All good pet owners want to keep their pets safe, but what happens if your pet gets out of the house or yard and gets lost? Unfortunately, 1-in-3 dogs will become lost at some point during their life, and in some cases, even a microchip may not be enough to see your pet safely home. This is where a GPS collar may help, and could even save your pet’s life. Even those of us fortunate enough to be working from home with pets should take the time and consider this extra safety measure for when our companions are left home alone during our work hours again.
We’ve reviewed dozens of the most popular GPS dog collars on the market to find the best of the best. With such an important (and potentially expensive) purchase, it was important for us to find the collars that are rugged enough to cope with even the most active pet’s life, as well as things like user reviews, GPS performance, and additional features like activity and fitness monitoring, and geofencing.
During our testing and evaluation, we found one clear overall winner that should work for most pet owners, and that is the Whistle Go Explore. This device tracks your pet’s location, and can also track their activity levels so you know when they’re getting enough exercise. It also has a 20-day battery life, making it one of the lowest maintenance options on this list.
In This Article
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated GPS Dog Collars and Trackers
|Best GPS Dog Tracker Overall||Whistle Go Explore||3.8|
|Best GPS Dog Collar with Geofencing||Garmin 100 Alpha Bundle||4.6|
|Best Budget Dog Tracker||Dynotag Web Enabled Super Pet ID Smart Tag||4.2|
|Best GPS Dog Tracker with No Subscription Plan||goTele GPS Tracker||4.0|
|Best GPS Dog Tracker with Unlimited Range||BARTUN GPS Pet Tracker||4.1|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.
Best GPS Dog Tracker Overall: Whistle Go Explore
The Whistle Go Explore is almost like a FitBit for your pet. As a GPS-tracker, it excels thanks to it’s access to the AT&T nationwide network, which allows it to track your pet anywhere they go.
Using the free app, you can do more than just see where your pet is, however. You can also see where they’ve been, and what they’ve been doing. Sensors in the device can tell whether your pet has walking, running, or napping in the shade, and they can also alert you if your pet is licking or scratching more than is typical.
Finally, you can use the app to set and track fitness goals for your pet, making this a great option for owners of older pets that need to be kept active, or those who have a dog that could stand to lose a little weight.
Overall, this is an extremely attractive option for anyone looking to keep their pet safe and healthy, and best of all: the battery lasts for up to 20 days. That means no fiddling with chargers or anything like that. Just let it charge overnight twice a month or so and you’re good to go. Oh and don’t worry, the app will let you know when it’s time for a charge.
Whistle Go Explore Key Features:
- High-sensitivity GPS
- Nationwide GPS Coverage
- 20 Day Battery Life
- Activity and Fitness Tracking
Best GPS Dog Collar with Geofencing: Garmin 100 Alpha Bundle
Garmin is one of the most recognizable and highly-regarded names in the GPS industry, so it makes sense that they would offer a GPS-enabled dog collar. The Alpha 100 GPS unit is primarily for hunters and others who have groups of working dogs that they need to track, but it also works well for the average dog owner looking to keep Fido safely in the backyard as well. This collar and handheld unit combo provides easy tracking of up to 20 dogs at once, and the collar also acts as a training tool, with the ability to remotely transmit a tone or vibration to your dog. This allows you to give commands to your dog remotely, such as a recall or other instructions.
The battery is rechargeable and lasts for 20-40 hours, and the collar supports geofencing which means you can set up boundaries to keep your dogs from wandering the wrong way, like say onto someone else’s property, or even just out of your yard. This is a huge help for hunters, and for livestock farmers using herding dogs.
The long battery life and excellent GPS tracking makes it great for camping or hiking with your dog as well. Road trips and other excursions are a common time for pets to get loose or run off, and the unfamiliar environment can make it difficult for them to make it back to you even if they wanted to. With a GPS collar and receiver unit like this, you won’t have to worry even if your pet does manage to get away.
Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle Key Features:
- 9 Mile tracking range
- Geofencing with automatic recall feature
- Pre-loaded with US topographic maps
- Remote training and command features
Best Budget Dog Tracker: Dynotag Web Enabled Super Pet ID Smart Tag
If you’re looking to use GPS technology to track your dog but don’t want to spend a lot of money, would you believe that there’s an option that costs under $20? The Dynotag Web Enabled Super Pet ID Smart Tag is a little more than your regular dog tag with a phone number on it. For one, the most popular color option is bright red and says “Help, I’m Lost!” on it.
Whatever color option you go with though, you’ll also get a special QR code printed on the side that, when scanned by someone who has found your dog, will actually send you a message with your dog’s current GPS location. Pretty cool, right? No batteries, no subscriptions, and no expensive color.
If you live in an urban environment and have a friendly pet that’s likely to go up to someone and want to make friends, this is a great budget GPS tracker option. It does rely on the kindness of strangers, and probably won’t be much help if your pup gets lost in the woods, but for many people, this is a cheap, easy way to have a GPS fix on their dog should they become lost.
Oh, and it’s also only one-tenth to one-hundredth the price of some other GPS options.
Dynotag GPS/Web-Enabled Dog Tag Key Features:
- No batteries required
- QR code technology lets anyone send you GPS location data on your pet if found
- Extremely lightweight
- Cheapest Option by far
Best GPS Dog Tracker with No Subscription Plan: goTele GPS Tracker
goTele specializes in GPS trackers for off-grid exploration and adventuring, and the goTele GPS Tracker (when paired with a second device) gives you an excellent way to keep track of your pet, whether you’re exploring with them, or they’re rambling off on their own. These devices are waterproof and shockproof and can be used to track up to 30 other devices at once, meaning you can keep your whole camping group together, and have a specific device for any pets you have with you.
This is by far the most multi-functional device on this list, and with a communication distance averaging around 3km (up to 5 over open ground), it can be used for many different things, making this a good multi-role tracker option if you want to invest in a system you can use for various things. This is a great choice for anyone that leads an active lifestyle, particularly hunters, hikers, campers and the like.
Best of all, there’s no subscription or payment plan of any kind. Just pick up two devices and you’re off to the races. You can even use the SMS messaging functions and the SOS emergency function without any cellphone or data service whatsoever, making these the perfect backcountry communication tools. Beyond that, they can hang off your dog’s collar or harness almost entirely unnoticed until you need to track your pup down or see where they went.
goTele GPS Tracker Key Features:
- No subscription or cell service required
- Waterproof and extremely rugged
- 3km average tracking distance
Best GPS Dog Tracker with Unlimited Range: BARTUN GPS Pet Tracker
If you’re worried about your pet getting far outside the area they’re supposed to be in, or you frequently travel with them and wouldn’t get much use out of a geofencing setup, then the BARTUN GPS Pet Tracker may be the option for you. It can narrow down your pet’s location to the nearest 5 meters thanks to the multiple satellite networks it has access to, which makes it great for small pets that could otherwise hide just out of sight.
Like most of our top 5 options, it is waterproof and shockproof, making it perfect for a pet with an active lifestyle. It also can provide you with app, browser, or text alerts when your pet has left their geofenced safe area, meaning you have three different ways to make sure you get the alert that you pup has gone AWOL. This extra bit of security can be a godsend in a situation where time is of the essence. The tracker will also let you know when the battery is low, but since it lasts five days and only takes two hours to charge, don’t expect to hear that particular notification very often.
Finally, because it has unlimited range, you can check in on your pet from anywhere in the world…no worrying about GPS coverage or cellphone data service. All you need is to active the SIM card (under $10/month, usually $4.99) and you can rest easy knowing that wherever your pet is, you’ll always be able to find them easily.
Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle Key Features:
- Unlimited Range
- Inexpensive subscription plan
- Attaches to pet’s collar directly so no risk of it coming lose
Who Should Buy a GPS Dog Collar
There are a variety of GPS-enabled dog collars out there, which means there’s one for almost every pet owner’s needs. While any dog can get loose or escape, some dogs are more likely to go missing than others. First and foremost, hunting dogs, herding dogs, and outside dogs that are allowed to range over a wide section of property are all at high risk of becoming lost and unable to find their way home. These dogs should always be equipped with a GPS collar when going out of sight or hearing of their owner or handler.
Next up are the outdoor dogs that spend time off-leash in yards and such, even fenced-in yards. While we like to think that our pets are secure in our homes, the reality is that accidents happen, and even the most conscientious of pet owners can have a dog escape. For this reason, any dog that goes outside off-leash should be equipped with a GPS collar.
If your dog only goes outside on a leash, you are less likely to have issues, but if they do manage to get away from you such as by pulling the leash out of your hand or slipping out of a collar that isn’t fastened quite tight enough. Even something as simple as a fall could allow your pet to get away from you. If you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will always be able to recover your pup, a GPS collar is the way to go.
Important Features to Consider
A GPS dog collar or tracker should have a few key features in order to be able to ensure you can get your pet home safe and sound. Here are some things you should for in any GPS dog collar:
- Water-resistant: The best tracking collar in the world is no help if a little rain or a splash in a creek disables it. Make sure whichever collar you go with is at least water-resistant.
- Battery life: a GPS collar is just a heavier-than-average collar if the battery is dead. Long battery life is key to getting your pet home safely.
- Stand-alone receiver: Having a collar that pairs with its own dedicated receiver makes it much easier to track them. With a stand-alone receiver, you won’t be relying on your phone to help find your dog. Not a must-have, but definitely helpful.
- Real-time mapping: Being able to see where your pup is in real-time can be extremely helpful when tracking them, especially in urban or woodland areas where there are lots of potential hiding spots that could prevent you from seeing them right away.
- Subscription cost: Some GPS collars require a subscription fee. While adding another subscription may seem like a hassle, having that customer support available if your pet gets out can be vital. These subscriptions also generally include things like automatic alerts and auto-updating maps. For less than you’re already paying for Netflix, it’s not a bad deal at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dog GPS tracker and how does it work?
A GPS tracker for your dog works by reading a signal from GPS or other navigational satellites to figure out its location, and then it sends that information to a receiver (either your phone, or a stand-alone receiver unit). The tracker is typically built into a collar, but you can also get ones that will attach to any collar, or to a pack or harness.
Can I track my dog if he has a chip?
Unfortunately, we can’t quite track our dogs through their microchips yet, but it’s still a good idea to have your dog micro-chipped and to put a GPS tracker on them. The sub-dermal microchips that you can get at the vet are scanned if your dog is taken to the vet or a shelter, and will have your information encoded on them so that the vet or shelter worker can call you and get your pet back to you. A GPS tracker is a separate item that will allow you to track your dog wherever they are, and will allow you to recover them even if they don’t make it to a shelter or to a vet.
How much is a GPS tracker for a dog?
There’s actually a broad range of prices here. Some of the more budget-friendly models are under $75, and some of the higher-end options that come with their own receiver can cost over $700. There’s something for almost every budget and need here.
Can I track my dog with my phone?
Yes! Most dog GPS trackers can interface with your phone, particularly the subscription-based models. This is a great option if you aren’t ready to spend hundreds on a model with a stand-alone receiver unit.
Other GPS Dog Trackers We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other GPS dog collars and trackers. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best GPS dog trackers/collars list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your dog. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Dog GPS Tracker with Unlimited Range
- Dog GPS Tracker with No Subscription
- Dog GPS Tracker with Geofencing
- Dog GPS Tracker with Activity Monitoring
Dog GPS Trackers with Unlimited Range
This GPS tracker can be used to track your dog through the web or via their free app, and it has a rechargeable battery to boot.
- Uses any SIM
- Fairly lightweight
- Good for large dogs
This clip-on tracker is a great option for smaller dogs.
This stylish collar looks like a regular leather collar, but it has a GPS tracker inside.
- Cheap subscription
- Comes with SIM card
- Quality leather look
Dog GPS Tracker with No Subscription
This Bluetooth tracker has great range and can be used to keep an eye on your pet when they’re making short trips to the yard unsupervised.
- No subscription needed
- Very good range for a Bluetooth tracker
This short-range tracker is great for keeping track of your small dog in a busy dog park or other close-quarters areas.
- Bluetooth tracking network
- No GPS required
- Can ring audibly to alert you of your dog’s location.
This collar is specifically designed to help you track your dogs in the field when hunting, ranching, or just rambling around.
- 9-mile range
- 40-hour battery life
Designed for rambunctious pets that like to hide, this tracker lets you find your pet based on radio frequencies, and is a little more vertically sensitive than GPS.
- Great for dogs that like to hide.
- Uses radio instead of GPS
This RF tracker is one of the most popular around, and is accurate to within 1 inch!
- Extremely accurate
- Close-range system
- Lightweight tracker
This is one of the few GPS pet trackers that doesn’t actually need a subscription!
- GPS without a subscription price
- Unlimited range
- May struggle when far from cell-coverage areas
Dog GPS Tracker with Geofencing
Part of a geofence system, this collar helps train your pup to stay in their safe area.
- 1 Year Warranty
- Can’t be accidentally activated like a traditional invisible fence
This clip-on device uses GPS positioning to give you an alert the second your dog leaves their safe area.
- Includes SIM
This expedition-ready collar is perfect for camping or hiking with your pet and allows you to set up a geofence on the fly.
- 800m range
- Perfect for use in the field
This competition-ready GPS doesn’t allow for correction, making it legal in certain competitive events.
- GPS Only
- UKC, AKC, and PKC APPROVED
This tracking collar and receiver can give you real-time info on the location of up to 20 dogs.
- GPS + GLONASS tracking for increased accuracy
- Can use NiMh batteries or standard AA
This lightweight tracker is perfect for pets that like water, mud, and rough-housing with other pups.
- Comes with SIM
- Easy to set-up geofence in freeform shapes
This mini GPS tracker uses cell towers to triangulate your pet’s location.
- Free App
- Multiple Geofence zone options
This lightweight tracker is perfect for smaller dogs (and cats).
- Can use any SIM
- Easy to activate and setup
This extremely advanced tracking and training system allows you to work with up to 20 dogs at once.
- Multiple levels and types of training stimulation
- stand-alone GPS unit
- great range
Dog GPS Tracker with Activity Monitoring
This sleek, sporty collar offers GPS and tracking capabilities and is very affordable.
- Two-way audio
- Very Affordable
This collar has advanced fitness tracking and goal setting technology to help keep your pet in shape.
- Excellent fitness tracking and goal planning