription to the locator service.

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