Angela Stringfellow, Updated: February 6, 2020
Dog owners want to keep their four-legged best friends safe. That’s why they train them to stay in their yard, keep them on leashes when going for a walk, and take them to the vet regularly for checkups and care. But, let’s be honest. Even the most loving dog owners have lost their pet at one point and experienced nearly unbearable fear and anxiety. Indeed, one of the worst feelings in the world is not knowing where your dog is or if he is safe after he escapes your yard or gets loose when visiting family and friends. Thanks to today’s advanced technology, dog owners can keep their dogs even safer by purchasing a GPS dog collar (or dog tracker). Now, you’ll be able to locate your dog and bring him home much more quickly.
We reviewed dozens of GPS dog trackers to identify the best of the best. We have carefully considered user reviews, GPS tracking features and functions, and wearability when picking the top dogs of GPS dog collars.
1. Our Top Pick: Whistle GO Explore Health & Location Tracker
The Whistle GO Explore Health & Location Tracker creates GPS location and activity trackers for dogs and cats. This all-in-one tracker uses advanced GPS and cellular technology from America’s largest network to pinpoint your dog’s location anywhere in the United States; the result is your peace of mind. The device will record his data so that you can log onto the app to find out where he’s been for the last 24 hours and the battery can last up to 7 days between charges.
Along with tracking his location, it will also track his activity, just like the kind of fitness watch you may wear. You can set fitness and activity goals for him and that can go a long way in trying to maintain a healthy life for your pup. Bear in mind, this tracker does require a monthly subscription fee (plans start at $6.95) but for the price, you get a phenomenal product.
With over 3,400 customer reviews on Amazon and a rating of 4.3 stars, this is a purchase you can make with confidence in the quality.
Whistle GO Explore Health & Location Tracker Key Features:
2. Our Runner-Up Pick: Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker
With the Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker, you can track up to three pets at once. Findster’s MAZE technology eliminates the need for a cellular connection to send GPS coordinates, meaning no SIM card or cellular coverage are necessary. In other words, no monthly fees! And since it doesn’t require cellular coverage to work, that means it also works anywhere – even when you’re off the grid.
With real-time GPS tracking, it’s both reliable and precise for keeping track of your pets. You define a safe area around your pet’s location and get notified instantly if your pet leaves the designated area – giving you time to respond before your pet gets too far. Plus, it also functions as a pet activity monitor, allowing you to keep tabs on your dog’s daily activity levels to ensure that he’s getting ample daily exercise.
If you have Live Tracking (GPS location) mode on for two 30-minute walks per day, as well as all-day activity tracking, the battery will last about three days. With Live Tracking always on, the battery will last about 12 hours per charge.
Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker Key Features:
3. Best Budget Pick: Dynotag Web/GPS Enabled QR Code Smart Pet Tag
The Dynotag Web/GPS Enabled QR Code Smart Pet Tag will let you track your pup without monthly fees, batteries or downloading apps. This will help you find a lost dog without lot of extra fuss. Reading a tag that says “Oh Crap. I’m Lost” will let anyone who comes to find your dog exactly how to contact you and that can help you get your lost pup back faster.
Dynotag creates products with QR code smart labels to help you locate your most valuable possessions. Their Web/GPS Enabled QR Code Smart Pet Tag is not like other GPS dog trackers. This tag links to a private web page and provides a complete pet information management system with a simple scan. When someone scans the tag with a smartphone, the tag’s location immediately is delivered to the dog’s owner via passive GPS technology.
It comes in 4 different color choices (and less funny commentary if that’s more your style) so you’ll gt to pick which tag to pop on your dog’s collar. And at only 35.5mm by 30mm, your dog won’t even notice the addition to his collar.
Dynotag Web/GPS Enabled QR Code Smart Pet Tag Key Features:
4. SportDOG Brand TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking System V2-L
The SportDOG Brand TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking System V2-L can track your dog and show you real time updates on an included handheld device without any monthly subscription or map update fees. You can add up to 21 dogs to each system and keep track of their location and their data, including their distance traveled, their current speed in MPH, and where the multiple dogs are in relation to the others programmed into the device.
With its GPS software, you can track your dog up to 10 miles away, even if you have no cell service, making this a great alternative to relying on your cell phone apps if you happen to take your dogs in the mountains or some where without great coverage. Both the collar and the handheld device are waterproof and fully submersible, as well as rechargeable. One full charge for the collar takes about four hours and will last for up to 24 hours while the handheld device takes about 8 hours to fully charge and lasts about 12 before needing recharged.
If you don’t already have the SportDOG TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking system with the Add-a-Dog collar, this is the all information you need to know: The system is one of the best on the market and includes 1:100,000 pre-loaded full-color TOPO maps to keep you on track while alerting you to your dog’s location.
SportDOG Brand TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking System V2-L Key Features:
5. PawPrintsID GPS Pet Collar Rescue and Recovery ID Dog Tag
The PawPrintsID GPS Pet Collar Rescue and Recovery ID Dog Tag will store all your dog’s important information right at the scan of a phone. Should your dog get lost and be found by a humane society or even a friendly neighbor, they scan this tag on your dog’s collar and will have access to your contact information and all your dog’s pertinent medical information; up to and including digital X-Rays and allergies.
PawPrintsID works to get lost dogs found fast, and their QR Smart GPS Pet Collar Rescue and Recovery ID Dog Tag makes it possible. Owners receive instant GPS text messages and emails when someone finds your dog and scans his tag from anywhere in the world. If the person scanning your pup’s tag has a smart phone, his or her location will be immediately sent to you via Google maps.
This scan-able tag requires no subscriptions or monthly fees and using this tag and the technology we carry around in our pocket every day, you can take steps to make sure your dog gets home to you fast.
PawPrintsID GPS Pet Collar Rescue and Recovery ID Dog Tag Key Features:
Who Should Buy a GPS Dog Tracker or Collar
There are plenty of motivations for buying a GPS tracker for your dog. The primary one is, of course, concern for your dog. If you’re worried he may get lost or bolt on you when you take your eyes off him for a moment, then it may be a good idea to find yourself some added peace of mind. A GPS tracker will insure that no matter where your dog goes, there is technology on him to locate him. You may have a relatively well behaved dog, but most dogs are just one poorly timed squirrel away from misbehavior and a tracking unit can help make sure he comes home safe.
Even if your dog doesn’t typically run off, it’s still a great idea to have a GPS tracker on him for a wide range of “just in case” scenarios. You’ll want to know where he goes, just in case he gets hurt. What if there’s a female neighbor dog that he has a keen interest in? You don’t want your dog to be a father before he’s ready! And, even if you have no real concerns for even the “just in case” scenarios, aren’t you curious where he goes when you let him wander?
Important Features to Consider
A GPS tracker for your dog should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a GPS tracker for your furry friend:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a GPS dog tracker and how does it work?
A GPS tracker will use satellites through a Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate your dog, no matter where in the world he is. You’ll most likely attach the GPS to his collar or it will come as part of his collar. But you could attach it anywhere on him that won’t bother him; a harness or a pack, for example. You can use this tracker to locate your dog for any number of reasons; if he’s lost, or he’s not coming home; if he’s stuck or hurt; even if you’re just curious. A GPS tracking system for your dog will give you peace of mind for a fur baby who can’t call for a ride if they get stuck somewhere or yell out to you if they’re hurt. You can check the GPS through several methods; most trackers make use of our smart phones and have apps or websites for you to check.
Can you track your pet with a chip?
Not really; but kind of. A microchip provides a permanent identification for your dog (RFID – Radio-Frequency Identification), but do not talk to any satellites. They store your contact information and your pup’s name. Every veterinary office and humane society have scanners that will tell them his information and make the chances of contacting you and getting Fido home all the greater.
While the chip can’t track your dog with a GPS, it also doesn’t require a power source to operate and it can’t be (easily) removed. (It’s implanted into your dog’s shoulder.) We still recommend getting a chip so that no matter where your pup ends up, a vet or humane society will be able to scan his body to find information to contact you.
Do I need to download an app to use a GPS dog collar?
Depends entirely on the GPS tracker you choose. You can find handheld devices that won’t use your phone at all or some that will use an in-depth website that details all the information you need without the need of an app. There are even trackers that simply text or email you updates with your dog’s location. But the no nonsense answer to whether you need to download an app to monitor your dog’s GPS tracker is: Yeah, probably.
Do all GPS dog collars require a monthly fee?
Not all GPS trackers require a monthly fee, although several do. In fact, even those who don’t may kind of require a monthly fee in round-about ways. If you need to download an app on your phone to access your dog’s GPS to track him, you’ll need to pay for the data and monthly subscription fee to use that phone. If the tracker sends you texts, data and testing rates may apply. If you’re without a phone in this day and age, though, a dog GPS is not likely to be the last bit of temptation to finally sway you to buy a cell phone. But if you didn’t have a monthly cell phone bill you likely wouldn’t be able to use most dog GPS trackers.
True subscriptions for dog GPS tracking typically provide a phenomenal customer service to go with that fee, making it worth your money (usually less than $30; often under $10). If you want a truly free tracking system for your dog, you’ll definitely be safe buying a GPS tracker with a handheld map device that won’t make you pay for map updates.
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