I got my first dog, a Greyhound, two months ago. I immediately started looking for everything I needed to make Aria feel as comfortable and as safe as possible. The first things I got were food and a dog bed. Then I started to search for a collar that would perfectly match Aria, and I discovered there are many different collars out there. There are also smart collars with GPS function, which usually have an integrated health and activity monitor and various other functions.
I realized very soon that Aria is an escape artist who tends to chase almost anything that moves. She is able to jump over any obstacle very easily, so it quickly became clear to me that I would not be able to keep an eye on her so easily.
Since her safety is especially important to me, I decided to invest a bit more money and try some of the dog GPS collars on the market instead of the plain one. I was expecting to spend a day or two on this “quest”, but it turned out there’s some serious research to be done if you’re obsessed with your dog not getting lost, as I am. I ended up spending days researching various GPS collars and trackers and read literally hundreds of articles, user ratings on Amazon, as well as Facebook comments.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the number of features advertised on the product web sites of these devices. I couldn’t distinguish which of them were important and which were just sounding nice. I assume that you have noticed the same, so I hope that the time I have spent narrowing down to the most important features will save you a lot of reading time and keep you from making a bad purchase.
Finally, I decided to make a comparison table for myself to get an overview, which I’m sharing with you below in this article. During the research process, I passed on a part of my excitement with GPS dog collars to my sister and friends, who are also dog owners, so we decided to test four devices that seemed the best to us after compiling and analyzing the comparison table.
My Dog GPS Collar Review Criteria
All the dog GPS collars and trackers that we tested use apps for iOS and Android devices to provide a quick read on the data they collect, and a few of them have a web-based interface as well. Some GPS trackers already come with their own collars or have GPS devices embedded right into the collar, and others are standalone tracking devices that can be fitted onto collars that you already have.
Keep in mind that all four devices were tested in everyday scenarios and in “normal conditions”- we live in an ordinary city, and we didn’t go to remote areas with our dogs. Each of the tested devices worked reasonably well in such conditions.
After the whole process of researching, studying and finally testing several products, I came to the conclusion that these are the most important features you need to consider if you’re buying a dog GPS collar or tracker:
- Long battery life – This is the most important feature in my opinion. A tracking device can be waterproof, it can show you a really accurate position of your dog, and have dozens of other useful features, but if the battery runs out after just a few hours of use, the tracker is useless, and it doesn’t serve its purpose, which is to find your dog if he wanders off.
- Accuracy – After battery life, this is the second-most important thing, because if a GPS collar is not even nearly accurate, the chances of finding your pet are drastically reduced. You would be surprised to know how many GPS trackers don’t provide even nearly accurate data!
- Size and weight – When choosing a GPS collar or tracker for your dog, it’s very important to pay attention to the size of your dog and to the size and weight of the device itself. The collar shouldn’t be too narrow, or it could cause skin irritation or breathing problems. Also, GPS collars or trackers shouldn’t be too heavy, because that could also cause certain health issues (collars that are too heavy for your dog increase the risk of neck and spinal injuries).
- Safe zones – While it’s not absolutely a must, it’s great if the dog GPS collar or tracker is equipped with a system that allows you to create a virtual safe zone (also called “geo-fences”) for your dog, because that will alert you every time the dog leaves the yard, or whatever the area you’ve defined as a safe zone for your dog.
Here is a list of our dog breeds on which we tested the devices and a brief description of their natures:
- Aria – Greyhound; escape artist; she will chase anything; she is capable of jumping high, and since she’s slim and sleek, she’s able to squeeze through really tight spaces.
- Remi – Boston Terrier; lively, intelligent, and playful dog that demands interaction with people and daily exercise, at least in the form of a 30-minute walk.
- Nala – German Shepherd; intelligent and active; doesn’t like to be left alone; she requires some extra care and plenty of activity and interesting things to do.
- Cooper – Golden Retriever; energetic and playful dog who adores water; needs lots of activity and occasionally goes hunting with his owner.
Before we move to the devices themselves, I would like to clarify a few things. During my research, I noticed that some people have a wrong opinion when it comes to microchips, GPS, and dog collars. I need to mention as well that our dogs are microchipped and that each of them has a collar with clearly visible data (tag), but sometimes that is not enough to find your dog if he strays.
GPS Microchip for Dogs
In order to keep their pets safe, dog owners around the world, who generally don’t know much about technology (just like I didn’t know a few months ago), are searching online for different solutions. That is one of the reasons why so many people google for phrases like “GPS microchip for dogs” and “How much do dog GPS chips cost?” However, implanting a GPS tracker into a dog isn’t possible, simply because there are no such products available.
There is a common misconception about microchips and GPS trackers, and it is important for all dog owners to understand the difference between them.
A GPS microchip for dogs doesn’t yet exist. The microchips that are currently being implanted in dogs are tiny electronic implants that carry a unique ID number, and they are used for identification purposes only. A standard microchip is not a tracking device, and it doesn’t work the same way as global positioning devices (GPS) do. Unlike a microchip, GPS collars or trackers allow us to track our dogs in real-time so we can find them quickly if they ever get lost by pinpointing their location.
What Is The Difference Between Dog GPS Collars and Tracking Devices?
The only difference between dog GPS collars and tracking devices is that GPS tracking devices are just devices without a matching collar, whereas what we call a “GPS collar” is simply a collar with an attached GPS module.
In terms of performance and the results they provide, there is no difference between these two types of products. Both collars and trackers rely on satellites located outside Earth’s atmosphere, and you can monitor your dog’s location by opening a virtual map inside the app.
They basically work like this: device A ( in this case a GPS tracker) sends the signal to device B (satellite), which is connected with device C (cell phone).
What is a GEO Fence, and Why is That Important?
Unlike traditional or electric dog fences, which require a radio signal and a buried wire, a geofence, or GPS dog fence system, can be set up anywhere, quickly and easily. Another good thing is that, since it’s invisible, a dog geofence will not disrupt the appearance of your yard or any other place where you decide to set it up.
A geofence, a GPS dog fence, or a so-called virtual fence, known as the “safe zone”, is a wireless system that uses satellites to create boundaries for our dogs and to track their location and movement. To define the boundary area or the safe zone and to track our dog, we need to have a GPS dog collar and base unit (or mobile app).
Some of the GPS dog fence systems use electrical shocks (administered through a dog collar) to correct the dog if he tries to leave the virtual safe area that has been created. I believe that the idea of using shocks to prevent a dog from leaving the designated safe area doesn’t sound appealing to anyone.
If you’re with me on this but you would still like to keep your dog safe and prevent him from wandering off, there are plenty models of GPS collars and trackers that allow you to set up a virtual fence (geofence) that works in a way that you receive an instant alert (text, app or email notification) when your dog leaves the safe area that you have created, instead of punishing him with electrical shock.
How Accurate Are Dog GPS Collars in Real Life?
Depending on the weather conditions and the location, the GPS technology can be very accurate (up to 3 feet) or very inaccurate (up to 50 yards). If you are using a GPS collar in the city, the GPS coverage should be great, but if you go hiking into mountains or woods, there can be problems with GPS coverage. GPS can also be interfered with by clouds and rain; therefore, it’s important that the dog collar has an additional SIM card and is connected to the mobile network, be it 3G, or 4G.
GPS technology is very accurate in clear weather and in full GPS coverage (usually near busy roads), and it is much more accurate than 3G/4G signal interpolation, but if there is no GPS signal or there is cloudy/rainy weather, 3G/4G will be enough to track down your dog up to 30 feet and sometimes even 5 feet.
Do Dog GPS Collars Really Deliver Real-Time Information?
Most manufacturers of dog GPS collars or trackers claim that their devices provide real-time tracking (within a few seconds/with a few seconds delay) but this is only possible when the conditions are perfect and there are no obstacles that would interfere with the signal. Still, most of them will deliver you a useful, approximate location, which will help you to find your dog in most cases.
How Reliable Are Dog GPS Collars?
The products we tested on our dogs proved to be reliable and we didn’t have any major problems with them. The most important thing is actually the battery life, and you need to pay attention to that when choosing which device to buy for your dog. The search for a lost dog can sometimes take a while, and if you use the live tracking option, keep in mind that this will drain the device’s battery much faster. For this reason, don’t always wait for a warning that the battery is empty in order to charge it; if you already know that you are sloppy with such things, buy a device with a longer battery life.
Are Dog GPS Collars Actually Helpful if Your Dog is Lost?
As long as you make sure the battery is always full, GPS collars will definitely be helpful when your dog gets lost. Even when you only get an approximate location of your dog, this information can still be useful to you because you know in which direction you need to look for your dog.
You Need a Monthly Subscription to the GPS Service
All the devices we tested work together with a mobile app that is available for both platforms: iOS and Android. In order to send you the GPS location of your dog to your smartphone, these devices need to connect to the best available cellular network. And since you are using a SIM card, which makes use of cell phone towers and infrastructure, this involves certain costs so you need to pay a monthly fee to be able to access the data.
All GPS tracking platforms/companies offer several payment methods, so you can take a one-year or two-year subscription plan (which is usually a much cheaper option), but I advise you to start with the monthly payment option until you are sure that the device you bought is reliable and your dog has no problems with it.
Best Dog GPS Tracker for Small or Active Dogs – Fitbark GPS
We tested this tracker on Remi (Boston Terrier). Fitbark GPS tracker comes with 2 black covers, charging cable, quick start guide, and 10 zip ties – you will need these to attach the tracker to your dog’s collar. It’s not very easy to put the tracker on or off this way at first, but when you get used to it, it goes on easily. The good thing is, the device can’t be removed unless the collar comes off.
The tracker itself is not heavy, so it’s easily wearable for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Although it doesn’t come with a matching collar, the Fitbark GPS works with any other collar up to 1.5 inches wide.
According to the reviews of other dog owners on
Amazon, customer service of this company is very responsive, with support chat available 24/7. The embedded Verizon data plan is entirely independent of your phone’s cellular service, so there is no worry if you are using some other network. This tracker is dust-resistant and waterproof, so it’s a great choice for those who like to go on adventures with their dogs.
The Fitbark GPS tracker has a free iOS and Android app. It also tracks your dog’s activity and the distance it traveled during the day, as well as calorie consumption, sleep quality, and other health and behavior-related info. You are able to set the goals based on the dog’s age, breed, and weight.
Accuracy – Fitbark GPS tracker will work way better if there is adequate Verizon coverage in the area where you live. We noticed that the tracking function has a slight delay (2-3 minutes), so it’s not technically “real-time” tracking, but still pretty fine. We tested the GPS function in a large wooded park, and it worked very well. We were able to find Remi easily, and we were receiving location updates every minute until we found him.
Battery life – The battery lasts 2-3 weeks on average, but if your dog is within Bluetooth range of your smartphone and the Fitbark mobile app is running in the background with Bluetooth on all the time, the battery can last around 30 days. In case the dog wanders off and there is no WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity and the Fitbark app is running in the background, battery life is reduced to 4-5 days max.
Size and weight – The tracker weighs 0.64 oz. It’s flat and non-bulky, so it is suitable for all dog breeds and sizes.
Safe zone – With this device, it’s possible to create multiple safe zones around different Wi-Fi networks. This means you can set up a safe zone at your own home, your friend’s house, at daycare, etc. Once your pet leaves the safe zone, you will get an alert on your phone within 2-3 minutes.
Price and subscription plan – The Fitbark GPS tracker is priced at $99.95, and a subscription plan is required. We took the monthly subscription of $9.95 because we wanted to test it first before we committed to it longer term.
Best Dog GPS Tracker for Big Dogs – Whistle GO Explore
We tested the Whistle GO Explore tracker on my dog Aria (Greyhound).
The tracker comes with one snap collar attachment, USB charging cable, a quick start guide, and one hook-and-loop collar attachment for collars (or harnesses) larger than 1 inch.
The Whistle GO Explore works with the free app for iOS and Android. I really like the ability to add multiple owners to the account since Aria will stay at my parents’ or sister’s when I go on a vacation. Another thing I like is that it has an LED light that you can control remotely, which comes in handy during night walks or if the dog gets lost during the night.
With the Whistle tracker, you can also monitor your dog’s activity and set up a daily goal that is generated based on the dog’s age, breed, and weight. The app provides us information on how many calories Aria has burned, how many miles she has traveled, time spent playing or resting, and also health and behavior-related information (sleep, scratching, licking etc.). The food portion calculator is also available.
Accuracy – We tested the lost-pet mode several times. As I mentioned earlier, Aria is a pretty lively dog, and she managed to escape from the yard twice. It took a few minutes before the alert (push notification) about her leaving the safe zone came to my phone, but in live tracking mode, we were receiving updates on her location every 10-20 seconds, and we had no problem finding her.
Battery life – Aria gets out for daily walks, and I take her with me if I have to run some errands. We used the always-on mode (live-tracking) two times for approximately 20-30 minutes, and the low-battery warning appeared after two weeks of usage. If you have a dog that is not excessively active and mostly stays within the safe zone, I think the battery should last longer, because when the dog is inside the Wi-Fi zone, power saving is automatically turned on and GPS is disabled in that case (it is activated again when the dog leaves the safe zone).
Size and weight – The Whistle GO Explore tracker weighs 1.3 oz with the collar clip, you can use it on the collar that you already have or order a new one from Whistle for an additional $29.95 (different sizes are available). We used the one we had. The device itself is a little thicker than I expected, but it looks good on Aria’s neck and is quite light, so I think you can use it on smaller dogs as well (some people even use it for tracking their cats).
Speaking of what you can track with this device, while doing my research before ordering Whistle GO Explore, I came across an interesting and kind of funny product review by one user and had to share it with you.
“I was testing out my new Whistle’s accuracy by putting it in my car first and then my husband’s car. I wanted to make sure it worked before I put it on my cat.
Surprise, surprise! Didn’t expect to find him cheating, and with multiple women. I kicked him to the curb and gave the Whistle to my sister to use with her wandering child. Works great and the interface map is fantastic, and accurate right down to the house numbers. Thank you!”
Safe zone – We have good WiFi coverage at home so we didn’t get any false alarms, but some other users were complaining about this, and it usually occurs when the tracker disconnects from the WiFi and tries communicating over the cellular network. The response time for an initial escape from the safe zone could be better, so if you want to buy this device primarily because you want to be notified as soon as your dog leaves the yard, you need to know that it takes roughly 4-5 minutes before you get the alert. But when it comes to tracking a runaway dog, Whistle GO Explore works fairly well.
Price and subscription plan – The price of the device itself is $129.95. A subscription plan is needed to cover the cost of cellular service to communicate between the tracking unit and your smartphone. Three options are available: monthly ($9.95/month), yearly ($7.95/month), and a 2-year subscription plan ($6.95/month).
Cheapest Dog GPS Tracker – Tractive 3G GPS Pet Tracker
We tested this device on Cooper (Golden Retriever). The Tractive GPS tracker comes with two clips (for different size collars), charger, and user manual. Unlike other devices we have tested, Tractive will not track your pet’s activity, so if you are concerned about your pet’s health and you would like to get some useful insights, you may want to look for a more suitable device.
But, if you own a pet who likes to get wet, this might be the right thing for you. The manufacturer claims that the device can last up to 30 minutes in water about 1 meter deep, and since Chester loves water and uses every opportunity to get wet, we can confirm that the Tractive GPS tracker is indeed waterproof.
Tractive 3G GPS tracker works with free iOS and Android apps, and a web-based interface is also available. During the setup, you will have to answer some questions about your dog. Honestly, this was annoying for us because it felt like there was no end.
We must note that we didn’t need to contact customer service, but many users claim that support was almost non-existent and that they mostly received generic responses that were not very helpful.
Accuracy – We tried to test the live tracking mode several times, and it didn’t go very smoothly. It takes a long time to start the live tracking, if it happens at all. The message “Starting Live View” appeared on the screen several times, but nothing happened in the end. We managed to start the live tracking mode maybe one out of four times, and then we got a fairly accurate location of Chester (within 10 feet).
Battery life – The manufacturer claims that the battery lasts 2-5 days, but it never lasted longer than 24 hours in our case, and most other users have had the same experience. If you use the live tracking mode, the battery will drain very quickly (after 8 hours in our case).
Size and weight – Tractive 3G GPS weighs 1.2 oz and it’s recommended for pets above 9 pounds. The design of the product could be a bit better – the provided clips didn’t seem extremely secure so we fastened them additionally with some insulating tape just in case. So, if you have a very active dog, we wouldn’t recommend buying this tracker as there is a high probability that it will fall off the collar at some point.
Safe zone – Tractive also allows you to set up a virtual fence or so-called safe zone, and it claims that you will be notified as soon as your dog leaves that area, but this feature has not proven to be good for us because several times a day, we received notifications that Chester had escaped, even though he was in the yard. When he really did run out of the yard on several occasions, the notification arrived 2-3 minutes later.
Price and subscription plan – Tractive 3G GPS tracker is priced at $49.99, and it is the cheapest of all devices we tested. The subscription plan is needed, and you can choose between two plans – Basic and Premium. The Basic plan costs $6.99 per month (or $119.99 upfront for two years) and the Premium plan costs $9.99 per month (or $124.99 for two years). If you want to share your dog’s location with other family members or friends, you will have to get a Premium subscription plan.
Update: The 3G version of the Tractive GPS tracker has been recently updated and it looks a bit different. But the main features stayed the same.
The Only Dog GPS Collar with a 3-year Flexible Warranty – Link AKC
The Link AKC GPS collar was tested on Nala (German Shepherd). Unlike the devices we mentioned earlier, the Link AKC tracker comes with a matching leather collar. It has a built-in LED light, same as Whistle GO Explore.
The packaging contains a tracking unit, a high-quality leather collar, a carrier to attach the device onto the collar, a power cord, and a base station.
To get started using this tracker unit, you need to charge it on the base station first. Then you need to install a free Android or iOS app and connect the collar to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You also need to set up the base unit. This unit uses Bluetooth to create a safe zone, which means the range isn’t exactly great, and if you have a larger house or yard, you’ll need more than one base unit, which complicates things a bit because it’s not possible to buy an additional base unit separately (if you need a second base unit, you need to buy it together with another collar).
Accuracy – We deliberately let Nala out of the yard to test the accuracy of this collar, and the notification that she had left the safe zone arrived 3 minutes later (my friend was with her the whole time just in case), but the location was then updated every 30 seconds until we “found” Nala and got her back to the yard. The Link AKC GPS relies on the AT&T cellular network, and since we live in an area with good AT&T cellular coverage, this product was pretty reliable.
Battery life – The battery life of the Link AKC GPS collar isn’t great; it only lasts one day, so we had to charge it constantly. If you have a dog who is not prone to running away and spends most of the time near you or the base station, the battery could last a little longer. But as soon as you turn on the lost-dog mode, it will discharge in less than 4 hours.
Size and Weight – Link AKC smart collar is available in four sizes: XL (for necks from 17 to 29 in), large (from 17 to 21 in), medium (from 14 to 17.5 in), and small (from 9 to 14 in). We got a large one for Nala, and it fits her well. The Link AKC collar weighs 2.55 oz, which means it’s a lot heavier compared to other devices (Link recommends this smart collar for dogs 10 pounds and up). Although the tracker comes with an included collar, you can use it on any other collar.
Safe zone – When it comes to setting up a safe zone, this device doesn’t offer plenty of customization. Two safe zones will be set automatically: one around the base unit and the second around your smartphone. As I mentioned earlier, if you live in a large house, you may need more than one base station because the coverage isn’t good enough, and you may be getting a lot of false alarms if your dog is not near the base unit or your phone.
Price and subscription plan – The Link AKC collar is priced at $59.99, and you will need to get a subscription plan. If you opt for a monthly payment, you will have to pay $9.95/month; for an annual payment, the price is reduced to $7.95/month, and if you decide to take a two-year plan, the price is $6.95/month.
Dog GPS Collars with Health and Activity Monitoring
Of all the devices we tested, Tractive does not monitor a dog’s activity, while Fitbark, Whistle and Link AKC dog GPS collars have several interesting features.
All four devices offer the ability to set fitness goals based on age, breed, and weight. Whistle GO Explore tracks calories burned, minutes active and distance traveled; the Fitbark does this too, but Fitbark also offers you the possibility to link your own fitness tracker like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Google fit device, or HealthKit and stay healthy and active with your dog. Link AKC also provides info on the recommended activity level for a specific dog’s breed, size, age, and behavior.
Monitoring the habits and behavior of our pets is important if we want to spot potential health issues in time before they become serious problems. Tractive doesn’t have this option, but Whistle, Fitbark, and Link monitor the following:
- Whistle GO Explore – Tracks and analyzes dog’s sleeping, scratching, and licking. There is also a food portion calculator available, so it’s possible to personalize food portions based on age, breed, weight, exercise levels, and types of dog food.
- Fitbark GPS tracker – Tracks your dog mobility, anxiety and skin diseases through changes in behavior and sleep habits. It’s possible to invite your dog trainer or veterinarian to monitor any changes related to your dog’s health.
- Link AKC – Has no special features when it comes to health monitoring, but it will warn you when the dog is in the environment that may be too cold or too hot for him.
Dog GPS Collar for Hunters and Dog Trainers – Garmin Products
One of our friends who participated in this little experiment with GPS trackers is a hunter, so we looked for devices designed just for that purpose and found that the Garmin company sells dog GPS collars for hunters and dog trainers. In the end, though, we decided to skip Garmin for a few reasons:
- The first and most important reason is that their products use electric shocks to correct the behavior of dogs, and that was not acceptable to us.
- In addition, to be able to use Garmin collars, you must also have a handheld device that is sold separately, and when it all adds up, the price in some cases can be higher than $1000.
Our group verdict: Garmin dog collars are definitely not the go-to choice if you are a dog owner, but they’re probably a good choice for hunters and dog trainers.
Why Fi Collar, Trackimo and Findster Duo+ Are Not on the List?
Fi Collar, Findster Duo+, and Trackimo are among the popular dog GPS collars and trackers, so we had them in mind at the beginning, but here’s why we decided to skip them in the end.
Trackimo had an extremely small number of positive reviews from other dog owners. People mostly complain that customer support is very poor, that it’s difficult or almost impossible to attach the device to a collar, and that this tracker is, despite its popularity, quite unreliable when it comes to doing what it should be doing: tracking a dog. All this and the high price were enough for us to skip this device.
The main reason we decided to skip the Findster Duo+ is the poor user experience when it comes to battery life. In addition to the extremely poor battery life (less than 9 hours), users have also complained about the way this tracker works. It consists of two modules: one that goes to your dog’s collar, and the other (guardian module) that must be constantly next to your cell phone in order for everything to work properly, and that can be impractical.
The Fi collar seemed like a great product at first, but as we dug deeper, I came across a video in which the collar fell off a few times, which is why we decided to skip the testing of Fi collar for now.
Dog GPS Collar Price Range and Subscription Options
The price range of the most popular devices on the market is from about $50 to $150 per device. Although a higher price doesn’t always mean that you will get the highest product quality, GPS dog collars and trackers are the wrong product to save money on, unless you want to own a product that doesn’t do its job properly. As for subscription plans, there are various options at different prices. You can save a few dollars with an annual subscription, but I would recommend you to test the company first and get a monthly subscription before committing.
Pros & Cons of Different Dog GPS Collars
Dog GPS Tracker
Whistle Go Explore
Tractive 3G GPS Tracker
Unique Selling Point
Offers actionable behavioral and medical insights
Longest battery life (20+ days)
1-Year Limited Product Warranty
3-Year Warranty (replacement)
1-Year Limited Product Warranty
1-Year Limited Product Warranty
Does size of product fit my dog?
Fits dogs of any size (works with collars <1.5")
Recommended for pets 10+ lbs
Recommended for pets >8 lbs
For pets >9 lbs
1.8" x 1.2" x 0.6"
1.4” x 1.8” x 0.7”
2.0" x 1.6"x 0.6"
0.96 oz (1.3 oz)
Green, grey & magenta
White & black
Made in USA
Easy to setup
1-minute location updates
Every 3 - 5 minutes
Only with AT&T network
Only in LIVE Tracking mode
How precise is tracking? (accuracy)
30 ft or less (in Find Buddy mode)
It depends on cellular reception
It depends on cellular reception
Up to 30 minutes in 3 ft deep water
Up to 30 minutes in 3 ft deep water
IPX 8, submerge up to 6ft
Up to 30 minutes in 3 ft deep water
Up to 20 days
Up to 5 days
ca. 2 hours
ca. 4 hours
ca. 1 hour
ca. 2 hours
Low battery alert
Power saving mode
When on Wi-Fi
Response time when dog leaves geofence
GPS, cellular sevice, Wi-Fi & bluetooth
GPS, cellular service, Wi-Fi & bluetooth
GPS, cellular service, Wi-Fi & bluetooth
Only GPS & cellular service
4G LTE (Verizon)
4G (T-mobile and AT&T)
Onetime device purchase price
Monthly subscription cost (not optional)
$6.95 - $9.95 monthly
$6.95 - $9.95 monthly
$6.95 - $9.95 monthly
It cannot be used on a harness, must be attached to a collar that is no wider than 1.5"
Poor battery life, you may need additional base station in a bigger house
Troublesome cancellation policy, made from not eco-friendly material
The clips provided are not secure enough, forcing their premium plan
Best GPS Tracker for small or active dogs
Great warranty and fits almost all dogs
Best GPS Tracker for big dogs
Cheapest GPS Tracker
Dog GPS Tracker
Whistle Go Explore
Tractive 3G GPS Tracker
The devices we tested are not quite perfect – believe it or not, there are no five-star dog GPS collars or trackers on the market currently, but these will certainly help you find your dog more easily if it ever gets lost. Just don’t forget to charge the batteries on a regular basis, and you’ll be alright. If you have a smaller dog, you should be fine with the Fitbark GPS tracker, and if your dog is bigger, we believe you can’t make a mistake with the Whistle Go GPS tracker.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dog GPS Collar
Do Dog Microchips Have GPS?
No, dog microchips don’t have a GPS function. They are used for identification purposes only and cannot help you locate your dog if he runs away and gets lost, unless someone else finds him and brings him to the vet or to a shelter. By using a scanner, vets or staff from the shelters can read the microchip ID number and contact the microchip company, which will find your contact information in their database and contact you. All by itself, your dog’s microchip contains only the “who” of the dog. To get the info on “where”, you will need a dog GPS collar or tracker.
Can I Get a GPS Microchip for My Dog?
A dog microchip is a radio-frequency identification implant (RFID) that provides a permanent ID for the dog, and its only purpose is the identification of the animal. At this time, it’s not possible to get a microchip equipped with GPS; the main reason why such a product is not available on the market is the size – microchips are not big enough to contain the necessary hardware for GPS technology.
Can You GPS Track a Microchipped Dog?
It’s not possible to GPS track a microchipped dog because microchips do not have a GPS function. They are used for identification purposes only. To be able to track your dog, you need to get a dog GPS collar or GPS tracker.
Are GPS Trackers Safe for Dogs?
GPS doesn’t transmit any dangerous waves for human beings and dogs, so GPS trackers are completely safe for dogs.
Is Wi-Fi Safe for My Dog?
So far, there is no scientific evidence that Wi-Fi powered devices are dangerous to human or animal health.
Is a Bluetooth Collar Safe for My Dog?
There is no scientific evidence that Bluetooth is harmful to animals, which means that Bluetooth dog collars are safe to use, but they are not reliable when it comes to tracking your pet because they have a limited range.
Bluetooth Dog Collars vs. GPS Dog Collars
Bluetooth dog collars are a good option if you have a dog who usually stays inside of the house or yard, because they have limited range (150 feet max.). The biggest pro of Bluetooth dog collars is the price – they are cheaper compared to other types of pet trackers, have smaller power consumption, and give a more stable connection. But if the dog gets out of the Bluetooth reach, you will need the help of other Bluetooth tracker users in the area with the matching app, location service, and Bluetooth function.
On the other hand, GPS dog collars or trackers have unlimited range, and with them, you can locate your dog anywhere where a GPS signal is available, but such products are just a little more expensive compared to Bluetooth dog collars.
Do I Need a Built-in Light in My Dog GPS Collar?
Accuracy and a durable battery are the two most important things when it comes to a dog GPS collar, but the built-in light is a very useful feature because it can make it easier for you to find your dog if he gets lost during the night, but it is absolutely not necessary.
Do Dog Shock Collar with GPS Exist?
Dog shock collars with GPS do exist, and they are mostly used by dog trainers and hunters. Electrical shocks administered through the collar cause pain, and although the manufacturers of such products claim the pain is only momentary and doesn’t have to be intense (there are several levels of intensity, from very mild up to full intensity shock), the fact is that these devices are harmful to dogs in many ways. PETA believes that, in addition to physical injuries, these collars can cause severe anxiety and displaced aggression in dogs.
Best GPS Dog Collar with No Monthly Fee
There are several devices on the market that work without a sim card and therefore are free of monthly fees, but we would not recommend using such devices as they have very poor accuracy. In my opinion, it’s not worth the risk of losing your dog over saving a few dollars; you might be sparing on the wrong things and may not find your dog ever because of that.