Whether your dog is an escape artist or just chasing after animals, a GPS dog collar can help you keep your pet safe. One of the worst feelings in the world is not knowing where your dog is, or if he/she is safe after they escape your yard or gets loose. With today’s advanced technology, dog owners can keep closer tabs on their pups by purchasing a GPS dog collar (or GPS pet tracker), which allows you to find your dog quickly if he runs off or gets lost.
Our vet advisor, Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM, reviewed dozens of GPS dog trackers and chose the Whistle GO Explore as her top pick. With a built-in night light, 20-day battery, notifications when your dog leaves a designated safe area, and health/activity tracking features, the Whistle GO Explore helps you keep track of your dog no matter how far she runs away. Read how she chose the top 5.
In addition to a GPS pet tracker, a wireless dog fence can help to keep your dog safely on your property while giving him space to run and play off-leash.
Our Vet’s Top 5 GPS Dog Collars
Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Vet’s Picks||Model||Rating||Waterproof||Alerts||Subscription||Battery Life|
|Best Overall||Whistle GO Explore||Starts at $6.95/month||Up to 20 days|
|Best Budget Buy||FitBark GPS Dog Tracker||Starts at $5.95/month||10-20 days|
|Best for Hunting Dogs||Garmin Astro 450/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle||None required||Up to 20 hours|
|Most Stylish||Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor||Starts at $6.95/month||Up to 3 days|
|Best Waterproof||Fi Smart Dog Collar||Starts at $1.59/week for GPS tracking||Up to 3 months|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy a GPS Dog Tracking Collar
- New dog owners – If you’re training your puppy, then you’ll want the added security a dog GPS tracker offers.
- Curious pet parents – If your dog is well-trained or has a fenced-in area, a GPS dog tracker is still a useful tool for knowing where your pup goes while exploring or how he’s spending his time.
- Pet parents of bolting dogs – If your dog is prone to bolting out the door as soon as it’s open or taking off at every opportunity, then a GPS tracker will go a long way in keeping your pet from getting lost.
Who Should Not Buy a GPS Dog Tracking Collar
- Apartment pet owners – If your dog is leashed at all times that he isn’t inside your home, then you probably won’t need a GPS tracker.
- Old dogs, new tricks – For the slow-moving dog who is well-trained and never runs off, a GPS tracker will likely be a waste of money.
Research Tips (From a Veterinarian)
As a veterinarian, I often get asked how to choose a good dog GPS tracker. Here are some tips and best practices to consider when purchasing a GPS tracker. Be sure to do adequate research on the product you are considering purchasing to look for key features and ask your friends, family, or veterinarian if they have any recommendations on GPS trackers for dogs.
- Check the water resistance – If your dog is likely to get wet or loves to swim, you will definitely want to find a collar that is water-resistant or waterproof. Even if your dog isn’t a water lover, there is a chance that the collar will get wet if it rains.
- Look for long battery life – Look for a product with long battery life. If your pet gets lost, it can take time to find them. You will want a collar with long battery life to give you plenty of time to find your pet.
- Real-time mapping is a big plus – Look for a GPS collar/tracker that offers real-time mapping. This service allows you to track your dog from a cell phone or a handheld device so you can pinpoint the exact location of your pet.1
- Good customer service is crucial – When you lose your pet, you may need to speak with someone about the GPS tracker if you are having issues. Look for a GPS tracking company that has reliable customer service so you can talk to someone when you need it most.
- Scannable GPS trackers make information accessible – Scannable GPS collars allow someone who finds your dog to scan the tag and have your dog’s vital information at their fingertips, so they can call you right away or take note of any pertinent information you’ve included, such as health concerns.
- Consider ongoing subscription costs – Most GPS dog trackers require a monthly or annual subscription. Consider these costs when evaluating GPS dog trackers to find one that fits your budget.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $60 and $150
For most GPS dog collars, you can expect to pay between $60 to $150 and still get a quality product. Subscriptions for dog GPS tracking typically provide excellent customer service with a monthly fee, making it worth your money (usually less than $30; often under $10). If you want a non-subscription tracking system for your dog, consider a GPS tracker with a handheld map device that won’t make you pay for map updates. However, the best of that bunch can run you upwards of $600.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet Life Today
As a veterinarian, I have spoken with many pet owners and other veterinarians about the best GPS trackers on the market. Many of these products were chosen based on my professional experience as a veterinarian combined with product feature considerations. Reliability was determined by considering the tracking ability, range, and battery life of the collar. You also want a collar or tracker that will be able to withstand a little action, and you want to ensure that the collar won’t stop working if your pet gets wet! – Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM
The Best GPS Dog Collars: Full Reviews
The Whistle GO Explore is an all-in-one tracker that uses advanced GPS and cellular technology from America’s largest network (AT&T) to pinpoint your dog’s location anywhere in the United States. The GPS tracking device will record your pup’s data so that you can log onto the app to find out where he’s been for the last 24 hours, and the battery can last up to 20 days between charges.
The Whistle GO Explore also has activity monitoring capabilities, just like the fitness watch you may wear. You can set your pet’s activity and fitness goals, which can go a long way in maintaining a healthy life for your pup. Bear in mind, this tracker does require a monthly subscription fee (plans start at $6.95) but for the price, you get a product that’s much more than a simple GPS tracker.
- Whistle App gives access to on-demand vet help via chat, cell phone, or email
- Exceptionally long 20-day battery life
- 3 different color options, so you can coordinate with your pup
- Subscription required ($6.95/month for 2 years; $7.95/month for 1 year)
- Reviewers say that GPS coverage is occasionally spotty
FitBark GPS Dog Tracker is more than just a GPS tracker. It tracks everything from how often he’s chasing the cat to how well he’s sleeping. You’ll even be able to compare your pet’s activity to similar dogs and to her own activity on other days, as well.
You can monitor your dog’s anxiety and skin conditions from the convenience of your phone with the included app. You’ll also appreciate that you can link your dog’s tracker to your Fitbit, Apple Watch, HealthKit, or Google Fit – making it all the easier to keep track of your dog’s health right alongside yours.
- Excellent for fitness tracking as well
- Waterproof for optimal efficiency
- 10-20 day battery life
- Connection issues occasionally prevent efficient tracking
- Subscription required ($6/month)
The Garmin Astro 450/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle is a testament to Garmin’s ability to design GPS products that boast superior materials and craftsmanship. This GPS tracking device provides ultra-high location sensitivity thanks to the fact that its GPS uses GLONASS, which is a “space-based satellite navigation system operating as part of a radio navigation-satellite service.”2
Not only will you find the Garmin Astro equipped with hunt metrics to show the distance traveled and time afield, but you’ll also find that the battery lasts a whopping 20-40 hours. This GPS dog tracker can detect your dog up to a range of 9 miles.
- Pre-loaded maps and 1-year subscription included
- 2 sizes available for versatility
- Expandable – up to 20 dogs
- Leash use with this collar is not recommended
- Dense cover limits some tracking capability
The Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker & Activity Monitor comes in your choice of a posh leather or functional sporty collar. It’s form-fitting so you won’t have to worry about it getting in the way or your dog slipping it off, an added comfort both you and your dog will appreciate.
You’ll get temperature alerts if your dog is in an environment that’s too hot or too cold, and the LED light on the collar will make your evening walks all the safer. You can record your adventures or walks to monitor the paths you’ve traveled. The app will even let you store your pet’s vet records so you always have access to important information.
- Works up to 30-minutes in water up to 3 ft deep
- 5 sizes available for maximum size versatility
- Designate a safe zone and be alerted when your dog leaves it
- Service plan required
- Occasional connectivity issues
The Fi Smart Dog Collar will track your dog reliably, even if he’s in the pouring down rain or decides to take a swim.
The Fi Smart Dog Collar boasts state-of-the-art GPS technology to track your dog’s whereabouts with astounding speed and accuracy. Its GPS technology not only leverages the tracking power of three constellations of satellites, but also the LTE-M cellular network.3 That means its signal reaches about 30% farther than 3G, 4G, 5G, and LTE networks.4
In addition to tracking your dog’s whereabouts, this GPS collar and tracker also monitors their activity levels. Simply open the app on your phone to see how many steps they’ve taken and how it compares to other dogs in the Fi community.
- Geofence feature lets you map a boundary around where your dog can go
- Speedy escape detection based on proprietary algorithms
- Built-in LED light with changeable colors
- Subscription required – and one per collar, not per set up ($100/year)
- Heavy collar may be too much for your pup to tolerate for long-term use
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a GPS dog collar and how does it work?
Can you track your pet with a chip?
Do I need to download an app to use a GPS dog collar?
Do all GPS dog collars require a monthly fee?
- Bertagna P. How does a GPS tracking system work? Eetimes.com. Published October 26, 2010. Accessed March 2, 2021.
- Wikipedia. GLONASS. Published March 27, 2002. Updated March 2, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021.
- EMnify. Webinar recap: Cellular IoT explained – everything you need to know about 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, LTE-M and NB-IoT. Emnify.com. Published May 11, 2020. Accessed March 2, 2021.
- Fi. The Smartest Dog Collar Ever Built. Tryfi.com. Accessed March 2, 2021.