If you have a pet, chances are they have run off at one point or another. If this has happened to you, you know the feeling of panic that comes over you when you can’t find your dog. Tech to the rescue! There have been many advances in finding your lost dog, but they best defense is a good offense. This article will talk about the best dog GPS tracker systems that are available on the market today. We will go over highlights to each of the six trackers we are going to review, as well as what previous buyers have to say about the product.
Types of Trackers
There are two main types of trackers available on the market today. There are GPS trackers and radio trackers.
Radio Tracking Device. You put the radio tracker on your pet’s collar, and it emits a frequency. If your dog runs off, the collar will transmit the frequency to your handheld device. You can follow this to the area your pet’s collar is transmitting from. These devices normally work over a fairly short range compared to a GPS tracker. Their advantage is that they are more accurate and still work even when a GPS device cannot get a signal. They are mostly used for hunting and sports.
GPS Tracker. This device transmits the exact location of your dog by the GPS device in the collar. If your dog runs off, you can find them using your smartphone or any web browser. Unlike radio tracking devices, GPS devices work no matter the range – as long as you have a signal.
Why Get a Dog Tracker?
- In Case Your Dog Runs Off. The most obvious reason to get a tracker is in the event your dog runs off. Some dogs just like to run, and you need to be able to find them quickly and bring them home. You may not use the device all the time. I only use one when my dog is at a higher risk of getting lost such as when we go to bike trails together.
- In Case Your Dog is Stolen. This is a terrible thought, but it happens regularly. Someone can see your dog, like the way they look, and take them. They can either keep the or resell them for a nice profit.
- Let Your Dog Run Off a Leash. If you like to do outdoor activities like mountain biking, your dog is usually happy to run alongside you. You should have a tracker in the event they get scared and run off, or you can’t keep up with them and lose sight of them.
- Hunting Practice. If you take your dog out into the woods for hunting practice, it’s always a good idea to be able to track them. Many smells and sounds may distract your dog and tempt them to wander off. You need to be able to locate them quickly. They focus in on what they’re tracking and ignore everything else, including you.
Why Do Dogs Go Missing
- Boredom. If your dog isn’t stimulated enough, they may start to dig their way out or jump their enclosure fences. A bored dog will go looking for something new and exciting to do, and this involves running off.
- Mating. A male dog will attempt to run away if they smell a female dog that is in heat. It is hardwired into a dog’s psychology to want to mate and reproduce. A female dog may go looking for a male as well.
- Fear. If your dog has a fearful disposition, they may run away for a variety of reasons. If they get startled by loud noises or strangers, this can cause them to run. A variety of different smells and new dogs may cause this behavior as well. Your dog will run blindly until they can’t run anymore.
- Instinct. If you know your dog is a working or hunting dog, you may encounter a problem with them running every chance they get. A hunting dog will take off if they smell prey, and a working dog will try to find a job in the area around their territory.
What to Consider Before Buying a Tracker
There are several things to consider before you go out and purchase a tracker.
- Range. If you live in an area with a spotty cell phone or internet coverage, a traditional GPS tracker probably isn’t the best option as it relies on an Internet connection to relay information.
- Compatibility. If you plan on using a GPS tracker, be aware that most of them work with a smartphone to transmit your pet’s location. It will keep you current on their position, but this is only helpful if you have a phone that is capable of showing the information.
- Battery Life. Your tracker won’t help you if the batteries are dead. Some tracking devices require frequent battery changes for them to be effective. You can opt for more expensive batteries, but you will still have to change them every few months.
- Size. If you have a smaller dog, some trackers can be too cumbersome for them to move properly. You want to make sure you choose an appropriate size and keep in mind that most tracking devices are designed for medium to large dogs, so this may be a tricky thing to located and purchase.
- Subscription fees. Some GPS trackers require you to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to use their service. The fees vary across providers.
The Top 5 Best GPS Trackers
The next section will be dedicated to the top six best dog GPS tracker devices on the market. We will take reviewers who have purchased the tracking devices into account, as well as unique aspects of each instrument. There will also be a link to the product, and the top pros and cons. Check out the best radio tracker further down.
1. Yepzon One Personal GPS Locator
The Yepzon One Personal GPS Locator will track every 10 seconds are report back in real time. You must download the Yepzon app and pay a $4.95 monthly fee for this tracker to work properly. You will also need a smartphone. It features a small, sleek design that will fit any dog, no matter the size. One Yepzon device and have multiple people that can access and follow it, and you can use multiple Yepzon devices with one app as well. The welcome package contains a neck strap, protective neoprene case and charging cable. This device is also waterproof and durable. The top two pros and cons are listed below.
Buy now from Amazon
- Device Comes with 30MB of Data Included
- Real Time Information
- Monthly Subscription
- Short Battery Life
2. Garmin T5 GPS Dog Collar
The Garmin T5 GPS Dog Collar features a highly sensitive GPS device, along with emergency beacon lights. There is also a Rescue Mode you can enable, and the battery lasts up to 40 hours on a single charge! It has a range of up to nine miles, and it is also waterproof. This tracker is built to withstand the pressure depths up to 10 meters and will survive even the toughest terrain. This collar is a big larger, so it is better suited for medium to large dogs. Small dogs can wear it; it will be difficult for them to manage though. The top two pros and cons are listed below.
Buy now from Amazon
- Long Range with Accurate Pinpoint Technology
- Durable, Quality Design
- Expensive at $250 USD
- Have to Update the Garmin System, so it Works Properly
3. Whistle Activity Monitor for Dogs
This Whistle Activity Monitor for Dogs enables you to track your dog’s daily movements, activity level, and long-term health trends. You can set this device to send regular updates to your phone, no matter where you are. You can set a daily activity goal for your dog based on age, breed, and weight, as well as put on food and medication reminders. You can use the central device as a communication link between friends, family, and dog walkers. You do have to have a smartphone to download the app, and this device is not a GPS tracking unit. You must have Bluetooth 4.0 and run either Android 4.3 or IOS 6.0 or later. The top two pros and cons are listed below.
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- Communication Hub with Many Capabilities
- Able to Set Daily Goals and Get Updates to Your Phone
- Not a Tracking Device
- Flimsy Plastic Outer Case
4. Tractive GPS Pet Tracker
The Tractive GPS Pet Tracker is lightweight and waterproof, and is recommended for any pet over nine pounds. This device has real-time tracking information with live positioning for your pets. You will need a smartphone with T-Mobile coverage to run this app, and the monthly fee starts at $7.00 per service. You can also set a safe zone parameter that will alert you if your pet leaves the designated area. This device works with Android, iPhone, and Windows Phones. You are also able to activate the device through a web browser for added convenience. The top two pros and cons are listed below.
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- Ability to Set a Safe Zone Parameter
- Live Tracking Mapping Ability
- Not for Dogs Under Nine Pounds
- Issues with Charging the Device
5. Standard Pawscout Smart Tag for Dogs
The Standard Pawscout Smart Tag for Dogs features a detailed pet profile you can set up for easy access. This profile contains your pet’s picture, your contact information, and any relevant medical issues your pet may have. This tag is small enough to be used on any size dog or cat, and it is waterproof. There is a one-time purchase fee, then the app and subscription are both free for as long as you use this tracking device. It has up to a 200-foot radius and will send you alerts if you are actively looking for him. Your friends and family can also download the app and join in the search if your pet strays. The top two pros and cons are listed below.
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- Budget Friendly
- Convenient, Free App
- Tricky to Setup Initially
- Battery Drainage Issues
The Best Radio Tracker
This is our top pick for the best radio tracker.
Loc8tor Pet Handheld Finder Locator
This handheld locator from Loc8tor Pet is one of the smallest and lightest designs available on the market today. You set up a perimeter, and the handheld finder alerts you when your dog crosses the boundary. This tracker has a range of up to 400 feet and is known for its accuracy rating. You will receive both audio and visual cues when you search for your pet and are getting closer to their location. It is battery powered, and the battery will last for months of use. The sleek, lightweight design ensures everyone will have an easy time carrying and using this tracker. The reviewers have listed their top two pros and cons below.
Buy now from Amazon
- Excellent for Small to Medium Pets
- Perimeter Alarm is a Unique Feature that Works Well
- Frequent Battery Changes
- Spotty Reception Unless the Ground is Flat
Other Ways to Find Your Lost Dog
If you don’t have your dog outfitted with a tracker and they go missing, there are other ways to locate them.
- Posters. A great alternative way to find your lost pet is to put up lost dog posters. You should plaster them all over town and include things like your dog’s name, temperament, any medical issues, and your contact information. If you’re offering a reward, list that as well.
- Dog Pounds and Shelters. If your dog goes missing, one of the first places to check is all the dog shelters or pounds in the area. If someone finds your dog, chances are they will drop them off at a pound, so they’re safe.
- ID Tags. An ID tag is an inexpensive way to put all of your contact information into a small metal tag that hangs on your dog’s collar. You can purchase these at your vet’s office or pet supply store.
- Microchips. Another great way to keep track of your dog is to have them microchipped. A microchip is inserted under the skin by your vet and updated with your relevant information. This is a popular option, and many shelters check for chips and call the owner’s to notify them that they have the lost pet.
- Facebook. Facebook is a great tool to spread the word that you’ve lost your dog. There are groups dedicated to specific regions in the United States that will help you make a poster and share it with hundreds of people, so they’ll know to be on the lookout for your missing pet.
Any pet owner will tell you that losing their pets is an unpleasant ordeal to have to go through. If you have one of the best dog GPS tracker units on your dog, this will reduce a lot of the anxiety that goes along with this event. You will be able to track your dog easily and bring them home sooner. You should do your research and purchase the device that fits into your lifestyle the best, as well as the one that fits your dog and their habits.