Pet Tracker Picks: 6 Smart Tags and Collars to Keep Your Dog Safe
Being a dog mom or dad requires vigilance. You worry about your pooches on a daily basis, whether it’s regarding their overall health and well being or general safety. Taking your dog for a walk can sometimes bring about anxiety. What if he comes off the leash and runs so fast and far that he gets lost? How ever will you find him? Fret not, as there are many smart pet tags and pet tracking collar options available on the market that can keep tabs on our furry friends.
As it turns out, you’re not the only one willing to spend extra money to help protect your pet. According to research from Global Market Insights, pet owner spend on wearable devices to keep pets healthy and safe is on the rise (1). In 2020 alone, pet owners in the United States spent $99 billion on their fur babies. That figure was previously $69.4 billion in 2017. Of the $99 billion, about $40.9 billion was spent on pet tech, vet care, training, grooming, and insurance.
In the last 10 years, many innovations have been made in pet tracking devices. While choosing the best pet tracker for your pooch may be daunting because of the immense amount of options out there, the good news is, you can find the one that offers solutions and benefits to your specific needs.
From versatile collars that do more than just tracking your dog to collars that are affordable and stylish, we scoured retailers for all of the best pet trackers on the market to make it easier for you to narrow things down.
Our Pet Tracker Picks
- Best Pet GPS Tracker: Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
- Best GPS Tracker Collar: Fi GPS Smart Collar
- Best Smart Pet Tracker: Pawscout
- Best Budget Pet Tracker: Chipolo ONE Bluetooth Pet Tag
- Best Stylish Pet Tracker: Cube Real Time GPS Dog & Cat Tracker
- Best Key Finder That Doubles as a Pet Tracker: Tile Pro High Performance Bluetooth Tracker
What Is a Pet Tracker?
Simply put, a pet tracker is a device you attach to your dog’s collar to help you find him, should he get lost. Using specific location technology—which varies from GPS to Bluetooth to radio—you can use a receiver (your phone when you buy a GPS or Bluetooth tracker or a handheld device the radio tracker comes with) to help find your pooch.
The most important thing to understand about pet trackers, however, is that they’re not all created equal. Depending on the technology and price point, the location range may differ. You can also go simple with just a location tracker or “fancy” with other features like fitness and health tracking offerings.
The wide range of choices means you can find the best pet tracker that is ideal for you and your dog’s needs.
As mentioned above, the different types of pet trackers include:
Bluetooth: Bluetooth trackers connect to your phone. If your dog is within range of your phone or another user’s phone (signal range varies by device), you’ll be able to locate him or her.
GPS: This technology, which requires cellular data and towers, can find your pet’s location in real-time in far ranges. In many cases, the device (using cell service or SIM card) can also list out the different places where your pet has been.
Radio: As it reads, radio trackers are a bit dated, but have been used for decades. While these don’t require you to pay for a monthly subscription, they don’t have as wide of a range as GPS trackers.
Shopping for a Pet Tracker: What to Look For
There are several factors to consider when shopping for a pet tracker, including:
Range: How far can you track your dog?
Functionality: If your dog is lost, how will you find him? How does the tracking functionality work and how effective is it at finding your dog? Will you need to use your phone or will the tracker come with a receiving device of some kind?
Battery life: How long will your pet tracker last on its battery? And how will you know when you need to replace or recharge the battery?
Style: How does the tracker attach to your dog’s collar? Does it clip on, slide on, or hang on, and how will your dog feel about that? Will he be comfortable?
Subscription fees: Some dog trackers require you to sign up and pay monthly. Make sure you understand what’s required for your dog tracker to actually track.
How We Chose Our Favorite Dog Trackers
So how did we narrow down the options for you? We sought pet trackers with top-notch ratings and with hundreds if not thousands of reviews. We researched and studied each product’s features, looking specifically at efficacy, safety, ease of use, and benefits. We also looked at the overall cost to assess whether or not the product was of good value when compared to the others on the market.
Pet Tracker Picks: 6 Best Smart Tags and Collars
Best Pet GPS Tracker
Our pick: Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
Save $10 on a Tractive GPS device with the code VETSTREET10
We love this affordable GPS pet tracker for its range and the fact that you can virtually see where your pet is in real-time in over 150 countries. And if that’s not enough to entice you, it also comes with fitness features so you can track your dog’s health, too. While it doesn’t come with a collar, it can easily attach to your dog’s current one.
- This Tractive GPS tracker has unlimited range.
- It’s also waterproof in case your dog likes to take dips or walk in the rain.
- You can track your pet across the globe—specifically in the United States, Canada, and 150 other countries.
- This tracker also shows your dog’s active time,”[ rest and calories burned.
Things to Consider
- A subscription plan is required, which starts at $4.99 per month.
- The device, which/’j will need to attach to your dog’s existing collar, might be bulkier than other trackers out there.
Best GPS Tracker Collar
Our pick: Fi GPS Smart Collar
A highly sensitive tracking device and cute yet rugged collar all in one, the Fi is hands down one of our favorites out there. The super-sensitive tracking system communicates with three satellite positioning systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) to help locate your pup within a 6 ft radius. It also utilizes the LTE-M long-distance cellular network for additional tracking, which can be a huge help in remote places. Both the stainless steel tracker and the collar are waterproof, and the battery can last up to 3 months between charges. All you have to do is select your collar size/color and membership option, and you’re good to get tracking!
- Waterproof stainless steel tracker (tested to the IP68 and IP66K standard under water).
- Uses an LTE-M network for longer range, along with GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite positioning systems.
- Starts live tracking instantly in live dog mode.
- Battery lasts up to 3 months.
- Integrated activity tracker.
Things to Consider
- A paid subscription is required for alerts and monitoring (monthly, 6 months, 1 year, 2 year).
Best Smart Pet Tracker
Our pick: Pawscout
The Pawscout smart tag a Bluetooth pet tracker that’s here to help you locate your pooch if needed, as well as connect you with pet-centered places like groomers, parks, and more. Its pet-finding range is 300 feet of you or another Pawscouter, and the app will send you alerts. There’s even a virtual leash option in case your pet wanders out of your yard.
- Pawscout tags are water resistant.
- The community of Pawscout users can help you locate a lost pup.
- A customized nameplate in a variety of patterns can also be purchased.
Things to Consider
- You will have to customize the app with your personal info, so people can contact you if your dog should go missing, and you need to enlist other people’s help.
- You need to enable location services on your phone or it won’t work.
Best Budget Pet Tracker
Our pick: Chipolo ONE Bluetooth Pet Tag
You don’t have to spend big bucks on a pet tracker. This Bluetooth tag can be attached to your dog’s collar. You can use the Chipolo app to ring the tag or get alerts when your pet goes out of range (up to 200 feet). As a bonus, you can double click the tag to find your phone if you misplace it (which happens more than we’d like to admit).
- Comes in six colors: white, yellow, red, blue, green, and black.
- Use the Bluetooth connection to your smartphone to ring your tag, get free out of range alerts, and share your Chipolo with friends and family to help find lost pets or items.
- Coin battery can last for up to two years, and the app sends a notification when it starts to get low.
- This tracker can also help you locate your phone.
Things to Consider
- Primarily marketed as a locator for missing items like keys and wallets but also works for pets.
- Range is only 200 feet, which is less than other Bluetooth pet trackers on our list.
- The alarm is loud at 120 decibels, which may upset your dog.
Best Stylish Pet Tracker
Our pick: Cube Real Time GPS Dog & Cat Tracker
We love the sleek and chic look of the Cube tracker. This pet GPS tracker comes equipped with a SIM card and will connect to your smartphone or computer, where you can set up geofences and notifications.
- Battery life can last from 10 to 60 days.
- You’ll be notified when your rechargeable battery is low.
- You can also set it up to let you know if your dog has crossed boundaries that you’ve set.
Things to Consider
- This device connects to Verizon’s network, which will require monthly payments to operate.
- Cube’s customer service is top-notch in case you need help navigating setup and beyond.
- Can fit collars up to 1-inch wide, otherwise collar clips may need to be purchased separately
Best Key Finder That Doubles as a Pet Tracker
Although this Bluetooth tracker was developed to help you find your keys and other valuables, it can work for your dog just as well. With a 400-foot range and a replaceable battery (which will last for about a year without a charge), this Tile tracker, which requires an iOS or Android for tracking purposes, can easily attach to your dog’s collar.
- This tracker has a 400-foot range.
- Use your smartphone, Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri to find your dog when he is within range.
- When you’re out of range, simply use Tile’s “recent location” option to see where he last was.
Things to Consider
- It doesn’t do much else for your pet (like provide fitness tracking) since this product was not specifically designed for pets.
- Like the Chipolo, the loud ring may upset your pet.
- You can subscribe to a premium plan (about $30 per year) to get other features, like smart alerts and battery replacement, which many don’t truly find worth it.
Using a Pet Tracker: Tips and Advice
Your pet tracker will only be as effective as you allow it. If your pet tracker comes with special features that are not automatically enabled, such as alerts or geofencing, you will need to do some of the initial setup to make the most out of your device.
And if your battery is dead, it won’t be of much use to you. So make it a point to always charge up or replace the battery as needed.
It’s important to also understand your tracker’s range. If you’re just too far from your lost pooch—unless you’re using a tracker like Huan or Pawscout that enlists a community of users to help you find your dog—you won’t be able to locate him. If you’re not within range, you will need to drive around in order to trigger the dog’s location on your receiving device.
Lastly, while pet trackers are there to help you, it’s always important to stay vigilant about keeping your pet safe. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags and has a registered microchip. Keep him on-leash as much as possible, practice a solid “recall” command so he comes when called, and just be generally aware so you can quickly react if your dog strays a bit.