GPS Tracker For Dogs: What To Consider And Top 5 Picks

Filed in Dog Products by on May 18, 2020

Dog running near barn with text 'GPS trackers for dogs'Does your dog like to wander off by himself or herself? 

Thanks to GPS technology, you can now track your dog’s location in real-time. You can even use these trackers in your house to send an alert if your dog leaves a certain area.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know before buying a GPS tracker for dogs, plus give you our top picks.

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What’s a GPS Tracker for Dogs, Anyway?

A GPS tracker for dogs is a small device that you mount on your dog’s collar to keep track of their whereabouts. The device uses GPS technology, just like your phone or navigation system in your vehicle, to track their location. 

Some people wonder whether there are GPS chips for dogs that go inside them, but these do not exist at the current time.

If your dog is wearing a GPS tracker, you’ll be able to locate him by using your cellphone or handheld tracking device.

Benefits of a GPS Tracker for Dogs

Dog with GPS tracker in fieldLet’s take a quick peek at some of the benefits of investing in a GPS tracker for dogs. 

  • GPS Technology Precisely Locates Your Dog 

 Is your dog a great escape artist? 

A GPS dog tracker means you won’t have to spend hours walking aimlessly around the block screaming his name. Track his exact live location to help save time and reduce worry.

  • Potential to Track with Unlimited Range

Want to know where your dog is even if you’re a hundred miles away? A high-quality GPS tracker allows you to do just that. You don’t need to be within a specific range of the tracker to know where your dog is.

  • Pain-free 

All you need to do is to mount the GPS tracker on your dog’s collar, and that’s it! It is neither painful nor uncomfortable for Fido.

  • Monitor your Dog’s Activity

Some GPS trackers also act as a dog ‘fit bit’. They can report on your dog’s resting periods, pulse and respiration rates and even amount of time that he spends licking or scratching.

For dogs with weight problems, mobility problems or other health issues such as allergies, this information can be extremely helpful.

Things to Consider When Buying

Notebook on desk with words 'Things to consider'Let’s take a quick look at things to consider before investing your hard-earned money in a GPS tracker. 

1. Accuracy 

GPS trackers can vary in their levels of accuracy. While some models provide live tracking, others report at intervals.

Keep in mind that if your tracker requires you to have a strong WiFi connection or cellular coverage, this will impact its accuracy as well.

For example, if your dog gets lost in rough terrain, mountains, or heavily wooded areas, you may not receive the level of coverage necessary.

If you live in one of these areas with poor cellular service, look for GPS dog trackers with handheld location finders that use GPS satellites instead.

2. Safe Areas 

Most GPS trackers now offer a virtual fence option. This is incredibly useful, especially for dogs that are prone to leaving home or running off while on walks. By utilizing geofencing, you can define a safe zone for your furry friend.

Additionally, some models even allow you to set up several different customized safe areas. For example, you could specify that your own yard and a place where you regularly exercise your dog are both safe zones.

As a result, if your dog leaves any of these designated areas, you will receive an instant alert.

3. Durability

Good quality GPS dog trackers will be weatherproof, but each brand will have its own standards and level of quality.

However, if you live in the city, you may not require a tracker that is as rugged as someone who lives in the country or hikes regularly with their dog.

If you have a bouncy and playful dog, durability should definitely be a consideration.

4. Battery Life 

Battery life is important, especially if your dog disappears for a longer period. Once the battery dies, the GPS tracker will no longer operate. Some trackers need their batteries charged on a daily or weekly basis, while others need a replacement once every year or so.

5. Service Plan

Many dog GPS trackers require a monthly or annual subscription to use their app. The price can vary depending on the options chosen. For example, there are premium packages that include better customer service, location histories and the ability to share information from the tracker with family and friends. Some companies charge more for international coverage.

6. Global Coverage

Not all brands offer global coverage and some will only operate in specific countries. Certain models only work with specific cellular networks, so make sure that the model you are considering will operate in your area and is compatible with your cellphone service.

7. Size and Weight

You will want to buy a GPS tracker for your dog that is suited to his size and weight. Some brands offer different sizes, while others may have one model that is already lightweight enough to be comfortable for all dogs. Some GPS trackers even come with their own collars.

8. Added features

There are GPS trackers that offer additional features such as two-way audio so that you can hear and speak to your dog. As a result, you can speak directly to rescuers in case your dog is found before you track him down. Others have LED displays that show information such as your name and contact information.

Other added benefits include health monitoring and 24/7 access to veterinary advice, as well as updates on issues in your area that might affect your dog’s well-being. If you have more than one dog, you will find that there are GPS dog tracking services that will allow you to keep an eye on several pets at once.

Other useful features include temperature monitoring of the dog’s environment and alerting you if it gets too hot. Some even store veterinary records, which might be important should your dog be found and taken to a vet by someone else.

Top 5 Picks: Which Locator for Canines Should I Invest In?

Let’s take a look at our top recommended GPS trackers for dogs (in no particular order):

1. Whistle Go & Whistle Go Explore

These popular pet trackers are some of the most comprehensive on the market and also include health and fitness monitoring.

Note: The Whistle Go and Whistle Go Explore are essentially the same, except the Whistle Go Explore has a longer battery life (20 days vs. 10 days) and includes a night light.

They combine GPS, WiFi, and cellular technology to track your dog in real-time anywhere in the U.S. By using Google Maps and the AT&T nationwide network (you do not need an AT&T cell plan), you can find your dog’s precise location. They also inform you the moment that your dog leaves designated safe areas. 

They also monitor your dog’s health such as sleeping, scratching, and licking behaviors. Additionally, they track distance traveled, minutes active, and calories burned by your pet. 

  • Real-time tracking
  • Supports safe zones
  • Health and fitness monitoring
  • Very lightweight and easily attaches to collar
  • Waterproof- submerge up to 6 feet for Whistle Go Explore and 3 feet for Whistle Go
  • Access to a vet through the app
  • Long battery life (20 days for Whistle Go Explore and 10 days for Whistle Go)
  • Night light on Whistle Go Explore
  • Works anywhere in the U.S.
  • Requires cell service (you can have most cell plans not just AT&T)
  • Whistle Go Explore is roughly double the price of Whistle Go
  • Requires subscription (save more on longer plans)

2. Tractive 3G

The Tractive 3G tracks the the location of your pet anywhere in real-time on your smartphone or in a web browser. It’s recommended for pets weighing over 9 lbs and attaches easily to a collar.

The tracker is also lightweight and waterproof. You can attach it to any dog collar with ease and it offers worldwide tracking using the Tractive mobile app or your internet browser. 

The device has a long battery life which lasts 3-5 days between charges. It also allows virtual fencing, so that you can define a safe zone.

You’ll have to buy a subscription plan of $4.99 per month with the device.

  • Real-time tracking
  • Global Coverage and unlimited tracking range
  • Does not require cell service
  • Lightweight and waterproof
  • Battery life 3-5 days
  • Virtual fence
  • Location history
  • Battery recharges in 2 hours
  • Requires subscription of $4.99/month
  • Not for dogs 9 lbs or less

3. FitBark

This health, fitness, and location tracker is very small yet filled with features including a real-time GPS tracker. You can even monitor anxiety, stress, and sleep.

It’s for dogs of all sizes and is very lightweight at 17 g (.037 lbs).

As long as you have LTE-M Verizon coverage in your area, it should work very well, although you don’t need a Verizon plan (check coverage by clicking on “Expand interactive map” and filtering by “LTE-M” on the following page: Verizon coverage areas).

FitBark is trusted by research institutions and vet schools as a reliable dog parenting device.

  • Very long battery life
  • Health monitoring
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Great customer service
  • Only available in the U.S.
  • Need a subscription
  • Not good for indoor tracking
  • Shouldn’t be used on a harness

4. Fi Smart Dog Collar

Fi Smart Dog Collar is a real-time GPS tracker with a very long battery life and comes with its own collar. It also has an activity tracker that tracks steps and distance. I give a more in depth review in another blog post.

It uses AT&T’s network for GPS positioning, so will not work if there is no AT&T coverage. You do not need an AT&T plan though.

  • Allows safe zones
  • Long battery life lasting from a few days up to 3 months depending on use
  • Adjusts to save battery life in bad signal conditions
  • Built-in LED light
  • Activity tracker
  • Lightweight at 1.3 ounces
  • Extremely durable and waterproof
  • Uses the LTE-M cell network to transmit GPS information which reaches farther 3G, 4G, 5G, and LTE networks
  • 30-day free trial and 1-year warranty
  • Requires subscription
  • Must use their collar
  • No web-based tracking, so must use smartphone

5. PetFon Locator

PetFon GPS Tracker is a real-time tracker for your pet with no monthly subscription fee. It has limited range of .65 mile in urban areas and 3.5 miles in open outdoor areas. The tracker is very durable and meant to last in snow, storms, and rain. It also can track your dog’s daily activities such as walking steps, time, and distance.

  • Real time tracking of your dog using several technologies such as GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, and long distance wireless
  • No monthly fees since no cell phone network is required
  • Works in any country with a GPS signal
  • Small and durable making it suitable for most dogs
  • Tracker relies on a free app to pinpoint your dog’s location at any time
  • Offers safe zones
  • Displays colorful light and sound to help find your pet more easily
  • Can record prerecorded commands to communicate with your dog
  • Travel charging box to recharge the battery while away from home
  • Weatherproof
  • Tracking distance can only reach 0.65 mile in urban areas, while 3.5 miles in outdoor environment
  • The band is somewhat flimsy with attaching the tracker to your dog’s collar
  • Battery life of 8 to 16 hours (although you will likely not keep it on all day)
  • Occasionally gives false alerts
  • Not designed for indoor tracking


Did I answer all of your questions about GPS trackers? 

If your dog likes to wander off, a GPS tracker can prove to be a great investment. That is to say, it can save you time, energy, and anxiety.

You will want to carefully review my section on what to consider before buying to help determine the tracker that best suits your needs. 

In conclusion, I hope that I helped you find the right GPS tracker for your furry friend. 

If you have questions, leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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