As responsible dog owners, we all want our furry friends to stay safe. We keep them on leashes, put up fences, and even crate them while we’re at work. Everything that could be done to keep them safe we do. However, even if we check all the boxes in the safety category, it is still possible for our beloved canines to escape their harmless confines and get lost – and it happens more than you think. Luckily, with a GPS Tracker, it is possible to keep tabs on your pooch even when they’re out roaming the neighborhood. You’ll never have to worry about your furry friend getting lost again with a GPS dog tracker.
In order to find the best GPS dog trackers out there, we reviewed dozens of products. We rated each GPS tracker based on customer reviews, number of features, wear-ability, range, and subscription cost.
With the ability to track both location and activity, the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor easily took our top spot as the #1 GPS dog tracker available. It allows you to both keep up with your canine’s exact location and monitor their activity level to ensure that they get enough daily exercise.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated GPS Dog Trackers
|Best Overall||Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor||4.3|
|Runner Up||Link AKC Smart GPS Dog Collar||3.4|
|Best Budget Buy||Humane Tribe Pet Locator Tag||5.0|
|Best GPS Dog Collar||Black+Deker Smart Dog Collar||5.0|
|Best GPS Dog Tag||Tractive GPS 3G Pet Tracker||3.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor
The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor is the best GPS dog tracker available on the market. Its primary function is to provide nationwide location tracking in real-time to help you locate your canine should they get lost. It does this through advanced GPS and cellular technology, which allows it to pinpoint your furry friend’s exact location. This GPS monitor is a lot like a cell phone for your dog and required a cellular connection to work correctly. This translates into a monthly subscription that is needed to keep the tracker working correctly. Plans start at $7 a month and are selected through the Whistle app. Despite this month cost, this tracker is the best on the market.
As a secondary function, the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor also keeps track of your dog’s movement so you can interpret whether they are getting enough exercise or not. Pet obesity is a huge problem. According to a clinical survey, 56% of dogs can be classified as clinically overweight. And, it is estimated that most dogs do not get that recommended amount of exercise, especially if they are left alone for long periods! This tracker can help you figure out if your dog falls into this category, and can help track your dog’s progress after you make efforts to increase their activity.
To stay ahead of your canine, this tracker features proactive alerts that notify you through text, email, or the app if your dog leaves their designated safe area. This innovative feature allows you to locate and find your pup before they get too far away. The last thing you want to do is check the app only to realize that your canine is miles away from home!
Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor Key Features:
- Alerts when your pet leaves their safe place
- 24/7, real-time tracking
- See movement over 24 hours
- Set activity goals and track progress
Our Runner-Up Pick: Link AKC Smart GPS Dog Collar
This tracker has a number of interesting features that allow pet owners to keep track of their pets’ wellbeing and location remotely.
Featuring location tracking nationwide within the United States and activity monitoring, the Link AKC Smart GPS Dog Collar is a great option for any pet owner. Similarly to our top pick, this product uses cellular, GPS tracking to keep tabs on your pet’s location. This does mean that a monthly subscription is required for the tracker to work correctly. After all, it’s hard to see where your dog is if the tracker can’t connect to the cellular network. You can choose between a monthly plan, annual plan, or 2-year plan. Though it does require a subscription, the tracking accuracy is unbeatable.
However, the activity monitoring is less accurate than other brands. The collar is advertised to be able to monitor your pet’s daily activity accurately, but many customers reported that it was inaccurate. The tracker does allow you to set goals similarly to our top pick, though the inaccuracy might not make this feature very much use. If you’re looking solely for a tracker, get this product. If you’re concerned with activity monitoring, get the Whistle.
Along with these features, the Link has a couple of other bells-and-whistles that might be of interest to some pet owners. It has a remote turn-on LED and training sound that can be used to signal your dog even when you are not there. It can track your dog’s surrounding temperature and alert you if the temperature gets too high or too low. And, the app can store vet records and set health reminders.
Link AKC Smart GPS Dog Collar Key Features:
- Tracks location and activity
- Light & sound for training
- Stores vet records
- Monitors temperature
Best Budget Pick: Humane Tribe Pet Locator Tag
On a budget but looking for peace of mind? The Humane Tribe Pet Locator Tag is a great option. While this tracker doesn’t come with all the fancy features or real-time tracking options our previous picks did, it is available for a fraction of the price and does not require a monthly subscription to work. It functions a lot like an external microchip. Whenever your pooch runs off, all someone has to do is scan the tag and their GPS location is sent directly to your email along with driving directions. When the tag is accessed, you automatically receive a text message to let you know that your pet is not where they are supposed to be!
One of the biggest downfalls of this product is that it does not have real-time GPS tracking. You cannot see where your pet is until a passerby scans the tag and sends you their location. However, for the price, it is a bargain. While you won’t be able to check up on your pet at all times of the day, you will be able to rest easy knowing that your dog has a way to get back to you should they accidentally get lost.
Humane Tribe Pet Locator Tag Key Features:
- External Microchip
- Email Notifications with GPS Location
- Not batteries or service subscription needed
- 24/7 access to an online pet profile
Best GPS Dog Collar: Black+Decker Smart Dog Collar
With two-way audio and activity tracking, the Black+Deker Smart Dog Collar is a great, well-rounded GPS dog collar. It features a precise GPS tracking system as well as a daily activity monitor. You can see where they are, what they’ve been doing, and what routes they’ve taken that day using a simple app on your smartphone. This GPS tracker also allows you to set up custom safety zones and sends instant alerts if your dog leaves the area. You can even set up a number of these zones, so now your pooch can play at home and the park without notifications being sent to your phone continuously.
One of this collar’s most significant features is its two-way audio. With the press of a button, you can both hear whatever your dog is hearing and speak directly to your pooch. This may seem as only aesthetic to some, but being able to talk through your dog’s collar can be a huge plus if they get lost. Just imagine being able to speak directly to your pet’s rescuers before you even get there!
Still on the fence? This collar is also water resistant in up to three feet of water and is exceptionally durable. Plus, it also features an OLED display that keeps your dog’s name and your contact information visible should your dog get lost. A customized message can also be displayed for special circumstances.
Black+Deker Smart Dog Collar Key Features:
- Activity tracker
- Customizable safe zones
- 2-way audio
- Virtual dog tag
- Water resistant
Best GPS Dog Tag: Tractive GPS 3G Pet Tracker
With live tracking and the ability to see your pet’s location history, this is a great option for owners whose pets tend to be on the go.
The Tractive GPS 3G Pet Tracker has a number of great features that easily pushed it into our top five list. It is lightweight yet durable, with a waterproof design. With this tracker, you won’t have to worry about losing your pet’s location in the middle of a chase! It does use a cellular signal to track your pet’s location, which can be both a pro and a con depending on your situation. On the one hand, this small tracker has a range larger that Bluetooth trackers on the market. Plus, you can see your dog’s location in real-time using an app on your smartphone. You don’t have to sit around and wait for a passerby to activate the tracking mechanism or scan the collar. However, it’s use of a cellular signal does mean that a subscription is required to see your pet’s location. The cost of this subscription starts at $5 but does differ depending on the plan you choose.
Like many GPS trackers, this GPS dog tag allows you to set safe areas and alerts you if your dog leaves one of these areas. It also allows you to see your pet’s location history. This might be particularly useful to those with hunting dogs, who might want to track the route their pet is taking.
Tractive GPS 3G Pet Tracker Key Features:
- Live tracking
- Safe Zones
- Location History
Who Should Buy a GPS Dog Tracker
Every year, thousands of pets go missing from their homes and rarely find their way back to their family. No one wants to imagine that their pet might run off and accidentally get lost, but it happens every day. To give your pet the highest chance of returning home, a GPS tracker is a great option. When you can see where your pet is located in either real-time or after a rescuer scans their collar, they can never indeed be lost. GPS trackers give you peace of mind and can be invaluable in the situation that your pet gets a little too far away from home.
A GPS dog tracker is something that you won’t need until you need it – after your pet is already lost. It is important to purchase, set up, and attach a GPS tracker to your pet far before you might need to use it. Just like you buy health insurance but hope that you will never have to use it, a GPS dog tracker would never get used in a perfect world. However, as a pet owner, it is our responsibility to understand that pets can and do go missing, and to prepare for that situation.
While it would never hurt to purchase a GPS tracker for your pet, owners with particularly fast-running and courageous canines are likely to benefit the most from a GPS dog tracker. If you have hunting dogs or commonly take your dog on adventures in large tracts of land, it is probably in your best interest to equip them with a tracker as well.
Important Features to Consider
A GPS dog tracker should have a few important features. Here’s what you should consider when selecting a GPS tracker for your pet:
- Durability. A GPS dog tracker isn’t much use if it breaks or malfunctions that second your dog jumps in the water or runs through some underbrush. When a canine gets out of the yard or house, they are bound to run through more rugged areas. It is important for a GPS dog tracker to be able to take a beating so that it will continue working when you need it the most. Waterproofing is particularly important, especially for water-loving dogs who are bound to run into a stream or pond the second they see it. The area where the tracker attaches to your pet’s collar should also be durable. After all, the last thing you want to find after following the GPS signal is the tracker laying on the ground and your furry friend nowhere to be seen.
- Range. Equipping your canine with a GPS tracker isn’t very useful if it can never find a signal. Most GPS trackers run off cellular signals, and can usually connect anywhere your phone can find a signal. For many people, this might be suitable. However, if you live in a rural area or hunt with your dog, you should ensure that the GPS tracker will work out in the middle of the woods. Look for trackers that use multiple signals, and always test the tracker out in the location before you release your dog into the woods.
- Accuracy. The point of a GPS tracker is to help you find your dog. If the tracker is inaccurate, however, it can be near impossible actually to locate your pooch. Imagine trying to find your dog in a location the size of a football field. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it? The more accurate a tracker is, the better.
- Subscription plans. Most GPS dog trackers use cellular signals to keep track of your dog. There is a good reason for this. Cellular signals cover a wide range of areas while also remaining accurate. However, this does mean that many GPS dog trackers require a monthly subscription. Learning how much the monthly subscription is before you purchase a GPS dog tracker can prevent you from wasting your money. No one wants to buy an expensive tracker only to discover that the monthly subscription is unaffordable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a GPS dog tracker and how does it work?
A GPS dog tracker is a device that clips onto your pet’s collar or comes on a collar that can track your pet’s location. How you can access your pet’s location depends on the particular tracker you have. Most trackers connect to a mobile app on your smartphone to allow you to see your dog’s location in real-time. But, some trackers only send out a location to your email once activated by a passerby. It all depends on what brand and model tracker you purchase.
The tracker determines your pet’s location based on a number of different signals. Most GPS trackers use cellular signals and require a monthly subscription to work correctly. Some might also use other signals as a supplement to the cellular signal.
Do microchips have GPS?
No, microchips do not include GPS tracking.
What’s the difference between a microchip and a GPS dog tracker?
Microchips are an implant that allows your dog to be identified by a vet or shelter. A vet or shelter worker scans your dog, and the microchip supplies them with your identity and contact information, which allows them to reunite you with your pet. Because microchips are implanted into your dog, the chance of them falling out or becoming separated from your dog is very slim. This ensures that your dog will have a high probability of being identified if they get lost.
GPS trackers, on the other hand, do not give vets or others your contact information. They simply allow you to access your pet’s location so that you can find them if they get lost. We recommend using both microchips and GPS trackers to increase the chance of your canine finding his or her way back home.
Is a dog tracking tag or dog tracking collar better?
It depends on your situation and canine. Dog tracking tags are better if your dog already has a collar that you love or if your dog is small and cannot use the larger tracking collars. Tracking tags are also usually cheaper than the collars merely because they have less material. There is a higher chance of a tracking tag falling off in thick underbrush because it is not fully integrated into your dog’s collar. If you are in a rural area with lots of rough terrains or commonly take your dog’s hunting, a tracking collar is probably a better option.
Tracking collars are usually more expensive than tracking tags and do not require another collar to attach to your dog. If your canine does not currently have a collar or has one that you do not particularly like, a tracking collar might be your best option. Tracking collars are also more durable than most tracking tags because they attract directly to your dog’s neck. Choose the option that best fits your situation.
Other GPS Dog Trackers We Reviewed
On our search for the perfect GPS dog tracker, we also reviewed 20 other products. Even though these didn’t make our top-five list, they are still worth looking at and considering.
If you have a smaller pet, this might be a good option. However, it is technically a tracker tag that comes with a free collar, so you can reasonably use it with a different collar if you so choose.
- Access location through text, website, or app
- Real-time tracking
Garmin is a brand well-known for its reliable GPS navigation systems. If you trust Garmin to get you and your family where you need to go, you can trust Garmin to help you keep track of your precious pup.
- High-sensitivity GPS with 9-mile range
- 20- to 40-hour battery life
- 10-meter water rating
With location tracking, LED lights, and a sound signal, this tracker has all the boxes checked when it comes to locating your pet! However, it is not a true GPS tracker and uses an independent signal for all tracking.
- No monthly fee
- 500-meter range
- Tracks up to 4 pets
Featuring a nationwide cellular network without a monthly subscription, this might be a good option if you’re looking to avoid a subscription plan at all costs.
- Monitors activity, location, and temperature
- Comes with two rechargeable batteries
- Durable and lightweight
If you’re looking for a tracking device that’s great of hunting and outdoor dogs, this is the way to go. This system uses GPS satellites, so it works in even rural locations without cellphone service.
- Handheld location finder
- Uses GPS satellites
- 10-mile range
Waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof, this GPS dog collar is a perfect choice for canines that are rambunctious and tough on collars.
- GPS+LBS tracking
- Safe Zones
With safe zones and fast GPS tracking, this is a great, less elaborate options for owners that want to keep track of their pooch without all the other bells and whistles.
- Real-time tracking
- Safety Zones
- Location viewable via app and website
Looking for a small tracker for your tiny dog? This GPS tracker is made explicitly for smaller animals while still retaining the accuracy and array of features as larger collars.
- Fast GPS Locater
- Access location via app and website
- Safe Zones
This tracker is marketed for more things than just pets, but it might be a feasible option for your dog if they don’t tend to wander very far.
- Bluetooth and GPS
- Location accessible via the app
- 30m range
With a short range, this tracker is not made for keeping tabs on an escaped pet. However, if you can never find your dog even though you know she’s somewhere in the house (sleeping under the bed maybe?), then you might want to consider this.
- Aesthetic design
- Bluetooth and GPS
While it’s technically not a GPS dog tracker, the Esky Wireless RF Pet and Item Locator uses RF technology to help you find your wallet, keys, kids, and your pets with loud sounds and LED light prompts. Plus, the audible beeps can help you train your dog to come on command.
- Pack of 4
- Range of up to 82 feet
- Color-coded fob to help you find what you’re looking for
This is a good option for pet owners who want to keep up with their pet, but who might not necessarily need all the features some other GPS trackers provide.
- Real-time tracking
- Safe Zones
This incredibly small dog tracker uses four types of signals to locate your pet for accuracy and versatility. It uses GPS signals, Wifi, Bluetooth, and a cellular network to track both inside and outside accurately.
- Wifi and Bluetooth enabled
- Worldwide tracking
- Location accessed via the app
For durability, lightweight, and a long battery life wrapped into one, the Gibi is designed for both pets and pet owners in mind.
- Safe Zones
- Long battery life
- Location accessed via the app
This tracker works with the Marco Polo locator, which allows you to see the location of many pets at once. It is self-contained and does not require a smartphone or monthly subscription.
- Battery lasts up to 6 weeks
- Works anywhere
- Pinpoint accuracy
Unlike many GPS trackers, this tracker tag works globally, making it a must-have for those who travel with their pets. Plus, it has a free lifetime subscription!
- Global tracking
- Surprisingly small
If you’re tired of paying a monthly fee for tracking when your dog hardly leaves the porch, this is the option for you. The DOTT works like a microchip; only it can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone.
- 6-9 month battery life
- No Subscription fee
- Any mobile phone can pick up the signal
Featuring direct access to your pet’s profile as well as the ability to store allergies and required medications, this tag works to keep your dog safe even when you aren’t there.
- Pet Profile
- Notification when the tag is scanned
This durable QR code tag is coated with a long-lasting QR code to ensure that you’ll never have to worry about the tag falling off or the code becoming unreadable.
- Stores vet and medical information
Made of zinc alloy, this is one of the most durable QR code tags on the market. Plus, it features a unique, aesthetic design!
- Zinc alloy
- Displays owners contact information upon scanning
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