Why Do I Need A GPS Tracker for My Dog?
Your dog runs away? Spontaneously chases cats? Even the most attentive dog owner is sometimes distracted. If the beloved friend runs away, it results in terrible moments. With the best GPS trackers for dogs you can locate your pup within seconds and find him quickly. You can never really be sure that your pet is always around you. Especially when a bitch is in heat, she will not always follow your calls. The same applies to males. If a male dog smells a bitch in heat, he is not be able to hold on and wants to go to her as soon as possible. There are also some breeds which are real escape artists. Not even a garden fence can be a big obstacle for them. Some have the ability to simply dig under the fence or to get slip from the collar.
A GPS tracker for dogs is a perfect solution for such cases. Special GPS trackers for sporting dogs are very popular for hunters. They spend a lot of time with their hunting dogs in the wild. Free running pets certainly have all possibilities to have fun in the forest or just get lost chasing a game. A GPS tracker designed to work in tough areas turns out to be very helpful to find a lost pet.
With our review we want to help you to find the best search method for your dog. We have compared trackers with GPS and listed their advantages and disadvantages to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.
Key Points in Brief:
- Compact GPS trackers cab be attached to the collar of your dog
- Most trackers are also suitable for cats from weight of 4 kilograms
- Most GPS trackers use mobile network and require a SIM card and subscription plan
- The trackers differ in range, functions and weight, should be with secure mounting and waterproof housing
- GPS trackers are especially suitable for hunting dogs, insecure and timid dogs, but also for dogs that are newly adopted or owners who are still uncertain about how to handle their dogs
6 Best GPS Trackers for Dogs — Overview & Rating
|Whistle GO Explore - the Ultimate Health + Location Tracker for Pets||
|Tractive LTE GPS Dog Location & Activity Tracker||
|PetFon Pet GPS Real-Time Tracking Collar Device||
|FitBark GPS Dog Tracker, Health & Location Pet Tracking Smart Collar Device||
Best for Sporting Dogs
|Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle||
|Tracki 2020 Model Mini Real time GPS Tracker||
Author’s Choice – Whistle Go Explore
Actually there are several models of Whistle tracker. We have tested all of them and Whistle Go Explore became our pick, as it has shown a better battery life, better waterproof index and real time tracking. So, let’s look at it more in detail.
- GPS tracking with AT&T network and Google Maps. Subscription Required
- Distance Range: No Limit with Cellular Network
- Battery Life: Up to 20 Days
Whistle GO Explore is the winner of our competition for the best combination of quality and reliability when tracking your beloved pet. This tracker is easy to set safe places and get notified by email, text, or app when your pet leaves a designated safe place. It tracks your pet in Real Time.
To identify your pet and communicate with your smartphone, Whistle trackers require cellular service network. Your cell phone requires only Wi-Fi connection to request real-time location tracking through the Whistle app, the tracking device itself requires cellular network to communicate GPS updates back to your phone.
At such a mode Whistle GO Explore lasts up to 20 days. Battery life is a crucial feature in case your pup is lost. The better it is, the more chances to find him. IPX8 water protection allows to submerge up to 6ft, which makes the tracker even more reliable in all weather conditions and environments.
In addition, you can get an extended subscription and chat with a vet in emergency, set daily activities, control your pup’s diet and calculate calories. 30-days vet health reports and wellness reports can also be very helpful to prevent serious disorders.
You can buy it separately or together with Whistle collar for the best mounting. The collars are available in multiple colors.
People’s Choice –Tractive GPS Tracker
- GPS tracking with best available mobile network. Subscription Required
- Distance Range: No Limit with Cellular Network
- Battery Life: Up to 5 Days
The new GPS tracker for dogs from the company Tractive offers many interesting functions in addition to real-time tracking, making pet owners also benefit from activity tracking. The app records the dog’s fitness level and stores the places where he has been. The GPS tracker durable and has solid battery life up to 5 days. However, some functions of the app can only be used with Bluetooth. Tractive GPs Tracker is IPX7 waterproof and shock resistant, which is enough for safe walks at any weather. All in all, many people choose it for its reasonable price-performance ratio.
Premium Choice – PetFon Pet GPS Tracker
- Combines GPS, WiFi, bluetooth, and long distance wireless technologies for accurate real-time positioning. No Subscription or Monthly Fee
- Distance Range: 0.65 miles in downtown and 3.5 miles in an open areas
- Battery Life: Up to 16 hours (regular use), up to 8 hours (intensive use)
PetFon GPS Tracker has some distinctive features making it our Premium Choice. First of all, it requires no SIM Card or cellular network. As a result – no subscription and monthly fee. You pay once when you buy it, and that’s all. The tracking is maintained via combination of GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and long distance wireless technologies for accurate real-time positioning, similar to trackers for hunting dogs in tough areas. So taking your dog hiking or camping becomes more safe and reliable with exactly this tracker in comparison with those needing cellular network, which may have no coverage in mountainous areas.
Special Antenna combines LoPowan wireless transmission technology, so you track your dog in a range of up to 3.5 miles (5.6km) in open field and 0.65 mile in urban area. This is not limitless coverage like for trackers with SIM card claim to have, but very unlikely that a dog can far than that.
The operation time is 8 hours on a single charge in. It’s nothing in comparison with Wistle Go for example with its 20 days. The time also depends on the distance between you and the dog and intensity of usage. But if you are on a travel you can use a portable charging box and recharge the devices for 3 times after fully charged.
Let’s see how PetFon works. It has two modules, controller is kept by the pet owner, tracker is attached to the dog collar. Pet owner’s module is connected with its cellphone by Bluetooth. Then with Petfon APP you can pinpoint your dog in real time and record his everyday activities like walking steps, distance etc.
With Geo-fence function you can easily set a virtual fence for your dog and also to program a danger zone in the same way. So whenever dog enters the danger zone or leaves a safe zone, you will receive an alert on your phone.
You can also activate the colorful lights on the GPS tracker to locate your pet more easily at night time. It’s IP65 water protection means rain, snow or storm proof, but no plunging under water like allows IP8 for Whisle Go.
This tracker is our recommendation for active pet owners spending a lot of time tracking in areas with no cellular network, those who hate any kind of subscription, and also for those with up to 3 dogs, as PetFon allows to track up to 3 dogs with one app.
Best Fitness Tracker for Dogs – FitBark GPS Dog Tracker
- Real-time Location Tracking via Verizon LTE M Cellular Service. Subscription Required
- Distance Range: Unlimited where Wi-Fi & Verizon LTE-M coverage exists
- Battery Life: Up to 10-20 Days
First of all FitBark GPS Dog Tracker fulfills its main function – to alert if your dog leaves safe areas set up in advance, and allows to find a lost pup quickly with the help of Verizon LTE M Cellular Service.
It is one of the most compact and lightweight devices on the market available and can be easily attached to any flat 1,5 inch wide collar. It is one size and fits equally well to 5 lb and 240 lb dogs.
The most interesting about this tracker is possibility to link it to a human fitness tracker like Fitbit, Apple Watch, Apple HealthKit or Google Fit device or smartphone, and start building healthy & safe habits together with your pet. You can set fitness goals with regards of breed, age & weight for better results, calculate calories etc. Fitbit Clock Face keeps you updated about your pet’s location and state even at a quick glance at the watch.
Best for Sporting Dogs – GARMIN Astro 430 + T5 Dog Tracking Bundle
- High-sensitivity GPS satellite reception with better ability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone. No Subscription
- Distance Range: 9 Miles
- Battery Life: Handheld: Up to 20 Hours, Dog Device T 5: Up to 40 Hours
High-sensitivity GPS satellite reception has the ability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone. 2.5-second update rate provides faster location tracking. Astro 430 can support unit-to-unit data transfer with a variety of compatible Garmin devices like Garmin Drive Track and Garmin Watches and many more. Besides, sophisticated Hunt Metrics data help monitor your dog’s hunting patterns and behaviors to optimize your training opportunities. Water rating IPX7 allows to track in wet environments. You can track up to 20 dogs with one handheld and an auto zoom of map page allows to seen all dogs on the display at any time. For tracking more than one dog you can buy separate dog devices (GPS Dog Collars) Garmin T 5.
Garmin Astro 430 isn’t a cheap device at all, but it is perfect for sporting dogs hunting tracking.
You may also like: Best Garmin Dog Tracking and Training Systems
Best Budget – Tracki Mini Real time GPS Tracker
- Unlimited distance real time tracking. Full USA & all countries worldwide coverage. International SIM card included. Subscription Required
- Distance Range: No Limit with Cellular Network
- Battery Life: Up to 30 Days (without real-time tracking), Up to 2-3 Days (in real-time tracking mode)
Tracki Mini Real time GPS Tracker is a compact and multi purpose tracking device, also suitable for tracking dogs. It is also lightweight and durable. International SIM works worldwide with live phone customer service. The subscription plan is a must: monthly fee is between $19.95 – 9.95 depending on the package, no roaming fees or other hidden fees. The producer is the same developing Vodafone GPS systems, and they claim to provide a free tracker if your tracker has been lost. You can track your dog with an easy to install smartphone app., use Wi-Fi tracking when indoors. The tracker has no extra features or characteristics except locating a dog. It comes with attachments: Magnet, Belt clip, Key-chain, lanyard.
It is a good versatile GPS tracker for a reasonable price, which you can use for pinpointing your dog if necessary, and also a kid, a car and many more.
Author’s Choice – Whistle Go Explore – Manufacture’s video
Questions to Consider Before Buying a GPS Tracker for Dogs
What is a GPS Tracker?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System – a GPS tracker is used to locate your dog. It is suitable for all dogs that have the possibility to move freely in a protected area and yet have the idea to escape or just to track where the dog is moving or has moved at the moment. The product has several functions, which we will explain in the following.
A GPS tracker is a system that is already integrated in the collar or can be easily attached to the collar of the animal. The functions differ in notification, range and accuracy.
Types of GPS trackers available. Which One is Right for My Dog?
If you would like to guard your dog with a tracker in the future, there are two alternatives you can choose between:
- GPS tracker for dogs
- Tracking systems for dogs (GPS Collar + Handheld Device)
The biggest differences are in weight, range, functions and method of monitoring. Both variants therefore have their advantages and disadvantages. With the following section we would like to make your decision easier.
The reasons for purchasing a pet tracker are different, but they all have one main benefit – the answer of where the pet is located.
A GPS tracker for dogs is roughly smaller than a car key and easy to attach. It is attached directly to a dog collar with a clamp or rubber band. However, there is of course also the danger that the dog loses it while running or playing.
Regarding the technology, it must be noted that the tracker uses mobile phone network. A Sim card is therefore mandatory so that data can be transmitted.
Since dogs can often be exposed to heavy rain, it is recommended to use a waterproof housing so that the device is not damaged.
One more function of the GPS tracker is the “virtual fence”, i.e. the owner gets a notification or alarm message on his smartphone as soon as his pet leaves the permitted area.
- Easy mounting
- Long range
- Real-time tracking
- Cellular network is needed
- Subscription is needed for most trackers
- If dog is stolen, the device can be removed
A Tracking System includes a device which emits radio waves, but only within limited area (up to 9 miles appr.). The data is transmitted to an extra handheld device, which you get together as a bundle.
They have no extra functions like health monitoring or calorie counting, but they may have extra training functions and special modes for hunting and sporting dogs. A tracker is attached to the collar in the same way as the GPS or integrated into the collar and sold together.
- No subscription/no SIM card necessary
- No cellular network
- Not easy to loose
- no functions for heath monitoring
- Smaller range
- Shorter battery like
GPS Tracker With or Without Monthly Fee
The use of trackers is associated with monthly costs. This is the reason why many dog owners refrain from buying such a device. The fees are charged by the manufacturers to finance the costs for the SIM cards and the app. However, we believe that the fee is not justified. Think about how long you really want to use a GPS tracker. This will save you money with annual subscription. In addition, you may be able to do without certain additional features.
Unfortunately, there are not many models that can be used completely without monthly fees. Most of these devices have a very low purchase price, except maybe the one we recommend here as our Premium Choice – PetFon Pet GPS Real-Time Tracker.
Do not hurry to buy the cheapest device with monthly fees. For more expensive ones the fees are already included in the price or much less. So after one or two years of use you will understand that the total cost for the tracker and subscription will be the same for the cheaper and more expensive one. So you can focus on the quality of the device when you buy it.
What is Special about GPS Trackers for Hunting
During hunting there maybe cases when you can’t find your dog, the GPS signal must not disappear under any circumstances, as in addition there is always risk of injury of the pet. Therefore every second counts in such a case. A missing cell phone signal or the failure of the app could then become a big problem for you. That is the reason why good quality GPS trackers for sporting dogs cost over $300 and much more with extra functions.
The classic trackers use an app, which serves as a receiver. The devices need an internet connection to work. In larger forest areas you do not always have a mobile network available.
In GPS tracking system collar serves as a transmitter. The receiver (handheld device) has pre-installed maps for all countries you need. The big advantage here is that you can also use the device offline. So you can also locate your dog in forest areas.
You may also like: Garmin Dog Tracking and Training Systems
- Water protection
The GPS Tracker is easily attached to your dog’s collar. Please make sure that the tracker fits well, because there is a risk that it will come loose when you play around with your dog.
When buying a GPS tracker for your dog, please make sure it has a waterproof case. It is important that the device remains undamaged to ensure unrestricted data transmission. Especially if it is raining and your dog is outdoors in all weather conditions or if he unexpectedly runs into water.
The GPS tracker should be as light as possible so that your buddy is not restricted in his movement or causes him any neck problems. For example, for a small pet you can also use a tracker for cats, as this is suitable for a neck girth between 8-12 inches (19-30 cm) and is recommended from a weight of 9 pounds (4 kg).
The normal GPS trackers are suitable for dogs with weight starting from about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and up to 80 pounds (36 kg).
Regarding the technology, besides the battery performance, which ranges from 2 days to 6 weeks, the other additional functions should also be considered:
- Geo fencing: This refers to the automated triggering of an alarm when your dog exceeds a certain range.
- SOS Button: If your dog has an idea of exploring the area on his own and meets people, there is a possibility that they can press the emergency button on the GPS tracker to inform you that your dog has run away.
The rest of extra functions like health monitoring are optional upon your presences and special needs.