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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.
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 Do 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.
How We Chose the Best Pet GPS Trackers
The best pet trackers can be hard to come by if you don’t know which one to look for. Here’s your guide in picking out the best dog GPS trackers so you can make sure that what you’re getting is top quality.
- Battery Life – Pet GPS trackers with a long battery life will do you well because you won’t have to constantly recharge them. More than that, it comes in handy when you’re going out for a long time, and you have your dog with you.
Most dog GPS trackers have a high battery lifespan, but even then, they can malfunction. Our top 1, the Garmin Alpha 100 TT GPS Dog Tracker, has a 20 to 40 hours battery lifespan. Just make sure to charge it every night so it will fully function the next day.
- Short or Long Tracking Range – All tracking devices have different and specific purposes. There are pet GPS trackers with a short-range or long-range tracking ability, and it depends on your purpose which one you want to buy. But if you want to go all out, the best dog GPS tracker for long distances is the Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker, which is great for training or outdoor activities.
- Real-Time Location Tracking – Tracking a lost pet is never easy, especially if you have the right tools to guide you. Dog GPS trackers with a real-time location tracker allow you to monitor your pooch live. Some can even show you their activity. That way, you’ll be in the loop with everything your dog does. The #2 on the list, the Whistle Go Explore Waterproof Dog GPS Tracker, has a real-time tracking feature and monitors your dog’s activity, distance, and behavior.
- Non-paid Monthly Subscription – For sure, buying dog GPS trackers is already a pain in your wallet. Even more, if you have to pay a monthly fee just so you can use the GPS. Unfortunately, some GPS pet trackers do require a monthly fee for their GPS tracking devices to work. However, we also have the goTele Off-Grid GPS Tracking Gear (Top 8) that doesn’t need a monthly fee, so you won’t have to worry about additional expenses.
- Waterproof or Weatherproof – Waterproof GPS dog collars are always great because you can use them even on rainy days. This feature comes in handy during unexpected weather conditions or just when your pooch is feeling like going on a swim. The good news is they won’t have to take the collar off. This Pet Resolve dog training collar is 100% waterproof, safe and fun all in one!
Psst! Keep tabs on your dog in other ways, like with a pet camera.
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.”
View the Best Dog GPS Trackers Below
1. Garmin Alpha 100 TT 15 Dog GPS Bundle
- 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
This Garmin Alpha GPS Bundle comes with a handheld tracker and GPS dog collar. 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 LED beacon lights that can be activated to help you locate your pup. This collar is both a tracker and a training collar.
There are two types of stimulation: tone and vibration to help your dog understand where the boundaries are set up. If they step out of the area, it’s easy to track them on your GPS tracking device. You can track up to 20 dogs with this device that measures their speed and distance from your location. This is a pretty thorough tracker!
+ 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 dog’s speed, distance, and direction traveled
– 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
Why We Like It – With this GPS dog collar, you won’t lose your dog again! Perfect for hunters and dog parents who love the outdoors. Just attach this Garmin Alpha smart dog collar to your dog and tie the GPS tracking device to a lanyard so you won’t lose it.
This device works amazingly as a training tool. Better get your pup acquainted with it early so they will be comfortable with it.
2. Whistle Go Explore Waterproof Dog GPS Tracker
- Brand: Whistle Labs
- Lifestage: All Life Stages
- Battery Life: Lasts up to 7 days
- Special Features: Durable & waterproof (3 feet for 30 minutes)
The Whistle Go Explore comes out with a GPS location and tracker for dogs and cats. They use advanced technology to pinpoint your pet’s whereabouts nationwide! 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.
+ Up to 20 days long battery life
+ Real-time location tracking
+ Monitors pet’s activity, distance, and behavior
+ Nationwide location tracking
+ With built-in 3 safety night light settings
+ Comes with a 30-day free trial
– Requires monthly subscription fee of $8.25
– May be hard to set up at first and connect to AT&T’s cell networks
Why We Like It – The battery life on this device is astounding! It can last up to 20 days with a full recharge that only takes about two hours! Get real-time alerts and notifications on your cell phone when your dog escapes. The Whistle Go Explore is the best dog GPS tracker even for swimming because it’s waterproof rated IPX8, and it can be submerged in up to 6 feet of water.
3. Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
- Brand: Tractive
- Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer batteries (included)
- Lifestage: Adult
- Breed Size: All Breed Sizes
- Material: Plastic, Silicone
- Compatibility: Apple iOS, Battery Powered, Android
- Special Features: Lightweight, Waterproof and Shock Resistant
Tractive’s pet tracker is a small and nifty device that attaches to collars. It’s lightweight and waterproof and won’t be damaged by the elements. What’s different about this device is there is no range limitation! Find your dog anywhere he goes! Don’t just start tracking when your dog has disappeared. You can even track your fur baby when they’re live and on the go.
See the exact location of your furry friend and share it with your family and friends. The tracker will alert you right when your pet leaves the safe zone and its long-range tracking will surely impress you. Tractive can be used in over 150 countries! It even has activity tracking where you can monitor your dog’s active time, rest, and calories burned.
+ Live tracking and location history
+ All-day activity tracking
+ Lightweight and waterproof
+ Secure and adjusts to most dog tracking collars
+ Promotes health and wellness by tracking their calories
– Needs a monthly subscription but only for $5
– Based on pet owners’ reviews the battery life is weak
Why We Like It – We do not want to be limited by variables not in our control, like range, when it comes to the safety of our pets. Tractive connects to several cellular networks, namely, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Viaero Wireless USA so you’ll be able to track your pooch anywhere across the United States!
4. Findster Duo + Pet GPS Tracking Collar
- Brand: Findster
- Battery Life: 12h (GPS always on)
- Lifestage: Puppy, Adult, Senior
- Breed Size: All Breed Sizes
- Special Features: Waterproof and Shock-resistant
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. Also able to track your pet live, it also works as an activity monitor for your pet. Get instant alerts as soon as your best friend steps out of the designated area.
The range is anywhere from 0.5 up to 3 miles in open outdoor areas. Note that the range isn’t as far because this device is best used for walks, not remote tracking or monitoring. The battery might also not last as long, anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days, depending on usage. But a redeeming quality is it works in any country, even off the grid!
+ 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 dog’s behavior and possible health-related issues
+ No sim card or cell signal required to function
– 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! It’s extremely easy to use even without cell coverage!
5. Pet Resolve Dog Training Bundle
- Brand: Pet Resolve
- Color: Blue
- Special Features: Waterproof, Anti Bark & Light for Night Mode
This Pet Resolve collar is more a training collar than a GPS tracker. However, the range of this device is impressive, reaching up to ¾ of a mile! Covering a wide area, this is perfect for training your pup to say within the lines. It comes with 3 training collars with continuous or periodic shocks, vibrations, or sounds that teach your dog where the boundary ends.
You will know immediately when your dog crosses the line and you can press the button to correct your dog. Holding true to the durable standards Pet Resolve has for every product, this collar will not fail you in rainy or snowy weather.
+ 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
– Limited range
– Short battery life
Why We Like It – The wide range of this collar is great for those who take their pups into woodsy areas. It has an anti-bark feature with 10 levels of variable shock and vibration levels for efficient training. Other cell phones will not disrupt the frequency!
6. Pawscout Smarter Pet Tag New Version 2.0
- Brand: Pawscout
- Item Dimensions: 6 x 3.5 x 0.6 inches; 1.59 Ounces
Pawscout creates a community of dog owners who support each other with their Pawscout Smarter dog tag device and app. If your dog is lost, you can alert everyone on the app to aid you in the search. Best of all? No monthly fees! 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. Everything so far makes this option sound like a winner. With the added 100% satisfaction guarantee, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give Pawscout a try today!
+ Pawscout community
+ Source information and build a profile
+ Get instant alerts
+ Includes walk diary and medical profile
+ 100% satisfaction guarantee
– Not a GPS locator as it does not provide the exact pet’s location
– Short battery life
– Requires Bluetooth connectivity on your smart cell phone
Why We Like It – For all the features above, you would think it would cost you an arm and a leg. But in reality, Pawscout is the most affordable option on our list at $19.99! What’s great about this pet tag is that it use Bluetooth technology to connect you with other Pawscout dog owners who also have the app. And if your pooch gets lost, you’ll be notified if someone within 300 feet is close to your lost pet.
7. Garmin Astro 900 Dog Tracking Bundle
- Brand: Garmin
- Color: Orange
- Screen Size: 2.6 Inches
- Item Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 2.4 inches
- Map Type: Worldwide
- Battery Life: 20 Hours
A little different from the other device from Garmin before it, the Garmin Aastro 900 tracker is approved for not only the U.S. but also southern Canada. It preloads the TOPO mapping onto the handheld device. 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 pooch’s speed, distance, and time for your reference and review. This tracker will update you every 2.5 seconds for faster location tracking, even when your dog travels faster.
+ 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 dog’s speed, distance and time traveled
+ 2.5-second fast update rate
– Only 20 hours battery life
Why We Like It – Very professional, this device is great for hardcore outdoorsmen and their pups. You can track up to 20 of your companions with the GPS dog collar for up to 8 km tracking range! This pet GPS tracker doesn’t rely on your cell phone reception as it only uses GPS to track your dog’s location.
8. goTele Off-Grid GPS Tracking Gear
- Brand: GoTele
- Item Dimensions: 5.1 x 4.1 x 3.6 inches
- Map Type: Africa
- Connectivity Technology: Wi-Fi
Off-grid means no cell reception or Wi-Fi. The goTele tracker doesn’t need either to function. GoTele devices communicate with each other with no network or monthly fees required. The multiple functions include live tracking, Geo-fence setup, messaging, and offline mapping. Built to last, this tracker is waterproof and shockproof.
The connection distance ranges from 1 to 5 km depending on where you are. The connection can be disrupted by buildings and different types of terrain. This device is great for any outdoor activity to monitor your pet and even your loved ones!
+ No monthly subscription fee needed
+ Off-grid design
+ Great for the outdoor adventures and exploration
+ Waterproof and shockproof
+ Real-time location tracker
+ With a connection distance of 3-5 km suburb and 1-3 km downtown
– App is hard to set up and use
– Encounters software problems from time to time
Why We Like It – This tracker works with Android and iOS devices for easy use. Track your friends, family, and fur baby when enjoying nature outdoors without any worry.
9. Spy Tec STI GL300 Mini Portable Dog GPS Tracker
- Brand: Spy Tec
- Color: Black
- Item Dimensions: 3 x 1 x 1.5 inches
- Connectivity Technology: Cellular
- Map Type: Satellite
This Spy Tec STI GL300 dog GPS tracker is handy for tracking vehicles, children, pets, and the elderly. The convenient and compact size makes it easy to carry around. Take it anywhere with you by simply attaching it to your vehicle, belt, or backpack. It doesn’t take any extra effort to keep this device on your body at only two inches long.
It does, however, come with a monthly fee but without a contract that binds you. 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.
+ 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
– Requires a monthly subscription for $19.95/month annually or $24.95/month, month-to-month
– Online registration doesn’t work sometimes
Why We Like It – Hopefully, you won’t need it, but another great point of this product is the 100% satisfaction guarantee. Boasting over 100,000 satisfied customers, Spy Tec stands behind this product. Its small size is great for portability, so you can keep it with you at all times, whether in your pocket, purse, or bag.
10. PETFON GPS Tracker
- 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
Take one of these with you if you’re living in the city. PETFON has the best pet tracker for urban areas with 0.65 miles to 3.5 miles coverage in an open environment. All you need is the PETFON app to operate and activate the tracker. Aside from locating your dog, you can also see your pet’s activity using the app.
This GPS dog tracker uses GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity to get an accurate location. It’s a GPS and Bluetooth tracker all in one tiny device. It comes with its own compact and portable charging station, so you can charge and use it anywhere and any time of the day. The GPS dog tracker has a multicolor feature, so you can easily find your dog even during nighttime.
+ 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
– Need to remove from the dog’s collar to completely charge first
– Tracker is not shareable on other phones
Why We Like It: The fact you don’t have to pay for monthly subscription fees with this PETFON GPS tracking device is a big bonus already! For a pet owner, safety is everything; that’s why this pet tracker allows you to build a safety zone and danger zone using their app. With this feature, you’ll get instant alerts if your pooch is out of their safety zone or goes to places they shouldn’t go.
Want to try an alternative dog GPS tracker? Check out our FI Smart Dog Collar Review.
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.
What to Look for in Buying a Dog GPS Tracking Device?
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. Or if you have a fence, you can do some reinforcements to keep your dogs from jumping off your property as well.
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 long retractable 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.