GPS Dog Trackers offer real time data on your dog’s location, but which one is best? Here’s our guide to the dog GPS trackers that we trust in 2021.
If you’ve ever experienced the panic that comes with losing your dog, or fearing they may have been stolen, you’ll know you never want to feel like that again.
Thankfully, GPS trackers can give you the real time location of your prized pet so you can rest easily even when they are out of sight.
In today's guide, we recommend the dog tracking devices that you can rely on to safeguard your pet.
In our buyer's guide, we also highlight the key features that you should be for in a dependable GPS dog tracker.
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The Best Dog GPS Trackers
In our opinion, these are the dog trackers that deserve your attention.
There's our overall favourite, the best for small dogs, and a great alternative option.
We review each in more detail down below.
GPS Dog Trackers UK Reviews
Check out the five GPS dog trackers that we recommend over all others.
We'll start with our favourite.
OUR TOP PICK
Tractive GPS Dog 4
This is the newest 2021 model in the Tractive Dog GPS suite of dog tracking devices and comes with an impressive list of features.
From being fully waterproof and shockproof, for all those water and adventure-loving pooches out there, to offering unlimited range for tracking your dog over distance, this dog GPS tracker does not disappoint.
If you have an escape artist dog or a dog that likes to roam, the ‘Virtual Fence’ function, will be a godsend.
Allowing you to set boundaries and ‘safe areas’ for your dog, e.g. your garden, this dog tracking device alerts you as soon as that boundary has been breached, meaning you know the instant your dog has gone walkabout, and exactly where they are.
The tracker itself is relatively small (72mm x 29mm x 16mm) and won't be noticed by medium to large dogs. It only weighs 30 grams which is really pretty light.
With battery life that can last for up to 5 days (activity dependent) it's also really easy to look after. To charge you'll need to remove the tracker and it will take around 2 hours for a full charge.
Besides tracking your dog's current location (updated every 2-3 seconds) you can also access historical data and have your dog's every footstep tracked on the map. Just like a modern smartwatch you can also track the amount of exercise your dog has done and set activity goals for it to achieve each day.
Check out the pros and cons of the Tractive GPS dog 4 below to get a balanced perspective of where it shines and also the drawbacks.
Best for Small Dogs
Weenect Dogs 2
If you’re worried a GPS dog tracker might be too heavy, or big for your smaller four-legged friends, this extra-small tracker from Weenect, is perfect for you.
Coming in at only 23 x 10 x 58 mm this tracker won’t encumber your dog’s movements or put strain on their neck. It's a really tiny device that works brilliantly with smaller breeds.
With decent battery life and unlimited distance tracking, this small but mighty dog GPS tracker will even remind your dog when it’s dinnertime.
It has a ring/beep function to train your dog to come home. It does this by creating an association between the beep and food. The idea is that your pup will come racing back every time it hears the beep. Like 'click training' this is a concept that may work well but only over time with consistent messages.
See how the good points weigh up against the bad in the pros and cons section below. It's a great little dog tracking collar device but it has a few slight flaws that you should be aware of.
Pawfit 2 GPS
If you’re looking for a solid tracker that will tell you how active your dog is as well as their location in real time, this could be the GPS dog tracker for you.
Like many others on our list, this tracker comes with an embedded SIM, and makes use of GPS, WiFi and mobile technology.
This model boasts impressively optimised algorithms, which basically means, it offers you the very best in accuracy when it comes to your dog’s real time location.
The options with this tracker for monitoring your pet’s activity levels are impressive. Breaking down their activity by steps, distance, calories, or active vs rest hours.
This detail means you can set specific activity goals for your pet, creating programmes tailored to your dog’s weight, breed, and activity level.
It really is a solid GPS collar tracker but it's important we give you a balanced perspective, so here are the main positives and negatives about the Pawfit 2.
Weighing in at only 38g this cute little pink tracker is punching above its weight.
Easily attached to all collars, it’s 100% waterproof.
You can keep track of many activity-related metrics from playing, sleeping, relaxing, how much they run, number of steps, and calories burnt – all presented in easy to understand graphics.
This is great for dogs who need to get active or lose weight.
You also get ‘Vita Messages’ updating you in real time on the current health of your pet.
It can also give you advice on how to increase your dog’s curiosity or entertainment if they’re bored, and can even send you a message from your dog to say ‘thanks for the walk’.
This sounds like great fun and takes monitoring your pet to a whole new level.
PAJ GPS Petfinder
Probably the smallest tracker in our list, this unit is about the size of a matchbox, so really won’t bother your pet at all.
It will alert you if your dog suddenly starts moving at unnatural speed – for example if they were put in a car.
GPS Dog Trackers UK Buyers’ Guide
If you’re thinking about getting a GPS dog tracker so you can guard against losing your dog, monitor their health and activity, or interact with them when you’re not around, one of your high-quality, recommended dog GPS trackers could be just what you need.
Should you need more in-depth information about what to look out for here’s our buyer’s guide to help you make the best decision.
This is especially important if you are looking for a tracker which will be able to send you the location of your dog over large distances – especially if they get lost or stolen – rather than just for monitoring their activity whilst on supervised off lead walks.
Most GPS trackers for dogs work by bouncing a Bluetooth or mobile signal. Bluetooth will only work while your dog is in range, so is only useful on supervised walks.
However, SIM-enabled GPS trackers will search for the nearest mobile signal, most are not tied to a single carrier in order to maximise connectivity, and connect to that signal via 2G, 3G, or more recently 4G.
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This means you can track your dog anywhere there is a viable mobile signal – which, these days, is pretty much 99% of the populated planet.
It is worth noting however, that no matter how great the signal, there will always be ‘dead zones’ or areas of thick shelter, where a signal may be difficult to get.
Only one of the GPS trackers for dogs in our list is 4G enabled, so if connectivity is the prime motivator for your purchase, you should check out our Top Pick – the Tractive GPS Dog 4.
If you or your dog travel abroad, check which countries your tracker is likely to work in.
As with most things ‘tech’ these days, trackers are managed through an app or website – mostly an app.
You will need to be online to send and receive data whether you’re on a website or viewing in an app. Other functionality such as historical and archived information may be accessible offline.
Many systems send alerts and push notifications via the app, so to get some up to the minute information, you will need to use the app.
Some will email alerts too, but this is not as ‘instant’ as getting an alert pop up on your home screen via the app.
Be mindful of which type of phone you have – Apple or Android – and what operating system version it is running.
Some units and the accompanying apps only work on IOS 9 or above, or its Android equivalent.
If you don’t have the ‘right’ phone for the app, you can still access the live and historical data via a desktop or mobile website, and alerts via email – so all is not lost.
If you’ve ever been directed down a dead-end by your trusty car sat nav, you will know that no GPS tracking or location system is 100% accurate to the centimetre.
The system relies on a host of connections happening quickly and accurately, and despite being better than it was even a few years ago, there is always a margin of error.
Your package, the connectivity, and the type of connection will all play into accuracy too, so check the way your tracker sends information back to the app, the speeds, and whether it uses multiple mobile carriers to always have access to the best connection available.
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What are you most interested in tracking? Owners of active, outdoor, or working dogs may want to track how many kilometres they cover when walking or working.
Others may be more interested in exactly where they are.
Most trackers have the functionality to track most of these things, but not all, so check which model delivers best on what is most important to you.
Also, think about how you like to receive the information. The Kippy Evo produces easy to read graphs while some of the others will provide different styles of data.
The Weenect Dogs 2 allows you to choose between different map and visual options to help you find your dog, and most provide historical and archive data too.
This is pretty much a fact of GPS dog tracker life.
If the tracker is SIM enabled and operates by using mobile signal, which in order to provide tracking over long distances they must, you will need to sign up to a subscription in the same way you would need to, when purchasing any mobile data plan.
These are usually inexpensive but do vary. Factor these costs into your budget when purchasing your tracker.
This could be important, especially if, heaven forbid, your dog goes missing for a long time. You don’t want your tracker conking out half way through your search.
As you will see from the pros and cons of each tracker in our list battery life varies from one to ten days.
If you have an inactive dog who doesn’t leave the house much, or isn’t prone to escaping or running, then one day might be enough.
However, you might prefer not to have to recharge your unit every night. Many trackers will alert you when the battery is running low so you can stay on top of keeping your tracker adequately charged.
All the trackers in our are very robust, even for active dogs. Most are waterproof – if your dog is a keen swimmer it’s worth checking the level to which your tracker is waterproof, as opposed to ‘splash proof’.
Some will alert you if they are removed or broken, so check out this functionality if your dog has a tendency to ‘lose’ things.
All the trackers in our list have a range of special features, from LED lights to temperature and health alerts.
We all love a special feature but think about what you really need from your tracker before being seduced by extra features.
One feature always worth having is geo-fencing and all the trackers in our list have this. If your tracker is being used to keep an eye on your dog’s location and safety, this is a must have.
Setting safe zones means you will know immediately your dog breaches the boundaries you set – either under their own steam or with ‘help’.
Pros and Cons of GPS Dog Trackers
The best dog trackers are great for lots of things – tracking your dog’s activity either at home or on walks, sending alerts when they leave the safe confines you have set, and finding your dog if they get lost or stolen.
However, they do have limitations, which are worth considering before you invest in the unit and the accompanying subscription.
The main limitation is coverage.
As any mobile phone user knows there is no such thing as 100% coverage and signals do fluctuate over various areas, regions, and countries.
So, there will be times when, even if they’re wearing a tracker, you may not be able to see their location.
Another limitation is accuracy and speed of data transmission.
There may be a time lag on your pet’s location depending on the strength of the signal, 2G, 3G or 4G connectivity or availability, or even the position of satellites.
Even with these limitations, if you’re worried about your dog escaping, running, getting lost or stolen, or just want to understand more about what they do, we still think a tracker is a worthwhile investment.
After all, you don’t throw away your mobile phone just because you can’t get a signal at your gran’s house, do you? Most of the time they work and are a useful tool.
The same goes for your GPS Dog Tracker.
Microchips vs GPS Dog Trackers
It is now a legal requirement to microchip your dog in the UK. You can be fined and get a criminal record for failing to do so.
So, why bother with a dog tracking device? Can’t you just use their microchip? The short answer is no, as there are some key differences.
A microchip won’t be any use to you in locating your dog unless someone finds them and scans them.
If your dog is lost or stolen, they may not be picked up by someone kind enough to take them to a vet and get them scanned – especially if they are stolen.
A GPS dog tracker means you know fairly accurately where your dog is at any given time. A microchip simply can’t do that.
It will only come into play to reunite you with your dog when your pooch is found. A great dog tracking device will pre-empt that need and find them first.
Do you use a tracking device for your dog? How has your experience been? Is there one that you recommend? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section.