Home The Best GPS Dog Trackers and Pet Collars

The Best GPS Dog Trackers and Pet Collars

A good pet GPS tracker helps you find your dog if they ever escape. Now, you might think that your dog will never escape, but this just isn’t true. Dogs escape all the time. They run out the door, dig under the fence, or even jump over the fence.

It happens. A GPS tracker makes finding them so much easier. This article will cover some of the best GPS trackers available on the market.

What Are Dog Trackers?

Here is some basic information about a GPS tracker. Most dog owners do not even know that these exist.

How do GPS pet trackers work?
Basically, they are just a GPS transponder that is attached to a dog collar. Different collars have different functionality though.

best pet trackersSome work the same as the smartphone app “Find my Phone” and allow you to pinpoint the exact GPS coordinates of the transponder on an app. Others are entirely self-contained and do not rely on GPS or your cellphone network.

You do have to charge the transponder. The battery life just depends on the model. Most transponders have a battery life of a few days.

How much do dog trackers cost?
The cost of the transponder is probably not as high as you think. However, the ones that allow real-time tracking on an app will have a monthly subscription cost. The monthly cost is usually about $10 per month.

Where can trackers be used?
You can use them with your dog or other pet that wears a collar. Honestly, if you can put a collar on it, then you can track it with a GPS tracker. This obviously has legal consequences depending on what you track, so make sure to check local laws before attaching the collar to anything other than your pet.

What Pet Tracker Is Best For Me?

The type of dog tracker that you should choose depends on a few factors. These include your location, your budget, and the size and age of your dog.

  • Location
    Location is perhaps the most important thing to consider before purchasing a tracker. If you have a large backyard in a rural area with poor cell phone service, then a GPS tracker that relies on cell phone service is a bad choice. You can still use a GPS tracker, but it cannot be attached to cell phone service. A radio frequency tracker of some sort will most likely be your best option. Although they are more difficult to use.
    Now, if you live in an urban environment with good cell phone service and have a large dog that can travel far, then a GPS tracker that relies on cell phone service will work better. However, you do have to pay a subscription fee.
    Finally, if you have a small dog and just want to track them on an unleashed walk, then a Bluetooth tracker should work fine. Your dog can’t travel far and the Bluetooth tracker will make finding your dog easy.
  • Budget
    Budget is another thing to take into consideration. Some trackers have a monthly service fee that you must pay. This ranges from $6/month to about $15/month.
    Two types of trackers will have a subscription fee: GPS trackers that rely on a cell phone service and GPS trackers that rely on satellite.
    The right type of GPS tracker just depends on your location. The price difference between the two is negligible.
    No other type of tracker requires a monthly fee.
  • Size and Age of Your Dog
    Finally, the size and age of your dog is something that will impact your choice of the tracker. A young and large dog will be able to run very far distances. This means that they can easily escape the range of anything but a GPS tracker.
    A smaller dog just won’t be able to cover great distances, which means that a device with a 3-mile radius will usually work. This, of course, depends on how long your dog has been missing. Obviously, you should always choose the device with the largest range that you can afford.
  • Activity Tracker
    One other type of tracker we will cover is an activity tracker. These can track your dog’s walking, sleeping, and eating. They can help keep your dog healthy.
    However, an activity tracker cannot effectively locate your dog. You must purchase a location tracker if you want to track the location of your dog.
  • Path history
    An important thing to look for in a GPS dog collar is path history. This feature might sound minor, but it’s actually super convenient if you have a yard. It allows you to track the exact spot that your dog escaped.
  • Battery life
    Battery life is another important factor. In fact, it’s the most important thing with a GPS tracker. Your tracker only works when the battery works, so you want one with long battery life.
  • Monthly fee
    The monthly fee is the final thing you should consider before purchasing a GPS tracker. Not all the GPS trackers have a monthly fee. The monthly fee is only for those that use a cell phone tower, which will provide more range. This fee usually costs under $10 per month.
  • Fitness tracking
    Fitness tracking is another nice to have feature. Basically, it will tell you the amount of exercise your dog gets each day. Some of the nicer fitness tracking apps will let you set fitness goals for your dog.

Quick Recommendations

All the trackers we reviewed work fine. We did list a lot of different trackers though. Here are our favorite trackers, by category.

Our Top Choice

Garmin Astro 430/T Dog Tracking BundleFor those seeking for great quality for the money, we recommend the Garmin Astro 430/T Dog Tracking Bundle.
This tracker really provides everything that you need in a dog tracker and it includes plenty of useful statistics. You don’t need a cell phone plan either, which makes it great for rural residents. The 9-mile range is more than enough for most dogs.

No-Subscription Pet Tracker

If you want a dog tracker, but don’t want to pay for a subscription, then we recommend the MARCOPOLO by Eureka Technology. This tracker is a radio wave tracker, which does not require a subscription. Most pet trackers that do not require a subscription have a low range. The long range is what makes the MARCOPOLO different. It has a 2-mile range (ideal conditions).

Tracker For Small Dogs

A small dog will have different needs than a large dog. A Bluetooth tracker will probably be your best option for a smaller dog. Simply put, small dogs can’t really run very far, so they don’t generally need a long-range tracker. Now, if you need a further range, we recommend the Girafus RF finder. The range is 1,500 feet, which could be small if you live near a large forest. However, if you have a small dog that just gets lost in the shrubs or the neighborhood, then the Girafus will work fine.

Bluetooth Tracker

Bluetooth trackers are convenient and affordable. They just have a small range. Our favorite Bluetooth tracker is the DOTT dog tag. It’s affordable and has a radius of about one mile. We like that you can “crowdsource” tracking by having your neighbors download the app and turn on Bluetooth. Each device will add about a mile of tracking. The crowdsourcing feature of the DOTT tag is what makes it our favorite Bluetooth device.

Activity Tracker

Finally, if you want to track your dog’s activity, then the best option is the Poof Bean. We like the usability and design of the app compared to the other options on the list. The tag itself is small, which means you don’t have to worry about your dog chewing it off. It also has 60-day battery life. No worrying about it running out of charge. We also like the location feature. It’s only 30 feet, but it’s still a convenient feature to have. There just isn’t anything we don’t like about the Poof Bean.

Comparison Table

Features:
Our Rating:
Buy from:
Garmin Astro 430/T Dog Tracking Bundle
Garmin Astro 430/T Dog Tracking Bundle
  • Can track 20 dogs in a 9-mile range.
  • Topographical map and 1-year FREE satellite map.
  • 2.5-second refresh rate makes building a path fast.
  • Sends alert when your dog barks.
  • Wirelessly share data across different Garmin devices.
Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker
Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker
  • No monthly fee.
  • Fitness tracking feature.
  • Waterproof (3 feet) and shockproof.
  • History feature allows you to review previous walks.
Link AKC Plus Gray
Link AKC Plus Gray
  • Temperature alerts let you know if your dog is in hot or cold weather.
  • Can store vet records and set health alerts.
  • Has a remotely activated LED light and sound feature (training).
  • Works in all locations with AT&T cell service.
TKSTAR Mini GPS Collar For Pets
TKSTAR Mini GPS Collar For Pets
  • Low battery alert text.
  • Tracker works with up to five phones.
  • Long battery life - 3 days.
Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker
Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker
  • Long battery life - 2-3 days.
  • Very large service area (150 countries and most of America).
  • Waterproof and rugged.

Pet GPS Tracker and Other Trackind Devices Reviews

Here are our favorite dog GPS trackers. We have selected a range of options, so you should find something no matter your budget.

Our Favorite

Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Dog Tracking BundleThe Garmin Astro 430/T is our top GPS dog collar. This dog collar has the most features of any tracker on our list.

First, we like the amount of dogs you can track and the distance that they can be tracked. 20 dogs can be tracked for a range of 9 miles, which is impressive. The refresh rate on the tracking is 2.5 seconds, which means that you can still track a running dog.

If you have a smaller dog, then the Garmin TT 15 is a good alternative. It’s very similar but much smaller.

Garmin Astro 430/T Dog Tracking BundleWhat really sets the Astro apart is the huge amount of statistics that it provides. You can track the distance your dog has traveled, their direction if they are on track, and a trail of they have traveled.

This unit does come with a preloaded topographical map of the US. You also get a free topographical map for one year, which is nice for checking the terrain your dog has traveled through.

Finally, the battery life on this unit is good for a GPS dog collar — 20 hours. You have the option of using AA batteries or a Garmin rechargeable battery. The rechargeable battery is sold separately on Amazon.

Findster Duo+ Pet TrackerThe Findster Duo+ is our runner up GPS tracker. Our favorite feature is that this tracker does not have any monthly fees, which is rare for a GPS tracker. It’s also the only GPS tracker that has a fitness tracking feature too.

The lack of monthly fees also means that it does not require cell phone service — perfect if you live in a rural area. It also works worldwide. Though this does limit the range to about 3 miles in open spaces and about half a mile in a more urban environment.

The relatively low range means that this isn’t ideal if you want to remotely track your dog. Findster’s primary use is for off-leash walking and tracking their activity.

As for battery life, that will last you anywhere from 16 to 30 hours. It depends on the use and the weather. Activity tracking without GPS tracking has a much higher battery life than tracking with However, if you only use it for walks, then you can go days without recharging the battery.

All in all, we like this GPS tracker because of the fitness feature — that’s its biggest benefit. The lack of monthly fees combined with the ability to plot points on a map is nice too.

Link AKC Plus GrayThe Link AKC is another excellent GPS tracker. This is the first GPS tracker on our list that requires a monthly subscription (through AT&T). However, it is still an affordable, effective, and feature-rich GPS tracker.

First, this is an affordable option considering that it has GPS tracking ability. Most GPS tracking devices cost more and you have to pay a high monthly fee. The AKC GPS tracker has an affordable upfront cost and an affordable monthly cost.

Link AKC Plus GrayNext, this collar relies on cell phone service (AT&T) to operate. In this regard, you can treat this collar as a smartphone. It gets signal in all the places that a normal smartphone with AT&T would get signal. This does give it a huge range, but it does have dead zones in the usual locations (tunnels, rural areas, heavily wooded areas, etc.).

Finally, this tracker has a lot of additional features that we really like. Temperature alerts, vet record storage, health alerts, and the ability to set safety zones.

Also, the battery life is decent — about three days. You can also use it with just about every collar. Do not try using this as a walking collar!

TKSTAR Mini GPS Tracker For Pet - GPS Collar with Global Real-Time LocatorAnother great GPS dog collar is the one made by TKSTAR. This is just a standard GPS tracker with a corresponding app to track your dog. However, it is a great price and has a few nice features, which has earned it a place on our list.

This does require you to purchase a 2G SIM card. Most customers seem to use a T-Mobile sim card, but any SIM card that has 2G capabilities will work perfectly fine. Some of the features we like include playback, electric fence, low battery alert, and multiple phones.

The first feature we’ll review is playback. Basically, playback allows you to review the entire path that your pet took in real time. You can see where they stopped and where they ran, which can be very useful if you use this tracker while hunting.

TKSTAR Mini GPS Tracker For Pet - GPS Collar with Global Real-Time LocatorElectric fence is another common feature that we like. An electric fence on a GPS collar is not an actual electric fence. Your dog will not get shocked. All the electric fence does is send you a text when your dog leaves a perimeter that you have chosen.

Next, the low battery alert is a text that you receive when the battery gets low. This is a nice little reminder to charge the battery. It’s not a necessary, but it sure is a nice feature to have.

Finally, our favorite feature is that you can use this tracker with up to 5 phones. Your whole family can stay updated on the location of your dog.

All in all, we like everything about this tracker. Our only real complaint is that setting the unit up can be difficult. Though once you get it setup, everything is easy. It’s a great price too.

Tractive 3G Dog GPS TrackerThe final GPS tracker on our list is the Tractive 3G dog tracker. It’s small, easy to use, and affordable.

This is the smallest GPS tracker on our list. It’s small (2.0in x 1.6in x 0.6in) and weighs 1.2 ounces, which makes it perfect for a small dog. It works anywhere that you get cellphone service and in 150 different countries. You do have to pay a small monthly fee to use the GPS track, but it is well worth the price.

Anyway, the tracker comes with an iPhone/Android app so you can check the status of your dog with your phone. The setup process is easy too — just pay for the service and you’re set.

Tractive 3G Dog GPS TrackerIt has all the usual features: perimeter fence, path history, waterproof, and rugged. The battery life lasts 2-3 days. It doesn’t take long to recharge either, just a few hours.

Path history is one feature that stands out to us. Basically, it allows you to see where your dog has been. This can come in handy if you have a dog that escapes since it will allow you to see the exact spot that they escaped.

All things considered, we like this unit. It’s a good price and easy to use. The monthly fee for using it isn’t that expensive either. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable trackers on our list on a monthly basis.

Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Tracking and Locating SystemThe MARCOPOLO is our favorite transponder. This is a self-contained transponder, which means that it does not rely on GPS or your cellphone network. This is particularly useful if you live in an urban area with a lot of tall buildings (interferes with GPS) or a rural area (weak cell service).

Since this doesn’t use GPS or cell service, it uses radio waves. Basically, the MARCOPOLO emits a radio wave that the tracker can detect. The tracker will point you in the direction of your dog.

Anyway, we really like this tracker for a few reasons. First, the battery life is amazing. Reviewers have commented that the battery lasts over a month, which is normal. Emitting a radio wave does not use much battery life.

Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Monitoring SystemNext, the tracker has no monthly fee. You pay for the tracker once and that is all you pay. This makes the cost of ownership relatively low over a long period of time.

Finally, radio wave trackers are much more reliable than GPS or 2G trackers. This effectiveness is much more noticeable in areas with weak cell service. Plus, the MARCOPOLO has an effective range of up to two miles.

Overall, we really like this pet tracker and don’t have any issues with it. The only potential issue is that using the radio tracker can be difficult at first. This is because you have to walk around and walk closer to the signal. Other than that, we like this tracker and the extended battery life of it.

Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity MonitorThe Whistle 3 is a GPS pet tracker. You simply attach the transponder to your dog’s collar, pay the subscription fee, and you can then track your dog on the phone app. This transponder uses AT&T cellphone service, so make sure you live in an area with AT&T coverage.

Our absolute favorite part of this Dog tracker is that it gives you real-time updates on the exact location of your dog. All you have to do is check the app and look at where the marker is located. Your dog should be at that location.

Whistle 3 GPS Pet TrackerYou can even set up a boundary area, which means that you will receive an alert when your pet leaves the boundary.

This tracker is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about your dog swimming in the water and destroying the transponder. It might not work as well in the water though, but once your dog exits the water it should pick up the signal again.

Our only problem with the Whistle 3, and most GPS trackers is that they only work if they can receive cell service. This isn’t an issue in most of the country. It can be a problem in rural areas.

goTele GPS TrackergoTele is actually a slightly different GPS tracker. This GPS tracker does not require a SIM card, cellular service, a monthly subscription, or a WiFi connection.

It works by using two devices (one for you and one for your dog) and triangulating the location of your dog based on the location of the different devices. This reduces the effective tracking range to one to five miles (depends on terrain), but you don’t have to worry about cellular service.

All you have to do is download the app and then download the maps for the area that you will use the device. The tracking software can then figure out the location.

We don’t have any complaints about this device. The range is about 3 miles, which we find small. However, if you live in a rural area and want exact tracking on your phone, then it is an excellent option at a great price.

Just keep in mind that it works best when you purchase trackers for both you and your pet.

Girafus Pet TrackerThis is a radio frequency (RF) finder. It does not have a map or any corresponding app.

This works by attaching a transmitter that emits radio waves to your dog’s collar. The tracking device then beeps louder the closer that you get to the device. It has an effective range of about 1,500 feet. Though this range decreases in the woods since trees have a tendency to obscure the radio waves.

The unit uses AAA batteries, which we find slightly annoying. Radio waves don’t use that much battery, so it does last a decent amount of time.

Overall, we recommend this if you have a small dog and live in an open area. It is especially useful if you walk your dog without a leash. You can easily track them as long as they stay near. We don’t recommend this if you have a big dog or live in a heavily wooded area. It just isn’t nearly as effective as some of the other choices.

Tile Mate TrackerTile is a Bluetooth tracker, which means it is extremely affordable. A Bluetooth tracker works very differently than the other type of trackers on the list. You attach the Tile Pro to your dog’s collar. You can call the Tile Pro and it will ring and the location will also appear on the app.

Since this is a Bluetooth tracker, it does not require any monthly fees. The battery will also last you about a year without needing to be charged.

Unfortunately, a Bluetooth tracker has a very limited range. This tracker has an effective range of 300 feet, which makes it useful if you have a small yard. However, you can increase this range by recruiting other smartphone users in the neighborhood to use the app and scan for your pet.

All in all, we do not recommend this tracker if you have a big dog or must track your dog across great distances. It just isn’t that effective for that particular use case.

DOTT The Smart Dog Tag - Bluetooth Tracker for DogsThe DOTT Smart Dog Tag is the most affordable option on our list. Once again, this is a Bluetooth tracker. It works very similarly to the Tile Pro. It has a six- to nine-month battery life, which means you don’t have to worry about running out of battery.

The range is rather small since it’s a Bluetooth tracker. Remember that anyone with the smartphone app can pick up the signal and the app will automatically report the location to you. This means the more people using the app in your vicinity; the more effective the tracker.

Once again, this is a Bluetooth tracker. We only recommend this if you expect to use it in a smaller area or if you have a small dog. It certainly has its place on our trackers list. You just have to know what type of track would work best for you and if that is a Bluetooth tracker.

Is There a GPS Tracker Microchip?

No. A GPS tracker microchip does not exist. A GPS tracker requires a battery to operate and you can’t place a rechargeable battery inside your dog. That just won’t work.

Microchips can be used with a GPS tracker. This is because every veterinarian and animal shelter will scan for a microchip when they find a dog. The microchip will have all your contact information and the contact information for your veterinarian.

Microchips are expensive though. If you don’t want a microchip, then a good alternative is a smart tag.[/vc_message]

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Dynotag Web Enabled Super Pet ID Smart TagThe Dynotag Pet ID smart tag is an effective and budget-friendly way to passively track your pet. You might wonder how it works without electronics on the device. It’s actually very simple. Here’s how it works.

First, the smart tag has a unique URL on it and a QR code. The URL and QR code are connected to an account that you create when you purchase the smart tag. You can place all your contact information on the tag and even add the medical records of your dog.

Now, this device does not rely on electronics. So you cannot actually track your pet in real time. However, first responders in the United States are required by law to contact the owner when they see a device like this on a dog.

Dynotag on a dog collarThis law makes a device like this especially useful if you live in the city. If the police or dog catcher finds your dog, then they will scan the QR code and contact you. You don’t have to worry about searching the animal shelter for your dog.

All in all, we really like the Dynotag. It’s our favorite passive pet tracker. The only real downside is that it does not have real-time tracking. However, if your pet is at low risk of escaping, then the Dynotag is a great option and does not cost much more than a traditional dog tag.

Pet Activity Trackers

There are different types of trackers: location trackers and activity trackers. Activity trackers will track all the activity that your dog does in a day, which is useful to keep your dog fit and healthy. You can also use this information to ensure that your dog walker actually walks your dog. A common concern for pet owners, right?

PitPat 2 - Dog Activity MonitorThe PitPat 2 is similar to the PETBLE. You can track walking, sleeping, and food intake. It also collects this information while out of range of your cell phone, so you can track activity while at work or away from the house.

It has analytics and an easy QR code setup as well.

The one annoying thing about the PitPat 2 is that it does not automatically sync data to your cell phone. You must press a button on the collar to sync data to your cell phone. This does increase the battery life and is not that big of an inconvenience.

Overall, we prefer this model to the PETBLE because of the manual syncing that saves some battery life. However, you cannot go wrong with either option.

Poof Bean Pet Activity TrackerThe Poof Bean is another activity tracker. This one is most similar to the other activity trackers listed. However, it is considerably smaller than the PitPat 2 and the PETBLE, which makes it especially useful if you have a smaller dog. It is also good if you have a pup that enjoys biting off anything on its collar. Some dogs are like that.

Anyway, the Poof Bean provides everything that you need in an activity tracker: Walking, sleeping, and food intake. It even provides location tracking, but only up to 30 feet.

Poof Bean Pet Activity TrackerThe battery will last approximately 60 days. This just depends on how frequently it syncs and the climate.

All in all, it’s a decent activity tracker. The location feature, while low range, is a nice touch for an activity tracker. The Poof Bean is our recommended activity tracker due to the location tracking ability, great price, and 60-day battery life. We really can’t find anything negative to say about this activity tracker.

GPS Collars vs. Other Pet Tracking Devices

There are a wide variety of pet tracking devices on the market. Of all the different types, GPS trackers are the most effective. They have the largest range and the most usability.

Other types of pet tracking devices, such as a Bluetooth tracker, don’t really have an effective range for any form of actual tracking. Other devices, such as a tracker that relies on radio waves, do not have a map. You have to rely on the beeping from your device getting louder as you approach your dog. That’s difficult to use.

The only real downside of a GPS tracker compared to other location trackers is that it does require cell phone service. This can become a problem in the more rural parts of America, but cell phone coverage is expanding every year. Most Americans will be able to utilize a GPS tracker to track their dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to pay a monthly fee?- Yes, usually. You don’t always have to pay a monthly fee. But if you want to use a GPS collar that uses a cell tower, then you will have to pay a monthly fee.

How good is the tracking?- The tracking is accurate. It’s the same as a smartphone. The only limiting factor is the cell service in the area. Tunnels, caves, big buildings, and heavy forest will all interfere with the service.

What’s the range?- This depends on the unit. If it relies on cell service, then anywhere the tracker can connect to a cell tower. If it is a more traditional unit, then the range will be anywhere from 1 mile to 9 miles. Just depends on the environment.

Where do I attach the tracker?- You attach the tracker to the collar. They’re normally small and sturdy.

Are they waterproof?- Yes. The tracker won’t break if your dog decides to go for a swim.

Are they rugged?- Yes. The trackers can survive most of the abuse your dog will put them through.

Can my dog chew off the tracker?- Probably not. This depends on the size of the tracker and the flexibility of your dog, but the vast majority of dogs will not be able to reach the tracker. Most dogs don’t care either.

Conclusion

The wide range of dog trackers available on the market can mislead an average furbabies’ owners. To choose the best option for their needs, every pet parent should define the purpose of using the device, environment, lifestyle and other conditions. Quite tedious! However, the right choice pays off – serving for the dog’s safety and pet owner’s confidence.

Images credits: Amazon.com, Chewy.com, photo stocks

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Author

Max Gordon

Dr. Gordon has been a contributor to a range of pet media since his study at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He does not miss a chance to do in-depth research backed by his own examinations. Along with writing his own pieces, Dr. Gordon does fact-checking of the articles.

View all posts by Max Gordon | DogsRecommend.com