Author: Travis Young
Last Updated: September, 2019
With consistent improvements in GPS and tracking technology, it’s now possible to track the location of pretty much anything that moves, including your pets!
Based on our research and reviews, the best pet trackers for 2019 are:
- Tractive GPS Pet Tracking Device 3G
- GPS Unit for Pets by Biotraka
- Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker
- Tile Sport or Anything Finder
For animal lovers, it’s a no-brainer that you’d want to keep your pet as safe as possible, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors with your dog or live on a large property without fencing. If you’re into sports like hunting, getting a GPS tracker for your trusty canine companion is an important part of making them a more efficient part of this particular outdoor activity.
With so many options on the market to choose from, it can be tricky to know what to look for. As always, what option will suit you and your pet depends entirely on your specific requirements and the kind of pet you have.
Best Pet Trackers 2019 – Reviews
This product will appeal to most users looking to keep track of their canine walking partner as it offers a broad range of functionality.
This includes being lightweight and waterproof, but also robust, so you don’t have to worry if Fido jumps into a pond on the way back from your afternoon walk.
The Tractive GPS Pet Tracking device also allows you to track your pet in real time and share its location with others. You can also set up a “safe zone”, and be notified when your pet strays from this area.
With a rechargeable battery and worldwide location tracking, this device is convenient to use in over 150 countries around the world. You’ll find this a nifty feature if you plan on travelling with your pet too.
- Real-time location tracking
- Safe zone tracking
- Worldwide tracking compatibility
- Rechargeable battery
- Built for tough conditions
- Easily attaches to harnesses and collars
- Full location history of your pet’s movements
- Free Tractive GPS app
- No range limitation
- A rechargeable battery
- Recommended for dogs larger than 4.5kg
- Monthly subscription
A solid option for those looking for a reliable device, the Biotraka GPS Unit is lightweight and has a long lasting battery.
In addition to tracking the location of your pet, the product also monitors activity levels, i.e. whether they are resting or engaging in high or low activity.
For those looking for something that can handle the outdoors, this is a good option as it has an IP67 waterproof rating.
Since the device operates on 3G, the product will always use the strongest network available. This means you can be assured that you won’t lose signal if the cellular network changes.
Using proprietary Findster MAZE technology, this device is one of the few that don’t require any kind of cellular network connection. And no cellular network connection means no monthly fees!
Unlike other devices, you can also track up to three pets at a time, without having to take out a subscription package for each one.
With real-time tracking, you can also use the Findster device to monitor both dogs and cats. As with many other devices, you can also set up a safe area around their position on a map, and get notified if they leave this area.
Amazingly, this product can work anywhere as it isn’t dependent on any kind of cellular infrastructure. It’s perfect for anyone, anywhere in the world, even if you live in a remote area.
- Proprietary tracking technology
- Ability to track multiple pets
- Works with both cats and dogs
- Worldwide tracking capability
- Different power usage modes
- Worldwide tracking – can use the device anywhere
- No monthly fees!
- You can track more than one pet at a time
- Not suitable for indoor or remote monitoring
- Tracking range will vary depending on your surroundings
Although the Tile isn’t specifically a pet tracker, it can be used to find pretty much anything. Because of this, it’s a cost-effective option for those looking to find things that aren’t too far away.
With a 200 ft range, all you need to do is tap your Tile device, and the corresponding item or pet’s tag will ring.
This isn’t something that is suited to animals who roam a wide area. Where it can be very useful is for people whose cats or small animals like to stray a little bit further from their homes or beds. Or alternatively, if you’re walking with your pet in a fairly contained area.
Buying Guide: What to Look for When Buying a GPS Pet Tracker
With all of the variety of different products out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin when it comes to choosing a pet tracker.
As we’ve seen with the products reviewed above, it all really depends on what your priorities are, what kind of pets you have, and what kinds of activities you like to do with them.
To give you an idea of what to look for though, here are some suggestions of what the most important features to consider are when choosing a pet tracker.
GPS location tracking
We’ve focused mainly on GPS tracking devices in this article, but there are some brands out there that use radio technology to track pets.
The benefit of GPS technology is that it gives a much wider range, while a radio signal will only cover a certain area. Some devices also might use Bluetooth for tracking purposes.
On the downside, GPS technology isn’t free and tracking pets using satellites that orbit the earth can use up a lot of battery power. Overall though, it is your best bet for being able to cover a wide area.
With all the monitoring of activity that is going on today, it’s natural that this kind of concern can extend to our pets. This is especially true if they live in a city and don’t get out as much as they need to.
Some tracking devices can do both activity monitoring and GPS tracking, but many focus on one or the other. It really all depends on what is important to you and what your priorities are.
If you’re an outdoorsy person that’s just looking to keep your pet safe, a GPS monitor might do. On the other hand, if your pet needs to get a bit more exercise a device that focuses more on activity monitoring could also meet all of your needs.
Works with cats?
Not all pet trackers are designed to work with cats, as they move differently from dogs. However, some are built for both, so just check the exact specifications before you make a purchase.
Since cats do tend to roam, it’s also helpful to take this into consideration – you might be surprised to find out how far your cat really goes!
Some pet owners might keep their dogs or cats indoors most of the time apart from their daily walk on the pavement. If that is the case, there’s no real need for rugged equipment and something that slips onto their collar when you go out could be ideal.
If you’re going to be hiking or roughing it with your pets though, or you live in a more remote area, a device that can take a few knocks and get a bit wet is certainly preferable if you want to be able to keep tabs on an adventurous canine.
Software – is there an app?
The majority of pet trackers work using a mobile app, but some do have desktop-friendly application interfaces.
Regardless, most pet trackers come with an interface that allows you to track their movements and will also alert you if your pet does stray out of a predefined area. Note that you’ll need to set up this defined area yourself though.
Once again, it all really depends on how active your dog or cat is. For adventurous and independent pets, a heavy device might well be cumbersome and annoying and end up getting damaged.
Something light and weather/terrain resistant is obviously preferable, but take note that there needs to be some kind of bulk to support GPS functionality.
This is one of the most important points to consider as the amount of time you’ll need to spend charging a GPS tracker device could affect how often you’re able to use it.
If you’re going to be taking walks daily at certain times, this might not be too much of an issue. But if you’re going on extended trips into the wilderness, battery life is a real consideration.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What else can Pet Trackers track?
In addition to location, many pet trackers can track the activity of your pet, and can also compile all of this information into a convenient activity and location history log.
It all really depends on the device, but most devices will have either functionality or both.
So besides tracking the actual location of your pet, some devices might offer a variety of different functionality.
What is the difference between a GPS and Microchip?
The difference between a GPS and a microchip is that a microchip needs to be scanned by a relevant person (e.g. a vet) to be able to read the data. GPS, on the other hand, is accessible to anyone with access to the tracker’s software interface or app.
Microchips are also much less energy intensive technology than GPS and don’t require batteries or subscriptions to use. These microchips can safely be inserted/implanted into your dog’s skin whereas a GPS device requires power so will need to be an external device.
What network does the pet collar connect to?
The network that certain pet trackers connect to really depends on where you live. Many devices will require you to buy a local SIM card that you can then use in order to take advantage of GPS tracking technology (which is done via triangulation between cellular towers).
Some pet trackers are only designed to be used in certain countries with certain service providers. With this in mind, it is best to double check the specifications before you purchase the product.
Why do so many pet trackers have a monthly subscription plan?
The bottom line is that GPS technology is energy intensive and uses telecommunications infrastructure which doesn’t come for free. As part of a cellular contract, you pay to access data through cellular towers on your phone. A pet tracker is no different.
Some of the simpler pet trackers don’t require you to take out a subscription plan. Ultimately it really depends on what kind of service(s) the device offers, and how much you’re willing to pay for both the product and any additional monthly fees.
Note that some devices use their own tracking technology, so they don’t require monthly fees which is a bonus!