According to the American Humane Association, approximately 10 million pets are lost in the United States each year. Sadly, from that number, only around 15% of dogs and 2% of cats without microchips (explained below) are ever reunited with their owners. That’s an awful lot of missing fur babies. Luckily there are certain technologies these days that enable you to keep a close eye on your Houdini hound, like the best dog GPS trackers. These excellent and affordable devices are absolutely worth every cent for the peace of mind they can bring you.
Read on to learn more about how these location monitors work, what else they can do, and to discover some of the best dog GPS trackers currently on the market.
Our Top 10 Pet Owner Recommended Dog GPS Trackers
For those of you who have done all your homework on dog GPS trackers and just want to see the products, here is our list of best GPS trackers for dogs with a quick intro and links to where you can get them.
- Pick #1:
Jiobit GPS Dog Location Monitor. Small, intuitive, and with Bluetooth, WIFI, and GPS tracking options, Jiobit’s Monitor is a great all-rounder for keeping track of your pup when they are out and about.
- Pick #2:
Tracki Mini Real-time GPS Tracker. A general-purpose tracker whose small size makes it suitable for pets, too, Tracki’s super inexpensive (to purchase) device offers both fencing and finding features.
- Pick #3:
Tractive Dog GPS Tracker. At around half the price of most other GPS trackers, the Tractive Tracker is an attractive option for many, and it doesn’t scrimp on features and functionality.
- Pick #4:
Dogtra Pathfinder Dog Remote Training and GPS Tracking Collar. With advanced GPS and geofencing capabilities, the Dogtra Pathfinder is recommended for owners with larger, working dogs in more remote areas.
- Pick #5:
FitBark GPS Dog Tracker. Teeny and super lightweight, the FitBark Tracker is excellent not just for ensuring the location of your fur baby but having an awareness of their health and wellbeing.
- Pick #6:
Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker. Location, health, and happiness monitor in one, the Whistle Tracker provides impressive insights into your canine’s habits and behaviors for improved wellbeing.
- Pick #7:
PetFon Pet GPS Tracker. Subscription-free and suitable for use in rural areas, Petfon’s Pet Tracker allows for safe spaces and real-time tracking, with helpful features such as lights and alarms.
- Pick #8:
Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor. Sturdy, solid, waterproof, and stylish, the Link Smart Collar, endorsed by the American Kennel Club, is a super tracker and health monitor in one.
- Pick #9:
Cube Real-Time GPS Dog Tracker. Popular among pet owners for its usefulness and accuracy, the Cube Real-Time tracker is fit for purpose with its small but sturdy, lightweight design and alarm option.
- Pick #10:
Fi GPS Tracker Smart Dog Collar. Perfect for pups (and their owners) looking to boost their fitness levels, the Fi tracker is a great walking companion as it not only monitors location but tracks activity too.
What Exactly is a Dog GPS Tracker?
There is often confusion among pet owners on the difference between GPS trackers and microchips. While some believe that GPS trackers can be implanted into pets, others think that microchips have GPS capabilities.
Neither of these is currently true.
Microchips for dogs are radio-frequency identification systems whereby pets can be identified using a scanner that reads data, such as the owner’s contact information, stored on the chip. As the name suggests, microchips are tiny and can be embedded in your pet’s skin.
Microchips are great if someone finds your dog and takes them to the vet or to a shelter. However, they cannot currently be used to track your pup in real-time.
GPS trackers employ cutting-edge technology that enables you to locate your pet anywhere in the world using GPS satellites and cellular networks. This information is sent directly to an app on your cell phone.
The match-box-sized device is usually attached to your dog’s collar or harness. It may feature a light, alarm, or even an emergency button that a person can press if they find your dog wandering the neighborhood without you.
Dog GPS Tracker: Buyer’s Guide
When you’re forking out money on a tracker, you want to ensure that you get the right one. As with most products, research is key. You want something budget-friendly, but that actually works. Here are a few things to look out for:
Many tracking units rely on cellular networks to enable you to monitor your dog’s movements. The upside to this is that tracking is long distance, often worldwide, in all places with cell coverage.
However, you need to ensure that your tracker’s specific supporting service (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.) provides adequate coverage in your area. After all, GPS trackers are only as good as the satellite connections and cell networks they can access.
Most GPS trackers have an ongoing subscription fee in addition to the upfront purchase cost. This is the price to pay for having access to the cellular networks when you need them in a similar way to having, and using, a cell phone.
This monthly charge can range from around five dollars to more than twenty dollars, depending on whether you choose to pay it by the month or a chunk in advance. So make sure you factor this cost in when deciding which device to get.
Even the fanciest, most accurate tracking devices will do nobody any good if the batteries run out just when you need them the most. For this reason, it’s essential that you check the battery life – and not just the maximum but how long it’s likely to last for geofencing and real-time tracking too.
As with the subscription fee, this can vary quite dramatically between devices. Some can last months between charges, whereas others are good just for a couple of days. Whichever yours is (and make sure you’re completely clear on this), you should always keep them well charged just in case.
While people or luggage tracking devices may seem like a good option for monitoring your pet, too, keep in mind that they won’t be safely tucked away in a pocket or bag while doing this. For this reason, they should be weather-proof and able to withstand plenty of knocks and bumps too.
You will also need to pay attention to how the device attaches to your pet. Flimsy clips could easily break, dropping the tracker and rendering it useless. Also, be aware of the distinction between water-resistant and waterproof, and make sure to pick up one that best suits both where you live and your dog (are they a water or mud fiend?)
While you want to make sure that you get the best quality tracker for your money with the most useful features, you also need to pay close attention to the tracker sizes to ensure you get the best one for your pooch. This is especially the case if they will be wearing it at all times.
Both the weight and the dimensions of the tracker should factor into your decision. Many of the presently available ones are pretty light; however, they may be a little on the bulky side for a smaller-sized pup. You will have more choices for a larger dog.
These days, many GPS trackers can be set up to alert you if your pup leaves a pre-determined area. This is known as geofencing and is an excellent feature for helping you to keep track of your pet at all times. These geo zones could encompass your home and garden, or even your local neighborhood.
Beyond that, other trackers stand out from the crowd by offering pet parents additional bells and whistles. These include devices that can not just track down a missing dog but that also monitor things such as their activity level, vital signs, and past locations. Some even provide advice on diet and exercise requirements.
Best Dog GPS Trackers: Reviews
Jiobit GPS Dog Location Monitor
Subscription Required: Yes
Perfect for pups of all sizes, the tiny 0.64oz Jiobit GPS Monitor is our top choice because it is likely to suit the needs of most owners. It utilizes a combination of GPS, WIFI, and Bluetooth technology to provide live tracking, location updates and even allows for the set up of geofence areas.
The device, which is water-resistant and durable, can be hooked up to either an Apple IOS or Android smartphone. It has a battery that can last up to two weeks on a single charge, depending on usage. Versatile attachment options also come in handy, so you can ensure the tracker is secure and safe from harm.
Many users are delighted not just with the product’s live tracking option but also with the safe zone alerts. Some were a little disappointed that the product didn’t include features such as activity monitoring. However, if you’re looking for a way to know where your pup is at all times, you can’t go far wrong with this handy device.
Lightweight, sturdy, and with good features for both monitoring and finding pets.
The battery life decreases significantly when the tracker is off the WIFI for long periods.
Best For Accuracy
Tracki Mini Real-time GPS Tracker
Subscription Required: Yes
While not specifically designed for pets, the Tracki Mini Tracker is another popular piece of kit among owners looking for a solution for dogs that just love to get lost. Not only is it small enough to hook onto a collar, but it is also powerful enough to provide live location information across 190 different countries.
Depending on what the tracker is being used for, the battery life varies from 2 days right up to 6 months. Users benefit from a pre-selectable safe zone alongside the device’s excellent tracking capabilities. The setup is super simple, taking just a quick five minutes.
Probably the thing that attracts most people to this particular tracker is that it is significantly cheaper than other models. However, you should also factor in the monthly subscription fee when toting up the total cost. That being said, reviewers comment that the GPS is generally pretty accurate, and the device is everything they need it to be.
Tiny intuitive tracker that not only provides live information but historical data too. The emergency button is great if someone comes across your lost dog.
The fact that this device is not dog-specific means it lacks certain other helpful features and might not be quite as durable as other trackers.
Best For Budget
Tractive Dog GPS Tracker
Subscription Required: Yes
Another wallet-friendly option is Tractive’s Tracker, which has some nicely priced subscription options too. Features include a live mode that sends location updates every 2-3 seconds, a virtual fence that ensures you are alerted if your pet leaves a designated safe area, and access to your dog’s location history.
Operating across four cellular networks: AT&T Mobility, Viaero Wireless, CinBell, and T-Mobile, the device boasts outstanding coverage through the use of LTE. The tracker is sturdily made and designed to be waterproof, and the battery, which lasts up to five days, can be fully recharged in just two hours.
Pet parents enjoy the additional extras of this useful tracker, which includes the ability to monitor activity levels to see just how far their pet is going and even set fitness goals. Plus, the addition of a light and a buzzer on the device makes it even easier to find lost pets in the dark.
This petite tracker has some seriously cool pet-oriented features and at a good price to boot.
Some mention that the virtual fence area is a little larger than they would like, and the alert for when their pet leaves it isn’t so clear.
Best For Working Dogs
Dogtra Pathfinder Dog Remote Training and GPS Tracking Collar
Subscription Required: No
At the very top of the price scale (and for good reason!), we have Dogtra’s Training and Tracking Collar. Although this product is only suitable for larger hounds – the website recommends it for those over 35 pounds, with a neck size of 10 – 26 inches. However, you can use it to track up to 21 dogs, and it’s both solidly made and waterproof.
As the name suggests, this product is not purely for tracking; it can also be used for remotely training your pup to stick to a particular area. It comes highly recommended for hunting and sporting dogs. This is supported by the fact that it is not dependent on cellular data meaning it works well even pretty far out from civilization.
Users like that they don’t have to pay a subscription fee to access the full range of GPS services with this device. They are also impressed with the tone/shock feature, which quickly establishes the geofence boundaries and discourages dogs from wandering off.
Other devices reliant on cell signals are often not effective in the great outdoors – this one is.
A technical piece of kit, this tracker may seem a little complicated at first, but detailed instructions are provided.
Best For Pint-Sized Pups
FitBark GPS Dog Tracker
Subscription Required: Yes
The lightest on the list, Fitbark’s GPS Tracker really is just so much more than a simple location device. Not only does it offer escape alerts and real-time updates, but it also monitors activity, sleep quality, distance-calorie balance, anxiety, skin conditions, and overall health and behavior.
Good for up to twenty days on a single charge, the unit is well-made and waterproof, so bad weather won’t be an issue when you’re using it. The tracker makes use of Bluetooth, WIFI, and GPS, so you have the best of all worlds when trying to keep track of your pooch, and battery life is preserved too.
Reviewers are particularly impressed with the health features of the product. You can link it up with your Fitbit, Apple Watch, Healthkit, or Google Fit Device so you can start building good habits alongside your hound. They also comment on the long battery life and the ease of use of the app.
So many trackers are designed for larger dogs, this one is great for biggies and littles alike.
Updates seem to be slightly slower than other models, but not significantly so.
Best For Added Extras
Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker
Subscription Required: Yes
The Whistle Go Explore Tracker is made for the outdoors with a sturdy design, 3-mode built-in night light, and a waterproof rating of IPX8. This means it can be submerged in up to six feet of water. The unit’s battery provides up to 20 days of power on a single charge, so you don’t have to worry about running out.
The wearable smart pet device offers GPS tracking as just one of its many available features. It has real-time tracking capabilities and provides alerts for over-itching, licking, drinking, and sleeping. For health, it tracks distance, calories, and duration. Plus, you can set reminders for vet visits, grooming, meds, playdates, and more.
The behavior trackers on this app have been an unexpected bonus for many users – especially those who have pups with allergies and other skin conditions. It’s also great for dogs who need to lose a few pounds. In terms of the GPS, it’s pretty accurate as long as the cell reception is good in the local area.
It’s packed full of beneficial features for ensuring your dog is nearby but also happy and healthy.
It’s a little big for smaller dogs, and some reviewers mention issues with the attachments.
Best For Hiking
PETFON Pet GPS Tracker
Subscription Required: No
Letting you keep track of up to three dogs at once, the PetFon GPS Tracker is a real lifesaver for those with multiple pets. The device combines Bluetooth and WIFI with GPS and long-distance wireless technologies for truly excellent coverage and highly accurate real-time positioning.
Easy to install and use, the tracker is compact and durable and comes with colorful lights and a soft alarm that can be activated when trying to find a lost pet in the dark. Owners can also define a safe location around their pet and set up alerts to notify them if they leave this space.
Users comment on this device being especially useful out in the countryside. Real-time positioning isn’t impacted by a lack of network signal or bad weather. While the PetFon Pet Tracker may seem a little on the pricy side compared with others on the list, no monthly fees to pay mean the expense is upfront rather than ongoing.
Free for life, suitable for travel, and not limited by connection to a particular network, this tracker is great for adventurers.
A limited battery life of 8 – 16 hours means that this tracker will likely need to be charged every day.
Best For Fast, Accurate Data
Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor
Subscription Required: Yes
Designed to be just like a smartphone for your dog, the Link AKC Dog Collar (in traditional leather or sporty designs) provides activity monitoring and sound training in one handy device. It has all the bells and whistles of the rest of the products, letting you track in real-time, set up designated safe areas, and more besides.
This clever collar also enables you to measure your pet’s activity levels throughout the day, consolidate vet records for ease of access and receive recommendations for your pup based on their breed, age, and size. Track your adventures with tone and vibration training to help to reinforce good behavior along the way.
The real-time GPS tracking is the biggest draw of this product – compared to similar devices that update every few minutes. For owners with dogs who could cover a lot of ground in that time, this is especially important. The look and fit of the collar are also often positively commented on in the reviews.
The collar fits well (as long as you get the right size), and the GPS is highly accurate. The extra features also seem pretty popular.
The lesser battery life lets this product down a little – this is always an issue with too much real-time tracking.
Best For Location Sharing
Cube Real-Time GPS Dog Tracker
Subscription Required: Yes
Compact and well built with tracking and geofencing capabilities, the Cube Real-Time Tracker is another great option for those with escape artist pets. The device features an alarm that you can sound when trying to find your dog outdoors in the dark or in densely wooded areas.
A popular feature of the Cube, which other trackers don’t often have, is the device sharing capabilities. Basically, this means that friends and family can also access the tracker’s location. This makes things easier if you are all out searching for a missing pet. The product also has an impressive 10-60 days of battery life per charge.
Unlike many of the other trackers, which didn’t seem suited to every occasion, the Cube’s reviews are mostly positive. Many users find it works well and makes their lives a little easier. The fact that the tracker is nicely lightweight means it’s suitable for most breeds. Just check the dimensions if you have a particularly small dog.
An accurate GPS tracker at a reasonable price with a good battery that won’t let you down when you need it the most.
The tracker is dependent on having a good network connection, and the subscription rates are a little higher than with other models.
Best For Battery Life
Fi GPS Tracker Smart Dog Collar
Subscription Required: Yes
Utilizing the latest in cellular and GPS technology, the Fi Series Tracking Collar is not just super stylish but super handy too. Durable and waterproof the collar features a customizable LED light that makes it much easier for you to find your lost pet even in the dark.
Moreover, the tracker also supports Fidos who need to shed a few pounds. It does this by tracking their activity levels and comparing them with other dogs of the same breed in the local area and all over the country too. Best of all, the battery is super long-lasting, so it won’t let you down when you really need it.
Reviewers love the extra features of this tracker – especially the ability to monitor their pet’s steps, set goals, and see their walk path history. The device, which fits well and is unobtrusive, is even suitable for canines who love swimming or playing rough with their doggy friends.
A valuable piece of kit with fun extra features to enjoy will out and about.
The tracker depends on a cellular network, so you need to ensure you have a good signal in your area.
While GPS tends to be the best choice for most people, there are a couple of other options to pick from if it doesn’t work for you:
Radio Trackers make use of quite old-fashioned technology that simply doesn’t make sense for most owners. Part of the reason for this is they provide distance and directional data rather than giving a real-time location for the pet. However, they are great for remote areas that lack suitable cellular coverage.
Bluetooth Trackers are generally quite a bit cheaper than their GPS counterparts, and you don’t have to pay a subscription fee. However, they also have a much smaller range, so you would only be able to find your pet if they were nearby. Bluetooth capabilities on a GPS tracker, though, can save battery life.
Dog Tracking: Frequently Asked Questions
Are dog GPS trackers worth it?
Any person who has ever lost a pet will tell you that GPS trackers are absolutely worth every cent. Often dogs that have run off are easily found, but that doesn’t ease the feeling of terror a pet parent has when they don’t know where their pup is. These devices can save you a great deal of time that would otherwise be spent out searching anywhere and everywhere.
Do GPS dog trackers work?
The short answer to this question is, yes, GPS trackers do work. However, some offer greater degrees of accuracy than others. Moreover, this varies depending on your location because different areas of the country have access to different strength network signals, which can impact the device’s performance. Make sure that the product you pick up is the best one for your area.
Can I track my dog with my phone?
Many of the GPS devices included on our list allow pet parents to track their dog with their phone via a connection between a device attached to the dog’s collar and an app that is available via Apple IOS or Android. Some additionally can be hooked up to a laptop or desktop computer.
Is there a GPS implant for dogs?
Those who think that GPS trackers can be implanted are often confusing these devices with microchips. Microchips are designed to provide relevant information about the dog, such as the owner’s details, when scanned. These devices are tiny. GPS trackers, on the other hand, are roughly the size of a matchbox and so need to be clipped onto a collar or harness instead.
Modern location technology luckily makes it really simple for people to keep track of their pets at all times. GPS trackers enable owners to view the exact whereabouts of their lost pet in real-time. This means that they can quickly and easily be found and returned to their rightful place. Safe dog = happy owner.