The Best GPS Dog Trackers To Help You Keep Tabs On Your Pet Around The Clock

If you’re like us, you get a little bit of separation anxiety when you see your dog run off to who knows where. We don’t blame you. Fortunately, there are products on the market designed to keep your pets safe and give you a little more peace of mind: GPS collars.

What are the benefits of GPS pet trackers and collars?The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost and stolen in the U.S. every year(Opens in a new tab). Equipping pets with ID tags or microchips is one way to ensure your pets’ safe return in case they get lost while on vacation or stray away from home, but you can take your dog’s safety to another level — with wearable tech. Pet wearables, such as GPS collars, are making it possible for pet parents to track their dog’s location (and even monitor their activity) wherever they are.

How do GPS pet trackers work? More often than not, a GPS chip implanted in the tracker acquires your pet’s position and relays that info back to your smartphone, primarily via cell coverage (in some cases, they can do this via WiFi). Usually, an app is used to display your pet’s location on a map, as well as give access to other included features like activity and sleep stats. Base stations are commonly used to establish a link between the tracker, which is attached to your dog’s collar, and your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth. Though, some GPS trackers take a more all-in-one approach and skip the base station part.

What to look for in a GPS pet collarSome smart collars can do more than simply track your fur baby’s location. If you’re looking for additional features, pick a tracker that monitors activity and sleeping patterns (basically, a Fitbit for pets). Having these stats is invaluable, and adds another layer of connection with your pet that can be used to figure out what they need at a given moment.

Note, however, that a GPS tracker is not a substitute for a microchip implant. Use a GPS collar or tracker in conjunction with a microchip if you can, which stores your pet’s vital info and is still the best way to ensure you’re reunited with them if they get lost. Most pet shelters and veterinary clinics have scanners for microchips.

Here’s a look at some of the best GPS dog collars and trackers you can buyWhether you’re searching for something simple with long battery life, or something more complex with additional features, there’s a GPS tracker for every pet-and-pet-parent duo out there. Here are the best ones we tested.

Best all-in-one tracker

Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable


Subscription Plan Required: Yes Battery Life: Up to 7 days Water Resistant: Yes Activity Monitoring: Yes Good things come in small packages — and sometimes they come in small, but also affordable, powerful, and functional packages. Take the Whistle Health & GPS(Opens in a new tab) (formerly called Whistle Go Explore), for instance.

The Whistle attaches to any collar or harness up to 1 inch wide. If you have an active dog, you’re in luck — it’s also dirt-, shock-, and water-resistant. Though it doesn’t have features like meal logs or medication reminders, one great perk of the Whistle is the ability to create multiple “safe places” for your pet, depending on where they spend most of their time. The tracker’s app will notify you each time your pet leaves and returns to one of the safe places that you map out.

The Whistle Health & GPS also offers activity and rest monitoring so you can be in the know about your pet’s health. Just like a Fitbit, you can also set custom goals for your dog and get notifications if there are significant changes to their activity or sleeping patterns. The only thing that could be improved here is the actual attaching of the tracker to your pet’s collar — the fit wasn’t as secure as we’d hoped with the snap attachment, but the velcro option (both are included) fared a little bit better. Overall, the Whistle Health & GPS is a great value for your money.

Read our full review of Whistle Health & GPS.

Best app analytics

Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable


Subscription Plan Required: Yes Battery Life: 3 weeks Water Resistant: Yes Activity Monitoring: Yes We were torn on the FitBark(Opens in a new tab) GPS tracker. On one hand, the analytics features within the app are top-tier and the location tracking is really accurate. But on the other hand, we didn’t really enjoy the construction of the tracker itself, specifically in the attachment and detachment processes.

First, the good stuff, though. FitBark’s companion app includes all the usual great features you’d come to expect from a GPS tracker — live tracking, escape notifications, and all that jazz. But where it really excels is in its analytics features. You’ll get in-depth activity and sleep monitoring, as well as a journal where you can log big moments in your pet’s day and their food intake. You’ll also get information about skin and anxiety conditions if the tracker picks up on abnormal behaviors, which is nice to have if you’re helicopter pet parents like us.

The rough part is the actual tracking device itself. It’s really annoying to attach and detach, employing zip ties to secure itself to your dog’s collar. It is really secure, but our test dog seemed uncomfortable with the ties, and to detach the tracker, we literally had to cut the ties off. Hopefully, this design is improved later on, because FitBark has a lot of promise.

Still, if you’re into analytics and the fitting issues don’t concern you much, we can still recommend picking one up.

Best tracker with a home base

Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable


Subscription Plan Required: Yes Battery Life: 3 months Water Resistant: Yes Activity Monitoring: Yes The Fi Series 3(Opens in a new tab) is a huge step up from the Series 2. At first glance, we loved that the tracker already came housed within a slick-looking collar, so there was no complicated attachment process needed. It was also super slim and lightweight, which can’t be said for most GPS pet trackers (a lot of them are bulky).

The setup was really simple in conjunction with the helpful companion app, showing step-by-step how to connect the collar with the included home base station to start tracking. It may be annoying to some to have an extra piece in the base station, but it’s worth it, because the Fi’s location tracking is dead-on accurate. The app also includes in-depth activity and sleep monitoring, as well as alert notifications and “lost pet mode” for emergencies.

The collar itself is super durable, including the clasp, but the same can’t be said for the actual tracker. It scratched pretty quickly, but never affected the performance negatively. So, a small bummer, but a bummer nonetheless. Ultimately, the Fi Series 3 is a stellar option for any pet owner that wants a GPS tracker that’s seamless, full-featured, and accurate (so, everyone, we guess).

(Also note that the $102 price tag comes with the Fi Series 3 collar, tracker, and a six-month subscription to the service.)

Best budget tracker

Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable


Subscription Plan Required: Yes Battery Life: Up to 5 days Water Resistant: Yes Activity Monitoring: Yes If your budget is on the tighter side, the Tractive GPS(Opens in a new tab) is a nice pet tracker for the price. While it certainly has some flaws, it packs in an impressive amount of features that make for a really solid starter device (we especially loved the built-in night light).

Similar to many GPS pet trackers, Tractive lets you access live tracking within the companion app, and with its location history feature, you don’t only see where your pet is at a given moment, but also where they’ve been. Tractive also lets you set up a virtual fence, which defines the “safe area” for your dog. The virtual fence notifies you (and anyone you’ve shared the tracker with) when your pet leaves or enters the safe area.

For all it does well, though, there are some issues. The battery life was on the shorter side in comparison to the other trackers, not even lasting a full week until needing another charge. Also, the live tracking feature didn’t refresh often enough, which made it feel like the tracker was constantly catching up to us. But, for just $49.99, we’d say it’s worth checking out if you simply want to dip your toes into the world of pet trackers instead of jumping right in.

Read our full review of the Tractive GPS.

Best for small pets

Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable


Subscription Plan Required: No Battery Life: 2 years Water Resistant: Yes Activity Monitoring: No The Chipolo One(Opens in a new tab) is only going to work for parents with indoor pets, or pets that don’t tend to venture off outside — still, it has some live tracking features, is super affordable, and is worth checking out in our opinion (especially for cats).

Pretty much exactly like a Tile tracker(Opens in a new tab), the Chipolo One is a small tag that you can attach to your pet’s collar and track them for small distances within the connected app. The best feature, though, is that you can have the Chipolo play a ringtone when you can’t find it, and in turn, your pet. This makes it a really good pick for owners who have pets that like to hide in strange places, or are just really small and tend to blend into the background. It also offers Siri and Google Assistant support, as well as a few different ringtone options. Just don’t look to it for durability — the construction is very plasticky and scratches easily.

That’s basically all the Chipolo One has to offer, but for $25, that’s not a negative in our book.

While sourcing for this roundup, we chose to hands-on test products that varied in budget and features — from cheaper trackers that didn’t offer much besides location tracking, to pricier picks that could give in-depth analytics on your pet. We spent one week with each GPS tracker, all tested by Mashable Lead Shopping Reporter Dylan Haas’ dog, Stevie.

While testing each pick, we took a few factors into consideration:

Fit: GPS pet trackers are meant to be worn pretty much 24/7, so they should be comfortable, not cumbersome. We also paid attention to how each GPS tracker was attached to the collar, if not already built-in. If the tracker fell off during use or didn’t feel secure, we didn’t recommend it.

Battery life: This one speaks for itself. A good GPS pet tracker should have a decent battery life, hopefully exceeding at least one week before needing a charge.

Durability: Anything worn by a pet is going to need to be able to stand up to wear and tear, especially if they’re active and like to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. Features like water resistance and a tough outer shell got extra points in our book.

App accuracy and extra features: Every GPS tracker needs to have a companion app that’s easy to use and accurate. If your pet does end up getting lost, you’ll want to know exactly what their location is, not just a broad suggestion for a search area. Extra features within the app like activity analytics are even better.

Dylan is a reporter for Mashable Shopping. Follow him on Twitter @iamdylanhaas, or send him an email at [email protected]

Dana Froome is a Production Associate at Mashable where she works on Snapchat Discover, Mashable Reels, and AMP Stories. Prior to this, she was a consultant at Maybelline New York and an intern at and

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