Does your dog run away or spontaneously chase cats? Even the most attentive pet parent is sometimes distracted. If the beloved friend runs away, it results in terrible moments. With the best dog GPS trackers you can locate your pup within seconds and find him quickly. You can never really be sure that your pet is always around you. He can get frightened, follow another dog or smell something attractive, or he can simply get lost both in the city or in the fields. There are also some breeds which are real escape artists. Not even a garden fence can be a big obstacle for them. Some have the ability to simply dig under the fence or to get slip from the collar. A GPS dog tracker is a perfect solution for such cases.
But before choosing the best suitable option you have to figure it out where and why you need a GPS tracker for your dog. Many people search for simple and inexpensive solutions like dog GPS trackers subscription free or without monthly fee.
Some people search for special GPS trackers for sporting dogs, very popular with hunters or just those spending a lot of time in the wild: fields, forests or mountains. Free running dogs certainly have all possibilities to get lost chasing a game. A GPS tracker designed to work in tough areas turns out to be very helpful to find a lost pet.
Compact GPS trackers can be attached to the collar of your dog
Some trackers are also suitable for cats from weight of 4 kilograms
Most GPS trackers use mobile network and require a SIM card and subscription plan. But there are some without any subscription
Trackers differ in range, functions and weight, should be with secure mounting and waterproof body
GPS trackers are especially suitable for hunting dogs, insecure and timid dogs, but also for dogs that are newly adopted or owners who are still uncertain about how to handle their dogs
Subscription VS No Subscription
Let’s see pros and cons of GPS trackers with or without subscription, their main difference and why you may need one or another. To get it better we'll give brief information on how it all works.
So, a dog GPS tracker always consists of two parts. In order to know where your dog is, the dog should wear a transmitter defining his global position. And you need a receiver in your hand, which receives a signal from the transmitter and shows you this geo data on the map. Sounds simple?
First of all, a transmitter on a dog has a GPS chip, and that's how your dog is located. And then there are 2 basic ways for the owner to get the location:
1. Radio Data Transmission
The antenna is attached to the dog's collar and acts as a transmitter. And you have a receiver in your hand that receives the signal and shows you the dog's location. The farther away you can track your dog, the more powerful the receiver must be. And the more expensive too. The signal goes directly from the transmitter to the receiver, so you don't need any subscription from intermediary mobile networks.
The tracking range is limited only by the characteristics of the tracking system. You do not depend on the mobile network. So even if you are in the mountains or deep woods, a good tracker will locate the dog. That's why hunters do not spare money on expensive trackers like Garmin or Dogtra. Such trackers can merely do the tracking function, or they have additional features, such as training modes, tracking the distance traveled, and many more.
2. Mobile Network Data Transmission
There is a gadget on the dog that acts as a transmitter and sends information about the location of the dog to the owner via the mobile operator's network (GSM/LTE) to the receiver - the master's cell phone. This is a much cheaper communication system from a technological point of view, which is reflected on the final tracker price. Thus, the distance is limited only by network coverage. If a dog gets into an area without cellular coverage, you won't be able to track him.
And as you understand, to both receive and transmit your dog's location information, you have to pay not only for your phone, but also for the tracker on your dog. The average cost is $9 to $10 a month.
This is most convenient in urban environments with good mobile network coverage.
In addition, these trackers allow you to set up GeoFence, monitor your dog's physical condition and health, and whatnot.
3. Mixed Solution
There is good news for those who live in the city, and yet do not want to depend on mobile service providers and pay subscriptions. The Petfon company has developed a unique offer. It is something in between the first and second type. And in terms of price as well.
There is one transmitter on the dog, and receiver with you (not a phone). They communicate with each other on a unique frequency. And your receiver transmits the dog's location to your phone via Bluetooth. So you only pay for your phone. But the distance from which you can track your dog is not unlimited like a subscription tracker, and not comparable to how Garmin collars with an antenna transmit data.
So you can't go into the mountains with it, but you'll be able to use it just fine in urban areas. And you pay more only once, when you buy the tracker itself.
Best GPS Trackers for Dogs — Overview & Rating
Now, we hope everyone can imagine where and under what conditions his dog can get lost and choose the best option.
PetFon GPS Tracker has some distinctive features making it our Premium Choice. First of all, it requires no SIM Card or cellular network. As a result – no subscription and monthly fee. You pay once when you buy it, and that’s all. The tracking is maintained via combination of GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and long distance wireless technologies for accurate real-time positioning, similar to trackers for hunting dogs in tough areas. So taking your dog hiking or camping becomes more safe and reliable with exactly this tracker in comparison with those needing cellular network, which may have no coverage in mountainous areas.
Special Antenna combines LoPowan wireless transmission technology, so you track your dog in a range of up to 3.5 miles (5.6km) in open field and 0.65 mile in urban area. This is not limitless coverage like for trackers with SIM card claim to have, but very unlikely that a dog can far than that.
The operation time is 8 hours on a single charge in. It’s nothing in comparison with Wistle Go for example with its 20 days. The time also depends on the distance between you and the dog and intensity of usage. But if you are on a travel you can use a portable charging box and recharge the devices for 3 times after fully charged.
Let’s see how PetFon works. It has two modules, controller is kept by the pet owner, tracker is attached to the dog collar. Pet owner’s module is connected with its cellphone by Bluetooth. Then with Petfon APP you can pinpoint your dog in real time and record his everyday activities like walking steps, distance etc.
With Geo-fence function you can easily set a virtual fence for your dog and also to program a danger zone in the same way. So whenever dog enters the danger zone or leaves a safe zone, you will receive an alert on your phone.
You can also activate the colorful lights on the GPS tracker to locate your pet more easily at night time. It’s IP65 water protection means rain, snow or storm proof, but no plunging under water like allows IP8 for Whisle Go.
This tracker is our recommendation for active pet owners spending a lot of time tracking in areas with no cellular network, those who hate any kind of subscription, and also for those with up to 3 dogs, as PetFon allows to track up to 3 dogs with one app.
The Dogtra Pathfinder TRX is a collar that has GPS tracking with an offline control mode and a function to limit the movement of dogs. Using satellite GPS systems, integrated "Google Maps" and "Offline maps".
To remotely control the collar you need an Android or iOS smartphone, the Dogtra app is available on Google Play and AppStore.
The Pathfinder TRX works without cellular data. By downloading free maps to your smartphone, you can work offline.
With the Pathfinder TRX Collar, you have access to satellite maps and the ability to track up to 21 dogs, and its high-speed sync and zoom capabilities, give you maximum detail and accuracy when you're out in the field. Pathfiner TRX collars are designed to the latest Dogtra quality standards. This is truly an innovative device for serious dog handlers and hunters who are more demanding when it comes to hunting or training.
High-sensitivity GPS satellite reception has the ability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone. 2.5-second update rate provides faster location tracking. Astro 430 can support unit-to-unit data transfer with a variety of compatible Garmin devices like Garmin Drive Track and Garmin Watches and many more. Besides, sophisticated Hunt Metrics data help monitor your dog’s hunting patterns and behaviors to optimize your training opportunities. Water rating IPX7 allows to track in wet environments. You can track up to 20 dogs with one handheld and an auto zoom of map page allows to seen all dogs on the display at any time. For tracking more than one dog you can buy separate dog devices (GPS Dog Collars) Garmin T 5.
Garmin Astro 430 isn’t a cheap device at all, but it is perfect for sporting dogs hunting tracking.
Actually there are several models of Whistle tracker. We have tested all of them and WhistleGo Explore became our pick, as it has shown a better battery life, better waterproof index and real time tracking. So, let’s look at it more in detail.
Whistle Go Explore is the winner of our competition for the best combination of quality and reliability when tracking your beloved pet. This tracker is easy to set safe places and get notified by email, text, or app when your pet leaves a designated safe place. It tracks your pet in Real Time.
To identify your pet and communicate with your smartphone, Whistle trackers require cellular service network. Your cell phone requires only Wi-Fi connection to request real-time location tracking through the Whistle app, the tracking device itself requires cellular network to communicate GPS updates back to your phone.
At such a mode Whistle Go Explore lasts up to 20 days. Battery life is a crucial feature in case your pup is lost. The better it is, the more chances to find him. IPX8 water protection allows to submerge up to 6ft, which makes the tracker even more reliable in all weather conditions and environments.
In addition, you can get an extended subscription and chat with a vet in emergency, set daily activities, control your pup’s diet and calculate calories. 30-days vet health reports and wellness reports can also be very helpful to prevent serious disorders.
You can buy it separately or together with Whistle collar for the best mounting. The collars are available in multiple colors.
The new GPS tracker for dogs from the company Tractive offers many interesting functions in addition to real-time tracking, making pet owners also benefit from activity tracking. The app records the dog’s fitness level and stores the places where he has been. The GPS tracker durable and has solid battery life up to 5 days. However, some functions of the app can only be used with Bluetooth. Tractive GPs Tracker is IPX7 waterproof and shock resistant, which is enough for safe walks at any weather. All in all, many people choose it for its reasonable price-performance ratio.
First of all FitBark GPS Dog Tracker fulfills its main function – to alert if your dog leaves safe areas set up in advance, and allows to find a lost pup quickly with the help of Verizon LTE M Cellular Service.
It is one of the most compact and lightweight devices on the market available and can be easily attached to any flat 1,5 inch wide collar. It is one size and fits equally well to 5 lb and 240 lb dogs.
The most interesting about this tracker is possibility to link it to a human fitness tracker like Fitbit, Apple Watch, Apple HealthKit or Google Fit device or smartphone, and start building healthy & safe habits together with your pet. You can set fitness goals with regards of breed, age & weight for better results, calculate calories etc. Fitbit Clock Face keeps you updated about your pet’s location and state even at a quick glance at the watch.
Tracki Mini Real time GPS Tracker is a compact and multi purpose tracking device, also suitable for tracking dogs. It is also lightweight and durable. International SIM works worldwide with live phone customer service. The subscription plan is a must: monthly fee is between $19.95 – 9.95 depending on the package, no roaming fees or other hidden fees. The producer is the same developing Vodafone GPS systems, and they claim to provide a free tracker if your tracker has been lost. You can track your dog with an easy to install smartphone app., use Wi-Fi tracking when indoors. The tracker has no extra features or characteristics except locating a dog. It comes with attachments: Magnet, Belt clip, Key-chain, lanyard.
It is a good versatile GPS tracker for a reasonable price, which you can use for pinpointing your dog if necessary, and also a kid, a car and many more.
Questions to Consider Before Buying a GPS Tracker for Dogs
What is a GPS Tracker?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System – a GPS tracker is used to locate your dog. It is suitable for all dogs that have the possibility to move freely in a protected area, especially if you use a smart pet door, and yet have the idea to escape. Or you can track where the dog is moving right now. The tracker can keep your pup from getting lost. The product has several functions, which we will explain next.
A GPS tracker is a system that is already integrated in the collar or can be easily attached to the collar of the animal. The functions differ in notification, range and accuracy.
Types of GPS trackers available. Which One is Right for My Dog?
If you would like to guard your dog with a tracker in the future, there are two alternatives you can choose between:
GPS tracker for dogs
Tracking systems for dogs (GPS Collar + Handheld Device)
The biggest differences are in weight, range, functions and method of monitoring. Both variants therefore have their advantages and disadvantages. With the following section we would like to make your decision easier.
The reasons for purchasing a pet tracker are different, but they all have one main benefit – the answer of where the pet is located.
A GPS tracker for dogs is roughly smaller than a car key and easy to attach. It is attached directly to a dog collar with a clamp or rubber band. However, there is of course also the danger that the dog loses it while running or playing.
Regarding the technology, it must be noted that the tracker uses mobile phone network. A Sim card is therefore mandatory so that data can be transmitted.
Since dogs can often be exposed to heavy rain, it is recommended to use a waterproof housing so that the device is not damaged.
One more function of the GPS tracker is the “virtual fence”, i.e. the owner gets a notification or alarm message on his smartphone as soon as his pet leaves the permitted area.
Cellular network is needed
Subscription is needed for most trackers
If dog is stolen, the device can be removed
A Tracking System includes a device which emits radio waves, but only within limited area (up to 9 miles appr.). The data is transmitted to an extra handheld device, which you get together as a bundle.
They have no extra functions like health monitoring or calorie counting, but they may have extra training functions and special modes for hunting and sporting dogs. A tracker is attached to the collar in the same way as the GPS or integrated into the collar and sold together.
No subscription/no SIM card necessary
No cellular network
Not easy to loose
no functions for heath monitoring
Shorter battery like
GPS Tracker With or Without Monthly Fee
The use of trackers is associated with monthly costs. This is the reason why many dog owners refrain from buying such a device. The fees are charged by the manufacturers to finance the costs for the SIM cards and the app. However, we believe that the fee is not justified. Think about how long you really want to use a GPS tracker. This will save you money with annual subscription. In addition, you may be able to do without certain additional features.
Unfortunately, there are not many models that can be used completely without monthly fees. Most of these devices have a very low purchase price, except maybe the one we recommend here as our Premium Choice – PetFon Pet GPS Real-Time Tracker.
Do not hurry to buy the cheapest device with monthly fees. For more expensive ones the fees are already included in the price or much less. So after one or two years of use you will understand that the total cost for the tracker and subscription will be the same for the cheaper and more expensive one. So you can focus on the quality of the device when you buy it.
What is Special about GPS Trackers for Hunting
During hunting there maybe cases when you can’t find your dog, the GPS signal must not disappear under any circumstances, as in addition there is always risk of injury of the pet. Therefore every second counts in such a case. A missing cell phone signal or the failure of the app could then become a big problem for you. That is the reason why good quality GPS trackers for sporting dogs cost over $300 and much more with extra functions.
The classic trackers use an app, which serves as a receiver. The devices need an internet connection to work. In larger forest areas you do not always have a mobile network available.
In GPS tracking system collar serves as a transmitter. The receiver (handheld device) has pre-installed maps for all countries you need. The big advantage here is that you can also use the device offline. So you can also locate your dog in forest areas.
The GPS Tracker is easily attached to your dog’s collar. Please make sure that the tracker fits well, because there is a risk that it will come loose when you play around with your dog.
When buying a GPS tracker for your dog, please make sure it has a waterproof case. It is important that the device remains undamaged to ensure unrestricted data transmission. Especially if it is raining and your dog is outdoors in all weather conditions or if he unexpectedly runs into water.
The GPS tracker should be as light as possible so that your buddy is not restricted in his movement or causes him any neck problems. For example, for a small pet you can also use a tracker for cats, as this is suitable for a neck girth between 8-12 inches (19-30 cm) and is recommended from a weight of 9 pounds (4 kg).
The normal GPS trackers are suitable for dogs with weight starting from about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and up to 80 pounds (36 kg).
Regarding the technology, besides the battery performance, which ranges from 2 days to 6 weeks, the other additional functions should also be considered:
Geo fencing: This refers to the automated triggering of an alarm when your dog exceeds a certain range.
SOS Button: If your dog has an idea of exploring the area on his own and meets people, there is a possibility that they can press the emergency button on the GPS tracker to inform you that your dog has run away.
The rest of extra functions like health monitoring are optional upon your presences and special needs.
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