Wondering what the best Dog GPS tracker is? Me too! So I tried pretty much everything that’s on the market today.
Yeah haha, I’ve been working through all the available options on the market at the moment so that I can recommend to you, comfortably, the best dog trackers on the market.
I’ve been working on this list for about two years now, and it’s finally starting to fall into place.
So, let’s start with the basic info…
What Is A Dog GPS Tracker?
Also called a GPS Dog Collar, or GPS pet tracker, they’re essentially the same as any GPS Tracker.
GPS is a “Global Positioning Satellite”, and works the same as finding yourself on your google maps – but instead it gives your dogs location.
But these ones have typically been tailored for your pet in terms of size, and attach to your pet’s collar or harness. Other than offering attachment to your dog’s collar, some trackers offer other pet focused things, even down to the needs of pet parents in the app most of them use.
Most include a few other metrics! Like a step count, a distance travelled, activity monitoring, sleep monitoring, or even health monitoring which is pretty cool.
Why Would I Use A Dog GPS Tracker?
There’s a lot of reasons to use a GPS tracker – if you’re like me it’s because your hounds like to leave your fence when deer break in, and aren’t reliable to come back when chasing a deer for a few miles — so they’re great for an escape artist and prevention of a lost pet.
Alternatively, you may just want back up if you’re going hiking, or if your dog is out with a dog walker, friend or family to ensure that they’re just not going to get lost.
And, not to mention that most of them have additional features like activity tracker. So, if you’re trying to help your dog maintain a healthy weight understanding your dog’s activity levels can be some great information.
These collars are essentially peace of mind.
The molle system here i’ve used for one of the trackers I’ve been testing, the Jiobit! But do you see how much structure there is in this harness? Ugh, totally in love.
How These Were Tested
In order to figure out the best GPS tracker for dogs these devices were all tested for an extended period of time on the collars of at least one of my dogs, tested within their safezone, on walks, and hikes and – when it happened – they were tested if my dogs left the fence unexpectedly. The last one is something typically out of my control, but it’s not something I can just risk.
We do however mock up a ‘loose dog’ situation where one of us will leave with one of the dogs (Bluetooth and attachment off) to try and ensure that they’re easy enough to locate on the instance they do leave.
These were all tested on dogs weighing 75-90lbs, including two coonhounds and a german shepherd, they were attached as described by the manufacturer with the aim of testing them as truly as possible.
Best Dog GPS Trackers & Smart Tags
Fi Series 2 GPS Dog Tracking CollarSmallLightGreat appAT&T ServiceThis is my favourite tracker that we’ve used, and even whilst I’m testing the other trackers, I ensure to keep this one on my dogs incase the other ones fail – which is pretty sizeable. I mean, yes, they do have more kinks than other trackers? For example, I’ve never gotten a “Lucy left home” and a panicked call from my husband from other devices, but this one really is my failsafe because it’s proven itself to work reliably, and consistently and have a good battery life that reminds me appropriately when it needs to be charged, etc.There’ve very little room for improvement with this, to be honest. 9.1Check PriceRead ReviewWhistle Switch Smart Dog CollarGreat health trackingGood GPS trackerGreat appExchangeable batteryCharges on a standard cableThis one is a great collar, and gives some really great info, but it is (to me!) a health monitor over a tracker. It works really nicely at what it does, but my favourite things are that you don’t need a special charging cable or base to charge this. It charges off a micro USB, and the batteries are exchangeable.Major Drawbacks: Cannot change collar, Chunky device.8.9Check PriceJiobit GPS Trackermost real time trackermultiple geofenceBecause Jiobit is designed for human use as well as pet use, it does limit its functionality. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that other trackers offer, such as health monitoring, distance monitoring or similar. Major Drawback: I’ve had it ping off of collars and land on the floor during play. 8.5Check PriceRead reviewTractive GPS Dog TrackerAdapts to any collarLightOn/Off buttonGreat appI have to say, this one really surprised me. I really like Tractive. It’s not only adaptable to any collar, but it’s super easy to do.Major Drawbacks: It does take a very specific cable to charge. It also has a tone that my dogs do not appreciate! It does also get quite grubby being white. 8.5Check PricePebblebee GPS Tracker for DogsSmallVersatileEasy ChargeThis one is currently in testing, so I can’t give a full opinion yet, but it’s looking pretty good so far – and it’s definitely a pet tracker as opposed to some of these!8.2Check PriceApple AirTagSmallAffordableEasy to attachIt’s super cheap and super low maintenance, which I very much appreciate. It integrates with my life really easily (I’m an iPhone user, so, yeah), but it’s just not designed for pet use. So, yes, it may help you locate your dog in a city or populated town, but it’s not useful beyond that. Major Drawbacks: signal is “Crowdsources” so it’s not actually a “GPS” tracker 6Check Price
So, Which Is The Best Dog Tracker For You?
For me it was the fi, but here are a few questions you can ask yourself to see which one is going to be best for you and your
1 – Make a shortlist of what you want to achieve
Do you need to track their activity? What about understanding your dog’s location? How far away are they likely to get? Do they have a reliable recall? Are you going to be travelling a lot? How waterproof does it need to be? Does it need a long battery life? Do you need a safe area? Or areas? Do you want to pay a monthly subscription fee? how real-time do you need the real-time location tracking?
The features offered by each device are different. Which is why you’re likely reading this comparison. Just make sure you know what you want from your tracker.
2 – Where Do You Live?
If you live, work or walk in remote areas, you may want to look at the cell service for what these trackers use. If not? You may have to do a bit more of an upgrade and go for something like a Garmin device.
3 – How big is your dog?
For smaller dogs, it’s a good idea to consider the size of your furry friend when looking at these devices. The smaller your dog, the more you want to focus on smaller devices, because you don’t necessarily want a huge device. Simply put… Small dogs need light devices.
I love the whistle switch, it’s one of my favourite devices we’ve tested. The interchangeable batteries are absolute genius.
The Nerdy Comparison Bit
Best Overal TrackerBest Health MonitorProduct TitleProduct TitleFi Series 2Whistle SwitchJiobitTractive GPS for DogsPebblebee Dog GPS trackerApple AirTagSignal SourceSignal Source
Cell CarrierCell Carrier
T-Mobile 2G and AT&T 3G
2G & 3G on T-Mobile, AT&T, Viaero Wireless
Up to 8 ft
Up to 6 ft
Up to 6ft
Up to 3ft
Up to 3ft
Refresh rateRefresh rate
Dirt ProofDirt Proof
Fixed CollarFixed Collar
Special chargerSpecial charger
$179 + Subscription
$49 + Subscription
Optional (but suggested)
Multiple OwnersMultiple Owners
IP RatingIP Rating
Battery life On Single ChargeBattery life On Single Charge
Check PriceRead ReviewCheck PriceRead ReviewCheck PriceRead ReviewCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceRead Review
Dog Tracker FAQ
What is the difference between LTE & LTE-M?Essentially, LTE-M reaches further, and gives better battery life to the GPS collar! (read more)
Does it matter what my cellular network or cell service provider is?Nope! We’re on Verizon, and none of these dog trackers are linked to our cell phone other than by mobile App or bluetooth. And, they typically have a sim card already installed somewhere in their innards,
How Much Are The Subscription Fees?Largely, they vary but they’re at maximum $10 a month, and sometimes as little as a couple of dollars a month. I’ve not included this in this review because they are subject to change. They also vary depending on how much you purchase in advance, and naturally they’re at their highest if you opt for the monthly fee.
What is a Geofence?A geofence, also called a safe zone or virtual fence is an area you describe to the tracker as the area that your pet is permitted to be in. The geofence may be your house walls, or it may be the same as your property line! They’re a safe places.However, some trakcers, like Jiobit, allow dog owners to create multiple safe zones.This does not contain your dog, only alerts you when your dog leaves the zone.
Why I didn’t include battery lifeBattery life is really freaking difficult. I could absolutely give the “factory” statement, which are always inflated, but I don’t want to do that. Then… I could do what I’ve experienced.But that doesn’t seem fair either… primarily because what our set up is is not “usual”. Some GPS trackers include a base station (such as Fi) which will extend the reach of the unit, and the collar will leverage these in order to maximise battery life. Some leverage your wifi! But others will only leverage your phone’s Bluetooth – which then makes this quite unfair because they last different times, and it may not be the same in your home.Maybe I will add it in. That way at least you can get a baseline…
Can these work for my cat?Pet owners of cats are welcome to use most of these, it might just be worth considering the device’s weight and size compared to your kitty – but I’ve seen Fi & Jiobit used on all sorts of creatures from Savannah cats to goats!
What Does “Fixed Collar” mean?So, each different smart tracker has a different way of attaching to your pet’s collar – some are integrated into their own collars, others (like the tractive GPS tracker) come with flexible attachments so they can attach to most collars with relative ease!
Why Do I avoid the use of the phrase “Real time”?Oh you noticed that? Mainly because none of them truly are. Most of them depend on cellular service, and signal strength, and this creates a natural variation in just how “Real time” these apps are, so if you’re in a remote area on a hike, then you’re going to find that they don’t update as fast as they could. That said, the most real time advertised is the Garmin Alpha or Garmin Astro which have their own handheld device and supposedly update every second.
For me, Fi is the best option. It’s overall the best GPS dog tracker and the most practical to use when trying to find your pet’s location. The device size is small, and we can change the collars easily enough – and they’re really robust. To me, they’re the best tracking device we’ve tried.
I love our GPS Collars, and I really do hope that this has answered your questions about them! If not, feel free to comment below, or hit me up on Instagram and Ill be happy to point you in the right direction!
That said? If you’re looking for more of a smart collar (like a health and activity monitor?) you may prefer the whistle switch.
If you’re looking for any further info on dog gear or trackers, head to the Gear Reviews page to check out more!
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!