There’s no denying that losing your dog is the biggest nightmare most dog owners have. A slipped collar. An unexpectedly open gate. The thought of your best friend escaping from your home and getting lost is terrifying, and while microchips can help a little, they only help if someone finds and scans your dog.
Most dogs don’t actively try to run away. They see an opening, get excited, and before they know it, they’ve turned around and can’t find their way home. The longer they stay lost, the less likely they are to allow humans to help them, so it’s important that you find your dog as soon as possible. In fact, even the most home-loving dogs can become moderately feral in a surprisingly short amount of time, and the more they forget the comforts of home, the harder they become to find and bring home safe.
Sure, you can build a fence, and put in options to prevent your dog from digging under the fence. You can spend time training them to respond to their name, or clicker training. But sometimes, things still happen, and it’s always best to be prepared.
GPS dog tracking has changed things. These fantastic little devices help you to find your furry bestie when they happen to escape, and bring them safely back home. We’ve rounded up a list of the best GPS dog trackers out there, so you can find the right one for your pack.
It’s impossible to even think of GPS dog tracking without mentioning the Petfon Pet GPS Tracker. It’s a fantastic GPS location device, but it also does so much more!
This little device offers real-time tracking with no monthly subscription, all via an app on your smartphone. It offers long-distance tracking of up to 3.5 miles in open areas, and up to 0.65 miles in urban spaces. If your dog does range around a bit, you can set a safe perimeter around your home, and be notified the instant your dog leaves that space. Great for dogs who live on farms or similar.
The device is completely weatherproof and has a battery life of up to 16 hours, so you can charge it overnight. It also tracks your pet’s activity (like a Fitbit, but for Fido), and has a nifty “find your pet” feature that lets you spot your dog in the dark, using your phone and augmented reality.
At the other end of the spectrum (and price range) there’s the Tracki Mini GPS Tracker (via Amazon). It doesn’t come with many bells or whistles, but it does offer reliable tracking worldwide, has a safe perimeter feature, and is small and lightweight enough to clip easily onto a collar or harness.
The Tracki does require a monthly subscription, so while it’s much cheaper upfront, it will cost a little over time. However, when we’re talking safety, that’s a small price to pay.
We can’t really talk GPS without mentioning Garmin. In this case, they are most certainly the ever present elephant in the room.
Garmin’s GPS dog tracking collar is, as you would expect, a work of technological wonder. It uses the Garmin GLONASS satellite tracking system to keep an eye on your pooch and has a rechargeable LI-ION battery that offers 20-40 hours of use.
The antenna is super powerful, for precision tracking, and there’s no subscription required. It also has features like rescue mode and LED beacon lights. Not a cheap option by any means, but if you trust Garmin to show you where anything else is in the world, you know what to expect. Precision and perfection.
If the Garmin T5 doesn’t do it for you, why not take it to the next level, with this tracker bundle?
The collar and receiver set has a battery life of 20 to 40 hours, and the receiver has a reflective touchscreen, so you can use it while you’re wading through the woods looking for your bud. It can also be expanded to monitor more collars, so if you have more than one dog to keep track of, it’s a great choice.
The FitBark is another multi-tasker. Depending on the option you choose, it’s a GPS tracker, but it also monitors activity, sleep, and even itching and scratching! The FitBark not only integrates with an app to show you what your dog is doing but it also syncs up with some human fitness tracker watches and devices, so you can see your pup’s stats and location right on your wrist, while you’re away.
The FitBark, like some of the other devices here, isn’t just to find your lost dog, but also to give you complete dog owner piece of mind, and for that, it’s well worth considering.
Yes. The name is a mouthful. But if there were a highly tuned sports car of knowing where your dog is, this would be it.
This collar and tracking device combo has a tracking range of 16 kilometers, which is huge! That could cover most of a small city, and will help you find your dog that much quicker when they get away from you.
It’s not only weather resistant, it’s submersible up to 7.6 meters, and with additional collars, can be expanded to track up to 21 dogs – so you have eyes on the whole pack, all the time.
The Tractive GPS Dog is a good middle of the road option, with moderate upfront investment and a monthly subscription. It’s small, lightweight and easy to use, and features a battery life up to 5 days.
Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker$49.99
The tracking unit is enabled for global positioning and has a live mode that will “ping” the unit every 2 to 3 seconds, and there’s an option to share the location information with friends and family, which is fantastic in the event of a real-life search scenario.
The Whistle GO Explore is another collar based tracking system that makes our best GPS dog trackers list because it just does so much more! It gives you real-time tracking and escape alerts. It has a mind-blowing battery life of up to 20 days and is weather-resistant and submersible, and it tracks your dog’s activity.
There’s even a built in food portion calculator, so you can keep track of your dog’s activity and his exact calorie requirements.
If you want something a little lower tech and affordable than these technological marvels, enter the Dynotag.
This little tag doesn’t need any batteries, and technically isn’t a GPS itself. What it does do is feature a unique QR code, that, when scanned, will alert you. Every tag is unique, and you do need to make sure your information is up to date on the website, but if you like simple, lightweight and cost effective, this is a great choice.
What to Look for in the Best GPS Dog Tracker?
Trying to narrow down one GPS dog tracking device and call it the best is almost impossible, because there are so many factors.
If your dog is friendly and likely to go up to strangers, you could opt for a simple, low tech option like the Dynotag. But if you often go rambling in the mountains where you don’t even get a cellphone signal, a satellite option may be the only one that will work. Or maybe you have several dogs that you want to track, and you don’t want to pay monthly subscriptions for all of them.
At a minimum, you want something with decent battery life, that’s rechargeable, and that is weather-resistant. Smaller and lighter is better, or your dog might snag the device on something while they’re out, and you need to weigh higher upfront costs against long term fees.
Our best advice is to sit down and make a list of your budget, your needs, and the features that are must haves. Then spend some time looking for the options that best meet all of those, and make your shortlist from there.
Try not to let price be the only factor in your decision. It’s important, but there’s really no way to put a price on your dog’s safety, and you need to get the best option you can afford. Also make sure that when you do get a tracking device for your pooch, you share the information with people you trust. There may come a time when both you and your dog need to be found, and a GPS dog tracker might just be important to saving both your lives!