For most of us, even the thought of losing our pet is incredibly stressful. Unfortunately, many dogs go missing every single day. Whatever the cause, sometimes pooches get lost and can’t make it back on their own. If something like this happens, we want a reliable way to track them and bring them back home.
A GPS tracker is the solution to this problem – a small device that travels with your dog and tells you its location at all times. It’s a fantastic way to track your pet, especially if you have an adventurous pup who likes to go around and explore. In addition to keeping track of the current whereabouts, many of these devices give you an insight into activity history too.
As you’ll see in our reviews, there are several types of GPS trackers for dogs, and each one has upsides and downsides. This is why we’ve created a buying guide with all the information you need to select the best GPS tracker for dog for any type of activity. But first, take a look at the amazing trackers we’ve picked out for you.
How To Choose A GPS Tracker For Dogs – Buying Guide
Finding a reliable GPS for your dog isn’t that difficult, but you should be aware of its strengths and limitations. There are several different tracking systems available on the market today, and we’ll try and help you determine which one is best for your pet. In addition, things like size, range, battery life, and construction quality also play a significant role. Take a look.
As you’ve had the chance to see, there are two different types of trackers available now – a true GPS tracker and a radio frequency (RF) tracker. Both have some advantages and disadvantages, and many newer trackers use a combination of several technologies to give you the best reliability and quickest results.
A GPS dog tracker works like a GPS receiver. It picks up the signal emitted by GPS satellites orbiting the earth and calculates the location based on that information. However, it also needs a way to transmit this information, which is why these devices are often equipped with a SIM card with cellular coverage. This allows them to send the information through the network and into your tracking app. Some GPS trackers also work with Wi-Fi and radio frequencies, improving its versatility and coverage.
On the other hand, an RF device is not a true GPS tracker although it works really well in helping you locate your dog. The tracker works as a radio signal transceiver, capable of exchanging radio signals with the handheld device that you’re using. This signal leads you to its source. This is a great option for areas with bad reception, for example when hiking with your dog in the backcountry.
An accurate signal from the GPS device is very important if you want to find your pet as quickly as possible. An inconclusive signal might lead you on the wrong path and cause you to lose time, something that nobody wants. When it comes to GPS trackers, their accuracy can vary in different situations. If the device is able to pick up signals from several satellites, it will give more precise information about its location, direction, and speed.
To further improve this, some of the best GPS tracker for dog models combine GPS with Glonass and other navigational systems to give you even better accuracy in every situation. Also, network coverage from the cellular provider is very helpful here too because it makes it easier for the device to pinpoint the location using the network signal.
Good coverage of your GPS dog tracker will determine whether or not you’ll be able to find your dog. GPS satellites cover the whole globe and the device usually won’t have an issue picking up a GPS signal. However, the device also needs a way to emit a signal that can reach you so you’ll know where to look. In theory, if the device uses a cellular network to do this, the range should be unlimited and cover the whole country. Unfortunately, some areas have bad reception and the device won’t be able to catch a signal.
Some trackers use radio frequencies to emit the signal, but these are limited by range. Depending on the device, they usually have a range of up to 2 or 3 miles (if there are no obstacles in the way). Obstacles can disturb the signal and significantly reduce the range, which is particularly visible in urban areas. So, in terms of coverage, we think that a GPS with cellular network support will work better in urban areas, while a radio frequency enabled device would be better when trail running with your dog.
Regardless of which device you choose, it needs to be waterproof. All of these trackers are designed to be used outdoors, so they need to be able to handle the conditions. They shouldn’t be bothered by rain, splashes, or the fact that your dog jumped in a puddle along the way. They should also be resistant to dust and dirt.
We tried to show exact waterproof ratings for every dog tracking collar we featured and, as you can see, there are significant differences between them. While all of them will tolerate splashing, go for those with a higher waterproof rating if your dog likes water and gets wet often.
Notification And Alert System
One of the things we particularly like on newer GPS dog trackers is their ability to send smart notifications. When something happens (the device leaves the safe zone, has low battery, or something else) you’ll get a notification in your app or on your handheld. This way you are warned to pay attention and have more time to react if an action is needed.
For the notification system to work, a real-time tracking feature on the device is required. The device then actively sends out information and you can follow its position on the map. In addition, some devices have the ability to log the movement data, so you can access it and see the habits of your dog.
Safe Zone (Virtual Fence)
Setting up a safe zone is a fantastic feature that most trackers have. This “virtual fence” is a zone around the center point (handheld device or your smartphone) in which your dog is allowed to move. As long as the dog is within the zone, you won’t get alarms and notifications.
However, if the dog breaches the zone, you’ll get an alarm that warns you about it. Some models (like the Dog Expedition TC1) also have collar stimulation when the dog leaves the zone. A safe zone is generally an excellent feature for pets who like to roam or when you’re camping with your dog and you want to keep it from wandering off too far.
Software and Handheld Device
The GPS device on its own isn’t enough – you also need a way to keep track of its location. If you have a GPS pet tracker with cellular coverage, then you’ll usually get a free app from the manufacturer to install on your smartphone. The app shows you the dog’s location on a map in real-time and allows you to set activities and track movement history.
While most apps are compatible with both iOS and Android, users point out that this is not always the case. Because of this, be careful when buying a tracker and make sure you can pair it with your smartphone. In addition, we think that it’s a plus if the manufacturer allows you to track the device through a web browser too.
On the other hand, trackers that don’t rely on cellular coverage usually come with separate handheld devices. These show the location of your pet on their own screen and sometimes have added features like visual and audio guides to find your pet faster. However, they only work when they are within range of the tracker your pet is wearing.
The battery on your dog’s GPS tracker needs to last as long as your pet is out of the house. You don’t want the battery running out while your pet is not home because this renders even the best pet trackers useless. Battery life of a day or more is considered pretty good, and should usually be more than enough in most situations.
Trackers come with different types of batteries, but most use rechargeable Li-Ion batteries. We think that this is a good choice because they fully charge in just a few hours and give plenty of power for a day of activity. To make sure the device is always powered, it’s a good habit to charge the tracker every night.
However, this can be a problem if you’re hiking or camping and don’t have a power outlet nearby. In this situation, a solar charger with you will allow you to charge the tracker and your other devices easily.
Size and Weight
The pet GPS tracker should be appropriately sized for your dog and easily secured to your dog’s collar. As you’ve had the chance to see, manufacturers give recommendations when it comes to dog size that should be using the tracker. The reason for this is that a heavy device might be too much for your small dog, and might even injure it.
If the tracker comes with a collar, make sure to check the collar dimensions. Some models (like the Link AKC Smart Collar) come in five different sizes so you can find the right fit for your dog. A collar that is too large may get tangled in things as the dog moves, while a tracker that is too heavy might make your dog more tired.
Closely related to size and weight, comfort for the dog is also an important factor to consider. The tracker shouldn’t be bulky or interfere with the dog’s movement in any way. Some of the models come with an antenna, so make sure the dog won’t try to get it off. The tracking device for dogs should sit comfortably on the collar or the harness for hiking, and it’s best if the dog doesn’t even notice it.
Some of the best pet trackers on the market come with additional features that give you even more detailed insight into the activities of your dog. In addition to keeping a history log, some tracker apps can count the number of steps and food and potty breaks, so you can keep track of your dog’s fitness and metabolism.
As for the trackers themselves, some of them come with LEDs to make the dog more visible, as well as audio signals that help you find them faster. Some dog tracking collars even work as trainers with stimulation for dogs that go too far. Furthermore, some trackers have temperature sensors and let you know if your dog is too hot or cold. This is very useful in winter, for example when walking your dog in the snow.
Q: Can I Put A GPS Tracker In My Dog?
You can’t put the tracker inside the dog because trackers work differently from microchips (as we’ll explain later). However, you can put it on your dog, by attaching it to the collar or the harness. Some trackers come as GPS dog collars, meaning that the GPS device is placed inside the collar.
Q: How Do GPS Dog Trackers Work?
GPS dog trackers are able to pick up signals from GPS satellites and calculate the location using this information. In fact, this principle is very similar to hiking GPS. However, dog GPS trackers also send out information that you pick up on your device, giving you real-time tracking, placement on the map, as well as movement history. This makes it easier for you to quickly find your dog.
Q: Is There A Way To Track Your Dog?
Yes, you can track your dog very effectively. A GPS tracker allows you to know the exact location of your dog, but it has some limitations. For example, if a GPS tracker for my dog relies on cell phone coverage to transmit its signal, I won’t be able to track the dog in an area with weak network coverage. Similarly, if the tracker has a range limit, you won’t be able to track your dog if it goes out of range.
Q: What Are The Benefits Of Using A Dog GPS?
The main benefit of using a dog GPS is the ability to track it if it gets lost. Many of us look at dogs as family members and want to avoid losing them at all cost. The GPS pet tracker for dog shows you its movement and activities so you can reach them quickly if you suspect something is happening.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Microchip And GPS Tracker?
Microchips and GPS trackers are two completely different types of devices. A microchip is inserted under the skin of your dog and contains all the info about the pet as well as the owner. However, a chip doesn’t emit any signals and needs to be read to give the information (this means that somebody has already found your dog).
A GPS tracker for a dog emits signals that are then picked up and shown on your handheld or your phone. This helps you when actively looking for your dog and shows you its exact location. Using both a GPS tracker and a microchip is probably the most effective, as it significantly increases the chances of your dog getting back home.
Q: Can I Track Several Dogs At Once?
This depends on the model you get, but many trackers do come with this feature. This is very useful to those of you who own several dogs and need to keep track of all of them. It’s also very handy if you’re taking the dogs hunting, hiking, or you’re letting them run freely in the countryside.
Some of the best GPS tracker for dog models support up to 20 separate tracker devices. Just keep in mind that each dog needs to have its own tracker which you need to buy separately.
Globo Surf Overview
GPS for dogs can give you true peace of mind. It gives you quick and easy access to the location of your beloved pet and makes sure it doesn’t lose its way. The sense of security you get is fantastic, and pet owners worldwide testify that it’s worth investing in a device like this.
As you’ve seen, there are many different types of trackers available and their performance varies in different scenarios. We hope that our buying guide has helped you get a clear picture of what you need, so you can get a tracker that will get the job done and keep your pup safe.