Who’s Watching your Westie?

Why UK dog owners are open to new innovations to protect canine pals

Interview with Michael Hurnaus, CEO of Tractive – creator of GPS systems for dogs and cats

What makes Tractive different to that of its competitors?

Tractive is the most trusted GPS tracker for cats and dogs worldwide. We strongly believe that listening to the actual customer is key to creating a number one product. Also, Tractive strongly focuses on building the best GPS tracker for cats and dogs, rather than building a ‘universal’ GPS-tracker for everything.

How well received has Tractive been by UK dog owners?

Tractive’s key target markets are in Europe, Germany, and the UK – our data shows that British dog owners are more open to new innovations and technology as well as being more active with their dogs. Hence the popularity of Tractive to UK dog and cat owners.

While Tractive is great for tracking pets, what do you say to people that are perhaps cautious that you can follow and store data on humans too?

Tractive – if used as intended – tracks the location of cats and dogs and is most useful, when the pet is not with the owner, so there is little to no information we have or store from the owner. Also, we do not share any data with third parties and Tractive users decide on their own, whether they want to share information with someone else.


Brits, on average, spend £ 1,150 a year (£ 95 a month) on their pets.

A total of £10 billion was spent on dogs in the UK.

Around 25% of pet owners buy their furry friends’ birthday gifts.

Women are more likely to get anniversary gifts for their pets.  

Around 60 dogs go missing in England and Wales every week.

Given that around 60 dogs go missing in England and Wales every week, how successful has Tractive been in helping owners get their dogs back after being stolen? Is this device accessible by the police?

The Tractive GPS is not a theft-prevention device and can theoretically be removed from the collar by a thief. However, you’ll be notified as soon as your pet leaves a predetermined safe area. With the help of the LIVE Tracking mode, you can see your pet’s location in real-time in the Tractive GPS app and will be more likely to locate, follow, and quickly retrieve your pet before he or she ever comes into harm’s way. That said, there have been police cases where dogs or cats (with Tractive devices) have been stolen and reunited with their owners. The device is not accessible for the police, but the pet owner can always check the exact location.

Is there a risk that dog owners might confront thieves if the GPS device leads them to their dog? Tractive is not designed to prevent dogs from being stolen but to help see your dog’s LIVE location, in case they run off for any reason, such as weather, noise, fireworks, deer or other disturbances. Tractive would not advise owners to confront thieves but rather contact the authorities in case a pet with a device gets stolen.

Will aspects of the technology be updated as time goes on or will customers have to purchase a whole new product?

We are constantly working on improving our products, we have just recently launched a new feature (activity monitoring) to provide information about the activity and sleeping behaviour of our dogs and cats. This new feature was free for all existing and new subscribers. The software on the GPS tracker will automatically update every few weeks, without any user interaction. This way we can roll out new features and improvements to existing customers, so the device gets better and better over time.

Will you produce any more products or focus on updating the current product?

We just recently launched our product in the United States and plan to expand this market in 2020/21. Our future goals will be to derive health recommendations based on the behaviour we monitor for example licking, scratching, activity degradation over time and pain-detection. As a long-term goal, the data will be shared voluntarily with experts like the pet’s vet to react quickly to any problems and issues that might arise.

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