With some technological advances for dogs, even the most devoted owner would be forgiven for asking, ‘Do we really need that?’ But with the GPS dog tracker everyone can see the sense.
If you are living without a dog tracker, get on it. Once you have one, you will wonder why you did without it for so long and will start to wonder how on earth people in the last century used to find their lost or mischievous dogs.
The reasons behind a dog tracker are fairly straightforward; to track your dog. These items are there for peace of mind that if your dog gets out you will be able to find him again.
Because they can track location so easily and succinctly, you can also use them in situations where your dog is not lost, but just off-lead. If you are playing in a large dog park you can figure out what direction he has headed off in. Many people with hunting or working dogs find them useful just to know where they are.
The features of a GPS dog tracker
The basic thing you want them all to do is track your dog. Beyond that, there are a pretty surprising number and array of features to these little beauties. The sky is really the limit with what they can do, and with this there seems to be no limit to the price either.
But you don’t need to sell your dog to be able to afford a tracker for him (fortunately, because that would be a tad counter-intuitive), and good basic models are available for a reasonable price.
But if you were looking for what they can do, here are some options:
- Live, real-time tracking
- Syncing with your smart device, or a base handset, with location on a map
- Two-way communication so you can talk to the finder
- Ability to set up a geo-fence or safe zone, and then get alerted when he moves outside this area
- Ability to track up to 20 dogs on one system
- Not just restricted to dogs, you can track pretty much anything including cats, horses, people, luggage and more.
What should you be looking for as a minimum?
You obviously don’t need all of the possible features, but it is important to take the following into consideration in your choice:
- Look for something in a reliable brand and supported by a decent warranty. As with everything online there are cheap knock-offs but you might be left in the dark as to your refund options if the tracker is faulty.
- If you have a dog with a tendency to randomly splash in any water he can find, get one that is waterproof. This is a good idea because your dog could easily be lost in the rain as well.
- Get something with good battery life, as well as good tracking range. The last thing you want is to be hot on his tail (literally) and then have the feed go dead.
- Get something that your dog will be happy to wear. Look for something not heavy, uncomfortable or bulky, and something that will be less likely to annoy him. You don’t want him trying to get it off.
- Perhaps something with a set-up and ongoing use that you can understand might be a good idea. Extra features are fantastic, but if you need a degree in electronic engineering to be able to use it, maybe go for one more on your level.
Comparing the best GPS Dog Trackers
Pebbell GPS Tracker
This is one of the best basic trackers on the market, and compact and good-looking as well. It doesn’t require a smart device or phone to use it, which can be very handy for older pet owners or those who are less tech-savvy.
This one does rely on the kindness of strangers in order to work. The cute little tracker which fits on your dog’s collar has a button, which when pushed calls you, and allows you to talk to the finder and get information about their location.
It can also send a text message with location details when the button is pressed. It holds a number of SOS contact details as well.
It does have the capability to sync with a smartphone as well however and can be used in reverse (so you don’t have to wait for someone to push the button at the other end). Using this capacity, you can send a command to the device and get it to send back location details to your device.
- GPS tracking
- In built rechargeable battery with ten days life
- EU wide roaming prepaid SIM provided
- Movement sensor
- Small and lightweight
Small and attractive, most dogs won’t be bothered by wearing this unit. It is easy to set up and great for owners who are less tech savvy. The price is very reasonable. It is backed by a good brand name and is one of the most popular trackers available, because of many satisfied customers.
Unlike some others this doesn’t require a monthly subscription, just some funds on your prepaid SIM for when you need to use it.
Originally created for use by people, there is a lot of thought and care gone into creating this system.
The non-tech savvy version does require someone to find the dog and push the button, but this is only a minor con really.
For a video how to set up and use the Pebbell see here:
Tractive GPS Pet Tracker
This is a solid brand and an excellent system, and the best-selling pet tracker on Amazon. It is more technologically advanced than the previous unit, and one of the most up to date systems available.
It is one of the smallest devices, lightweight and waterproof. It requires a smart device to use and provides accurate real-time positioning. It works through a monthly subscription, which gives it the ability to be picked up by any phone tower, same as a phone. It is easy to set up and use.
- GPS tracking with integrated SIM card
- Lightweight and waterproof
- Live positioning in real-time
- Monthly service fee
- Allows you to program a Safe Zone into it, that you can get alerted when your pet leaves this area.
- Works with free app
- Rechargeable battery lasts 2-5 days
- Integrated light
This is small, good looking and dogs don’t mind wearing it at all. It is a good price (although it does have a monthly fee attached). It is very effective and reliable and is easy for anyone with a smartphone to use.
The monthly fee might detract some people, but it is a minor con. This really is a good product and will do what you want it to do.
TKSTAR GPS Pet Tracker
This is a more basic model and not as sleek as others on this list, but still sturdy and reliable. Not all dogs will find it comfortable as it is a bit more bulky. It can run on a SIM for use just when you need it (SIM is not included), or you can hook it up to ongoing GPS if you like for a higher price.
You can set up a safe zone, or geo-fence, for alerts when your pet has left a designated area. It also has two-way radio to communicate with someone finding your dog.
The medium sized model is around $60, whereas there is a mini version which is more streamlined and suitable for smaller dogs, this one will cost around $100.
- GPS tracking through an app or the website
- Available in a variety of colours
- Real time tracking
- Up to 300 hours battery life
- Comes with collar
Coming with its own collar, instead of attaching your dog’s one like the others on this list, means that it is less likely to fall off (provided the collar it comes with fits your dog). It is a good basic model, will track your dog just fine and doesn’t require a subscription plan to support it.
More bulky looking than some of the others, and doesn’t have as many features. However, this is a good reliable basic product for owners with simple needs.
Whistle GPS Pet Tracker
A very popular unit and backed by a reliable brand, this system is a bit more high end than those already reviewed. Using the Whistle, you can track all sorts of things, including your dog’s health and vital signs, as well as seeing where he goes.
Sending information to your smartphone, wherever there is phone coverage, you can track the device on your dog’s collar. It is small, and dogs don’t mind wearing it at all. You can also designate a Whistle Zone, and when your dog leaves that zone you will receive an alert and tracking information to let you know where he is and what mischief he might be getting up to.
The app is easy to use and is backed by a good support team as well.
- GPS tracking
- Rechargeable battery up to 7 days life
- Whistle Zone
- Last 24 hours activity and movement of your dog
- Durable and waterproof
An excellent product. This is high quality and an awesome price. We can’t really fault this product.
Requires a subscription plan, which you can choose the levels of through the app. There are a few models of the Whistle. The latest, the Whistle 3 is only working in the US as of February 2018, but watch this space for more coverage. The model we link to works in the UK, but is less available on Amazon, so make sure you are getting the best one for where you live.