Any dog parent knows that losing a dog, even just for a moment, is heart wrenching. Whether your dog gets off of his dog leash or sneaks out of his backyard, losing a dog is no laughing matter.
Luckily, we live in an age of ever advancing technology, and in a world where dog parenthood is more popular and taken more seriously than ever before. If you have a fur kid and are looking for the ultimate way to keep that pup safe, then this is the article for you.
Today, we are going to learn all about a dog gps tracker, how it works, and why your dog totally needs one.
What Is A Dog GPS Tracker?
Dog GPS trackers generally attach to your dog’s collar and can help you find your dog if he becomes lost.
A dog GPS tracker?
It may sound like something out of a Syfy movie, but it’s totally real. And why shouldn’t it be? Afterall, we have GPS trackers for our phones, our vehicles, and even our kids. So why not for our furry family members?
A GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a system that uses state of the art technology based on cell towers and satellites to track your pet in real time. For many people, a dog GPS tracker gives added peace of mind that they will be able to be reunited with their dogs should they ever get lost or stolen.
That said, a dog GPS tracker isn’t just for if your dog gets lost. Perhaps you have a routine dog sitter or dog walker, and want to ensure your dog is getting plenty of exercise? Utilize that GPS tracker to ensure your dog is where his sitter says he is.
A dog GPS tracker is also helpful for dogs who spend lots of time home alone, dogs who go to doggy daycare, or dogs who travel often with their human families. But we’ll get more into which types of dogs would benefit from a dog GPS tracker below.
For now, let’s talk about how these gadgets work to keep your pet safe and your anxiety level down. Keep reading.
How Does A Dog GPS Tracker Work?
Most GPS trackers work by connecting to an app you download on your smartphone.
There are different types of dog GPS trackers, which we’ll discuss further down, but for the most part they work the same way.
A dog GPS tracker generally connects to your cell phone and alerts you of your dog’s whereabouts based on a perimeter you set up beforehand, known as Geofencing. Think of it as a wireless dog fence without the controversy.
If your dog goes outside of his “safe zone” or the Geofence you created for him on the app, you will be alerted via text or email based on your settings. Typically, most dog GPS collar products include an application you can download directly to your smartphone.
You may also be able to download your dog GPS tracker app to your computer, or to multiple smartphones for a small fee.
That said, not all dog GPS tracker products and apps are created equal. Depending on which product you purchase, you may have limitations on location accuracy, distance, and timing. Still, most dog GPS trackers are fairly accurate and reliable, pinpointing your dog’s location correctly within 3 to 7.8 meters of his actual location. This is roughly around 25 feet or less, making these gadgets about 90% accurate overall, based on statistics.
Are There Different Types Of Dog GPS Trackers Available?
Some GPS trackers are waterproof while others provide video and audio technology.
When they were first introduced, dog GPS tracker products were bulky and unsightly. They often worked best for medium to large sized dogs as they would often be too big for a smaller dog to wear.
These days, dog GPS trackers have become more advanced and there are now plenty of brands, products, and designs you can choose from. Some different types of dog GPS tracker products you can choose from include:
- Dog GPS Tracker Collars
- Dog GPS Tracker Collar Clips
- Dog GPS Tracker Tags
- Video/Audio Dog GPS Collars
Dog GPS Collar
Perhaps the most popular GPS products for dogs come in the form of collars. These collars are available in a number of designs and sizes and have the GPS tracker built right in. They are also often weather resistant and chew proof, and can be used as any normal dog collar to hold your dog’s ID tag and vaccine information as well.
Dog GPS Collar Clip
If you love your dog’s collar and don’t want to swap it out, another easy option for a dog GPS tracker is to buy a GPS clip. These clips typically attach directly to your dog’s collar and work just as accurately as the GPS collars do. However, the only concern some have with GPS collar clips is that there is a higher risk of losing the clip, or having the clip become detached while your dog is lost, rendering it useless.
Dog GPS Tag
A GPS tag will hook to your dog’s collar the same way his identification tag would. These are very reliable, though they can be less accurate and may not serve as wide a range.
Dog GPS and Health Tracker Options
Some dog GPS Tracker products not only monitor your dog’s location, but also his health. They work by keeping track of your dog’s activity level and looking for inconsistencies in his overall behavior. These types of GPS dog trackers are great for the dog who suffers from chronic illnesses, allergies, anxiety, and more.
Dog GPS Video/Audio Options
More and more companies are designing dog GPS tracker options that also work as video/audio devices. This is a great way for the concerned pet parent to keep tabs on their dog throughout the day, especially if they are home alone often or go to a doggy daycare.
However, many video and audio dog GPS tracker options can be more costly than the traditional dog GPS tracker products, so just keep that in mind.
Which Types Of Dogs Should Have A Dog GPS Tracker?
Dogs who live active, outdoorsy lifestyles with their families would benefit from a GPS tracker.
Is a dog GPS tracker really worth it? We think so. According to www.lostpetresearch.com, 30% of pets go missing in their lifetime. This is roughly 1 out of 3 pets in American households. Luckily, many dog parents (more than 48% at least) have either supplied their dog with an ID tag or microchip, or sometimes even both. This raises the chances of these pet parents being reunited with their fur kids in the long run.
However, if a microchip is not updated with your accurate information, your dog’s ID tag falls off, or your dog is found but not returned to a shelter, you’re out of luck. This is where a dog GPS tracker comes in.
Still, while we may feel any and all dogs could benefit from a dog GPS tracker, there are some dogs in particular who would benefit more than others.
Dogs Who Are Escape Artists
Especially intelligent dogs tend to be natural problem solvers and can often find their way in and out of things, including windows, doors, and backyards. If your dog is a furry Houdini, a dog GPS tracker may be necessary.
Dogs Who Spend Lots of Time At Home Alone
Dogs who spend lots of time home alone could benefit from a dog GPS tracker, not so much for owners who are worried their dogs will get out, but more so these owners can check up on their dogs throughout the day. For these dogs, we would suggest a video/audio GPS tracker to help keep tabs on your fur kid and even talk to him.
Dogs With A High Prey Drive
Dogs bred for herding, hunting and ratting often have an instinctual drive to chase after smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits, and sometimes even cats. Dogs are much faster than us humans, and catching your dog after he takes off may be impossible. A dog GPS tracker could ensure you find your dog if he gets out of your sight.
Dogs Who Visit Doggy Daycare or Dogs With Routine Sitters or Walkers
Most quality doggy daycare facilities and professional dog walkers are vigilant and careful, but there is always a chance your dog could get away from them. One of the problems with a dog running off in an area he is unfamiliar with is that it’s less likely he’ll be able to find his way home and more likely he’ll travel farther from the area.
A dog GPS tracker can ensure you find your dog, even if he wanders far away.
Dogs Who Travel Often With Their Owners
As we mentioned above, it can be much more difficult for dog owners to be reunited with their dogs if they get lost while far from home. We would certainly recommend considering a dog GPS tracker for those who travel often with their dogs, especially if you travel out of state or out of the country.
Dogs Who Spend Lots of Time Outdoors Hiking or Camping
It’s very common for dogs to get lost during hiking and camping trips, and it’s often more difficult to find them if they are lost in these types of regions because these areas are so rural. Dogs and owners who spend lots of their time outdoors or in the mountains would certainly benefit from a dog GPS tracker.
Dogs Who Live In High-Risk Disaster Areas
Most places in the US are susceptible to some sort of natural disaster, whether they are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or even wildfires. However, some regions are more prone to natural disasters than others, and it is during these times when pets are most likely to get separated from their owners and less likely to be reunited after the chaos.
If you live in an area that is notorious for natural disasters, we highly recommend investing in a dog GPS tracker.
Top 6 Dog GPS Tracker Products We Love
Not all GPS trackers are for all dogs. Make sure you do your research before picking the one that’s best for you.
Have you decided that a dog GPS tracker is right for you? Remember, not all GPS trackers are created equally and many offer different services. Before you purchase a dog GPS tracker, we encourage you to do plenty of research and consider your unique lifestyle and your dog’s daily routine.
Consider the most likely scenario you would face if your dog were to become lost, and keep this in mind when looking for the best dog GPS tracker for you. Also keep in mind that many dog GPS tracker products incur a monthly fee, so be prepared.
To get you started, we have listed six of our favorite dog GPS tracker products below. Take a lookl.
Whistle Go & Go Explore Dog GPS and Health Tracker
The above dog GPS tracker is designed not only to keep an eye on your dog’s location but also to monitor his overall health. It works by alerting you if your dog has left his designated safe zone and also gives weekly updates on your dog’s activities.
It can track things like excessive licking, itching, and even disruptions in sleep. The tracker provides a range of up to 3,000 miles and works using the AT&T network. It also comes in six colors and clips directly onto your dog’s collar.
Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
The above dog GPS tracker by Tractive is an updated model from an already popular brand. The tracker is a basic GPS clip that attaches directly to your dog’s collar and provides an unlimited range and real-time location spotting.
This is an excellent GPS tracker for those who travel outside of the country as it works in over 150 different countries and is both iOS and Android compatible. This product does include an app for your smartphone and a monthly subscription.
PetFon Pet GPS Tracker
If you’re looking for a dog GPS tracker that does not include a monthly fee or subscription, you’ll want to check out PetFon. This is another clip on GPS tracker that attaches to your dog’s collar, and works with an application you download to your smartphone.
It is weather and rainproof and is battery operated. However, this is not the ideal GPS tracker for dogs who could potentially go farther than 3.5 miles. Along with a limited range, this dog GPS tracker may also be disrupted by dense surroundings like thick trees or forests. That noted, we would not recommend this tracker for avid hikers and campers.
Link AKC Smart Dog Collar
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While this is one of the more expensive dog GPS tracker options on this list, it is also very high quality and comes with an activity monitor as well as a GPS tracking device built into the leather collar.
The collar comes in a number of sizes from extra small to extra large, and gives you the option of subscribing to a service plan. The subscription plan includes plenty of perks, including access to the Pet Poison Control Helpline, an extended warranty, and 24 hour assistance with the animal poison control help center in case of an emergency.
While we do like this collar and all it offers, we should note that it only works in the United States, so it is not ideal for world travelers.
4 Pack Smart Pet Finder GPS Tag
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The above smart dog tag is a small, subtle, and simple way you can provide yourself and your dog some added security in the form of a dog GPS tracker. The order is super affordable and comes in a pack of four. You can use it for your dog, your keys, your kiddos, and more.
The tracker is iOS and Android compatible and works by connecting to an app on your phone. That said, it’s very important to note that this GPS tracker is best for smaller dogs and dogs who stay close to home. The ideal doggy candidate would be a dog who tends to hide often beneath furniture or in closets, and for owners who want to ensure their dogs are in the house.
Black & Decker 2-Way Audio GPS Dog Tracker
Last on our list is a dog GPS tracker that comes in collar form. It provides a 2-way audio system as well as a real time GPS tracker, and is also water and weather resistant. The collar is available in two colors and works by connecting to an app on your phone. It also allows you to customize your Geofence (your doggy’s safe zone) to ensure he’s where he needs to be at all times.
The audio allows you to speak with your dog through his collar, or speak to anyone else if he gets lost and is found. The audio works two ways, so the person can speak back to you as well.
This collar is best suited for medium to large dogs with neck widths between 15 inches to 21 inches.
Does A Dog GPS Tracker Take Place Of A Microchip?
While we are fans of Dog GPS trackers, we still recommend you microchip your dog as well.
The short and sweet answer to the above question is no, dog GPS trackers are not intended to take the place of microchipping your dog.
Most experts agree that microchipping is one of the most effective ways you can ensure you are reunited with your dog should he become lost. This is because a microchip is inserted into your dog’s skin between his shoulder blades, and therefore cannot become separated from your dog.
While we do support and encourage certain dog parents to invest in dog GPS tracker products, we also want to remind you that they are not foolproof.
Like most technology, dog GPS trackers come with their share of pros and cons, and these pros and cons should be considered and taken seriously. See for yourself below.
Pros of a Dog GPS Tracker
- Dog GPS trackers provide accurate, real-time information to help you pinpoint your dog’s location within 25 feet or less.
- They are relatively affordable and easy to use
- The apps download directly to your smartphone
- Dog GPS trackers are great for dog owners who are also avid outdoorsmen
- Dog GPS trackers are safe and require no surgical or painful procedures to attach to your dog.
Cons of a Dog GPS Tracker
- Dog GPS trackers are not foolproof and can be faulty
- Battery-run GPS trackers can die or corrode
- Collars, tags and clips can become dislodged or lost, rendering them ineffective
- Some dog GPS trackers are very expensive
- Some dog GPS trackers only work for shorter ranges
- Some dog GPS trackers require a subscription and monthly fee
Other Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe
You can help keep your dog safe by using a dog GPS collar along with following other safety tips below.
While A dog GPS tracker can certainly help keep your dog safe and increase your chances of reuniting with your dog if he is ever lost, it is not foolproof, as you saw above.
Along with investing in a dog GPS tracker, we also recommend you follow the below expert tips and tricks to help keep your dog safe and protected at all times.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Microchipped and That Your Information Is Up To Date
You can microchip your dog at any age and most veterinarians offer this service at an affordable cost. The process takes under five minutes and is safe, relatively pain-free (though some vets have described it as feeling like a bee sting), and your pet can go right home with you afterwards.
Of course, a microchip is only as good as the information it contains, so make sure your address, phone number, and any other records required are up to date. If your dog is microchipped and you’re not sure about the information on your dog’s microchip, you can take your dog into the vet and have him scanned. The vet will then provide you with a number to call to update the information.
Keep Your Dog On A Fitted Harness and Leash During Walks and Hikes
A harness that is too loose can be easy for a dog to slip out of, so it’s important to make sure your dog is wearing the correct gear and that this gear is properly fitted. We also suggest that you keep your dog on a leash and harness at all times during hikes or walks, and even on camping trips.
This is especially true if your dog has a high prey drive or doesn’t yet have a solid recall, which we’ll cover below.
Work On A Solid Recall With Your Dog
One of the first things many experts recommend you teach your dog is a solid recall. Use lots of training, treats, and praise when teaching your dog to come when called, and refrain from punishing him. Doing so could mean he fears coming to you when called, so try and repetitively show him that coming to you when you call is a positive thing.
This will greatly enhance your chances of getting your dog’s attention and calling him back to you, even if he gets off leash or runs after a rabbit or squirrel.
Make Sure Your Dog Wears His Collar With An Updated ID Tag At All Times
Some people choose to only put their dog’s collar and ID tags on when they go for walks, but experts suggest leaving your dog’s collar on at all times day and night. Remember, anything could happen and your dog’s ID tag and collar are his best way of communicating to strangers that he is lost. You can also include a tag on your dog’s ID collar that says he is microchipped.
Reinforce Your Backyard To Ensure Your Dog Cannot Get Out
Dogs are surprisingly cunning, and many can dig, jump, or otherwise finagle their way out of backyards when no one is watching. To ensure your dog stays in your yard where he is safe, we suggest reinforcing your fence. Make sure it is at least six feet tall and that you bury chicken wire, large rocks, or wood planks at least two feet below the earth where your dog might dig. When using chicken wire, be sure to point the sharp edges away so your dog won’t get hurt.
You should also mend holes, cracks and crevices around your perimeter, and provide your dog with plenty to do when he is outside so he does not dig, chew or attempt to escape out of boredom.
Keep A Pet Emergency Kit On Hand
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to keep a pet emergency kit on hand. This kit should include a doggy first aid kit, extra water, food and any medications your dog takes on a daily basis. It should also include copies of your dog’s vet records and any other items you deem necessary like special blankets, toys, treats, etc.
A pet emergency kit is especially important to have if you live in areas prone to natural disasters, but any household can benefit from having them.
And that’s that! So, what do you think about a dog GPS tracker? Do you think these gadgets are worth investing in, or do you feel safe enough with your dog’s microchip and ID tag?
Leave us your thoughts about dog GPS trackers in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.