By Ben Bowers
on 3.25.10

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Dog’s wouldn’t have earned the label of man’s best friend if there wasn’t some shred of truth behind the saying. Unfortunately, the exact qualities that make them so lovable also make them prone to wandering. Leashes, fences, and constant vigilance can, of course, curb this habit, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan around should standard precautions fail. Along those lines, the Zoombak Pet GPS Locator ($100) is an incredibly useful solution that puts the full power of today’s GPS tracking in the hands of dog lovers everywhere.

In it’s most basic form, Zoombak works through assisted GPS or A-GPS, which uses both satellite and cellular technology, to precisely track a dog’s location at all times. While this feature alone is extremely helpful for preventing permanent loss of a favorite pooch, the Zoombak Pet Locator stands out from competing pet monitoring system in the ways it can inform and alert owners in real time.

For instance, to prevent dogs from straying too far in the first place, the Zoombak Pet GPS Locator allows owners to established personalized safety zones by either entering addresses on Zoombak’s online map, or by using the current location of the Zoombak Locator to establish a virtual boundary. Up to 10 separate zones can be created to reflect various areas owners may bring their dog on a regular basis, which can easily be switched on or off through the website. These zones can even be programmed to activate based on customized time schedules, should a dog’s location shift say from home in the mornings to being at the office with owners during working hours. Once these zone’s are established, anytime a dog leaves a zone, Zoombak will send owners an alert via email and/or text. In addition, the device can also send alert to owners when the battery is low or has been powered off.
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If a pet should escape your grasp after being alerted though, owners will take heart knowing the Zoombak transmitter situated on a dog’s collar will send continuous tracking information of the dog’s location every 5 minutes for up to an hour. These location points along with the time and date are then automatically plotted on a map back on Zoombak.com for reference. Similarly, even if your dog hasn’t escaped, you can opt to view their location history over the past hour, day, or week, for up to 7 days in the past. Which might provide exonerating or damning evidence (depending on your dog), should your neighbor claim Fido has been trashing their landscaping..

Costwise, the device is a reasonable $100 and ships with the dog locator device, a durable secure pouch and collar attachment which works with all collar types, as well as an AC wall charger for juicing up the device. However since it relies on constant GPS monitoring in order to be effective, buyers must agree to a one year service plan in addition to the cost of the device. This year of service can be paid in three ways. An annual lump sum costs $156 dollars or $13 a month. There’s also a monthly plan which costs $18 a month or $215 annually. If neither of those suit your cash flow preferences, Zoombak offers a middle of the road plan that saves monthly payers $60 if they can commit to paying for 6 months up front. This amounts to $173.88 annually or $14.50 a month.

Though admittedly taking in these prices, this may seem like overkill for average pet owners, you never know when the Zoombak Pet Locator could save you and your furry best friend enormous amounts of stress.

Buy Now: $99 + service plan | $82 + service plan (Amazon)

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