‘Last updated: May 14th 2021’.
The Best Dog Tracking Devices of 2021
Most dog owners want to keep their pets safe all the time. But even the most careful pet parent can lose their pet. That’s why Pet trackers and most importantly GPS pet trackers are so helpful.
So, What exactly is a Pet Tracker? Which ones are considered the best dog tracker? How do they work? How much will one cost me? Are they Real-time (GPS tracker locators) or do they offer On-demand data? Are their sensors accurate like Sat Navs? These are just but a few questions we will hopefully answer as you read this article.
GPS Dog Tracker
A pet tracker or GPS dog tracker can be defined as a device that uses different technologies to keep track of a pet’s locations. These pet tracker devices are commonly attached to pet collars for dogs and cats to provide real time round the clock tracking, so you can monitor the movements of your pets. With the new trackers, you can point the exact location, making it easier to locate them if they become lost or stolen. Some of these GPS Trackers even give an alert when your pet leaves a pre-determined virtual area commonly called geo-fence. Modern technology has now made it possible to keep tabs on our furry four-legged friends from afar with dog trackers.
What is a GPS dog tracker?
This is a pet tracker device commonly attached to pet collars for dogs, to provide real time round the clock tracking, so you can monitor the movements of your pets. It has a GPS tracking unit that uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the device on your dog’s collar.
Best dog tracker
Why do I need a Pet tracker?
When I decided to look at the market in dog trackers, my first thoughts were, is this just another fad? Then I recalled one night, many years ago when our dog Titch decided to run away (and get pregnant!!!). Long before trackers existed, and back when I was living in the middle of nowhere our beloved family pooch trotted off into the darkness and went missing for several hours. Little did we know that she would meet ‘Spud’ and create a trio of beautiful pups, but I know for sure that her going missing was a worry at the time.
Since remembering our precious pooch, I’ve begun to realise that tracking your dog would be pretty darn useful should you lose them at any point. In fact, Titch’s successor Harry, a border X terrier with attitude, could well have done with one of these too, for all the times he used to try and escape the lead or make a break for freedom up on the moors or on the beach! To track your dog real time would be of great reassurance to many owners.
To answer my first question, in the UK it is now a legal requirement to chip your dog, but a chip is only useful when someone finds your dog and hands it to a vet to scan the chip. If your dog gets lost, it won’t help you actively find it. The most up to date GPS technologies have now been harnessed to aid you in finding your dog should he be a bit of a Titch or Harry, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this is a very practical use of it.
Between April 2016 and 2017, The Dogs Trust survey stated that 66,277 stray dogs were taken in, which although is a large decrease on the previous year, still pretty staggering. Microchipping may have accounted for fewer dogs being taken in, but many of the chipped dogs did not have the correct owner details on the chip! So a reminder to all our fellow dog lovers to ensure you have the correct details on the microchip; it is still a great back up should anything happen, and goes hand in hand with a tracker to ensure your dog is safe.
Now, what about activity monitors? Think of a human version for example, a FitBit or an Apple watch. And then think of the obesity crisis that is now manifesting in our beloved pooches. An article in Veterinary Record journal cited that at the last survey in 2010, 59% of UK dogs were classified as overweight or obese. This is staggering!
Perhaps the idea of an activity monitor for a dog is a potential way to highlight to owners just how much exercise little Fido does, and therefore how to tailor his diet on a day to day basis. If we can harness these technologies to help improve the health of us and our pets, they are surely worth investing in.
Some pet trackers also function as activity monitors, and then there are a few on the market whose sole aim is to monitor your dogs activity and health, such as Fitbark2 and PitPat. These do NOT utilise GPS which means no monthly subsciption fees.
So here we are:
THE 10 BEST DOG TRACKERS
#1 – Weenect Dog 2 Tracker (World’s Smallest GPS Tracker)
The Weenect trackers feature a ringer and vibrator in the device, meaning you will be able to train your dog to return by using just the tracker. Handy I guess, if Fido is out exploring the garden! He could well be trained to associate the ringer with dinner time, for example.
Whilst in motion, the tracker updates each minute, and whilst standing updates every 5. Battery life when in use tends to be closer to 2 days than the 2-4 specified, however a low battery warning is a handy backup.
Weenect also works in over 100 countries, and includes a multi-network sim from which you can choose a subscription plan, either for 12 or 24 months at a time. It is also an activity tracker, providing a sleep and exercise report. As well as being waterproof, it comes with a silicone case for added durability.
If you are looking for a mid priced tracker and activity monitor with the potential to train your pooch to respond to the device, then this one is for you.
- Silicone case, can be attached to your dogs usual collar
- One app can track multiple dogs at the same time
- Real time tracking
- Can create geofences
- Ring and vibrate function useful for training
- Very lightweight at 25g
- Waterproof IP67 Rating
- The subscription fee is a minimum of £3.75/m for 24m or £5/m over 12months – a bit higher than other subscription GPS trackers
- Battery life stated upto 3 days but with more ‘usual’ use probably needs charging daily.
#2 – Pawfit 2 Gps Pet Tracker Review
Pawfit is another GPS tracker combined with activity monitor, and we like the Audio ID Tag which converts the information you entered about your pet, into audio data. Press the power button and this will be broadcast, should anybody else find your dog. It also features a temperature alert for example if your pet is in adverse temperature conditions, and an alert when the tracker is removed from its collar attachment. It also utilizes the virtual fence feature, and has live tracking every 5 seconds.
In addition to using several technologies to locate your dog, Pawfit uses light and sound to help locate your dog in the last few metres.
It is suitable for pets 3.5kg and above so can be worn by cats, and attaches to any collar upto 32mm wide.
I like Pawfit because it is a good value for money device which is both GPS tracker and activity monitor, and the audio alert feature is useful should anybody find pooch when he is in an area with no mobile signal.
The updated Pawfit 2 has an embedded SIM with coverage in Europe and North America.
For a little bit more money than the bestselling Tractive, Pawfit would be my bet.
- Utilizes GPS, WiFi and cellular technology
- IP68 Waterproof – upto 3metres submerged
- Real time tracking
- Activity monitor
- Temperature and removal alerts
- Audio ID – anyone pressing the power button on the device will hear the dogs ID out loud
- Can be attached to any collar upto 32mm wide
- Can be used on any pet 3.5kg and above
- Using the app you can track up to 4 pets at once, and set 10 safety zones
- Subscription from £3.59/month, SIM embedded
- A best rated device – 4.4/5 on Amazon
- A bit pricier for the device than other best selling options but worth the extra.
#3 – Tractive GPS Pet Tracker
The Tractive is a top seller! We can see why this product remains a best seller, this value for money tracker uses GPS technology with live updating every 2-3 seconds to help locate your pet.
We feel that a geofence is a must for any tracker and Tractive doesn’t disappoint, sending instant notifications any time he leaves the defined boundary. The tracker uses GPS technology, using the 4G network (2021 Tractive Dog 4), utilising the mobile network with best availability to enable location data wherever your pooch happens to be.
Tractive Dog is suitable for pets 4.5kg and over and is just under 30g, with an ergonomic shape to sit comfortably on pups neck and easy rubber attachments for different collar widths and sizes. It doesn’t have interchangeable batteries, but has a battery life of 2-5 days (depending on use and mobile signal) and takes under 3h to fully charge, great for when Fido comes in for a nap!
Just as with other trackers using GPS/cellular data, it does have a small monthly subscription, but this in not going to break the bank at just a few pounds, and if you need coverage abroad or want to share location and information with friends and family, a premium subscription sees it working in upto 150 countries and costs just a few pence more.
If you want a tracker purely to (potentially) find a wandering pet, and track his movements, then Tractive trackers are worth the money, and this newly updated Tractive for Dogs is sure to live upto their great reputation.
- Geofence capability
- Light and sound tracking
- Activity monitoring
- The new 2021 Tractive 4 works using the 4G network
- A Best selling, top rated GPS dog tracker
- Waterproof IPX7 rating and shock resistant
- 30g, small enough for all breeds
- Rated 4.5/5 on Amazon
- Subscription fees are a bit variable with the two plans available (basic and premium).
- Some find the ‘dogproof’ on/off button tricky to use.
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#4 – Trakimo Tracker Review
A US based tracker, Trakimo dog tracker will work anywhere in the world with 2G coverage. We found this device after reading reviews from other dog owners recently, and it seemed a popular choice, so we thought we’d take a look!
Trakimo uses GPS, but indoors or where satellite signals are poor, wi-fi, bluetooth and cellphone signals can be used. The diagram below shows you a few of their top features.
A nifty feature is the SOS button alerts you and anyone you designate. If somebody presses the button, it will bring to your attention that pooch is missing! You can use a smartphone app or web browser to track your pet, and add family and friends to your account so they can be alerted too.
#5–Winnes Mini Portable GPS Tracker
A low budget GPS/2G tracking device, the Winnes/TKSTAR offers real time location monitoring, utilizing GPS/AGPS and LBS technology. This means that even if GPS signal isn’t good, LBS can kick in, although accuracy is reduced.
It features an SOS alarm button on the device which if held for 3 seconds will alert to the SOS number. It is also the only tracker we have seen which has an ‘over speed’ alarm, and a ‘shake’ alarm. This highlights the fact that the Winnes is marketed at multiple audiences, whether it be your dog, people, vehicles or other prize possessions.
In that regard, it isn’t specifically designed with any special collar or attachments, with a basic square box design 5 x 5cm. It has a standby battery life of 180h which will be significantly less with active use, not dissimilar to other devices. The device will go into standby mode if it doesn’t sense vibration for 3 minutes, which is a useful nod to preserving battery life.
The device uses an Mobile app or use it with your computer., so check the mobile phone requirements as with all trackers. If you are reluctant to spend a lot of money on a dog tracker, then this device is worth a look.
- Waterproof IP65 rating
- Standby battery life of 180h
- Standby mode when no vibrations sensed for 3 mins helps save battery
- Geofence function
- SOS alarm button function
- Over-speed alarm, and ‘shake’ alarm – a multifunctional tracker
- Utilizes GPS with accuracy of 5-10m, LBS accuracy 100-1000m if GPS out of range
- Rated 3.7/5 on Amazon
- Larger, bulkier and heavier at 5x5cm and 50g than other pet specific tracking devices
- You will need to get a SIM card for the device that supports 2G network and top-up accordingly
#6 –Vodaphone Curve Smart GPS
Curve is a GPS tracker from network Vodaphone. Attach the tiny keyring to your dog’s collar and track in realtime, using GPS. Connect via the Vodaphone Smart app, and track your dog all over the world using Vodafone’s global network. For this you will need a subscription like other GPS tracking devices, but at only £2/m for 24 months or £3/m for 12 months, it’s competitively priced and the unit itself is great for smaller budgets.
The battery life is up to 7 days depending on usage, and at 30g it is very lightweight so good for any pet.
You can set up zones to alert you when your dog enters or leaves, again one of the features I would be looking for with a tracker.
- Waterproof – upto 1m for 30mins (certified rated IP67)
- Battery life upto 7 days
- Lightweight at 30g
- Uses GPS technology and bluetooth
- Can be given to family/friends who can send location updates using the ‘quick alert’ button
- Four different tracking modes which can help save battery life
- At £20 a very reasonably priced GPS tracker
- Rated 3.9/5 on Amazon
- Tracking Subject to vodaphone coverage and GPS signal
- Landbased tracking only
- Some reviews have mentioned that battery life isn’t as good as it says
#7 – Yepzon One 2.0 GPS Tracker
This newer version of the original Yepzon One has been updated to include WiFi indoor positioning as well as GPS to locate your pets (or family members; kids, the elderly), as accurately as possible.
This GPS tracker utilizes the 2G network, with a built in SIM, and price plans comparable to the other big players.
The tracker is waterproof and shockproof, and the battery life is upto several weeks depending on the usage mode which is enabled.
Easily pair it to your mobile device using QR codes, with an app that can link to unlimited devices and have unlimited users.
We thought highly of the Yepzon One, so are pleased to see a return with the upgraded 2.0 version. It’s a great tracker not just for pets, and because of it’s versatility it does mean the functions are not specific to a dog tracker i.e. no geofence or activity monitoring. However its simplicity, with no buttons which can accidentally be pressed, is certainly a bonus, as is the longer battery life of this tracker.
- Simple to use device with both WiFi and GPS tracking
- Built in SIM with low monthly fees from £3.33
- Battery life 5-10 days or upto months if in sleep mode
- Can have unlimited users linked to each device/unlimited devices paired with the app
- Shockproof, water resistant
- No buttons or switches on the device so cannot be accidentally turned off!
- Simple but limited functions ie no geofence
- Compared to the best sellers, the initial cost of the device is higher.
#8 – Dynotag web/GPS Enabled Tracker
Let me start by saying that this is a different concept to the trackers above! It therefore doesn’t feature in our comparison table and we have listed its own features below. Thinking a little ‘outside the box’, to a cheap alternative to a standard tracker, a tag like Dynotag can alert you to your lost dog anywhere in the world. Information you include about your pet is included in the Dynotag Cloud Service, can be updated anytime, and is never lost. You simply scan the QR code on the tag or enter the private web address on each tag – it can therefore be used with either a smartphone or web browser. You can remotely disable tags for security, and password protect information.
They contain no batteries or electronics, tough and maintenance free with a lifetime warranty and no subscription fees. I also like the variety of funky designs now available for pets.
- Simple to use: Just create a free account at Dynotag.com, sign in, then click activate tag on top.
- Secure activation makes sure only the tag owner can manage the tag, others can only view it.
- No app needed every dynotag has a private web page that is addressed by the QR code or the provided unique web address – this enables a dynotag to be easily readable by smartphones (scan the QR code) or any web browser on any computer by visiting the included unique web address.
- Works anywhere on the planet with Internet. You do not have to be in the vicinity of your tag to update its contents, just sign into your Dynotag account and update your tag content as you need.
- Tough, waterproof, weatherproof. NO electronics to break, NO batteries to die when you need them most. All needed functionality and ample room included for life,
- NO subscription plan is needed.
- Offer advanced security features that include enabling/disabling of the tag by the owner.
- Password protection of the tag information as directed by the owner, as well as password protection of individual files uploaded.
- Made from tough stainless steel core and protective polymers on both sides.
#9 – PitPat Dog Activity Tracker
A best selling dog activity monitor, the PitPat is new to our list in the second half of 2020. We have become much more aware of the need to keep a close eye on our own activity and fitness levels, which in turn has led to an increased interest in those of our pets. As a result, products which purely monitor our dogs activity are becoming increasingly popular.
The PitPat is a highly rated model, GPS free dog activity monitor which links to a simple to use phone app via Bluetooth. It doesn’t therefore help geolocate your dog, it focuses on your dogs health, helps in weight management and tracks his daily activity.
The PitPat 2 will attach securely to any dog collar with parachute velcro and is super small and lightweight at only 16grams. It has a long lasting CR2032 battery which will run for a year before needing replacement (a couple of pounds will buy you 2 batteries).
You can set up a profile for your dog with his specific details; age, weight, and choose from over 200 breeds. You may also add multiple profiles on the app if you have more than one dog (each dog needs his own PitPat). You can also share with multiple users.
Set weight and activity goals, earn badges and get daily inspiring messages – all the encouragement you need to help your dog meet his targets.
At only £39, if you are struggling with your pets weight or just want to keep a check on his activity, we think it’s a really good value for money purchase if you are not interested in the GPS locating features of other dog trackers.
#10 – FitBark2 Dog monitor Review
Fitbark’s aim is to get pet and human working together as one. Fitbark monitors your pets activity levels, sleep, distance travelled, calories burned during (agility training on ramp) walks and general health and behaviour all of the time.
The updated fitbark 2 has a battery life of up to 6 months, is waterproof and will fit any pooch.
Fitbark can be linked to the humans’ own activity monitor – FitBit, Apple HealthKit, Google Fit, and allow you to track progress side by side. Talk about motivation! It certainly is a novel idea in the crackdown on pet obesity.
What else do I look for in a good dog tracker?
The most up to date technology utilises GPS via a mobile phone 2G/3G signal. Therefore you need to be in range of both GPS satellite and mobile signals for most trackers to work. Other trackers still utilize radio signal. Other technology used depends on the monitor but some utilize wi-fi and bluetooth for example if used indoors and mobile signal isn’t great. The advantage of using a mobile phone signal is that, if you’re in the UK, coverage is pretty good and it can also be utilized abroad too.
Battery life – another thing to consider if your dog is actually lost is, will the battery last long enough to find him? Battery life can vary quite a bit depending on the use of the tracker, and other variables like phone signal. We have checked the battery life of all the GPS trackers reviewed and included in a handy comparison table.
Durability – mainly, is it waterproof and resistant to rough handling?! Pretty essential if its going to be worn around the neck of an adventurous pooch.
Additional features – If it’s a GPS tracker you are looking for to monitor the movements of your dog, then additional features such as a virtual ‘geofence’ are really handy. They can set defined limits and alert you when the dog moves beyond them. Some, like the Weenect for example, have a ringer and vibrator in the collar so you can use it to train your dog to come back when these are activated.
If your dog does become lost, you will probably require real time updating to your phone app so you can keep tabs on their exact location and track them down ASAP!
Location history is a feature of some of these gadgets, giving you a summary of where your pet has recently been.
Most devices feedback their information to a smart phone app, so bear in mind what phone you have and whether the apps are compatible with it. Check our table for more information.
Assuming you buy a tracker using GPS, the likelihood is you’ll have a small monthly fee to pay for the 2G/3G service that provides this capability. Prices vary, and some charge less if you pay for more months in advance.
Value for money
I wouldn’t review products without giving consideration to their value for money. We try and review a range of devices to suit all budgets and functionalities, and welcome feedback if you have a tracker we haven’t listed and you feel should be on our list!
When we embarked on the process of reviewing tracking devices for our beloved furry friends, we were somewhat skeptical about whether they were a desirable piece of kit or not. Technology has been put to all sorts of uses but we didn’t know if it had such a place in the canine world. Turns out, it certainly has. Far too many dogs still go missing, cats too, and pet trackers can help owners trace their pets to the corners of the globe – literally! Don’t delay, buy a pet tracker today.
The ability to define “safe areas” via a virtual geofence around specific areas of your home and his dog house, is definitely a desirable feature I would recommend to look out for in a tracker.
It’s advisable to always keep your dog on the leads even with a tracker, and in those early days when you are undertaking puppy training, keep them on a retractable dog lead or adjustable dog leash until you can fully trust them to obey you.
Dog toys are great for keeping your pooch occupied and can be used for learning. As mentioned in this piece playtime is essential for dogs and good for their mental and physical health. Check out some of the best indestructible dog toys, soft toys, chucking toys amongst other durable puppy & dog toys in our top picks.
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