The Best GPS Dog Trackers for Active Dogs

In a nutshell

To find the best GPS trackers for active dogs, we reviewed several products and came up with three of the best in the market. We rated each based on features, range, wearability, and cost.

As a responsible dog owner, you only want the safety of your pets. But no matter how hard we try, it’s still possible for our beloved dogs to escape the confines of your home and get lost.

A lot of pet owners have this problem, but we’re in luck there’s a solution. GPS trackers exist, thanks to modern technology. Now we can track our pets even when they’re out and about the neighborhood.

But first, are you interested in learning more about what to look for when picking the right GPS dog tracker?

OR

Do you just want to see our top picks?

Select one of the options below to take you directly to that section. Choose wisely.

Jump to The Research

  • What makes for the best dog tracking system?
  • What considerations to look for in a GPS Dog Tracker?
    • Know the strength of the local signal before buying a pet tracker
    • Know what your other options are in case the reception is poor
    • Know the tracker’s waterproof ratings
    • Set up your GPS tracker

Jump to Our Product Reviews

  • Best Overall GPS Dog Tracker
  • Best Affordable GPS Dog Tracker
  • Best Premium GPS Dog Tracker

The Research

What makes for the best dog tracking system?

The best GPS tracker allows all pet owners to find wandering and lost pest before they make it too far from home. We researched a dozen, tested their functions, and found three that will help track your pet safely.

We started our search by compiling different brands of GPS pet trackers. Some trackers that showed up on our search turned out to be trackers for other things, and not specifically pets, so we had to cross them out. What’s left our products that are marketed for pet owners. While you can always buy a GPS device that’s not geared for pet tracking, how it’s built will likely disappoint you. Plus, there’s a chance it wouldn’t fit on your pet’s collar.

What considerations to look for in a GPS Dog Tracker?

There are a few factors which differentiate a good GPS dog tracker from a great GPS dog tracker. This is what you should consider.

Know the strength of the local signal before buying a pet tracker: You should know that some things can interfere with a GPS signal. Among these are weak cell service and tall buildings. It’s recommended that you test your GPS tracker with your own neighborhood first. That said, keep receipts so you can return the product if you found out later that the GPS isn’t working. Know if your pet tracker uses a cell carrier with a strong signal in your area.

Know what your other options are in case the reception is poor: If you live in a dead zone area, using GPS may not be the best option for you. You can go for other options that can bypass having to connect with a satellite or a cell tower, such as Bluetooth trackers or Radio Frequency.

Radio Frequency trackers are often lighter to carry than GPS trackers, but the range is shorter. Depending on the brand, and RF tracker can pick up a signal for up to a 50-mile radius. As for Bluetooth trackers, they even have a shorter range than RF trackers, but there are models that come with a 300-feet limit.

It all depends on where you live. If a GPS tracker isn’t suitable, find something that’s able to track your dog if he wanders off. A GPS tracker is the best device, but it’s not for everyone.

Know the tracker’s waterproof ratings: If your dog likes to swim a lot, a waterproof rating would make an important feature of your chosen GPS tracker. Some trackers can be immersed up to three feet while others offer less than that. Check to see if your GPS tracker needs one.

Know how to set up your GPS tracker: Here are general instructions on how to set up your GPS dog tracker:

  • Download the app that comes with the GPS tracker
  • Set up your cell service plan and your profile
  • Type in the required serial number to activate the device
  • Stand outside in an open area for approximately 10 minutes to establish a GPS connection
  • Customize your settings

Product Reviews

OUR TOP PICK

Best Overall GPS Dog Tracker



Whistle

GPS Pet Tracker and Activity Monitor

The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker and Activity Monitor is considered one of the best pet trackers on the market today for serving two unique needs.


Key Benefits for owning this tracker:

  • Set track progress and activity goals
  • See movement over 24 hours
  • Real-time tracking, 24/7
  • Sends alerts when your pet leaves the safe zone

The goal of this device is to provide you with the location of your dog in the event he got lost and offer nationwide tracking in real time. It can perform these functions because it uses cellular and GPS technology, allowing users to determine where their pets are exactly.

The Whistle 3 has been likened to work as a cellular phone but for dogs, which means it requires a cellular signal to work properly. This means that you’ll have to subscribe to a plan, which starts at $7 per month. You can select a plan on the accompanying Whistle app. Despite the fact that you have to pay, it doesn’t take the fact that the functionality of this tracker is superb.

Another function of the Whistle 3 is that it can interpret your dog’s movement. This feature allows you to know if your furry friend is getting all the exercise he needs. We all know that pet obesity has become a huge problem, so it’s highly recommended that your dog always keep an active lifestyle.

With the help of this GPS tracker, you’ll know if your dog lacks activity so you can take him out for a walk or to play more.

What we love: What’s great about the Whistle 3 is that you are in control of your pet’s safe zones. You simply have to type your address then adjust the four corners of the map to set up how far your safe zone is.

Even if your yard is odd shaped, this tracker can still detect it. You can also add as many safe zones as you please, so you can leave your pet in the care of someone you can trust.

In addition to activity tracking, the Whistle 3 also lets you set daily goals based on the health of your pet and his breed. These extras are a wonderful addition to keep track of your dog’s weight.

You also get proactive alerts that notify you through the app, text, or email, if your dog left the safe zone – very helpful so you can get to your dog in time before he wanders off way too far.

What we don’t love: You have to maintain a monthly subscription fee, but it does provide you accurate results.

OUR BUDGET PICK

Best Affordable GPS Dog Tracker Option



Tractive

3G Dog GPS Tracker

The Tractive 3G Dog GPS tracker has a number of great features that make it one of the most useful products in the market.

Key Benefits for owning this tracker:

  • Location history
  • Safe zones
  • Waterproof
  • Live tracking

The Tractive 3G Dog GPS tracker is a waterproof GPS tracker and very lightweight but durable. This tracker will allow you to know the exact location of your dog in case you have to chase him down a busy area.

Like the Whistle 3, Tractive 3G uses cell signal to work properly, so make sure that you tie it up with a cell carrier with a strong signal in your locality.

Despite its small size, this tracker has a long range and you can see your dog in real time too using the accompanying app.

Found in the app are the subscription plans as well that start at $5. What’s included in the plans are detailed in the app, giving you the liberty to what features you want to add more. Take note that if you don’t choose a plan, your GPS won’t work to its full potential.

What we love: As with most GPS trackers, this model allows you to set designated safe zones and sends alerts if your dog goes beyond the boundaries of the safe area.

The Tractive 3G Dog GPS tracker also has a feature in which you can view the history of your pet’s location. This feature is helpful to owners who have lost their pets for an extended period, as they can track the route their pet is known to frequent.

For subscriber of the premium plan, there is an option in which you can see the altitude of the device from sea level, an MPH rating to see how fast your dog moved from his last known position, and a compass to help you navigate the area. You can use the compass for AR or augmented reality tracking. Simply click the globe icon with a 3D icon and the camera will display the function.

What we don’t love: The thing about the alerts though is they are only available as push notifications on your smartphone, meaning you don’t receive emails or text messages.

A problem with the Tractive GPS tracker is its clips, which are not the strongest and most durable clips you’d expect in a dog tag. They are made of plastic that clip into recesses at each point. It will make you feel like it can be easily removed especially if your dog is hyperactive and likes to move too much. You don’t also have the option to change the clips to new ones.

OUR UPGRADE PICK

Best Premium GPS Dog Tracker



Garmin

Alpha 100 Dog GPS Bundle

Garmin has made a name for itself in the industry of GPS navigation systems. If you rely on Garmin to get you and your family to your destination, then you can trust the brand to help you track your furry companion.

Key Benefits for owning this tracker:

  • 10-meter water rating
  • 20-40 hours of battery life
  • 9-mile range
  • High-sensitivity GPS

With the Garmin Alpha 100, it’s a guarantee you will never lose your dog even during a long hike. You’ll always know where he is even when you’re not looking. With its high-tech GPS, this device is so powerful that it can track up to two dozen dogs up to a 9-mile radius.

Obviously, you’ll have to buy each dog a collar. We just simply laid out the facts to prove how powerful this GPS dog tracker is. Other than tracking your pet’s location, the Garmin Alpha 100 can track and measure the distance your dog has traveled and his speed.

There’s also a feature called BirdsEye Satellite Imagery which is integrated into the collar and shows you the terrain being traveled by your pet, which is pretty cool. You can view all these in the app that comes with the device.

What we love: The Garmin Alpha 100 comes with 18 different kinds of training buttons that you can access at will. This feature is useful for hunting dogs especially if you don’t want them to hunt unwanted game. This feature can be locked in or locked out to avoid having to undergo stimulation that you never intended.

This personalized stimulation feature allows you to switch between linear and traditional stimulation, which makes training more effective and flexible.

One more thing you got to love about this device is its impressive battery life, which you can still extend further using a feature called the Rescue Mode. When activated, this mode will minimize updates so that you get all the power need to fire up the device.

What we don’t love: This bundle may not be compatible with older Garmin collars.


Final Thoughts

 

Among the three GPS dog trackers we featured here, we think the Garmin Alpha 100 is the most innovative GPS for dogs. It comes with a high price, but as you can see, the features are well worth it.

The flawless engineering combine tracking and also training. It has the ability to map out the terrain your dog is traveling, which is really helpful so your beloved dog is easily found. This device is an incredibly worthy buy and it’s not only good for home use; it works even better for hunting and hiking purposes.

What we love most about this device is its great reception capacity. Even in long distances and woody or busy areas, you can still view the location of your dog as it’s indicated with a red arrow on the map. You can also view information regarding the distance your dog has traveled and his movements. You can find it at the bottom of the screen.

The impressive tracking and training features of this device also deserve a lot of praise. And did we mention that you can find 100 maps from all states? You get to have access to different elevation changes, trails, creeks, and major roads. The features included in this tiny device is enough to assure you that you won’t ever lose your beloved pet ever again.

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