With all the adventuring we do with our dogs – hiking, camping, road trips – we spend a lot of time away from home, away from the safety of our 6 foot wooden fence and solid walls. Ringo, Roxie and Boomer are great off-leash, but there’s always that possibility that something out of the ordinary will happen. Something will spook them, a bunny will appear on the trail and effectively shut off Boomer’s ears. Helo’s leash or collar will fail. No matter how hard we try to prevent it, things happen and dogs get lost every day. This is absolutely my number 1 BIGGEST fear when it comes to my dogs. So, when Pawscout reached out to me about testing their bluetooth tags, I was really curious to check them out.
This post is sponsored by Pawscout™. I am being compensated to share my honest review of the Pawscout Pet Tag. Life With Mutts only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Pawscout is not responsible for the content of this article. All thoughts are my own.
If something were to happen and I was to lose one of my dogs, what would I do? Where would I even begin to look? Questions like these are what make the idea of some sort of tracking collar or tag sound like the best idea ever. I have been considering a GPS collar for a while now, but they are SO expensive, especially with 4 dogs, so I have yet to pull the plug. And not only is the initial investment a hefty one, then there’s the monthly service fees. Yeah, not in the budget.
What Can Pawscout Do?
The Pawscout pet tag, along with the Pawscout app, has a wide range of functionalities, including tracking your walks with your pet, alerting you if they get out of range, as well as working with their network of app users to help reunite you with your pet should they become lost.
Setting up our new tags
Setting up your Pawscout tags is easy. You just download the app and follow the prompts on the screen, telling you how to activate and connect your tags with the app. Once your tag is connected, you then enter info about your pet, which will be used to locate them should they become lost. The app prompts you to add a picture of your pet and input information like breed, weight, age, markings, and even pertinent medical information if applicable.
Repeat this process (which takes just a few minutes) for each pet. Once your pets’ tags are all synced, their pictures will be displayed on the app’s home screen, and they should all display “In range”.
**One thing to note is that if you are setting up multiple tags, you need to make that all tags besides the one you are trying to connect are FAR away from your phone. Otherwise they can interfere and make it harder for the app to pair with the correct tag.
One of the coolest features of Pawscout is that you can send your pet’s tag info to another user. I did this with my husband so we can both track the dogs from our phones. This is also really helpful is you’re leaving your dog with your family or a pet sitter for the weekend. All they have to do is download the app and input your share code so they can be connected to your pet while they’re in their care.
So Do They Work?
Now to put them to the test! We tested our Pawscout tags for over a month, testing them out in a variety of places and situations. In the city, in our neighborhood, in local parks, and on our favorite mountain hiking trails. Here’s our honest feedback:
One of the cool features about the Pawscout Tag is that you can track your pet’s walks . When you head out the door, all you need to do is select the pet who is coming with you in and click “Start Walk” and the app will start recording. Bringing more than one dog? No problem, just click on your other dog’s name and click “Start Walk” again. When your walk is over, click “End Walk” and the app will show you your route, time, and distance. It will then be logged in your Walk Diary, which can help you track just how much exercise your dog is getting each week, month, etc.
PROS: The tracking feature seems to accurately represent the route and distance traveled, as far as I can tell. I love being able to see just how far we hiked, or even moreso, how much more ground Boomer and Roxie cover on a hike than I do with all of their zig zagging!
CONS: While the tag works off of Bluetooth, which you do not need cell service to utilize, the Pawscout app requires an internet connection. So, if you are in a more urban or suburban area where service is good, the app will work all the time. But, if you do a lot of hiking in the middle of nowhere like I do, keep in mind that you will not be able to track your walk.
I’d love to see Pawscout update their app to make it work while offline. I realize that would mean you wouldn’t have access to the map overlays and location information, but you would still be able to track distance and time with just the Bluetooth functionalities. This would make the tags so much more valuable to someone like me who spends most of their time off the grid. As it is, I can only use this function about 25% of the time, hence the 3 star rating.
The feature I was most excited about was the “Virtual Leash” mode. If you turn on virtual leash when you’re out on a walk, or hanging out at the park or your campsite, the Pawscout app will send you an alert if your dog wanders more than 300 feet away from you. Basically if they get “out of range”. This gives you the opportunity to recall your dog before they stray too far to hear you and potentially get truly lost.
See the big green offshoot to the right on our walk? That was one of the times that I let Boomer get out of range to test the Virual Leash capabilities. It alerted me with a notification on my phone and I called her right back to me.
Once she was back in range, the app continued to track our walk. It was interesting to me to see how much less “straight” Boomer’s walk was than mine, with all of her sniffing and running back and forth on either side of the trail.
Again, the only downside is that this feature also only works if you have cell service. This is another function that I believe should be available when offline, as it only relies on a Bluetooth connection. For most off-leash hiking dogs, this function would rarely work. In the city or in more populated areas though, great feature!
Bluetooth – Is it enough?
The plus side to GPS is the long range capabilities, but as we discussed, they come at a cost. I did some reading up on the low-frequency bluetooth that Pawscout uses in their tags to see if I thought it was even worth trying out. The range is actually more than I thought. I had been reached out to by another bluetooth tag company a while back, but their range was only around 100ft, which is nothing. Pawscout, on the other hand, has a range of up to 300 feet. If you’re like me and terrible at judging distance, this is probably a hard thing to visualize. To give you a better idea… with my dogs in the house, I can walk all the way to the end of my street before I lose connection, which is about 5 houses away in the suburbs.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I was pleasantly surprised with just how far 300 feet really is in action. It’s actually a little further away than I’m comfortable with my dogs being away from me when they’re off leash, so for my purposes it’s pretty perfect. If I get that alert, I know I need to call them back to me.
Report a Lost Pet
The biggest draw for a tag like this is that it provides a safety net. Pawscout is a community-based network made up of users who have downloaded the Pawscout app. When you get a tag for your pet, you help expand that network. You can also just download the app as a way to help potentially lost pets in the area, even if you don’t have a pet yourself.
If you’re out and your dog slips away and out of range, all you have to do it click “report lost pet” and Pawscout uses the community to help reunite you. If your dog or cat then wanders into range of another Pawscout user, they will get an alert that there is a lost pet in their area so they can help you find him/her. You will also get an update anytime your dog is within range of another user, alerting you to their location.
Obviously, how effective Pawscout is at reuniting you with your dog depends on the density of users in your area. If you live in a city, like I do, with a lot of active users, the chances of your dog being within 300 feet of another user is a lot higher. If you live in a rural area or like to hike deep in the mountains, I wouldn’t expect it to be nearly as effective. The map to the left shows the coverage in the Charlotte Metro area, where we live. As you can see, the more populated parts of the city have more active users and much better coverage.
My point is this. I look at Pawscout as a backup plan in case my dogs get lost. It is not GPS, so you can’t follow your dog’s trail through the woods a mile away and find them, but it does provide just one more safety net in case they get lost. My dogs wear their tags, they’re microchipped, and now they wear these. What are the chances they’ll wander near another user if they get lost? I can’t say for sure. But, I know it’s 100% higher than if they didn’t have one on, so to me it’s well worth the 20 bucks.
The Pawscout tag is a pretty impressive little tag. For it’s size, about that of a silver dollar, it packs a lot of punch. The tags are lightweight, fairly small and can be attached to any collar. Each tag comes with 4 different attachment pieces, one to hang the tag from your dog’s collar and 3 different sized flush mount options for different size collars. Between ID, rabies, and city licensing tags, my dogs have enough dangling from their necks, so I opted for the flush mount option.
You can also order a custom nameplate for your pet’s Pawscout tag with their name and your contact information. This allows the Pawscout to also replace your pet’s regular ID tag, so they have one less thing on their collar. Plus, come on, we all love customization and color/pattern options!
The only issue that I have had with the design of the tags is the locking mechanism. Pawscout tags can be opened to reach the battery compartment by simply rotating the front faceplate counter-clockwise from the locked position. It’s great that it gives you easy access, but when you close it and turn the faceplate back to the “locked” position, it doesn’t really lock in place. Because there is nothing to “click” it into lock, the tag seems to slowly turn with activity, allowing it to unlock on its own. After losing half of Roxie’s tag the first time we took it hiking, I now check all of our dog’s tags every time we go out to ensure they are still “locked” closed. I’m sure this would be less of an issue if you hung your dog’s tag from their collar, as there would be little to no friction during strenuous activity, but I would still keep an eye on it just in case.
Despite it’s deep woods limitations, I have to say Pawscout gives you a lot of bang for your buck. With a price tag of only $19.99, you really can’t beat the capabilities of this pretty impressive little tag. My one note is that of the 4 initial tags we received to review, only 3 of them turned on and paired to the app. I will say that Pawscout customer service is on point and promptly sent me out a replacement, which worked perfectly. 4 out of 5 tags worked, so 4 stars it is.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the capabilites of this mighty little tag. While I wish it worked better in the woods where we like to hike, I still find it a viable option for tracking walks in more developed areas as well as a great backup plan in case one of my dogs were to get lost. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option and spend most of your time in town, I’d definitely check out Pawscout for your pets.
I hope you found our review helpful. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading,
Debbie & THE MUTTS