How To Choose The Right Pet Tracker For Your Dog
We have selected the best dog trackers on the market by carefully examining their technical specifications, features, prices, and performance in various conditions and situations. Now, we will provide a full list of characteristics that you should keep in mind when choosing a dog tracker for your pooch.
Recommended Pet Size
Whether the tracker comes with a collar included or you just need to attach the tracking unit to your dog’s existing collar or harness, it is crucial that the size and weight of the tracker fit the size of your dog. In the best case scenario, you can check the recommended pet size as provided by the manufacturer and see if your dog is large enough to wear the tracker in question. If this information is not provided, you need to check the available sizes of the collar provided and the weight and dimensions of the tracking unit.
Generally speaking, a tracking unit weighing around 1 oz. is suitable for a dog weighing 8 or more pounds. On top of that, the unit should not be too large, as it could bother your dog and cause discomfort. If provided, the collar should be available in a size that corresponds to the size of your pet’s favorite collar. If all these criteria are met, the dog tracker in question is a good fit for your dog and your beloved pal should not even notice it is there.
In order to be healthy and happy, a dog needs to walk, run, play, and engage in any form of activity that benefits his or her well-being. This may involve playing in the mud, playing with other animals, jumping around, swimming, running through the woods, and being active regardless of the weather.
Thus, you need a dog tracker that can stay functional no matter what your pal may be up to. You should choose a pet tracker that is resistant to both impact and water (preferably up to 3 feet) and made of high-quality materials, so it can accompany your dog for many years, with no repairs or replacements necessary.
A battery cannot last forever, but that does not mean that you have to settle for a battery life of just a few hours. If the battery dies quickly, the tracker is close to useless, which is why a good battery life should always be one of the key characteristics to look for in a dog tracker. In general, you should look for a dog tracker whose battery can last for at least a couple of days on a single charge and no fewer than 6 hours in the live tracking mode.
Since no dog tracker is characterized by perfect accuracy, locating your dog after dark may sometimes prove tricky. You may be really close to your dog but unable to see him or her due to a lack of light and potential obstacles blocking your view. That is where the night light comes in.
Some of the best dog trackers come equipped with a night light, often remotely activated, allowing you to spot your dog more easily. According to our tests, a night light can make a world of difference when searching for your pet after dusk, which is why we warmly recommend paying attention to this sometimes neglected feature.
There is no greater disappointment than discovering that your dog tracker of choice cannot work in your area only after you have purchased the device. For example, this may happen if you purchase a cellular tracker and live in an area with spotty cellular coverage. Likewise, you may want to travel abroad with your dog, but the tracker may not work in other countries. Therefore, be sure to check the coverage of the dog tracker in order to be sure that it can work in your area as well as other places you and your dog may want to visit.
If something or someone frightens your dog or attracts your dog’s attention, there is no telling how fast he or she may run. If the tracker you have selected has a small communication range, your dog may end up out of range before you know it, making the tracker virtually useless. While communication range is never unlimited, it is wise to choose a dog tracker that can work over large distances, so you do not have to fear about what could happen if your dog runs away too far for the tracker to work.
Indoor & Outdoor Tracking
When your dog leaves your property, he or she may not stick to open spaces. Instead, your pal may seek shelter, particularly if the weather is bad. While all pet trackers generally work outdoors, the same is not true for indoor tracking. Thus, it is wise to choose a pet tracker that is WiFi and/or Bluetooth enabled or pick a powerful radio frequency tracker, so you can easily find your pet even if he or she happens to wander into an enclosed space.
Location Refresh Rate
The frequency of location updates is a factor that greatly determines the success of your search. If you do not get updates at least every minute or so, by the time you get the next update, your dog may already be far away. The best dog trackers refresh location information in seconds. Those that take many minutes to update your dog’s location are far from the best choice.
A dog tracker does not have to be accurate within inches in order to allow for efficient tracking. However, if it is unable to bring you within a seeing distance from your dog, it may not be of great help. The general rule is that the tracker should be accurate within about 25 feet, so you can come close enough to see your dog and bring him or her safely home.
The best dog trackers notify you as soon as your pet leaves the safe zone, so you do not lose any precious time. However, do not expect every dog tracker to provide instant notifications. With some trackers, it may take as many as 10 minutes or even longer for the notification to arrive, which can prove quite problematic. Avoid giving your dog a long head start by opting for a dog tracker that provides at least timely if not instant notifications.
If you are not at home, it is good to know that someone else can watch over your dog. If the dog tracker you choose allows you to share access to your dog’s location information with family and friends, you can relax, knowing that someone close to your pal has all the information necessary to prevent him or her from getting lost in your absence. Not only that, but sharing allows you to have friends help you out if the search proves more difficult than expected.
Custom Safe Zones
Safe zones let the tracker know where your pet is safe and allow you to know when your pet is outside the defined area, so you can begin your search. However, dog trackers differ regarding the level of customization they allow in terms of safe zones. The best dog trackers let you custom-define the size and shape of the safe zone, so it can be just as large as it needs to be, which further prevents false alarms.
Sometimes, you do not only want to know your dog’s current location. You may want to check where your pal has been during the day. Maybe your neighbor is complaining about your dog ruining her flowers – or worse, your friend may be out of range, so you could use information on his or her previous locations to figure out where your dog is headed. With location history, you can trace your pet’s past and most recent routes, which may come in handy in many situations.
In addition to helping you prevent your dog from getting, a dog tracker can make sure your pal has been active enough to stay healthy. Activity monitoring is not something all dog trackers offer, but it can be a highly useful addition to the tracker’s feature set and it can allow you to save cash on activity-only trackers. If you want to take care of your friend’s health and fitness while making sure he or she is safe, activity monitoring is an option you definitely want to see in your dog tracker of choice.
The sad truth is that not all dog trackers possess even the most important features, let alone extras. However, it is also true that trackers with additional features do not always cost more than the ones that offer mere basics. Thus, it is good to know that you can get some neat features that can help you take even better care of your dog (like vet records, sound training assistance or temperature monitoring) without overstepping your budget.
Smart & Risk-Free Purchase
Dog trackers come at different prices and it is up to you to decide how much money you want to spend on the device. You need to keep in mind that a tracker is worth your money only if it possesses the crucial features we listed previously.
You should also be aware of the fact that it can always happen that the device you chose is not the best fit for your dog after all. The same goes for potential malfunctions, which may arise at any time. Thus, we warmly advise you to purchase a dog tracker that comes with a money-back guarantee and a warranty, so you can get your money back or request a repair or replacement in case there is something wrong, so you never waste any cash on a tracker that does not work for you.
Best Dog Trackers Of 2018
The following mini-reviews are designed to allow you to discover all the crucial characteristics of our top picks in mere minutes. Take a closer look at what the best dog trackers have to offer and choose the one that perfectly suits your pooch’s size and habits and your personal needs and expectations.
Findster Duo+ is a fee-free multi-tech GPS dog tracker that relies on GPS, Bluetooth, and proprietary MAZE technologies. It is independent of cellular networks. The tracker consists of the pet module, that is, the tracking unit attached to your dog’s collar, and the guardian module. The pet module uses GPS to obtain location information and employs proprietary MAZE technology to send location information to the guardian module. The guardian module communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Findster Duo+ comes with a dedicated smartphone app.
Findster Duo+ pet module measures 2.1’’ x 2’’ x 0.5’’ (HWD) and weighs 1.76 ounces. It is suitable for both small and large dogs, although it may be heavy for dogs weighing fewer than 8 pounds – unless attached to a harness. The module is shockproof and waterproof up to 3 feet underwater. It features a night light. The battery can last for up to 5 days. Findster Duo+ can work anywhere on the globe and has a communication range of about 3 miles. It boasts high precision, with an average error of 5-10 feet.
Basic features available with Findster Duo+ include true real-time tracking, with location information updated in seconds, instant notifications, location history, 3 types of geofences, including safe zone, virtual leash, and danger zone, and interconnectivity. Additional features include activity monitoring, including data on rest time, distance walked, and calories burned, activity notifications, leaderboards, and badges earned by achieving activity goals.
Findster Duo+ comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty.
Garmin Astro 430
Garmin Astro 430 is a professional GPS dog tracker that can keep an eye on as many as 20 dogs simultaneously. It comes with no monthly fees and it offers incredible precision thanks to the joint use of GPS and GLONASS.
The tracking system consists of 1 handheld locator and 1 tracking unit with a collar. Additional tracking units are available for individual purchase. Inter-device communication is conducted via radio frequency signals.
The entire system is highly durable and waterproof, so it can easily deal with bumps, splashes, and harsh weather. The tracking units are primarily designed for larger, sporting dogs. You can opt for the 9.3 oz. T5 tracking unit whose collar fits neck circumferences of 9.5+ inches or you can get the lighter, 7 oz. T5 mini tracking unit with a collar that fits smaller necks.
As far as battery life goes, the locator can work for 20 hours on a single charge, the battery life of the T5 unit is 20-40 hours, and T5 mini’s battery life is 16-30 hours. The locator is equipped with a vibration motor and both tracking units have LED beacons for easier tracking at night.
Garmin Astro 430 can theoretically work anywhere on the globe. However, due to varying legal regulations, its use is only approved in the US. The tracker’s maximum communication range is 9 miles and its margin of error is 12 feet. Location updates are provided every 2.5 seconds, allowing for near-real-time tracking.
This tracking system has over a dozen of useful features, including various search profiles, customizable dog display, multiple dashboards, additional maps, hunt metrics, convey counter, trip planning, computer tracking, wireless sharing, Rescue Mode for battery saving, and more.
Garmin Astro 430 comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year limited warranty. Included in the purchase price is a free 1-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery.
Whistle 3 is a cellular GPS dog tracker that comes in the form of a tracking unit attached to your pet’s existing collar or harness. It relies on GPS, cellular, Bluetooth, and WiFi technologies. GPS is used for establishing the dog’s location outside the safe zone and AT&T cellular network is used to transfer location information to your smartphone. Bluetooth is used to pair the tracking unit with your smartphone and WiFi is used to create safe zones. Whistle 3 comes with a dedicated smartphone app.
Whistle 3 tracking unit measures 1.82’’ x 1.45’’ x 0.61’’ (HWD) and weighs 0.92 ounces on its own and 1.25 ounces with the attachment strap. The recommended pet size is 8+ pounds. The unit is dirt-resistant, shock-resistant, and waterproof up to 3 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. The battery can last up to 7 days. Whistle 3 works throughout the US, over any distance within AT&T cellular coverage. It boasts great accuracy, with an average error of 10-15 feet.
Essential features available with Whistle 3 include 24-hour location history, 60-second location updates, notifications sent within 1-6 minutes, multiple customizable safe zones, and interconnectivity (sharing location information with friends and family). Additional features include 24-hour activity history, custom daily activity goals, and text, email, and push notifications, including low battery and activity alerts.
Whistle 3 comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
LINK AKC smart collar is an award-winning GPS dog tracker that relies on GPS, Bluetooth, and cellular technologies. It consists of a tracking unit, a collar, and a base station. The tracking unit is attached to the collar provided or your dog’s existing collar. It uses GPS to determine the dog’s location and transfers location information to your smartphone via AT&T cellular network. Safe zones are established around the base station and your smartphone and Bluetooth is used for tracking your dog within the safe zones. LINK AKC smart collar comes with a dedicated smartphone app.
LINK AKC tracking unit measures 1.5’’ x 3.9’’ x 0.5’’ (HWD) and weighs 2.55 ounces with the carrier. The collar is available in 3 sizes and the recommended pet size is 10+ pounds. The tracking unit is shockproof and waterproof up to 3 feet underwater. It features a night light and a remotely activated built-in speaker. The battery can last for up to 3 days. LINK AKC works throughout the US, over any distance within AT&T cellular coverage. It is accurate within 25 feet and provides the first location in minutes.
The basic features available with LINK AKC are 2 Bluetooth safe zones, including automatically set base station zone and customizable smartphone safe zone, near-instant notifications, and location information updated within seconds. Extra features available include AI (Artificial Intelligence) activity tracking with a 3-axis accelerometer, personalized activity recommendations, vet records, sound training assistance, temperature monitoring, and virtual scrapbooks.
LINK AKC comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee, 1-year size guarantee, and 3-year warranty.
Tractive GPS is a GPS dog tracker that relies on GPS and cellular technologies. It consists of a tracking unit attached to your dog’s existing collar. The tracking unit determines your dog’s location using GPS and sends location information to your smartphone via a cellular network. It comes with a dedicated smartphone app.
Tractive GPS tracking unit measures 2’’ x 16’’ x 0.6’’ (HWD) and weighs 1.23 ounces. The recommended pet size is 9.9+ pounds. The device is shockproof and waterproof up to 3 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. It features a night light and a built-in speaker that is not designed for sound training and cannot be used in the US due to legal restrictions. The battery can last for up to 5 days. The tracker works in more than 150 countries around the globe. It can work over any distance within cellular coverage. It is accurate within 25 feet, with a confidence level of 95%.
Essential features available with Tractive GPS include real-time tracking, 2-3-second location updates, location displayed on an interactive map with multiple views, including augmented reality, location history, customizable safe zones, and interconnectivity. Additional features include battery status and speed and altitude information.
Tractive GPS comes with a 12-month guarantee and free replacements during the service period.
Pod 3 is a GPS dog tracker that comes in the form of a cylinder-shaped tracking unit. It relies on GPS, cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth technologies. It uses GPS for outdoor tracking and WiFi and Bluetooth technologies for indoor tracking. It communicates location information to your smartphone via 2G and 3G cellular networks. It comes with a dedicated smartphone app for Android and iOS and a web app compatible with all computer and mobile browsers.
Pod 3 tracking unit measures 2’’ in length and 0.9’’ in diameter and weighs 1.1 ounces. It is suitable for both large and small dogs, but it may not be the best fit for small puppies. It is shockproof and waterproof up to 3 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. It comes equipped with a night light and comes with 2 interchangeable batteries. Battery life ranges from 8 hours to 5 days, depending on location update frequency.
Pod 3 works in more than 175 countries on 6 continents. It can work over any distance within cellular and WiFi coverage. It is accurate within 10-90 feet, depending on which positioning technology it uses (GPS, WiFi or Bluetooth). Basic features available with Pod 3 include multiple safe zones, instant notifications, 10-second location updates, location history, and interconnectivity. Additional features available include activity and movement monitoring, custom-defined activity goals, and adventure recording.
Pod 3 comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 12-month warranty.
Nuzzle is a cellular GPS dog tracker that relies on GPS, cellular, and Bluetooth technologies. It consists of a base station and a smart collar equipped with a GPS tracking unit. It uses GPS for active tracking outside the safe zone and employs cellular technology for transferring location information from the tracking unit to your smartphone. Bluetooth is used for setting the base station safe zone. Nuzzle comes with a dedicated smartphone app. Unlike other cellular GPS pet trackers, it comes with no monthly fees.
Nuzzle tracking unit measures 0.75’’ x 2.25’’ x 1.25’’ (HWD) and weighs less than 1 ounce on its own and 1.45 oz. with the attachment clip. Nuzzle collar comes in 2 sizes – small and large. The small collar fits neck circumference of 8 to 11 inches while the large collar fits neck circumference of 14 to 22 inches. The tracking unit is not shockproof, but it is durable and waterproof up to 10 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. The device comes with 2 rechargeable batteries. The batteries can last up to 4 days on a single charge.
Nuzzle works throughout North America, including the US, Mexico, and Canada. It works over any distance within AT&T cellular coverage. It is generally accurate within about 10 feet. The basic features available with Nuzzle include 60-second location updates, safe zones available in 3 sizes, notifications that arrive within minutes, location history, and interconnectivity. Additional features include detailed activity records, activity alerts, battery alerts, and temperature monitoring and alerts.
Nuzzle comes with a 15-day money-back guarantee and a 12-month warranty.
Marco Polo advanced pet tracking system is a radio frequency dog tracker. It exclusively relies on radio frequency signals for both locating and communication. It consists of a handheld locator and a tracking tag attached to your dog’s collar. As it does not rely on external services, it does not come with any monthly fees. It does not feature a smartphone app, as it does not communicate with your smartphone.
Marco Polo tracking tag measures 1’’ x 5’’ x 0.5’’ (HWD) and weighs 0.8 ounces. Due to its lightness, it is suitable for dogs of virtually all sizes. The tracking tag can fit collars that are up to 2 inches wide and 0.25 inches thick. It is shockproof and waterproof up to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes. The battery can last for up to 45 days. During active tracking, it normally lasts around 3 days.
The tracker is available for purchase in Canada and the US, but it can work anywhere on the globe. It has a communication range of 2 miles. It is normally accurate within inches. Features available with Marco Polo include safe zones with 4 preset radiuses, real-time tracking with location updated within seconds, 60-second notifications, and search mode for situations when your dog is out of range. The device is suitable for both outdoor and indoor tracking.
Marco Polo comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 90-day warranty.
Paw Tracker is a GPS dog tracker that relies on GPS, cellular, and WiFi technologies. It comes in the form of a tracking unit attached to your pet’s existing collar or harness. It uses GPS for outdoor tracking, WiFi for indoor tracking, and cellular technology for sending location information to your smartphone. Paw Tracker comes with a dedicated smartphone app.
Paw Tracker tracking unit measures 47 mm x 50 mm x 14 mm (HWD) and weighs 1.41 ounces. It fits collars and harnesses up to 1’’ wide and 0.25’’ thick. The recommended pet size is 5+ pounds. The device is shockproof and waterproof. It features a night light. Battery life can range between 12 hours and 10 days, depending on use and location update frequency. Paw Tracker works in most parts of North America, including the US, Mexico, and Canada. It can work over any distance within cellular and WiFi coverage. It is accurate within about 25 feet.
Basic features available with Paw Tracker include 60-second location updates during live tracking, customizable safe zones, location history, and interconnectivity. The device also allows you to modify location update frequency in the safe zone in order to save battery. You can choose between 60-second, 10-minute, 60-minute, and 12-hour updates. Additional features available include multiple map views and low battery alerts.
Paw Tracker comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty.
Find My Pet Nano
Find My Pet Nano is a GPS dog tracker that relies on GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular technologies. It consists of a tracking unit attached to your pet’s existing collar. It uses GPS for outdoor tracking and employs WiFi and Bluetooth technologies for indoor tracking. It uses GSM (2G) cellular network to transfer information to your smartphone. Find My Pet Nano comes with a dedicated smartphone app.
Find My Pet Nano tracking unit is one of the smallest and lightest pet tracking units on the market. It is round, measures 1.4 inches in diameter, and weighs 0.7 ounces. The recommended pet size is 8+ pounds. The device is shockproof and waterproof. It comes equipped with a night light and a built-in speaker unsuitable for sound training. The battery can last up to 96 hours. In the live tracking mode, it normally lasts up to 12 hours.
The tracker works in more than 80 countries around the globe, including the US. It can work over any distance within cellular and WiFi coverage. It is accurate within 10-30 feet. Basic features available with Find My Pet Nano include 60-second location updates, instant notifications, customizable safe zones, location history, and notification sharing. Additional features include speed alerts, low battery alerts, and SOS alarm.
According to the manufacturer’s website, Find My Pet Nano comes with a 100% guarantee and warranty.