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Every dog parent’s worst fear is their dog getting lost. After all, you can’t just phone your dog if he escapes the yard or gets off his leash. Fortunately, with today’s technology, you can outfit your pup with a GPS or tracking collar.
Dr. Terry Fossum notes that while chips are great for identifying your dog, chips need to be scanned by someone with access to a microchip scanner. GPS trackers allow YOU to see where your dog is, which will help you find them if your pet is lost or stolen. The health monitoring can also be useful, particularly in senior dogs. Are these collars higher on the price end? Yes, but you’re paying for peace of mind and your dog’s safety. That’s a worthy investment.
Even if they’re microchipped, finding a lost dog can be incredibly difficult. An effective GPS or tracking dog collar can help you locate an escape artist pup before it’s too late.
Selecting The Right GPS/Tracking Collar For Your Dog
Since there are so many options for GPS and tracking collars for dogs, here are some things to think about before you shop:
- Tracking Accuracy: When you’re investing in a tracking collar to keep tabs on your best pal, you want the most accurate readings possible. It’s important to note that some of these trackers update location information more frequently. Not all offer live tracking, which could be important if you’re dealing with an escape attempt.
- Range: Look for the collar’s range capabilities and whether or not it functions best in rural areas or city spaces. Some can detect your dog’s location from farther distances than others.
- Battery life: Depending on their communication technology, some collars/trackers may last longer than others before needing to be recharged. For a longer-lasting battery, you might also end up paying more.
- Activity and health monitoring: Many of these collars/attachments also monitor your dog’s health data in addition to location features. This isn’t essential, but it’s a nice option with several of these devices.
- Subscriptions: For trackers that use cellular networks, you’ll have to pay a monthly, annual, or multiple-year subscription fee. This is in addition to the cost of the device. Purely GPS/Bluetooth devices that don’t operate on cell networks won’t typically require this fee.
Considering all these factors, here are our picks for the best GPS and tracking collars for dogs and their most notable benefits.
The Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker uses AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks to track your dog. In addition to showing you where your dog is, it also lets you know where they’ve been since the tracker was booted up. That way, you can see if they’ve gone anywhere they shouldn’t have when you weren’t looking. Plus, this collar can track your dog’s health, activity, and sleep patterns so you can spot concerns early on.
- Designed to cover small areas or thousands of acres
- Create up to 20 boundaries through tough terrain where physical fencing can’t be built
- Waterproof, with an IP67 water rating
- Tracking: see your dog at the touch of a button and know immediately if they cross a boundary
- Learn to train your dog through modules within the app and get a free 1:1 training session with a certified dog trainer if you need help.
Whereas other electronic dog fences may need an extensive setup that involves digging and burying wire, SpotOn GPS Dog Fence works right out of the box, with no manual labor necessary. The program is as easy to set up as taking your dog for a walk – walk the boundary of the “fence” you want to set up for your pup, pop the collar on, and let your dog explore worry-free with SpotOn.
SpotOn’s GPS Dog Fence is head and shoulders above other GPS collars, thanks to their patented True Location™ technology. SpotOn uses a dedicated GPS antenna that dynamically filters out poor GPS signals partially blocked by the horizon, trees, or buildings.
SpotOn’s products are made in the U.S.A., and they offer a generous discount to veterans of the U.S. military.
Best for for Safety
The Halo GPS Dog Collar is one of the safest choices. It’s not a shock collar because the company wants to avoid harmful, punishment-based training. Instead, it focuses on sound and vibration warnings, using a painless static pulse in emergencies. No installation is needed, and your dog’s location and activity can be monitored from an easy-to-use app.
Best for Long-Term Use
The Invoxia Smart Dog Collar checks all the boxes because it tracks your dog’s location, health, and activity. You can see exactly where your dog is on the app, along with how much time they’ve been active and what their resting heart rate and respiratory rate are. Plus, this collar has a long battery life, lasting for several weeks, so it’s easy to use it long-term. The only downside is that it may be bulky for some small dogs.
Check out our full Invoxia review for more information.
Most Accurate Tracking
Garmin is a highly trusted brand known for its navigation systems. While it skews higher on the price range, the Garmin TT 15 Dog Device is one of few trackers that doesn’t require a smartphone/an app or even internet access. It also has a wide tracking range of 9 miles.
Related: The 10 Best No-Pull Dog Harnesses
The Whistle GO Explore consistently tops the lists of the best tracking collars and devices for dogs. It’s highly user-friendly, and it can be set up so that multiple people (additional family members, dog walkers, etc.) receive important alerts. Activating the Whistle GO Explore requires a subscription plan, and the three options will cost you between $6.95 and $9.95 per month.
Best Advanced Features
If you’re interested in a device that monitors your dog’s health data, the FitBark has what you need. Beyond serving as a GPS tracker, it will monitor your dog’s sleep patterns, skin condition, activity levels, and more. The biggest drawback is its relatively low battery life, but it’s great for providing health information in addition to location.
Most Durable Tracking Collar
The SportDOG TEK Series 1.5 is highly durable, designed for your outdoorsy dog to wander in all types of weather and terrain. This system uses GPS satellites, not cell service, to track your dog up to 7 miles away. It could be the right choice for hikes or camping trips.
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Best Battery Life
The Fi Series 2 Collar is a tracking device that requires infrequent charging. It has a few other nice features, like LED lights that illuminate your dog’s path at night and health activity monitoring.
Best Collar Alternative
The Cube Real-Time GPS Tracker can be used to track more than just furry family members, but it works great for that purpose too. The company also provides tech support if you run into any issues. Because it connects to cellular networks, you’ll have to pay a subscription to use the Cube.
FAQs About GPS and Tracking Collars
How does the collar locate my dog?
Most of these collars connect to an app so you can receive information about your dog’s position. How you receive that information depends on the type of tracking collar you choose. GPS collars rely on satellites to send signals and work independently of cell service. Other tracking collars use cellular networks for low-power, long-distance communications. Some use Bluetooth/radio wave short-range capabilities.
Are all GPS and tracking collars basically the same?
No! What you need depends on many factors, including where you live, what breed of dog you have, and what you’re willing to spend. Some tracking systems use cellular networks to find your dog’s location, and others use satellites and radio signals. Some are primarily designed to warn you if your indoor pup found a hole in the backyard fence, and some are designed to locate a hunting dog that strayed too far. Depending on the collar you pick, you may or may not need to pay a subscription fee.
Related: 11 Best Invisible Dog Fences
Will the device bother my dog?
Attachable GPS and tracking devices are small and unobtrusive, designed to be comfortably worn. Others are sturdy collars with the device embedded inside. Your dog likely won’t even notice it.
Related: 10 Best Dog Collars
Looking for an alternative to a dog GPS collar? See our review of the best Apple Airtag Holder for Dog Collars.