There’s nothing more stressful than when our furry friends run away. I’ve spent late nights just waiting and hoping for my pet to come home, and it’s no fun. It feels lonely and anxiety-provoking!
Having tools on-hand to deal with issues like this is crucial.
Dog GPS Trackers track your dog in real time, with delays as low as a few seconds. They tell you where your pup is at all times, alert you when they exit a “safe space” that you set using your phone, and often provide health and fitness information as well.
It’s important you spend your money on the right GPS tracker that’s accurate, timely, and comes with the extra features you want. In this article, we’ll discuss the top three best GPS dog trackers.
Table of Contents:
Why are Dog GPS Trackers Important?
Unlike dog microchips, which display your contact information when scanned, GPS trackers show you where your dog is at any given time. This can help in various situations, including if your dog runs away.
We especially recommend GPS trackers for dogs who have a history of running away.
Breeds with a tendency to roam or a high prey drive that could cause them to run away from home, like sighthounds, can also benefit from a dog GPS tracker.
Even if your dog never runs away, it can give you peace of mind to know that you can track them when needed.
Although 93% of people find their lost dogs within 24 hours, the percentage after this first day drops to 60%–and lowers as time goes on.
Because GPS trackers attach to a dog’s collar, we recommend using them in combination with an updated microchip, not instead of the chip. If your dog’s collar comes off while they’re out, a shelter or veterinarian will scan for a chip first—and this will help them be returned home safe and sound.
What to Look for in Dog GPS Trackers
If your dog’s GPS tracker is unreliable, it’s going to be tough to find them!
Some trackers may be accurate when it comes to the general location of your dog, but not specifics—which is better than knowing nothing about their location and will narrow your search. However, tracking them may still be difficult.
A tracker that displays your dog’s exact location, or very close to it, is going to be best if your dog does happen to escape your yard or tug the leash out of your hands.
2. Real-Time Tracking
Most GPS trackers have a slight delay, but it shouldn’t be more than a few minutes behind. Otherwise, you’ll only know where your dog was—not where they are now!
The best trackers are only a few seconds off, allowing you to easily track down your dog when needed.
3. Custom Alerts
Custom alerts will alert you when your dog leaves home. This works by inputting the location where your dog should be—your home and yard—as a geofence in the tracker’s phone app.
When your pup leaves this digital “fence,” you’ll be notified.
4. Battery Life
Unfortunately, battery life can be fairly low on some trackers. The more you need them—the more they’re in use—the faster the battery will drain.
It’s important that you go after your dog as quickly as possible, both for their safety and because the battery on their tracker won’t last forever!
We recommend looking for an extended battery life in case your dog runs far away. This way, you’ll be more likely to locate them before the tracker dies.
A bonus feature is the ability to see the battery life remotely on your phone. This can let you know when it needs to be charged!
Removable batteries will allow you to purchase multiple so that one battery is always charged and in use. This way, you don’t have to worry about the tracker staying off your dog while it charges, and you can be less concerned about battery life as well.
5. Easy Charging
GPS trackers should be easy to charge. As we discussed above, it’s ideal if the battery is removable from the tracker.
This way, you can replace the battery with a backup while it charges, then rotate them out as needed.
6. Health Tracking
An amazing bonus feature (or, in this case, an original attribute for most of these trackers) is health and fitness tracking.
Using the company’s app, many GPS trackers will allow you to see information such as your dog’s activity level, distance traveled, hours slept, and more! You can even know how much they are licking and scratching themselves, allowing you to monitor for common health problems.
7. Monthly Costs
Most GPS trackers require you to keep up with subscriptions to keep them up and running. This can eat into your budget and may render your tracker useless if you can’t keep up with the bill.
Before purchasing a GPS tracker for your dog, look into the subscription prices (most are either monthly or yearly) to see if they fit your budget.
8. Cell Service
This last one has little to do with the tracker itself—but it’s important to note before buying one nonetheless.
GPS trackers work best in areas with good cell signals. So, if you live in the middle of nowhere or your dog tends to wander off into the woods, they may be less useful than for someone who lives in a city with many cell towers.
Of course, we can’t control where our furry friends wander off to—but this is something to keep in mind if you’re considering whether a tracker is right for you and your dog.
We also recommend trying the tracker before you need it! This will let you know with 100% certainty that it will work if your dog runs away—otherwise, you might find out too late that there’s poor coverage for your area.
3 Best Dog GPS Trackers
1. Whistle GPS + Health + Fitness Dog Tracker
Whistle is a great brand that does more than tracking—this tracker can monitor your dog’s location, health, and fitness.
For a low monthly cost, you’ll get access to GPS tracking through AT&T and Google maps that updates you every 15 seconds, in-app health and fitness tracking, and a monthly health report for your dog.
However, you won’t be able to track your dog if they’re located within a designated “safe zone,” which is set up using your Wi-Fi perimeter (see also ‘The Apple AirTag For Cats: A Pet Tracking Review‘). If your Wi-Fi reaches outside of your property, this can be a huge problem.
Health measurements tracked include activity level, sleep hours, calories burned, licking, and scratching. This can help you to monitor changes in behavior and catch health problems early.
You’ll also get access to a veterinarian who can answer your questions via phone, text, or email, as well as recommended portion sizes for your dog’s breed, age, and weight.
The battery life lasts up to 20 days, but unfortunately, no replacement batteries are sold. This makes changing them out during charging impossible unless you buy two entire trackers, and also means that if the battery goes out, your tracker is completely dead.
When hunting for your pup at night, the built-in night light can help you locate them more easily. It can also be useful for nighttime walks.
- New tracking information every 15 seconds so long as you and your dog have service
- Tracks health and fitness information as well as location
- Access to a veterinarian for questions, along with a 30-day health report each month
- Up to 20-day battery life
- Built-in night light
- “Safe zones” can be inaccurate, not allowing you to track your dog when they’re very near home
- No replacement batteries
CLICK HERE to learn more and see pricing for the Whistle GPS + Health + Fitness Dog Tracker.
2. FitBark GPS Dog Tracker
We love that the FitBark GPS Dog Tracker is straightforward about battery life. Although the tracker can typically go 10-20 days without charging, it depends on your dog’s activity and if Bluetooth connection is nearby. If your pup is lost, the battery lasts just 4 days.
The tracking works great, though it can be slow, taking minutes of precious time to find your dog. Its speed seems to depend on your area, so we recommend a “runaway drill” before using it for the real thing. This will ensure it works as needed!
You’ll want to set up one or multiple safe spaces in the app so that you’ll be alerted if your dog runs away. You can connect multiple pets and owners to the app.
FitBark also shows health information in their app. It monitors activity levels, sleep hours, anxiety symptoms, skin conditions, and more. You can even connect your smartwatch device to share fitness goals with your pup!
This all runs on WiFi and Verizon, and includes a low monthly cost.
Use of the tracker seems clunky and not super user-friendly. You’ll find ten zip ties in the box with your tracker, and you’ll need two to attach it to your dog’s collar. This is wasteful and annoying, and we really wish it came with its own connector piece instead.
Each time you need to reattach the tracker, you’ll need more zip ties, meaning you’ll have to go out and buy more after five changes.
The app is also difficult to use, and we suggest familiarizing yourself before you need it. If you need extra help, though, FitBark has an incredible customer service team!
- Battery life up to 30+ hours (4 hours if your dog is lost)
- Tracks your dog’s health and fitness; connects to your smartwatch as well
- Multiple dogs and owners can be added to the app
- Poorly-designed app
- Attaches with zip ties
CLICK HERE to learn more and see pricing for the FitBark GPS Dog Tracker.
3. Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker
We love this inexpensive tracker! The Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker comes with an option for instant alerts and tracking, making it easy to find your dog when needed.
It works in over 150 countries and Tractive partners with several service providers in the United States, including AT&T, Viaero Wireless, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Safe spaces on the map can be fenced in precisely, allowing you to clearly see when your dog leaves your yard.
It also comes with a fitness tracker to monitor your dog’s health.
The battery life is low, sometimes lasting under a day—meaning you have to charge it a lot to keep it going! Customer service is also poor and often unresponsive.
- Comes with fitness tracking
- Works in over 150 countries and can pair with various cell networks
- Precise fencing to designate “safe spaces” on the map in-app
- Low battery life
- Poor customer service
CLICK HERE learn more and see pricing for the Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker.
Last update on 2022-01-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API