If you have a dog whos a master escape artist, hasnt yet grasped the art of walking on a leash, or has regular visits from the dog walker or pet sitter, you know how important it is to know where your dog is at all times. Using a dog GPS collar tracker can give you peace of mind in all of these situations, no matter where you (or your dog) might be.
Some trackers require a subscription fee on top of the purchase price, which is important to factor in when deciding on a budget. Its good to remember that GPS devices arent perfect, but they can be an important item in your pet parenting tool belt for keeping your four-legged friend safe and accounted for.
Available in three colors, this GPS tracker provides location and health data and can be set up to notify multiple people. Find on AmazonFind on Chewy Weve gathered up the best dog GPS collar trackers on the market and tallied the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about the one thats right for you. Utilizing AT&Ts wireless network and Google Maps, the Whistle GO Explore will notify you whenever your dog leaves his designated safe space and provides live location tracking.
In addition to GPS monitoring, the Whistle can also be used to track physical activity goals for your pet, as well as certain health behaviors. Contains a remote-activated built-in light and a long-lasting battery that can run for up to 20 days on a single charge Provides a weekly health report that monitors your pets licking, scratching, and sleeping Can be set up so that multiple owners all receive alerts Relatively small device compatible with a wide range of dog collars A monthly or yearly subscription plan is required Areas with poor cell service may see limited utility
Available in three colors, this GPS tracker provides location and health data and can be set up to notify multiple people. Find on AmazonFind on Chewy Designed for pets nine pounds and up, this Tractive GPS dog collar device offers tracking in over 150 countries with an app for iOS and Android (or any web browser). 100% waterproof No range limitation; works in over 150 countries with a variety of cellular networks Has a battery life of two to five days
A monthly subscription plan is required in addition to the cost of the tracker Areas with poor cell service may see limited utility Runs on 5G-compatible networks to offer better coverage to rural areas than many cell-based trackers Return policy lets you test the product and return it for a refund if it isnt a good fit for your area (though make sure to read the policys fine print ) Battery life up to 10 days (depending on frequency of usage) Waterproof Available in a range of sizes and colors, this collar is hardyit can withstand up to 300 pounds of pull resistance and is waterproof in 1.5 meters of water.
It uses the AT&T LTE-M network to send your pups location to an app on your phone, then updates it every two minutes once you enter Lost Dog Mode. For added safety, the tracker has a remotely controlled LED light for nighttime and can track sleep and activity. Battery life adjusts based on Fis mode; one charge can last up to three months when regularly connected to a home Wi-Fi network Geofence detection enables you to receive alerts when your dog exits a designated safe zone App allows you to track your pups steps for fun and engage in neighborhood fitness competitions Comes in adjustable sizes, colors, and styles, with martingale, leather, and biothane bands Waterproof LED light is great for low-visibility outdoor time, such as nighttime walks in the city Lightweight and waterproof, the tracker is compatible with any flat collar up to 1.5 inches wide Battery life typically lasts between 10 and 20 days The app allows you to add multiple pet parents so you, your family, and your sitter can all track your dog as needed Get alerts when your dog leaves a designated safe area (a Wi-Fi network) Lightweight (17 grams) and waterproof
A monthly subscription plan is required Areas with poor cell service may see limited utility This Garmin dog GPS tracker is built into a collar equipped with an antenna that can help you locate your pup up to nine miles away. The relatively short battery life means you cant clip it on and forget itbut if you need a sturdy option for hiking, hunting, or long walks in the wilderness, the Garmin GPS Collar is hard to beat.
Has a nine-mile range, so its a good choice for rural areas and places with poor cell service Doesnt require a smartphone or an appor even internet No monthly subscription fee Built-in LED lights for extra visibility For a GPS tracker suited to rural areas, look no further than this Garmin model that can track a dog up to nine miles away. Boasting a 15% increase in tracking distance and a 10-second faster initial positioning time, the device is a serious upgrade from their previous version.
Not for swimming: while the device is rainproof, it wont withstand complete submersion Youll need to keep the bluetooth controller with you Battery life only lasts 8-16 hours On the more expensive side Find on Amazon Compatible with any smartphone, the Cube GPS Tracker relies on Verizons network. It attaches to your dogs collar and includes an SOS button, geofencing alerts, and the ability to ring your tracker remotely if youre having trouble spotting your pet.
Works nationwide off the Verizon network Battery lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 days (depending on usage) Comes with one-year warranty The ability to ring your tracker (good for pets that live in densely wooded or low-visibility terrain) Requires an annual or monthly subscription Areas with poor cell service may see limited utility Find on ChewyFind on Amazon Bluetooth trackers are more affordable than their fancier GPS cousins and have quite a few strong selling pointsbut the main con tends to be more limited range.
Other users of the app who come into contact with your lost friend will get an alert, which makes the device a popular choice for neighborhood pet communities. The devices light weight and small size are ideal for smaller pets, and there are no monthly fees. Plus, if your pet makes a habit of hiding indoors when distressed (think fireworks and thunderstorms), this is a fast way to track them down.
Uses Bluetooth tracking to keep tabs on your pets location Water-resistant Affordable Includes removable battery that lasts up to six months A good option for city dwellers with its lost-pet app community Shop on ChewyShop on Amazon Wed be remiss if we didnt cover Apples AirTags, which offer a unique take on Bluetooth tracking. Though Apple doesnt market the AirTags for dogs, theyre wildly popular among pet parentsand for a good reason.
Because they rely on passing phones to locate a lost item, AirTags work phenomenally well in densely populated areas. Once you enter lost mode, youll receive address updates every time your pup comes within Bluetooth range of a compatible phone.
What is the most accurate dog GPS tracker?
A GPS tracker attached to your pet’s collar can reunite you if they do escape into the unknown. The Whistle Go Explore is the one GPS tracker we’d trust because it’s the most accurate pet tracker we tested, the app is easy to use, and the device is small enough to affix to any collar.
Do GPS dog trackers work?
Certain dog tracking systems also let you know what your dog is doing by using certain behavior systems that are part of the collar. You can tell if a dog is moving or has stopped, if a dog is barking, or if he has treed an animal. Dog Tracking Systems are also effective in locating dogs that are lost.
Some of us track our phones in case they get stolen. Some of us put GPS trackers on our cars to track kids or for the more controversial ones, our spouses. So why not do the same with our four-legged companions? The purpose is not to always know what they are up to, but to know that they are safe.
You wouldnt need to live in fear every time you lose sight of your fur baby with one simple device called a GPS tracker. Once your phone has received the signal, it will calculate the data sent and give you the exact location of the thing youre looking for with the GPS tracker.
This works in your favor when you are trying to ensure their safety, and youd like to keep tabs on your dogs location at all times. Heres your guide in picking out the best dog GPS trackers so you can make sure that what youre getting is top quality. Non-paid Monthly Subscription For sure, buying dog GPS trackers is already a pain in your wallet.
However, we also have the GPS Tracking Gear (Top 8) that doesnt need a monthly fee, so you wont have to worry about additional expenses. Notes from our DVM, Sara Ochoa: GPS collars are great if your dog is known to escape from your yard. They may not get you to the exact location but they can usually get you within 100 yards of your dog and make it much easier to find them.
Product Specifications Brand: Garmin Color: Black Screen Size: 3 Inches Display Type: Transflective, 65-K color TFT touchscreen Item Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.5 x 6.5 inches Map Type: Topographical Battery Life: 20 Hours Memory Storage Capacity: 4 GB Scanner Resolution: 240 x 400 pixels You can set up the safe zone boundaries on the little map and get alerts when your dog steps out over the line. There are two types of stimulation: tone and vibration to help your dog understand where the boundaries are set up.
Pros: + Tracks multiple dogs for up to 20 dogs+ Tracker and training collar+ Tone and vibration alerts+ With LED beacon lights and rescue mode+ 20 40 hours battery life+ Measures dogs speed, distance, and direction traveled Cons: Expensive Needs to be charged nightly so you can use it for the whole day next day Collar size may be too big for some dogs Unless your dog figured out how to buy a plane ticket and fly to a different country, you can find him and get him back!
The whistle will text or email you notifications that can also show up on their app to notify you if your dog leaves the safe zone. You can also monitor their activity and rest levels throughout the day to keep your finger on their physical health and help them stay in shape. Cons: Requires monthly subscription fee of $8.25 May be hard to set up at first and connect to AT&Ts cell networks
The Whistle Go Explore is the best dog GPS tracker even for swimming because its waterproof rated IPX8, and it can be submerged in up to 6 feet of water. Our Review Tractives pet tracker is a small and nifty device that attaches to collars. The tracker will alert you right when your pet leaves the safe zone and its long-range tracking will surely impress you.
Cons: Needs a monthly subscription but only for $5 Based on pet owners reviews the battery life is weak Tractive connects to several cellular networks, namely, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Viaero Wireless USA so youll be able to track your pooch anywhere across the United States! Our Review Many of the GPS tracker options out there require a monthly subscription plan to activate and use the device.
We love that the Findster Duo+ GPS Pet Tracker works without the need to pay an extra monthly fee. Note that the range isnt as far because this device is best used for walks, not remote tracking or monitoring. Pros: + Small and lightweight+ Waterproof and shockproof+ No monthly fees only 1 full year subscription+ 12 hours battery life with GPS continuously on+ Notifies you about your dogs behavior and possible health-related issues+ No sim card or cell signal required to function
Cons: Size may be too big for a small dog The app user interface is slow Why We Liked It Download the Findster app to track your dog in real-time and get notifications immediately when they leave the safe premises! Product Specifications Brand: Pet Resolve Color: Blue Special Features: Waterproof, Anti Bark & Light for Night Mode
It comes with 3 training collars with continuous or periodic shocks, vibrations, or sounds that teach your dog where the boundary ends. Holding true to the durable standards Pet Resolve has for every product, this collar will not fail you in rainy or snowy weather. Pros: + Long-range tracking of up to 3/4 mile range+ With anti-bark and light night mode+ Adjustable shock, sound, and vibration levels+ 100% waterproof and swim-ready collar+ Can train multiple dogs+ 2-year warranty
Why We Like It The wide range of this collar is great for those who take their pups into woodsy areas. Product Specifications Brand: Pawscout Item Dimensions: 6 x 3.5 x 0.6 inches; 1.59 Ounces Get notifications instantly on the Pawscout app as soon as your pet leaves the setup location.
You can use the app to locate any facilities for your dogs, such as a vet or groomer, and create a digital profile for your pooch. With the added 100% satisfaction guarantee, there is no reason why you shouldnt give Pawscout a try today! Pros: + Pawscout community+ Source information and build a profile+ Get instant alerts+ Includes walk diary and medical profile+ 100% satisfaction guarantee
Cons: Not a GPS locator as it does not provide the exact pets location Short battery life Requires Bluetooth connectivity on your smart cell phone Whats great about this pet tag is that it use Bluetooth technology to connect you with other Pawscout dog owners who also have the app. It includes a free year of Birdseye Satellite Imagery for better location tracking!
The GPS is extra sensitive, and the GLONASS satellite reception allows the tracking to be more accurate in tougher environments. Like the option before it, the device also analyzes your poochs speed, distance, and time for your reference and review. Pros: + Preloaded TOPO maps for the USA and South Canada+ 1 year free of charge Birdseye Satellite Imagery+ Highly sensitivity GPS and GLONASS satellite reception+ Up to 5 miles (8 km) tracking range+ With Hunt Metrics that measures your dogs speed, distance and time traveled+ 2.5-second fast update rate
Product Specifications Brand: GoTele Item Dimensions: 5.1 x 4.1 x 3.6 inches Map Type: Africa Connectivity Technology : Wi-Fi The multiple functions include live tracking, Geo-fence setup, messaging, and offline mapping. Track your friends, family, and fur baby when enjoying nature outdoors without any worry.
Product Specifications Brand: Spy Tec Color: Black Item Dimensions: 3 x 1 x 1.5 inches Connectivity Technology : Cellular Map Type: Satellite Our Review This Spy Tec STI GL300 dog GPS tracker is handy for tracking vehicles, children, pets, and the elderly. It doesnt take any extra effort to keep this device on your body at only two inches long.
Track your loved one over the Internet with Google Maps and get a text or email notification right as they leave the geo-fenced area. Pros: + Lightweight and portable+ 99.99% uptime and a .256 millisecond processing time+ Receive location alerts via text or email+ Track anything or anyone for all situations+ Long battery life that lasts for up to 2 weeks+ With a lifetime warranty Cons: Requires a monthly subscription for $19.95/month annually or $24.95/month, month-to-month Online registration doesnt work sometimes
Its small size is great for portability, so you can keep it with you at all times, whether in your pocket, purse, or bag. Product Specifications Brand: PETFON Color: Blue Item Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.7 x 0.6 inches Battery Life : 8 to 16 hours Connectivity: GPS, WiFi, bluetooth, and long distance wireless technology Pros: + Free of service fees or monthly fees+ Real-time and long-range tracking+ Multicolor alert and customizable voice command+ Lightweight and rainproof+ Includes lost dog mode or anti-lost radar searching+ With pet activity tracking
Cons: Need to remove from the dogs collar to completely charge first Tracker is not shareable on other phones Why We Like It: The fact you dont have to pay for monthly subscription fees with this PETFON GPS tracking device is a big bonus already! With this feature, youll get instant alerts if your pooch is out of their safety zone or goes to places they shouldnt go.
After reading through our top 9 list, most of you will feel dog GPS trackers are simple devices that offer you peace of mind. No matter where you live, the weather conditions could include blazing heat or freezing cold. Your dog will most likely be wearing the device outdoors, so make sure rolling through the mud or diving into the ocean wont be reasons why you cant find your pooch.
Accurate location Whether it be your phone or one included in the package bundle, the handheld device should tell you where your dog is as precisely as possible. A handheld device or off-grid design could fare well in situations where the frequency is disrupted. If you have the misfortune of losing your puppy, you will be hoping and praying the battery doesnt run out before you locate him!
Activity Monitor This added feature isnt necessary to track your fur baby. Our pups are fast, much faster than us, and having an up-to-date tracking system will allow us to preemptively locate their next possible step. A weak signal means a delayed response in the tracker, and the easier it is for you to lose your pooch.
Its all about comfort, and if youre going to attach the GPS tracker to your dogs collar, the size shouldnt bother them. If you have a large property or live on a farm or in the countryside, knowing where your fur baby is at all times is a near-impossible task. Your cat might like to wander off if the gate is open, and its much easier for them to forget the way home.
If you are a hunter, rescuer, or anyone who enjoys spending a lot of time outdoors with your fur baby, a GPS dog tracker is very helpful. We hope our comprehensive guide is helpful for your next trip outdoors with your pet or in an unfortunate event. If you are not willing to pay the right price for all the features it needs to meet your expectations, then you are better off keeping your dog on a leash at all times.
Expert Tip Making sure you are purchasing a tracker fit for your needs is imperative. Many pet parents dont realize they bought something they cant use because they didnt read the description carefully. Some GPS trackers dont work in certain countries, some need Wi-Fi coverage, and some are only meant to be used on walks with the short-range it provides.
Some devices have a SIM card that needs to be set up with the local cellular network, requiring a fee. The data sent back and forth between the cell towers and your pet GPS tracker needs to be paid for. FitBark GPS Dog Tracker | Health & Location Pet Tracking Smart Collar… SAFETY.
Monitor activity, sleep quality, distance, calorie balance,… COMFORT.
Some dogs are master escapologists, capable of slipping a leash and getting out of the dog park in the blink of an eye. Others can dig under, jump over, or chew through garden fences and other barriers.
Some double up as daily movement trackers, measuring the total distance covered by your pet. If youre curious how far you walk with your pup, or you are encouraging a strict daily walking regimen for your furry friend, one of these exercise GPS collars enables you to track the distance your dog covers, rather than the distance you cover.
There are a lot of GPS collar options available, including those from brands like Garmin and even Black and Decker. Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker Set up safe zones Track steps and distance Includes a night light CHECK PRICE Best Value Cube Shadow Bluetooth Tracker No subscription required Cheap Connects to a mobile app CHECK PRICE Premium Choice
You can set a safe zone so that if your dog leaves this area, you receive an alert message warning you. These services do come at a cost, and as well as a moderately priced GPS tracker device to buy, you have to pay a monthly subscription to AT&T to enjoy tracking and coverage. The tracker is waterproof up to 6 feet and it even includes a night light to make it easy to find your dog if he goes missing when its dark.
Set up safe zones Track steps and distance covered Get up to 3 weeks on a single charge Includes a night light Overall, the low cost and lack of a subscription make this one of the best dog GPS trackers and collars for the money. Connect the tracker to your mobile device and set up a geofence to receive alerts as soon as your dog leaves your yard or another area.
The armored tracker is waterproof and dirt-proof and collar bands are available in a variety of sizes and colors to match your dog. It can monitor location indoors and outdoors, and thanks to the combination of tracking methods, it isnt restricted by walls or other items. Set up geofenced areas Receive instant alerts Tracks indoor and outdoor locations
It works as a GPS tracker, although this does require a monthly or annual subscription to allow you to locate your dog away from home. It has a bright LED night light, too, and the app will even advise you how much exercise and how often, according to the breed, age, and other factors, your dog. You can set up a geofence zone and receive live alerts as soon as your dog leaves the designated area.
The app also enables you to see a full history of the locations your dog has visited, so you can see where he goes when he gets out and potentially use this information to help prevent further escapes. The tracker is moderately priced, but it does require a minimum 1-year subscription to activate and use the LTE tracking features. If not, the network may not recognize the tracker, which means that you will not receive alerts or reliable location updates.
The FitBark allows users to set up multiple Wi-Fi safe places, which means that you can establish geofences at your home, at family and friends houses, at the kennels, and at other locations, and have the app message you whenever your dog leaves these locations. It will also track activity levels, can be set up with individual targets and goals, and can be integrated with your own FitBit or another fitness app. It has a range of 9 miles and does not require a monthly fee, which is good considering the initial price of the device is easily the most expensive on our list.
To work over this kind of distance, the collar does have an antenna, which is far from subtle and may be prone to chewing and potentially even getting caught. The batter has a life of about 40 hours, which is lowered considerably if you use the bright LED lights that provide extra visibility. While this unit is very expensive, it doesnt require the purchase of an additional device, but it wont work with smaller dogs and breeds.
If they make a break for freedom, the collar will immediately alert you, and you can use it to track their movements and find their most recent position. Black + Decker isnt a name that you would normally associate with dog collars, and this device has poor GPS and cellular coverage. The OLED screen that displays name and contact details is easily broken, it has poor battery life, and its reliance on 2G coverage means that it will not work with most carriers because they have disabled their 2G networks.
They may try to escape when let off their leash while at the dog park, or while youre out hunting or partaking in some other activity with your pet pup. To benefit from this type of device, you will need to first determine the exact range and boundaries of your WiFi network. As well as considering features like tracking method and range, you will have to decide whether you want a simple Wi-Fi device that barks an alert when your dog leaves the range of your home network or something with full cellular coverage but that requires a monthly subscription.
Hopefully, our reviews have helped you find the device that best meets your requirements, the activity levels and escapology skills of your dog , and your budget. If youre on a tighter budget, or you only have relatively basic tracking requirements, the Cube Shadow Bluetooth Tracker is a discreet, light, and cheap alternative. Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway.
Pet owners cant always account for indoor cats skedaddling outdoors or dogs hightailing it away from the dog walker. A GPS tracker attached to your pets collar can reunite you if they do escape into the unknown. The Whistle Go Explore is the one GPS tracker wed trust because its the most accurate pet tracker we tested, the app is easy to use, and the device is small enough to affix to any collar.
Its easy to use, as accurate as any GPS tracker can be, and light and small enough that most pets, even toy dogs, wont be weighed down by it. But like most collars we tested, this devices GPS accuracy can be finicky when service is spotty, relaying locations that are more general than precise.
I approached this guide knowing that reliable tech paired with traditional search methods can help increase the odds of finding a beloved pet. If your pet escapes, youll receive a notification via an app, have the ability to track their location in real time, and hopefully be safely reunited. Screenshots from the Tile Mate (left), Fi Series 2 Collar (center), and our pick, the Whistle Go Explore (right).
For this update, we pored over reviews and combed through sites like Amazon, Chewy, and Petco to find 20 devices worth considering, ranging from $20 to $500. We eliminated other trackers based on their poor third-party reviews, high initial cost, low ratings, and lack of warranties. The Whistle Go Explore outperformed all other pet GPS trackers on both counts, making it the only device wed feel safe using with our own cats and dogs.
But the accuracy can shift due to cell phone coverage, large buildings blocking the signal, and other factors outside of your control. And since Whistle uses AT&Ts 4G LTE network, its more reliable and sends updates faster than half of the GPS and Bluetooth trackers on the market, including the unreliable Pawscout Tag we tested. Whistle Go Explore allows users to set a safe zone, or geofence, by address, by radius, or polygon size.
The larger the minimum diameter, the less likely you are to receive alerts when your pet escapes your property, individual apartment, or even the building. It can also withstand an escaped dogs romp in a mud puddle or swim in a river, thanks to its IPX8 rating (which means its waterproof and can be submerged in water up to a meter deep). We were impressed with the Whistles intuitive app (for iOS and Android ), which made it easy to sync the tracker, discern its location, and set multiple safe zones.
Like all of the GPS trackers and collars for cats and dogs we tested, the Whistle Go Explore isnt immune to service interruptions or false location data. The app occasionally pinged that the tracker was outside of the safe zone (the homes address) or showed a zig-zag travel trail stretching a few houses down that never even happened. Similarly, if your pet gets out when the battery is low or is in an area with poor AT&T 4G LTE coverage, your chances of finding Fido greatly decrease.
Its a bit clunky to wear, but in testing, our 9-pound Chihuahua mix didnt have any issues playing or sleeping with the Whistle strapped on. Unlike with the Link AKC Smart Collar or Bluetooth trackers, with the Whistle you cant use the app to trigger a sound to help you find a pet hiding in the underbrush. Instead, you can activate a flashlight on the tracker thatll blink at a slow or fast speedan ideal feature when searching for your pet at night.
You also dont have to pay an ongoing subscription fee (but you will need to buy a $30-per-year Tile Premium plan for real-time tracking alerts). While testing, we received an email notification from Tile pinpointing the intersection where our lost tracker was foundthere was no specific address, just a dot on a map. According to senior staff writer Nick Guy, Tile reports that But if youre concerned about finding an escaped pet, we think the peace of mind a GPS tracker or collar offers is worth the extra cost, as substantial as it may be.
We were surprised (and frankly disturbed) that Fi was tracking our actions without our permission, and we reached out for more information about how the company controls access to user data.
The Best Dog GPS Collar Devices
We’ve gathered up the best dog GPS collar trackers on the market and tallied the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about the one that’s right for you.
Utilizing AT&T’s wireless network and Google Maps, the Whistle GO Explore will notify you whenever your dog leaves his designated safe space and provides live location tracking. In addition to GPS monitoring, the Whistle can also be used to track physical activity goals for your pet, as well as certain health behaviors.Rover testers were able to use the Whistle to find their dogs consistently in urban and suburban environments (including those with buildings, water, trees, and open fields), and they reported almost no calibration delays for dogs on the move—the fewest of any tracker we tested.
This 5G-compatible GPS tracker uses a combo of GPS, Bluetooth, cellular, and Wi-Fi to locate your pet.
FitBark GPS Dog Tracker
A tracker and collar all in one! Available in a range of sizes and colors, this collar is hardy—it can withstand up to 300 pounds of pull resistance and is waterproof in 1.5 meters of water. It uses the AT&T LTE-M network to send your pup’s location to an app on your phone, then updates it every two minutes once you enter “Lost Dog Mode.” For added safety, the tracker has a remotely controlled LED light for nighttime and can track sleep and activity.Rover testers were a little wary of the activation time—it look them two to five minutes to get Lost Dog Mode up and running—but they appreciated a countdown to the next live update on their dog’s location. It’s not the most serious tracker, but with fun fitness features and solid battery life, it is one of the most convenient and enjoyable.
FitBark GPS Dog Tracker
This lightweight GPS tracker monitors your dog’s location as well as his health.
Petfon 2 GPS Pet Tracker
Garmin devices are popular among those who hunt with their dogs—and for a good reason. This Garmin dog GPS tracker is built into a collar equipped with an antenna that can help you locate your pup up to nine miles away. It doesn’t rely on cell networks, Wi-Fi, or apps for your phone, which makes it one of the best choices for those who can’t count on cell service or internet in their area.The price is accordingly steep, since you need to buy a handheld tracker in addition to the collar—but pet parents with several dogs to track may find it more economical, since one handheld device can track multiple collars. The relatively short battery life means you can’t clip it on and forget it—but if you need a sturdy option for hiking, hunting, or long walks in the wilderness, the Garmin GPS Collar is hard to beat.
Petfon 2 GPS Pet Tracker
A pet tracker and fitness diary all in one device.
Pawscout Smarter Tag
Compatible with any smartphone, the Cube GPS Tracker relies on Verizon’s network. It attaches to your dog’s collar and includes an SOS button, geofencing alerts, and the ability to ring your tracker remotely if you’re having trouble spotting your pet. Low-battery alerts are an especially nice touch.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t cover Apple’s AirTags, which offer a unique take on Bluetooth tracking. Though Apple doesn’t market the AirTags for dogs, they’re wildly popular among pet parents—and for a good reason.Because they rely on passing phones to locate a lost item, AirTags work phenomenally well in densely populated areas. Once you enter lost mode, you’ll receive address updates every time your pup comes within Bluetooth range of a compatible phone. You can even use the tag to leave a message to the finder.The replaceable battery is designed to last a year or more, and each tag costs just $29—meaning under the right conditions, the AirTags rival some of the best GPS collars for dogs on the market for a fraction of the cost.But there are some important drawbacks to consider, especially for those who live in less populated areas or worry about losing their dog in the wilderness. If no one comes across your pup, you won’t get any alerts—which severely hampers the product’s utility outside a city.For details, check out our full test of Apple’s AirTags for dogs.
Apple’s AirTags use Bluetooth technology in an unconventional way to give you tracking power well beyond the usual hundred or so feet.Got an app for that? We sure do! Download the Rover app.
Best Dog GPS Tracker in 2021
Our Top 3 PicksSome of us track our phones in case they get stolen. Some of us put GPS trackers on our cars to track kids or for the more controversial ones, our spouses. So why not do the same with our four-legged companions? The purpose is not to always know what they are up to, but to know that they are safe.Confining your dog to your yard with a wireless fence or with a leash are the usual ways we make sure they stay within our sights. But what happens on the off chance they run off, or God forbid gets stolen? You wouldn’t need to live in fear every time you lose sight of your fur baby with one simple device called a GPS tracker.
How does dog GPS trackers work?
Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers are used as a tool to pinpoint someone or something’s location. It uses GPS satellites that send out a signal to another device; one example of this device is your smartphone. Once your phone has received the signal, it will calculate the data sent and give you the exact location of the thing you’re looking for with the GPS tracker.These GPS pet trackers are small and are attachable to your dog’s collar. Technology is so advanced nowadays. This works in your favor when you are trying to ensure their safety, and you’d like to keep tabs on your dog’s location at all times. Let’s take a look at what options there are on the market.
A Buyer’s Guide On GPS Dog Trackers
After reading through our top 9 list, most of you will feel dog GPS trackers are simple devices that offer you peace of mind. You can not only track your belongings but also your loved ones aside from your pets! It’s a tiny little creation that fastens onto whomever you want to track. Some operate on satellite coverage, and others are off-grid. So who should buy one? What should we look for when searching for one? We will answer your questions below.
Weather and Waterproof
Make sure your device can last throughout the year. No matter where you live, the weather conditions could include blazing heat or freezing cold. Your dog will most likely be wearing the device outdoors, so make sure rolling through the mud or diving into the ocean won’t be reasons why you can’t find your pooch.
Whether it be your phone or one included in the package bundle, the handheld device should tell you where your dog is as precisely as possible. GPS devices offer the most accurate positions with the fastest updates. Reception and terrain play a great role in location accuracy. A handheld device or off-grid design could fare well in situations where the frequency is disrupted.
Battery life is of the utmost importance when it comes to remote devices like this. If you have the misfortune of losing your puppy, you will be hoping and praying the battery doesn’t run out before you locate him! Try to find trackers with a battery life of over a day.
This added feature isn’t necessary to track your fur baby. Still, you can use this to gain knowledge on your dog’s overall health and find a better exercise plan for them. If they get lost, the activity monitor can also tell you your pup’s condition or behavior.
This function gives you an accurate pinpoint of your dog’s location without delay. Our pups are fast, much faster than us, and having an up-to-date tracking system will allow us to preemptively locate their next possible step.
You want it to have as wide a range as possible. A wide signal range lets the tracker communicate with signal towers more easily. A weak signal means a delayed response in the tracker, and the easier it is for you to lose your pooch.
Price and warranty are important with any purchase. You do not want to buy something you don’t end up using and can’t return. Some of our suggested options come at a price lower than $100!
This is definitely a must-have feature. Most notifications will be sent immediately when your dog steps out of the zone. They can be sent via the manufacturer app, your email, or a text alert.
Designated Safe Zone
A GPS tracker that allows you to set up a safe perimeter you do not wish your dog to cross is also important. This will give you control over your dog and your anxiety.
Not a lot of people realize that the size of the tracker is highly important. If a tracker is lightweight, then it’s the ideal choice if you have a smaller breed. It is hard to gauge how the tracker will look on your pet, so a warranty is important. The tracker shouldn’t weigh down your pup. In fact, they shouldn’t even be aware of its presence. It’s all about comfort, and if you’re going to attach the GPS tracker to your dog’s collar, the size shouldn’t bother them.
Do I Need a GPS Dog Tracker?
A GPS dog tracker will only do good for your dog. It’s better to know their whereabouts at all times rather than searching frantically for them because you took your eyes off them for a second.If you have a large property or live on a farm or in the countryside, knowing where your fur baby is at all times is a near-impossible task. A GPS device could provide you with the option of keeping tabs on your pooch.Families with adventurous, rambunctious, and lighting-quick pets could also reap the benefits of a GPS tracker. Don’t restrict their sense of adventure; control it within the perimeter. These trackers can be used on multiple pets. Your cat might like to wander off if the gate is open, and it’s much easier for them to forget the way home.If you are a hunter, rescuer, or anyone who enjoys spending a lot of time outdoors with your fur baby, a GPS dog tracker is very helpful.
We hope our comprehensive guide is helpful for your next trip outdoors with your pet or in an unfortunate event. Price shouldn’t be the first consideration. Look through all the features a GPS tracker should include, and make a shortlist for yourself of what you need most in your unique circumstance. Setting out to look for the perfect tracker after educating yourself will guarantee you make the right choice.The purpose of the tracker is safety and peace of mind. If you are not willing to pay the right price for all the features it needs to meet your expectations, then you are better off keeping your dog on a leash at all times. Good luck with your search!
Making sure you are purchasing a tracker fit for your needs is imperative. You can save coins by not splurging on a device with many fancy features you don’t really need.Remember to read the product description! Many pet parents don’t realize they bought something they can’t use because they didn’t read the description carefully. Some GPS trackers don’t work in certain countries, some need Wi-Fi coverage, and some are only meant to be used on walks with the short-range it provides.
Did You Know?
The subscription fee that comes with some of these devices exists for a reason. Some devices have a SIM card that needs to be set up with the local cellular network, requiring a fee. The data sent back and forth between the cell towers and your pet GPS tracker needs to be paid for. Most companies offer a no cancellation fee plan or a discounted price if the fee is paid in full for a year.We understand that the subscription fee can be annoying for some. Still, the excellent customer service that comes with it just might make the extra cost worth it for you. You can always try an off-grid design to skirt these fees or look into our other suggested models.Read more about GPS trackers for canines in this case study.
Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
The Jiobit GPS Dog Location Monitor is a dog tracker that uses a combination of Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular technology to monitor your dog’s position and alert you if he escapes or gets lost.It can monitor location indoors and outdoors, and thanks to the combination of tracking methods, it isn’t restricted by walls or other items. The device is light and will easily and conveniently connect to your pup’s collar. It has an unlimited range and the rechargeable battery will last for around 7 days before it needs recharging. You can set up geofenced areas, receive alerts as soon as your dog leaves those areas, and you can enjoy live monitoring and tracking to see exactly where your pet is, whenever you want to.The device is expensive and you will require a subscription to get the most from its features, especially if you want cellular tracking, and the 7-day charge duration isn’t great, but it is an effective device and does have some very advanced features.
Dogtra Pathfinder GPS Tracking Collar
The FitBark GPS Dog Tracker is a moderately priced GPS tracker that is small enough to fit on most collars. It has an embedded Verizon 4G LTE-M sim card. You will need a subscription to benefit from the tracker and safety features of the device, but this is true of most similar devices. However, because this uses Verizon’s network, you will need to check whether you get decent Verizon coverage in your area. If not, the network may not recognize the tracker, which means that you will not receive alerts or reliable location updates.The FitBark allows users to set up multiple Wi-Fi safe places, which means that you can establish geofences at your home, at family and friends’ houses, at the kennels, and at other locations, and have the app message you whenever your dog leaves these locations. It will also track activity levels, can be set up with individual targets and goals, and can be integrated with your own FitBit or another fitness app.The range of features and how well they work highlights this as a device that is better suited to those looking for a canine fitness device rather than a GPS tracker.
The Black and Decker Smart Dog Collar is a GPS and activity tracking collar. You can set up geofences, which means that you can set up safe zones in your own yard, but also in the park or field where you let your dog off their leash.If they make a break for freedom, the collar will immediately alert you, and you can use it to track their movements and find their most recent position. It is water-resistant and it has 2-way audio, which means that you can listen in to try and locate your dog and you can reassure them. Black + Decker isn’t a name that you would normally associate with dog collars, and this device has poor GPS and cellular coverage.The OLED screen that displays name and contact details is easily broken, it has poor battery life, and its reliance on 2G coverage means that it will not work with most carriers because they have disabled their 2G networks.
You save $40 (31%)Although a GPS pet tracker doesn’t guarantee you’ll find your lost cat or dog, the Whistle Go Explore does give you the best chance of doing so. It’s easy to use, as accurate as any GPS tracker can be, and light and small enough that most pets, even toy dogs, won’t be weighed down by it. The Whistle Go is also durable enough to survive your pup’s roughhousing at the dog park. But like most collars we tested, this device’s GPS accuracy can be finicky when service is spotty, relaying locations that are more general than precise. It also costs around $100 a year, and the battery lasts only about three days in “lost pet mode,” so you’d need to find your escaped pet quickly.
Who this is for
A GPS pet tracker, like most emergency gear, is something you hope you never have to use. The device uses an embedded GPS transponder as well as cellular data signals to communicate your pet’s location to you. If your pet escapes, you’ll receive a notification via an app, have the ability to track their location in real time, and hopefully be safely reunited. You might also like a pet tracker if you have an outdoor pet (a cat, most likely) and you’d prefer to keep tabs on their adventures throughout the day.Because these trackers use GPS, they are much more accurate than Bluetooth trackers. The latter communicate their location only if they’re within Bluetooth range of your phone or within range of someone else using the same app.Some of these trackers also monitor your pet’s activity, much like a fitness tracker a person might wear. That’s a fine feature to have, and it’s something you may find useful, but we focused our testing solely on location tracking.
How we picked and tested
For this update, we pored over reviews and combed through sites like Amazon, Chewy, and Petco to find 20 devices worth considering, ranging from $20 to $500. From there, we dismissed GPS trackers that relied on outdated 2G or 3G networks or that had relatively small carrier networks—when you need to find your pet, you want the largest possible network. We eliminated other trackers based on their poor third-party reviews, high initial cost, low ratings, and lack of warranties. That left us with seven models to test, a mix of traditional GPS trackers and Bluetooth trackers: Apple AirTag, Fi Series 2 Collar, Pawscout Tag, Petfon Smart Tracker Home Kit, Tile Mate (2020), Tile Sticker (2020), and Whistle Go Explore.A good pet tracker should be easy to set up, and it should stay on your pet, so we considered each tracker’s size and how easy it was to attach. Then we used the device’s apps and noted any issues we had.But our primary concern was each GPS pet tracker’s accuracy. Most of the trackers and collars we tested supported some sort of “safe zone,” created by maintaining a connection to a particular Wi-Fi or Bluetooth network or staying within a defined area, known as a “geofence.” When the trackers are in this zone, they don’t activate their GPS transponder, saving significant battery life. We noted how long each tracker lasted on a charge while inside a safe zone (in other words, how long the battery will last when your pet is at home).We tested the accuracy of the trackers outside their safe zone by walking around a residential neighborhood, an outdoor mall with ample foot traffic, and around Manhattan with the trackers in a pocket or on a dog or human friend. We noted how well each performed—the tracker’s location accuracy, push-notification speed, and how frequently the location updated. We also activated each tracker’s lost mode, which is how you flag your pet as “lost,” and we set off the tracker to update its location constantly, when the apps allowed. Then we shipped the devices 1,600 miles away and back, following their journey on the app. This told us how dependable the trackers might be, in both cellular access and battery life, if a pet were to trek across state lines.
You save $40 (31%)Nothing matters more in a GPS tracker and collar than its location accuracy and network reliability. The Whistle Go Explore outperformed all other pet GPS trackers on both counts, making it the only device we’d feel safe using with our own cats and dogs. It also features long-lasting battery life for day-to-day use, an intuitive app design, and durable, lightweight hardware.Throughout our tests, we were able to locate the Whistle within a matter of seconds. That reported location was always close enough to the tracker itself that we could find our pet easily. But the accuracy can shift due to cell phone coverage, large buildings blocking the signal, and other factors outside of your control. We especially like that the Whistle’s smartphone app shows you both where the tracker is and your own location, which is handy if you’re trying to find your pet in an unfamiliar area.Whistle’s cellular service is provided by AT&T, which is ranked number one in cellular service by Global Wireless Solutions. Most of the GPS trackers and collars we researched don’t disclose which cellular network they use to track a lost pet. Of those that did, AT&T was the most common. We liked Whistle’s transparency. And since Whistle uses AT&T’s 4G LTE network, it’s more reliable and sends updates faster than half of the GPS and Bluetooth trackers on the market, including the unreliable Pawscout Tag we tested.The Whistle pulls ahead of its closest competitor, the Fi Series 2 Collar, thanks to its more-precise geofence feature. Just set the geofence by address and adjust a polygon tool to wrap around the property line. Alternatively, you can drop a circle on the map, as long as it’s at least 78 feet across. Comparatively, the Fi limits the geofence to a diameter of at least 122 feet, which can easily be too large to be really useful. The larger the minimum diameter, the less likely you are to receive alerts when your pet escapes your property, individual apartment, or even the building. We’d rather play it safe with the Whistle.We wanted to see how the Whistle would perform when worn by dogs who don’t spend all of their time in a fenced-in area. The Whistle’s battery lasted a week when we took it on errands, dog walks, and leisurely strolls through the city. And there’s no need to charge it for a full night, either. With the included USB charging cable, it will go from 0% to 100% in just over three hours. This ensures your dog won’t be without a tracker when it’s time for their evening walk. Users can track battery life in the app and via push notifications or email alerts.The Whistle Go Explore is made of hard-wearing plastic. We dropped it repeatedly from about 2 feet in the air, or the height of a large dog, and it never scratched, dented, or broke. It can also withstand an escaped dog’s romp in a mud puddle or swim in a river, thanks to its IPX8 rating (which means it’s waterproof and can be submerged in water up to a meter deep). More than half of the trackers we found can’t say the same. For example, the Tile Mate (2020) is rated IP55 and will withstand only a splash, rather than a prolonged mud-puddling. Also, the Whistle is the only GPS device we tested that can be attached to any collar up to 2 inches wide. The Fi is sold with its proprietary collars that are 1-inch wide, which are too bulky for smaller pets. You may be able to buy a collar from a Fi-approved seller, but you can’t attach the Fi to any collar from your local pet store. While we were writing this piece, Whistle updated its product description to say the Whistle Go Explore is suited for pets 20 pounds and up; the company had previously rated the Whistle as being for pets above 8 pounds. You can still see this information in old online listings. This came just as Whistle announced a new tracker called the Whistle Switch Smart Collar, which is designed for smaller pets, down to 5 pounds. It’s sleeker and comes with an extra battery pack. We plan to test this new version during our next update. But in our testing we found the Whistle Go Explore to be well suited even to cats and small dogs.We were impressed with the Whistle’s intuitive app (for iOS and Android), which made it easy to sync the tracker, discern its location, and set multiple safe zones. The Whistle Go Explore also has an activity monitor, a fitness-goal tracker, and a to-do lists feature. We think these extra features are overkill, so we didn’t test them for this guide. But if you’ve been tracking your pet’s at-home movements for weeks and notice a severe decrease in their activity level, it could be a warning that something’s wrong and they need to see a vet; this is nice information to have, but it’s not essential for tracking.The Whistle Go Explore comes in neon green, magenta, or gray, and it has a one-year warranty.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
It’s wild that a $130 GPS tracker requires a subscription fee, but that’s the price to add another level of protection for your pet. Without it, the Whistle Go Explore is functionless and little more than a hunk of plastic around your pet’s neck. Whistle offers three payment options: $13 per month, $99 a year, or $192 every two years. This gives pet owners access to AT&T so the tracker can communicate with the network and send location alerts. If the Whistle isn’t for you, just cancel within 90 days for a prorated subscription refund and no cancellation fee, and return the tracker. Similar devices include the $150 Fi Series 2 Collar, which also uses AT&T and charges $99, $186, or $248 for one, two, or three years, respectively. Fi offers a 30-day trial period, after which subscriptions are nonrefundable.Like all of the GPS trackers and collars for cats and dogs we tested, the Whistle Go Explore isn’t immune to service interruptions or false location data. The app occasionally pinged that the tracker was outside of the “safe” zone (the home’s address) or showed a zig-zag travel trail stretching a few houses down that never even happened. You can reduce false alerts with a strong home Wi-Fi network and by enlarging your home’s safe zone in the app. Similarly, if your pet gets out when the battery is low or is in an area with poor AT&T 4G LTE coverage, your chances of finding Fido greatly decrease. None of these trackers, not even the Whistle, can claim to be a panacea for pet escapes. Consider one as an extra line of defense that may help you in a worst-case scenario.The Whistle’s battery capacity is below average. We shipped it across the country and back to ourselves to illustrate how it might perform over an extended, long-distance escape. The Whistle’s battery lasted three days in transit in lost mode—and not nearly as long as its competitors. The Fi collar lasted a full week, and we estimate the Apple AirTag, Pawscout Tag, and Tile Mate (2020) can last several weeks in continuous lost mode (when not in lost mode they can last a year).Whereas the Apple AirTag and Tile Sticker (2020) are each the size of a coin, the Whistle Go Explore is about the size of a nail polish bottle (minus the cap). It’s also one of the heaviest trackers, weighing just over an ounce. Most others, like the Apple AirTag, Pawscout Tag, and Tile Mate (2020), each weigh less than a half-ounce. But since the Whistle was recommended for pets over 8 pounds during our testing (Whistle has since changed its guidance to over 20 pounds), we don’t believe the extra weight should be a problem. It’s a bit clunky to wear, but in testing, our 9-pound Chihuahua mix didn’t have any issues playing or sleeping with the Whistle strapped on.Despite its name, the Whistle is totally silent. Unlike with the Link AKC Smart Collar or Bluetooth trackers, with the Whistle you can’t use the app to trigger a sound to help you find a pet hiding in the underbrush. (We realize that any sound emitting from around a pet’s neck may scare them off anyhow.) Instead, you can activate a flashlight on the tracker that’ll blink at a slow or fast speed—an ideal feature when searching for your pet at night. The Fi also has a blinking flashlight, but it’s dimmer and harder to spot from a distance at night. And we couldn’t get Fi’s flashlight to consistently work during testing.
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What to look forward to
Tile partnered with silicone ring brand Qalo to create a trackable ID tag, Qalo Traq. It’s basically a Tile Mate (2020) covered in brightly colored silicone, and at $50 it’s double the price. Qalo says the non-toxic silicone is durable and waterproof up to 1 meter deep. Pet owners can customize the tag on both the front and the back, leaving plenty of room to add both their pet’s name and the pet owner’s contact information.Tile is a launch partner in Amazon’s Sidewalk program, which should allow Tile users to receive location information from people who own Amazon smart devices. We’re not sure how widespread this functionality will be, but it should at least allow you to tap into more people to help find a lost pet.Whistle announced the Whistle Switch Smart Collar, which was set to launch in July 2021. This small tracker attaches to an integrated proprietary collar. Suited for pets as small as 5 pounds, the Switch includes two interchangeable battery packs, so you can always have one ready to swap out. The Whistle Switch uses the same AT&T network and user-friendly app as the Whistle Go Explore, so it should provide a similar performance.