Losing a four-legged family member is a truly terrifying experience. Thankfully, a pet tracker can help pet parents keep track of their furry loved ones even when they’re miles away.
Pet GPS trackers come in a variety of forms, most commonly as a collar or tag you can clip onto the collar. Once it’s set up, you can log onto a website or app to check your pet’s location, which is usually updated in real time. In addition to tracking you pet’s location, some pet trackers also monitor your pet’s activity in general.
Pet GPS trackers cost about $100 to $200, although you can find some for under $100. Some require a monthly service fee.
The best pet GPS tracker for you and your pet depends on your needs. Not sure if a pet tracker is for you? Learn about the uses and benefits of pet GPS trackers before you decide.
4 Uses of Pet GPS Trackers
1. Locating a Lost Pet
Have an escape artist on your hands? A pet tracker can help ease anxiety by keeping tabs on your pet’s whereabouts.
“You never know if and when your dog might get loose, so having the GPS capability would be nice to have,” says Joan Mayer, certified trainer and owner of Santa Barbara, California-based dog training company, Inquisitive Canine.
If your pet does escape or wander off, in just seconds you can open up an app on your phone to see a map that shows your pet’s location. Some pet trackers also send alerts if your dog or cat leaves a predetermined safe area.
But keep in mind that a GPS tracking collar shouldn’t serve as an alternative to keeping an eye on your pup.
“As convenient as they are, they shouldn’t be relied upon or replace pet parent responsibility,” Mayer says.
2. Locating Working Dogs
For working dogs that serve on the police force or in the military, a GPS tracker for dogs is an important tool to have. GPS trackers allow handlers to quickly track down a canine during a mission or task. This is especially important during time-sensitive search and rescue missions when dogs are looking for survivors in life-threatening situations.
Farmers use them, too. By tracking their herding dogs with GPS, farmers can ensure that their dogs are safe and not lost, stolen or injured.
“The farmers who depend on giant dogs like Maremma Sheepdogs and Great Pyraneses to protect their sheep often depend on these tools,” says Melissa McCue-McGrath, CPDT-KA and author of “Considerations for the City Dog.”
3. Locating Stolen Pets
It’s unfathomable but true. Pets are stolen each year. Unscrupulous people may steal pets for a number of reasons—to turn around and sell them for a profit, to use them as bait dogs for dog fighting or for use in animal testing.
“If the dog or cat is stolen, a pet tracker can help recover them,” says Russell Hartstein, certified dog and cat behaviorist and trainer and CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of Fun Paw Care in Los Angeles, California.
Of course, the tracker would only work as long as the thief keeps it on the pet. If it is eventually removed, the tracker could at least show you the pet’s last known location, and that’s better than nothing.
4. Activity Tracking
Just like your fitness tracker keeps track of your daily activity, certain pet trackers can report on your dog or cat’s activity levels. Monitoring your pet’s activity level allows you to ensure she’s getting enough exercise to stay healthy and happy. Some pet trackers even allow owners to set goals for their pet, ensuring that their four-legged buddy is getting enough exercise.
“One of the benefits pet parents get from using a pet GPS tracker is knowing where their pet is during the day,” Hartstein says. “If a dog goes for a walk, they can see the dog’s route and how long they were out for.”
Best GPS Pet Trackers
The best GPS tracker for you and your pet depends on your needs and day-to-day activities. Here are some of the best trackers to consider.
Whistle 3 Dog & Cat GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor
The Whistle pet tracker performs two functions in one. It provides GPS location tracking and activity monitoring in a simple mobile app.
You can track your dog’s daily activity levels and set goals to keep your canine companion in great physical shape. The activity monitor also sends pet parents alerts when the app tracks significant changes.
With the Whistle 3 pet tracker, pet parents can establish “whistle zones” by selecting safe areas. You’ll receive an email, app or text alert whenever your roaming pet leaves their designated whistle zone so that you can begin tracking their whereabouts.
The Whistle pet tracker uses the AT&T cellular network, which uses advanced GPS to pinpoint your pet’s location from as far as 3,000 miles away. The device attaches to your pet’s collar and works with most smartphones. Shock-resistant and waterproof, the Whistle 3 can track your pet through any terrain. The battery is rechargeable and can last up to seven days depending on usage.
Link AKC GPS & Activity Monitor Smart Collar
This stylish GPS dog collar tracks your pet’s exact location as well as their wellness. The AKC GPS Smart Collar comes in a variety of sizes and uses AT&T’s network for GPS tracking. There’s also an LED light that can be activated remotely, providing extra safety at night, and a remote sound functionality that can be used as a positive reinforcement training tool.
The app stores health records and keeps a digital notebook of your pup’s adventures.
Pod 3 GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor
The Pod 3 GPS Tracker attaches to your pet’s collar and is small, lightweight and waterproof. This sleek device enables you to monitor the health and well-being of your precious pet without being a helicopter parent.
The GPS chip uses a combination of cellular coverage, Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth technology to allow you to track your pet in real time with unlimited range. It also sends escape alerts, giving you peace of mind that your pet is secure.
In addition to tracking your pet’s location, you can monitor your pet’s activity and better manage your pet’s health.
For those that want to keep tabs on their lovable pets, GPS trackers are ideal. The added benefit of activity monitoring ensures your pup is on the right track to a healthy life, making a happy owner and a happy pup!
Michelle McKinley is dedicated to creating informative pieces that help pet parents train, care for and love their cuddly companions. She operates a digital ad agency providing content to enterprise and small businesses. As a writer for Chewy, Michelle delights in sharing tips and techniques that strengthen the relationship between owner and pet. She works with experienced veterinarians, knowledgeable pet behaviorists and pet brands to bring the best in pet to readers.