But some GPS-equipped pet trackers come with claims that they can quickly reunite you with your frisky friend.
The experts at Consumer Reports just wrapped up testing on pet tracking devices and revealed some tips and recommendations for choosing the best one for your pet.
Consumer Reports tested pet trackers to see how easy they are to use, set up, and see how well they track your pet.
Owners will create a safe zone on a map in a smartphone app, and every time your pet leaves that zone, you get an alert on your phone.
And for some real-life testing, a CR writer spent several weeks using the devices to track his dog.
The writer's dog never runs away for long periods of time, but if it did, he knows that he would be able to figure out its location.
CR says it's best to choose a device that uses both GPS and cellular service.
This means you'll be paying for the cost of the device plus a subscription plan. But that extra cost is worth it for the extra tracking range it allows.
And many trackers also offer a "lost mode" or "live mode" feature updating the location more frequently if your pet happens to wander out of the safe zone.
The top scoring Tractive GPS Dog LTE offers the best pricing out of all the devices CR tested. It's also light enough to use on your cat.
The cost for the first year is $134 ($50 for the device and $84 per year for service.)
CR says that no matter which tracker you choose, get comfortable with the device and practice tracking your pet before there's an emergency.
You don't want to be figuring out how to use an app while also frantically searching for your pet.