There is nothing more frightening than realizing your dog has slipped out of your yard or wandered off during a hike or hunt. Unfortunately, this fear turns into a reality for many dog owners. In fact, one out of every three pets will go missing at some point in their lives. Luckily, a GPS collar can turn a frightening situation into a controlled scenario and provide you with priceless peace of mind along with the ability to find your best friend.
With a GPS collar, all you need is your phone to locate your dog. This not only saves you time, but it could also save your dog’s life. Best of all, this technology has now been around long enough that companies have worked out the kinks and made their devices more affordable than ever.
If you’re wondering which collar is best for your best friend, we’ve selected the best GPS dog collars in 2021.
Whistle GO Explore
Garmin Alpha 100 TT 15 Dog GPS
Who needs a GPS dog collar?
Every dog owner should consider investing in a GPS collar. Whether your yard is fenced or you always walk your dog on a leash, accidents happen.
Dogs are curious and playful by nature. If they see an opportunity to investigate a noise, smell, or object outside of their home – they are going to check it out. Unfortunately, one little adventure outside can lead to a much larger one within seconds. A GPS dog collar gives you a little peace of mind for those “what if” situations.
Hunters and hikers, in particular, will also appreciate the value of a GPS collar. The wilderness is a vast area and it can be easy to lose your dog out there. Additionally, if a dog is injured while tracking an animal (or chasing one for fun!) a GPS collar can help you locate your wounded companion quickly.
Top 5 GPS Dog Collar Reviews
As GPS dog collars become more popular, vendors of all kinds claim they make the best one.
1. Whistle GO Explore
The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker is one of the most affordable and reliable models on the market today. This small device clips onto your dog’s collar for easy use. Its combination of advanced nationwide tracking, proactive alerts (text, email and app notifications), as well the extended battery life (up to 7 days) makes this one of the bestselling GPS collars. Because it connects to your cellular network, however, expect to invest in a low-cost monthly subscription package.
- Easy to set up and useExtremely lightweight
- Can track multiple dogs at once
- Compatible with iOS and Android phones
- Deletes information after 24-hours
- While the service plan is low cost, monthly subscription fee may negate the initial low-cost of this item
Bottom Line: The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker has all the features you could want in a GPS dog collar. If you can afford the monthly subscription, this is the best overall GPS collar on the market. As a bonus, the Whistle 3 also includes an activity tracker that lets you know how much sleep, exercise and rest your dog is getting.
2. Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker
The Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker offers an affordable, yet highly sophisticated device that is compatible with iOS and Android phones. In addition to GPS services, the Tractive 3G allows you to set up a virtual perimeter fence that will automatically notify you via text of your dog’s location once breeched.
The low-cost monthly subscription feel allows you to maintain coverage of your pet’s location at all times when the device is attached to your dog’s collar.
- Low-cost solution to a serious problem
- Invisible perimeter fence
- The Tractive 3G battery will last up to 5 days only and must be detached to charge
- The lowest subscription plan ($5) adds another $60 annually to the cost of this model
Bottom Line: Slightly larger than the Whistle 3, the Tractive 3G offers many features any dog owner can appreciate. We especially like the virtual perimeter fence feature that immediately alerts you when our pet breeches it.
3. Garmin Alpha 100 TT 15 Dog GPS
The Garmin Alpha 100 is an expensive, fully-loaded GPS dog tracker that packs a serious punch. This tracker comes with all of the bells and whistles – including a collar, highly-sensitive GPS, LED beacon light, rescue mode, stimulations (vibration and tone), and a handheld tracking device.
The Garmin Alpha 100 does not connect to your smartphone, so there will be no subscription fee. For those who train or hunt, you can track up to 20 dogs at a time on this device.
- There is a one-time investment cost for the Garmin Alpha 100
- Rescue mode can extend the life of your battery up to 45 hours
- This collar is extremely expensive
- Also a bit larger and more complicated than many of the other devices
- While it is rechargeable, the standard battery life is only 24-hours
Bottom Line: If you are a serious hunter, outdoor enthusiast, or trainer – the Garmin Alpha 100 may be worth the hefty price-tag. It comes with all of the bells and whistles a high-quality GPS dog collar should, however, and has plenty of happy customers.
4. Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker
The Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker is perhaps the sleekest, most attractive model on our list. (It is also one of the only ones to come with its own collar.)
Nestled inside a tan leather or black sport collar, the Link AKC tracker is available in four different sizes to ensure your dog is comfortable. It also includes bonus features, such as a LED light, temperature safety alert, vet record database, and nationwide tracking.
The Link AKC Smart Dog Collar has a compatible app that can be used with iOS and Android phones.
- Beautifully crafted, the sleek design and tracker incorporation into the collar makes for a popular choice
- Ability to store additional data, such as vet records and activity history
- Fashionable, but a little heavier
- May be too heavy for smaller dogs despite the “small” collar size
- Battery will only last up to 3 days
Bottom Line: Slightly more expensive than some of the other models, the Link AKC Smart Dog Collar with GPS Tracker is a beautiful item that does more than just locate our dog.
5. Dogtra Pathfinder TRX
With 2-second updates, the Pathfinder lets you see your dog in action and on the move. So, let your dog off-leash, and watch them as they go. Best of all, this waterproof GPS tracker doesn’t require a subscription.
As long as you’re within 9 miles of your dog, you will be able to locate your pup quickly and easily. Dogtra’s maps are free, and it has an offline mode. Furthermore, you can use the Pathfinder system to track up to 21 dogs simultaneously!
This model is best for dogs that weigh more than 35-pounds and dog owners with multiple dogs.
6. Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Tracking Tag Monitoring System
The Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO is another high-dollar item. This self-contained, waterproof device connects to your dog’s collar and starts locating your pet with the touch of a button. With no subscriptions and a rechargeable battery, the device comes with a handheld tracker that helps you search for your dog for up to 6 weeks!
- You can set a perimeter range with the MARCOPOLO that will alert you should your dog wander too far
- Easy to use
- Plenty of users have raved about the quality and durability of this tracker system
- Obstacles can block the transmitter signal, which can prolong your search in heavily wooded areas.
Bottom Line: As a high-dollar item – you expect quality. The MARCOPOLO delivers that and more, being named an Amazon Choice buy.
7. Findster Duo +
Whether you’re off the grid or at the dog park, the Findster Duo lets you enjoy peace of mind because your dog’s location is just a tap away.
With a range of 3 miles, you can rest assured that you won’t spend all day driving up and down streets trying to get a signal.
With Findster, you can also monitor your dog’s activity level and watch for worrisome changes in behavior that could indicate a health issue. This device also allows you to create a geo-fence and receive notifications when your dog leaves the vicinity.
GPS Dog Collars: The Low Down
If you’re looked through our top picks above, but want some more information, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide with some more details below.
What exactly is a GPS dog collar?
According to the American Humane Society, over 10 million dogs and cats are reported missing every year. They further estimate that 1 out of every 3 pets will be lost at some point in their lives. Additionally, of all dogs caught and sent to an animal shelter, only 22% will be reunited with their families.
Microchipping your dog is essential. It’s one of the first things an animal shelter will check for when a lost dog is brought in. However, not all owners remember to register their pet’s microchip or to update their information should they move or get a new phone number. Because of this, many microchips fail to provide the necessary information to reunite with their dog.
That makes a GPS collar even more important. A GPS collar provides real-time updates on your pet’s location. This helps increase your ability to locate your missing dog in any situation. Best yet – it helps you locate your dog quickly before something more serious or fatal can occur.
How does a GPS dog tracking collar work?
GPS dog collars or dog trackers are straightforward. After you attach the transmitter to your dog’s collar, the chip inside the device will send a signal to satellites overhead or nearby cell towers. This signal is then sent to your smartphone.
Usually, each GPS collar has its own app that reads the data and marks your dog’s location on a map.
Can my dog’s microchip help me track my dog like a GPS?
No. Microchips do not actively communicate with satellites and do not send location information. They use a radio frequency transmitter that communicates with a microchip reader. Usually, the only information a dog’s microchip will store is an ID number that can be looked up in a database of microchip registrations–from that database, the vet, shelter, or pet store can find your contact information and give you a call.
A GPS works in real-time (or almost real-time) to tell you your pet’s location.
Can I get my dog GPS microchipped?
Nope. This technology does not exist yet. GPS devices use battery power and would be too big to fit in a microchip.
Features Worth Considering
GPS dog collars are more sophisticated than more other dog collars available today. However, because of their digital advancements, these collars tend to come with a larger price tag. To help ensure you invest in the best model, let’s take a look at the most important features.
A GPS collar that dies after a short amount of time is pointless. Quality GPS collars should have a long-lasting battery to give you as much time as possible to locate your dog.
A good GPS collar needs to be durable. From waterproofing to hit-resistance, a GPS collar needs to stand up to every aspect of a dog’s life.
Some GPS collars restrict your dog to a 5-foot area. This is not ideal. The best GPS collars allow your dog plenty of room to roam while still keeping you updated on their location.
Size & Weight
You will want a GPS collar that is as small and light as possible. This helps to keep your dog comfortable while wearing the device.
How your GPS collar relays information to you is important. Not all of these devices use the same technology. Some may only be accessible from your computer or an included handheld device, while others may utilize your smartphone or specific apps to provide real-time updates.
The Best GPS Dog Collar for Your Pet
All things considered, any of the GPS dog collars listed above make of a good investment. (As big fans of dogs, anything that increases your dog’s safety is a win-win to us!)
However, there is one clear winner in our eyes.
Whistle GO & GO Explore
The Whistle GO Explore is the best GPS dog collar for your pet. The lightweight, durable nature of this small device make it a reliable choice even for the smallest of dogs.
Hopefully, you can locate your dog quickly with the help of the Whistle 3 GPS Dog Tracker. However, even the best devices may not help you recover your pet as quickly as you would hope. The long-lasting battery makes this a must have device for any owner.
- “Missing Pet Statistics in the United States”, Peeva, https://peeva.co/missing-pet-epidemic-facts-and-figures, Accessed 2021 January 27.
Kendra Shillington says
I find this article to be helpful, however my dogs live in the mountains and wander miles away in the woods. I also dont always have a verizon signal. What collar do you recommend for spotty service?
richard pizitz says
I am looking for the best gps(not cellular) collar for one dog. My only interest is a collar that will continue to point at the dog and show distance. I have no interest in fences, training,multi-dogs, etc. My dog weighs 45 pounds. I will appreciate your recommendations. Thank you.