Losing a beloved pet is one of the most heartbreaking experiences for any pet parent. Even when you take precautions, accidents happen. Dogs and cats can be crafty escape artists, slipping through fences, darting out open doors, and breaking free of collars and leashes. When a pet goes missing, every minute feels agonizing. As time passes, your chances of finding your pet drop significantly.
That’s why having the right pet ID and tracking tools can make a huge difference if disaster strikes. A Bluetooth-enabled smart pet tag like Pawscout adds an extra layer of protection that goes beyond traditional engraved ID tags. Pawscout leverages a connected community of pet lovers to help reunite lost pets with their families.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll take an in-depth look at how Pawscout works, its key features, pros and cons, pricing, and what other pet owners have to say based on Pawscout reviews.
What is Pawscout?
Pawscout is a Bluetooth-powered smart pet tag created by Pawscout, Inc., a San Francisco-based company founded in 2015.
It functions as a community-based pet tracking solution that allows you to locate your pet in real-time and get notified when your pet goes missing. Using short-range Bluetooth technology, the tag connects with the Pawscout app installed on your smartphone as well as nearby users’ phones.
The tag itself is small, lightweight, and waterproof. It attaches to your pet’s collar like a standard ID tag. When your pet moves within 300 feet of your phone or another app user’s phone, you receive a notification of their location.
If your pet wanders too far and you mark them as lost in the app, it will prompt nearby users to contact you if your pet comes near them. This allows the power of the crowd to help reunite pets and owners.
How Does Pawscout Work?
The Tag and App
To use Pawscout, you first purchase the tag, which retails for $19.95 on Pawscout’s website. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Next, you download the free Pawscout app, available for both iOS and Android. After creating an account, you can pair your smartphone with the tag via Bluetooth.
The app allows you to build a digital profile for your pet with their photo, breed, age, weight, and any special medical or behavioral notes.
Real-Time Location Tracking
Once paired with your phone, the tag allows you to view your pet’s location in real-time on a map in the app, as long as they are within 300 feet of you. You’ll see your position marked with a green circle, while your pet shows up as a paw print icon.
If your pet moves out of the 300-foot range, you can no longer actively track them through your own Bluetooth connection. However, this is where Pawscout’s crowdsourced community model comes into play.
Community Pet Tracking
The key benefit of Pawscout is that if your pet wanders too far and you mark them as lost in the app, you’ll be notified when your pet comes within 300 feet of any other app user in your area.
The app pings these nearby users, identified as blue dots on a map, prompting them to contact you and provide your pet’s location so you can attempt to recover them. This allows people to assist in finding your pet even if you are no longer in Bluetooth range yourself.
The more people with the free Pawscout app installed in your neighborhood, the more potential helpers to reunite you with your lost pet. You can even invite family and friends to download the app to expand your personal network of assistants.
Pawscout leverages crowd-tracking instead of GPS due to limitations of GPS in dense urban areas. Also, Bluetooth technology means no monthly fees like GPS trackers require.
Key Features of Pawscout
Beyond basic location tracking, the Pawscout app and tag offer several features that aim to keep your pet safe. Let’s explore some of the main capabilities.
This Pawscout feature allows you to set a virtual boundary around your location. Think of it like an invisible fence.
You simply set the perimeter to 300 feet, since that’s the max Bluetooth range. The leash boundary automatically moves with you. If your pet crosses the virtual leash limit, you receive an instant alert.
This is handy when spending time outdoors with pets off-leash. It provides peace of mind that even if your pet slips out of sight temporarily, you’ll know if they wander too far.
Going on walks together is a prime bonding time for many pet owners and their dogs. The Pawscout app allows you to use your tag to track your walks.
It records stats like distance traveled, pace, time, and route. The walk data saves to your pet’s profile so you can monitor their activity levels and progress over time.
Digital Pet Profile
As mentioned, the app allows you to build out a detailed digital profile for each of your pets. You can include vital information such as:
- Distinguishing markings
- Personality traits
- Medical history
- Veterinarian details
- Special needs
Having this information handy allows you to share it instantly if your pet becomes lost. It helps rescuers properly handle or approach your pet until you are reunited.
Points of Interest
The app provides a map populated with useful locations for pet owners, including:
- Veterinarian offices
- Pet stores
- Dog parks
- Pet-friendly restaurants
- Grooming salons
- Animal shelters
- Pet boarding facilities
You can save your favorite spots, get directions, and share locations with friends. It helps discover new pet-friendly places and easily navigate to essential businesses for your pets.
Within the app, you can invite family and friends to join your Pawscout network. When you share access, they will receive notifications anytime your pet escapes the set Bluetooth boundaries. This allows more trusted people to help keep tabs on your pet.
To invite someone, you simply generate a sharing code and text or email it to them. They download the free Pawscout app, enter the code, and they are connected to your pet profile.
This allows you to see a visual map that indicates where Pawscout users are concentrated in your area. Higher densities of users show up as darker blue shading.
Checking your coverage map is wise before purchasing the tag, as its effectiveness depends greatly on having ample users nearby. If hardly anyone in your area has the app installed, the crowd tracking features offer limited utility.
Pros of Pawscout
- Affordable price compared to GPS trackers
- No monthly fee required
- Lightweight, waterproof tag
- Decent 300-foot Bluetooth range
- Virtual leash gives peace of mind
- Walk tracking capabilities
- Digital profile stores vital pet info
- Crowdsourced tracking model
- Map of pet-friendly local businesses
- Invite family and friends to your network
- Coverage map shows user density before buying
Cons of Pawscout
- Limited usefulness in areas with minimal users
- Inconsistent accuracy within Bluetooth range
- Community tracking less effective for pets who roam far
- Battery life shorter than 6-12 month claim
- App can drain phone battery quicker
- Not actually GPS tracking
- Desired access to vet records, but no clear section
What Do Independent Pawscout Reviews Say?
Pawscout currently has a 4.3 out of 5 star overall rating based on 300+ reviews on its website. Here is a brief overview of the pros and cons mentioned most in buyer testimonials and reviews:
Pros Highlighted in Pawscout Reviews
- Simple to set up and use
- Helps track walks and wandering pets that don’t stray too far
- Gives peace of mind for off-leash backyard play
- Useful lost pet features if you live in a dense urban area
- More affordable than GPS trackers
- Waterproof tag is durable
Cons Highlighted in Pawscout Reviews
- Shorter battery life than claimed
- Not reliable for pets who leave 300-foot range
- Inconsistent accuracy/delayed location updates
- Need larger user community for success
- Tag is bulky for small dogs and cats
- App drains phone battery faster
- Does not replace need for standard ID tag
While most reviews are positive, it’s clear the limitations around community reliance, inconsistent accuracy, and battery life are issues for some pet owners.
Pawscout Pricing and Purchase Options
Here is a breakdown of the pricing and purchase options for Pawscout:
- Pawscout Smart Tag: $19.95
- Custom pet ID tag: $9.95
- Bundle with tag & custom ID tag: $25
- Extra batteries (2 pack): $4.99
- Shipping fee: $2.95 (USA), $9.95 (Canada)
The tag comes with a 1-year limited warranty. You can return it within 30 days of purchase if you are not satisfied.
Pawscout can only be purchased in the USA and Canada. It is not available internationally.
There are no monthly fees required, just the one-time cost of the tag itself and optional custom ID tag if desired.
How Does Pawscout Compare to Other Pet Trackers?
Pawscout isn’t the only pet tracking technology on the market. Here’s a quick overview of how it stacks up against some other popular options:
- Uses cellular and GPS tracking, allowing expanded range but requires a monthly fee
- More accurate real-time tracking over long distances
- Useful for pets who escape and wander far from home
- Higher upfront cost for device and monthly plan required
- Combination of GPS, cellular, and Bluetooth tracking
- Uses AT&T cellular network for expanded range
- Activity and health monitoring capabilities
- Significantly more expensive than Pawscout
- Focuses on health tracking via an accelerometer in a smart collar
- Doesn’t have real-time location tracking features
- Helps monitor your dog’s activity levels and behavioral patterns
- Cheaper than Pawscout but no tracking of lost pets
- Uses cellular data and GPS to provide expanded tracking range
- Health monitoring features like Fitbark
- LTE connectivity allows tracing anywhere with cell service
- Higher monthly fees but enhanced tracking capabilities
While Pawscout can’t compete on range, it provides effective tracking of nearby pets at a very affordable price point. For escape artist urban pets who don’t roam too far when they bolt, Pawscout leverages crowdsourcing to help recover lost dogs or cats at a fraction of the cost of full GPS trackers.
Our Verdict: Is Pawscout Worth It?
For urban pet owners with dogs or cats that tend to wander just beyond their yards or slip away on walks, Pawscout can provide valuable peace of mind. Its crowd-tracking and notification features allow you to leverage your neighborhood to help recover nearby lost pets. This community model sets it apart from standard Bluetooth trackers.
However, for pets that truly bolt and cover large distances when they get loose, or those in rural areas where the user base is sparse, Pawscout likely provides less reliable tracking. In those cases, a tracker with extended range through cellular networks may be worth the higher cost and monthly fees.
Pawscout cost is one of its major benefits—offering helpful tracking features for substantially less than most GPS pet trackers. Just be sure to check the coverage map first to confirm sufficient user density in your immediate area.
For urban pet owners with escape artist dogs (like clever Beagles), Pawscout provides an affordable extra layer of protection that taps into the helpful power of your neighborhood. Just take some time to spread the word locally so more people install the app and join the community. Ultimately, the more area users, the better Pawscout can work to reunite pets and parents.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pawscout
How is Pawscout different from a GPS pet tracker?
Pawscout relies on Bluetooth technology and crowd-sourcing instead of GPS. This means it has a more limited direct range of ~300 feet but also does not require monthly fees. GPS trackers use cellular signals to provide expanded range but cost more upfront and require monthly plans.
Is there a monthly fee for Pawscout?
No, unlike GPS trackers, there are no monthly service fees. You only pay the upfront cost of the tag itself.
How long does the Pawscout battery last?
Pawscout claims 6-12 months but reviews suggest it often lasts on the lower end of that range. The replaceable CR2032 batteries cost around $1.
Can Pawscout track my pet’s location in real-time?
Yes, as long as your pet stays within 300 feet of your phone, the app will display their location on a live map. If they wander farther, you lose the direct Bluetooth connection.
How accurate is the location tracking?
Based on reviews, the accuracy is inconsistent. It provides approximations, not pinpoint exact locations. The tracking is accurate to around 50-100 feet when in range.
What information can I store about my pet in the app?
You can create a digital profile with your pet’s breed, age, weight, photo, personality traits, medical issues, veterinarian details, and more. This helps anyone who finds them take proper care.
Does Pawscout work outside of the USA and Canada?
No, currently the product is only available for sale in the USA and Canada because that is where the largest community of users exists. It relies heavily on crowdsourced tracking.
Can Pawscout track my pet’s activity levels and walks?
Yes, the app provides walk tracking capabilities to record your route, distance, time, and pace. This data saves to track your pet’s activity over time.
Who can help track my lost pet?
Anyone in your area who has downloaded the free Pawscout app can receive alerts to help locate your pet if they wander within 300 feet of that user’s phone after marked lost.
What is the best way to expand my network of users?
Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about the app and have them install it to grow your personal network. Also check the map in the app to find neighborhoods in your city with high user density and frequent those areas.
The Bottom Line
Pawscout offers an innovative community-tracking model for pets at an affordable price point. While it has some inherent limitations compared to GPS pet trackers, its low cost and creative leveraging of crowdsourcing make it worthwhile for urban pet owners with dogs prone to slyly slipping away unnoticed.
Just be sure to rally your local community to maximize users near you, and use the virtual leash option anytime your pet is off-leash in the yard or on walks. With proper precautions, Pawscout can provide helpful peace of mind at a fraction of the cost of most comparable pet tech.