There’s no worse feeling in the world than discovering that your beloved dog has gotten lost. If you’re lucky, you may be able to track them down before they get too far, or perhaps a kind soul will find them and bring them back to you. Many dogs, however, are never seen again.
If you don’t want to risk that horrible fate, investing in a GPS tracker or collar may be a good idea. These devices will reveal your dog’s location to you at all times, so you can quickly track them down if they get loose. Many also offer other features, such as insights into your dog’s activity levels or sleep patterns.
Not all GPS trackers are made equal, and in the reviews below, we’ll help you decide which one is best for your particular situation. After all, this is one purchase that you don’t want to get wrong.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Whistle Go Explore Pet Tracker||
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|Best Value||Platinum Pets Pawsitively Pet Finder||
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|Premium Choice||Jiobit GPS Dog Tracker||
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|Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker||
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The 10 Best Dog GPS Trackers & Collars – Reviews 2021
1. Whistle Go Explore Pet Tracker – Best Overall
The Whistle Go Explore is a versatile and useful device that provides you with a ton of valuable data about your dog’s health and location.
You can see where your pup is in real time, and it covers virtually the entire nation, so you’ll be able to track them down even if they go on a Homeward Bound-style incredible journey.
More than that, though, it also gives you information about their health, nutrition, and activity levels. You’ll know when they’re sleeping, licking, and even scratching. That information won’t be given in a vacuum, either, as they’ll give you useful benchmarks based on your dog’s age and breed.
The device itself is available in three bright colors, and it has a built-in night light that ensures your dog will be visible after dark. The battery lasts for nearly three weeks, so you won’t have to worry about charging it too often.
There’s one big drawback to it, though: it requires using AT&T’s LTE network. That may limit how many people can use it, but if you’re an AT&T customer, you’ll find that the Whistle Go Explore is the finest tracker on the market today.
2. Platinum Pets Pawsitively Pet Finder – Best Value
It’s not a high-tech option, but the Platinum Pets Pawsitively Pet Finder is an extremely affordable solution that works surprisingly well, which is why it’s our choice for best dog GPS tracker or collar for the money.
It’s just a tag that you clip on to your dog’s collar, but it has everything you need to get reunited with your dog if they get lost. Each tag has a code on it that can be entered onto the company’s website, at which point whoever finds your dog will get your contact information.
Everything is a cinch to set up, and you can easily generate a lost pet poster if your dog goes missing. Once they’re found, the website will create a map showing you their location, and their rescuer will be able to email, text, or call you.
The product is designed to replace a microchip, but we wouldn’t recommend doing that — it should be used in addition to one. The problem is that this can break and fall off, as can your dog’s collar, and if it’s not attached, it’s useless.
Also, it’s not immediately clear from looking at the tag what a person should do if they find your dog, so it may take some trial and error before you’re contacted.
However, the Platinum Pets Pawsitively Pet Finder certainly makes things easier than finding a vet to scan a microchip, and that makes it worth every penny (but it helps that it doesn’t cost very many pennies).
3. Jiobit GPS Dog Tracker – Premium Choice
The Jiobit GPS is another device that you clip onto your dog’s collar, but it’s filled to the brim with bells and whistles. This thing does everything short of walking your pup for you.
You can track your dog in real time using the included app, so they’ll never truly be lost. Even better, you can set up custom geofences, like around your home, doggy daycare, or pet sitter’s house. If your dog wanders outside the area you’ve defined, the app will notify you immediately.
If you use dog walkers or other professionals to help look after your dog, you can add them to your care team; the app will then notify you when they’ve picked up your dog, and give you their location at that moment.
The tracker is small, lightweight, and water-resistant, so you shouldn’t have any problems with your dog trying to get rid of it or it breaking. However, if the tracker or your dog’s collar comes off, the whole thing will be useless.
It’s also fairly pricey and requires a monthly subscription. We feel it’s worth it for the peace of mind it provides, but it’s certainly not cheap.
If you want to constantly be apprised of your pup’s location (and you’re willing to pay top dollar for that information), the Jiobit GPS is tough to beat.
4. Findster Duo+
The Findster Duo+ does more than just track your dog down — it will also help you diagnose anything that’s wrong with them.
For no additional fee, you can talk to one of the company’s vets if you have a question about your dog’s health. They can do everything from telling you how to deal with a pup that’s eaten something toxic to helping you decipher new or questionable behaviors.
It also boasts a helpful history feature that lets you track where your dog’s been in the past. This lets you see where they’ve recently been, allowing you to switch up their walks and retrace their steps if they got into something they shouldn’t have.
The device doesn’t require cell coverage to work, making it a good choice for users in rural areas. You can also track up to three pets at a time with it, and there are no monthly fees associated with the service.
However, it’s only designed for use on walks, so you can let your dog roam off-leash. This limits its utility and encourages potentially irresponsible owner behavior. Also, as you might expect given the lack of monthly fees, it’s expensive up-front.
It may have limited utility, but the Findster Duo+ is truly exceptional at what it does.
5. Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
The Tractive LTE gives you lots of the same features that you’ll find in top-of-the-line models, but it’s much more affordable.
It will update your dog’s location every 2-3 seconds, so you’ll never be unsure of where your dog is at any given time. You can also see their history, allowing you to determine if they’ve been somewhere they weren’t supposed to be.
The device attaches securely to the collar, so there’s no need to worry about it falling off. As long as their collar stays on, you’ll stay up to date on their location.
You can share all this data with a person of your choosing, making it good for families or anyone who uses third parties to care for their pup.
Using the service requires a subscription, and you have to buy it up-front. That means you’ll have to fork over a good chunk of change before you’re even sure if it’ll work for you or not.
The battery life isn’t great, so you’ll have to recharge it frequently. Also, if you live in an area without a strong wireless signal, the reception will be spotty at best.
The Tractive LTE is a good alternative to pricier trackers, but it’s less expensive for a reason.
If your dog ever gets lost, Dynotags will help you get reunited with them as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Not only will they provide rescuers with your contact information, but they’ll also make their health records available. This can be a real lifesaver if your dog gets hurt while they’re lost, as the vet will have all the information they need without having to talk to you first.
The tags are extremely durable, as they’re both waterproof and shatterproof. There’s very little chance that they’ll break unless your dog is a true daredevil. However, if something does happen, the company will replace them, either for free or at a discount. You will have to pay shipping, though, and that can cost as much as the device itself.
The clip that attaches to your dog’s collar isn’t as strong as the device itself, unfortunately. There’s a real risk it might break off if your dog goes traipsing through the brush.
There are no batteries to charge, making them an extremely user-friendly solution. It doesn’t provide you with any useful data, though, so don’t expect real time location tracking or anything like that.
Dynotags make it easy to reunite with a lost dog, but they don’t provide much other use besides that.
7. FitBark GPS Dog Tracker
The FitBark GPS is a middle-of-the-road model that offers plenty of useful information, but it doesn’t provide as much value as some cheaper options or as many bells and whistles as pricier versions.
You can track your dog with it, but that’s not really the device’s purpose. It’s more of a health and fitness tracker, and it will log everything from their sleep quality to their skin condition.
The device also lets you set goals for your pet, which is useful if they need to lose weight. You can even get in shape with them, as you can link a Fitbit or similar device and start tracking your information together.
The location tracker has a bit of a lag to it, which isn’t helpful if your dog gets lost. It will show you where they were 20 minutes prior, which gives you a bit of an idea of where to look, but it’s far from perfect.
You’ll also get false alarms occasionally. It’s not unheard of for it to alert you that your dog has escaped from your yard — even while they’re curled up at your feet. This can create a tremendous hassle for you while also calling into question the tracker’s accuracy.
It doesn’t work well in rural areas, and the battery life is poor. However, if you’re mainly concerned with monitoring your dog’s health (and you don’t mind having to charge it frequently), the FitBark GPS is a helpful gadget indeed.
8. Pawfit 2 Pet Tracker
The Pawfit 2 is perfect for the tech guru who has it all, as it can pair with all sorts of other gadgets, including smartwatches. This allows you to track your dog wherever you happen to be and with whatever you happen to be doing.
The system uses a combination of Wi-Fi and cellular data to track your dog in real time, and it gives you some of the most up-to-date information of any tracker out there. If that’s all you care about, then this is definitely the option to buy. It’s also easy to put on and take off, which is nice.
Be prepared to charge it frequently, though, as the battery only lasts about six days. The signal can be a bit spotty as well; sometimes, it misplaces your dog on the map, and it seems to struggle in valleys or deeply wooded areas.
As a result, it may not be a good fit for users in rural areas. However, given that you’re most likely to need the tracker in places that are off-the-beaten-path, that seems like a big flaw indeed.
The Pawfit 2 is a versatile and useful device, but it needs better signal strength and a longer battery life to climb these rankings.
9. Yepzon™ One
You can determine how closely you monitor your pet’s activity with the Yepzon One, as it allows you to get updates as often as every 10 seconds or as rarely as every six hours. That makes it a good choice for both helicopter pet parents and laidback owners alike.
As you might expect, the more frequent the notifications, the faster the battery will drain. You can get long-lasting battery life with rare notifications, but that defeats the purpose to a certain extent.
It also loses accuracy the farther it strays from your phone or Wi-Fi network. That’s obviously a bad thing, as the farther away from home your dog gets, the worse your chances of finding them become.
You won’t find a bunch of bells and whistles on this device, either, despite the fact it has a relatively steep price tag. Don’t expect to create geofences or get interval reports when your dog hasn’t been moving, because it can’t help you there.
It’s also large and bulky, and your dog may not like having it around their neck. Even if they don’t mind it, expect it to take a beating on a daily basis (and potentially fall off eventually).
The Yepzon One definitely has a few things going for it, but overall, it struggles to compete with some of the better options shown above.
If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, trying to decide on which GPS tracker to buy for your dog can seem like quite a chore. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to decide which one is best for you, as they don’t have as many bells and whistles as many other pieces of tech out there.
In the guide below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions owners have about these devices so that you can be sure to buy one that works for you and your pup.
How Do Dog GPS Trackers Work?
Dog GPS trackers are small devices that clip onto your dog’s collar or replace it entirely. They have a GPS transmitter inside that provides data on your dog’s location at all times. If your dog gets lost, you can simply track them down using that transmitter.
These devices are generally small and unobtrusive, and your dog isn’t likely to even notice it.
Are All GPS Trackers Equally Good?
No. Some offer much more precise information than others, which can make a huge difference when it comes time to track your dog down. It’s the difference between knowing your dog’s exact location versus their general one; both are useful, but one’s clearly better than the other.
Also, some update much more frequently than others. If you have a tracker that updates every few seconds, the information it provides will obviously be much more valuable than one that only updates every few minutes.
That being said, the more frequently a device updates, the more it will run the battery down. These things are useless with a dead battery, so you’ll either have to keep the unit charged or resign yourself to sporadic updates.
What Should I Look for in a GPS Tracker?
The biggest thing you want from a tracker is accuracy. That will depend on many things, including the factors mentioned above. Another big issue affecting accuracy is the quality of the network the device is connected to; some work much better in some areas than others.
You also want to make sure that they’ll stay securely fastened and charged. The devices are worthless if they fall off your dog, and they’re also useless if they don’t have any juice. Security and battery life are definitely worth considering when making a purchase.
Some options don’t provide info on your dog’s location, and some act in much the same way as microchips (in that they need to be scanned to work). However, unlike microchips, these options don’t require a vet’s assistance to operate, and they’re very user-friendly, increasing the odds that a good Samaritan will bring your dog back to you. These devices are much cheaper than other trackers but less useful in the middle of a search.
Beyond that, it’s largely a matter of what bells and whistles you’re willing to pay for. Some trackers will give you detailed health information about your pup, such as their activity levels or sleep habits. Others have night lights and other useful features.
The health-based trackers are fun, but you should take their readings with a grain of salt. There are a great many things that can affect their accuracy, and you shouldn’t treat them as a replacement for your vet’s wisdom.
The Whistle Go Explore is our favorite tracker, as it has a large and accurate network, as well as a built-in nightlight to keep your dog safe after dark.
If you want a device that’s still quite useful at a fraction of the price, consider the Platinum Pets Pawsitively Pet Finder. When activated, it will generate a map that shows you your dog’s last location, and it will even create lost pet posters to aid in your search.
Buying a GPS tracker or collar for your dog is an important decision, as it could literally be the difference between life or death if your pup gets lost. Hopefully, the reviews above have made it easier to decide which one will suit your pooch best, as you don’t want to discover that you’ve bought the wrong one at the worst possible time.
Featured Image Credit: Jelena Safronova, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Dog GPS Trackers & Collars – Reviews 2021
- Buyer’s Guide