As more people choose not to have children, dogs play a bigger role in our lives, and we’re prepared to spend as much money as necessary to keep them happy, healthy and safe. From pet hotels and doggy daycare centres to doggy gopros, personal dog walkers, and strollers using dog prams, nothing is too much (or too strange) for our furbabies. It was only a matter of time before we’d be discussing the best GPS trackers for dogs.
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|Tractive GPS Pet Tracker|
|Pet GPS Tracker for Dogs (and Cats) by Kippy|
|Tractive LED Dog Collar|
|SportDOG TEK Series 2.0 GPS Tracking System|
Parents have been using GPS mobile phones and watches to keep an eye on their children for quite some time already, so it makes sense we’d employ the same technology to keep our pooches safe too. But what exactly is a GPS pet tracker? And what does it do? Which is the best one and what do they cost?
Well, we’re glad you’re here. We’ve got the answers to all your questions, and we’ve put a list together of our top 5. So grab a cuppa, pull up a chair and learn everything you’ve always wanted to know about GPS dog trackers
Best Dog GPS Trackers UK
There are already hundreds of dog GPS trackers available to purchase. Some are new brand names from start-up companies and there are models from well-established names in the GPS tracker industry.
We’ve considered these and everything in between to bring you our top 6. They cover a range of prices to suit all budgets, and there’s something as simple as an LED collar for the technophobe all the way through to a gizmo to satisfy the hardest-to-please gadget-geek.
Let’s take a closer look at our selection.
The collar-mounted Tractive GPS Pet Tracker allows you to check where your dog (or cat) is in real-time using your browser or the iOS or Android app. If you’re feeling particularly anxious, there is live tracking updated every second, a 24-hour history to see where they’ve been and the option to set safe-zone alerts.
Battery life is around two to five days and it usually takes about two hours to fully recharge. The tracker is waterproof, and it has a light in case you walk your dog at night, or helps you find him if he likes hiding under the bed or in cupboards. The Tractive weighs approximately 35g so it’s better suited to dogs that weigh 4.5kg or more.
As with most GPS trackers, you need coverage and a service plan for the gadget to work. It’s a great device if the cellular coverage is good, if not, we wouldn’t recommend it. It’s also on the heavy side for smaller dogs. This is one of the best dog GPS trackers with an iPhone app.
From a rather heavy device to one that’s shrunk by 25%, the Tile Mate is a popular tracker that uses Bluetooth to keep an eye on your pooch. It loops onto the collar (or anything else) and can be used to find your pet, your keys, your bag, your kids, or your keys.
Even though it’s a high tech gadget, it’s easy to use and works on both Android and iOS phones. What we really like about the Tile Mate is you can ask other people to help you find your lost pet (or item). With over 5 million Tiles sold, it’s undoubtedly one of the biggest lost and found networks in the world. There have been concerns about the invasion of privacy as well as a few mentions of bad customer service, but overall users are very happy with the Tile Mate.
The Pet GPS Tracker for Dogs and Cats by Kippy is a great option for larger dogs. It uses a mobile network to locate your pet and you can keep track of your pooch using the app on your Android, Windows or iOS app or if you prefer you can register on Kippy’s website.
The device is easy to use, and clips onto your dog’s collar. It’s also shockproof and waterproof.
You can also set up virtual fences and get alerts should your pet wander off. For those moments when your pooch pulls a Houdini, there’s a fast-track mode. There is a clever little feature that switches the tracking off when your dog isn’t doing anything and switches on again when they move. This saves the battery life, which can last between 18 and 20 days.
This isn’t a GPS tracker as such. Instead, the Tractive LED Dog Collar lets you see where your pet is on walks where the visibility isn’t great. It has an integrated LED strip that lights up and it has a flash mode. There are three different modes available; slow flashing light, fast flashing light and continuous light.
The collars come in small, medium and large and can also be adjusted. The LED collar can’t locate your dog should he go missing, but if he’s already microchipped it’s an easy and convenient way to keep an eye on your pooch. This is a great choice for a small dog GPS tracker.
If you spend time outdoors with a lot of dogs at a time or do serious training sessions, then the SportDOG TEK Series 2.0 GPS Tracking System is for you. It can track 21 dogs at the same time, it has training features and provides feedback on their whereabouts at any given time.
The state of the art tracker lets you track your dog up to a 16-kilometre range, with unlimited mapping updates. There are 1:120,000 preloaded topo maps, and it’s Bluetooth compatible.
The tracking system and handheld device are waterproof, up to 7.6 metres and 1.5 metres respectively and it has a desktop app for updates and downloads.
A very cool feature that gets a thumbs up from us is the voice updates from the handheld device, which means you don’t have to be looking at it, or even holding it to know where your dogs are.
This is one of the premium GPS tracking systems available on the market, and won’t suit everyone’s budget, but it’s definitely worth looking at, even if it’s to see GPS tracking technology at its very best.
While you might not be able to pronounce it, the Tuokiy Pet Activity Monitor will help you keep an eye on your pet’s movements and even his health. Simply attach the tracker to his collar, download the Joyful Pet app for free and monitor your dog’s activities and even his resting time. The app will help you assess the health of your dog and give you suggestions about is activity levels based on his age, weight and breed.
You can also set reminders for vet appointments or times to take medication and it has a simple tracking device that alerts you when he’s wandering a little too far from you. This is a great choice for older dogs or dogs who need a fair amount of attention. It’s not going to work well on a puppy with loads of energy, but for your ‘old dawg’ that accidentally forgets where he is, it’s perfect.
Why use a GPS Dog Collar/Tracker?
Let’s get this one out the way, shall we? Channel 4 launched a show called Lost and Found in an effort to highlight Dogs Trust, the largest dog welfare charity in the UK. The series looked at real-time events where dogs have gone missing, and the efforts of both the owners and volunteers to help in the search.
While there are no recent figures for the number of missing dogs in the UK, it’s safe to say it’s in the hundreds, every week. Some are stolen, others get out or go missing while on a walk, but whatever the circumstances, families are left heartbroken and organisations have an overflow of lost dogs on their hands.
One of the main reasons Dog GPS trackers are used is to help locate missing dogs, but they’re also useful in a variety of other situations, such as:
- If you’re travelling with your dog in unknown areas
- If you want to protect your pet against theft
- Letting your dog roam around the surrounding properties safely
- Being able to let your Houdini off his leash during long walks or hikes
- Knowing his whereabouts during hunting trips
- Assist with special training
- Keep an eye on your dog’s daily habits and patterns
- Making sure your pooch is safe throughout the day when you’re not around
What is a GPS Tracker?
To understand this, it’s best to split them into two categories, namely radio trackers and GPS (or cellular) trackers.
Radio trackers are considered a little dated in terms of the technology used and they’ve been around for years. They work in pretty much the same way as walkie-talkies with a similar range. With radio trackers, it’s a case of the more money you spend, the better the range and they’re fairly costly.
A GPS tracker is a more recent development and uses cutting-edge technology to help you locate your pet anywhere, in real-time. Similarly to the GPS systems on our cell phones, you’re able to see where your pet has been throughout the day and there are even trackers with a predetermined geo-fence that alerts you should your dog leave the area.
GPS trackers work using cellular data so you’ll need to have access to towers in order for them to work, as well as a cellular service or a SIM card.
No matter how safe you keep your pet or how well trained he is to stay in the garden after going over the best dog training books, the fact remains dogs get lost, they go missing and they can get stolen. Thankfully with the technology available today we’re able to keep an eye on our pets when we can’t be with them. Are you using a dog GPS tracker at the moment? Which one is it and are you happy with it? Let us know in the comments below.