‘Last updated: March 26th 2019’.
The Best Dog Tracking Devices of 2019
So, What exactly is a Pet Tracker? Which ones is considered the best dog tracker? How do they work? How much will one cost me? Are they Real-time (GPS tracker locators) or offer On-demand data? 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 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.
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 Fitbark.
So here we are:
THE 10 BEST DOG TRACKERS
#1 – Pod 3 Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor
Pod 3 uses 2G/3G, Wi-fi and bluetooth technology, allowing it to work well indoors and out, and globally in 175 countries. It isn’t the lightest at 31g, however is suitable for all pets, and is fully waterproof with interchangeable batteries. You can create safe zones which will alert when the dog moves outside its defined area, and it also has an activity monitor and recording function, utilising the great technology for more purposes. It attaches to a collar with a reusable strap.
This is a great all round tracking and monitoring device with multiple functions, and it serves its purpose well. Rangers dog recommend!
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The Tractive is a top seller! We can see why, this value for money tracker uses GPS technology with live updating every 2-3 seconds to hello locate your pet. Unlike pod3, it doesn’t utilise wi-fi to help with indoor locating though, and is only suitable for pets 4.5kg and over. It doesn’t have interchangeable batteries, but has a battery life of 2-5 days (depending on use and mobile signal) and only takes 2h to charge, great for when Fido comes in for a nap! Just as with other trackers using 2G/3G, 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 a premium subscription sees it working in upto 150 countries.
We feel that a geofence is a must for any tracker, and tractive doesn’t disappoint. If you are not too fussed about knowing your dogs activity levels, and want a tracker purely to (potentially) find a wandering pet, then Tractive is worth the money!
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#3 – Weenect Tracker Review
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 sim from which you can choose a subscription plan, which is relatively low cost from EUR 3.50/month. 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.
#4 – Pawfit 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. For a little bit more money than the bestselling Tractive, Pawfit would be my bet.
#5 – Trakimo Tracker Review
A US based tracker, Trakimo 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. This use of technologies is similar to the pod3.
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.
#6 – Pebbell V2 Tracker Review
The Pebbell V2 GPS Tracker is compact and ideal for any pet, or family member. This updated version of the original is now waterproof and has a handy charging cradle. This GPS Dog Collar tracking device is small and fits on any collar & harness.
Pebbell is not particularly cheap – why? Well this is pretty unique, it has the ability to have two way conversation between the wearer and the tracker. Instinctively, this would appeal more perhaps if you were trying to locate another person, however, in terms of locating a pet, it could work equally well if a person were to find your dog. Once the SOS button on the device is pressed, the device contacts up to 3 named contacts and allows for two way conversation. Someone finding your dog could speak with the owner, and we think this is an ideal solution to the question: what happens if someone else finds your dog?
The inbuilt SIM can be used in upto 32 EU countries, and you only pay for the credit you use, rather than a set ongoing fee. It uses real time tracking and geofence capability, and the app works on any smartphone.
The Pebbell really stands alone in its unique functionality and although maybe more than what most pet owners require, we certainly think this is a useful piece of technology.
#7 – Yepzon Gps Tracker
Featuring a product from Finland, this device also uses multiple sources to help find your pet; 2G and GSM outdoors, and Bluetooth within the last 50m. The Yepzon One has a sleek, very lightweight design that can be attached to kids, pets, luggage, cars – suitable for locating the whole family! The Yepzon has the best battery life of all reviewed products, owing to a 850mAh Li-ion battery which lasts up to 4 months depending on usage. When not on the move, the device is in sleep mode, using almost no battery. We think therefore an active 4-legged pooch may run down the battery life significantly quicker, but no two dogs are the same! Average use is 7-14 days according to manufacturer website.
You can add multiple devices to one smartphone app and vice versa, and Yepzon point out that they collect no user data to ensure the users privacy.
The Yepzon has no buttons, meaning it cannot be switched off, is water resistant and shockproof, and contains the SIM built in, with small monthly subscription required via the manufacturer, with the first month free.
I can’t help but note that other reviewers on amazon for example, haven’t always highly rated the Yepzon. It is quite a mixed bag from complaints that the device stayed ‘sleeping’ when the user started to move, to inaccurate positioning, however there are plenty who give this product 5 stars.
My qualm with this product is that it doesn’t appear to have a geofence capability, something I would want if using for my pet.
Overall I think this device is good for its simplicity, ease of use, and extra safe, button free design.
#8 – Kippy Vita Gps Tracker Review
The Kippy isn’t going to win points for being a heavier, bulkier tracking device, but I do like its stylish Italian design, and the fact that again for a good price you get a tracker and activity monitor in one. Choose from a range of colours to suit you and pooch.
Its ‘Vita’ function allows you to stay connected to your pet and receive tip on improving well-being. You can also set activity goals for your dogs daily exercise! Get info on your dogs sleeping/walking/running and calorie burning activity, and status updates throughout the day.
Kippy also utilizes many of the same desirable features of other pet trackers; geofence, live updating, and it captures data on each activity of your dog for analysis.
It comes with a 2 year warranty, an easy to use app for smartphone and android, and can be used in multiple countries around the globe. I’d say Kippy is a balance between style and substance, with more of a focus on the dogs activity and well-being, so if this is your priority it may be well worth considering.
#9 – 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.
#10 – FitBark 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.
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