The Best Pet GPS TrackersPet GPS Trackers
When my dog was a puppy, her favorite game was escaping the house and leading my brother and I on a two mile sprint around the neighborhood. She would patiently wait until I came within 20 feet of her, gasping, and then dash off again. My more athletic brother could actually catch her, but what if she ran out of our sight? Or escaped when no one was home?
Luckily, nowadays you can get a GPS tracker to monitor your pet's whereabouts. These wearable trackers let you create a safe zone (aka your home and yard) and then will alert you if your dog or cat leaves the area. The built-in GPS means you can track your amateur Houdini easily from a smartphone.
A Pet GPS will constantly refresh its position so you know exactly where your cat or dog has wandered off to. Some come in a collar form, while others are designed as a clip or slide-on collar attachment. Using cellular service, they'll track your pet's whereabouts. More advanced models even have features like sleep or heart rate tracking.
Best pet GPS trackers: our top 4 picks
Best all-around: Whistle 3
Most affordable: Tractive
Best for small pets: Findster Duo +
Most durable: Pod 3 GPS
Best all-around pet tracker: Whistle 3
We've chosen the Whistle 3 as our top pick for the best pet gps tracker. Here's why:
The Whistle 3 uses cellular, Bluetooth, and GPS technology to give fast, accurate tracking. You're able to track your pet up to 3,000 miles away. Users report speedy app, text, and email notification times (within 1-3 minutes) that gave exact house number or cross-street locations, and virtually no false alarms.
We were impressed by Whistle's lengthy battery life which lasts about 6 days if you go on one long walk a day. The app is incredibly easy and simple to use, with no unnecessary frills.
You're able to set indefinite custom safe zones, and on top of that, the Whistle Pet tracker alerts you when your dog leaves the home WiFi range. The design is small, unobtrusive and easy to wear. It weighs less than an ounce, which makes it comfortable even for small cats.
Reviewers praised its durability, saying it lasted through running, wrestling, swimming. It also has a very low monthly subscription fee of $6.95-$9.95 given the dependable tracking. The detailed activity features gave useful information about sleeping and exercise habits.
You can buy this tracker for $99.95 now, but keep checking back for Whistle promo codes.
How we chose the best pet GPS tracker
Accurate tracking & notifications:
It's critical that your tracker is able to give you accurate details on exactly where your escaped pet has gone. Speed is also of the essence when it comes to notifications, because as all panicked pet owners know, every second matters when your dog is running. Whistle was lauded for their speedy notifications, which far outperformed the often laggy competition
Preferably, your pet tracker should send specific notification so that you know your pet's precise location and how many feet they've strayed. The ideal pet tracker should also be accurate within a certain number of feet— knowing they're 0.25 miles away isn't useful if it doesn't have a good base point.
The GPS positioning should be refreshed constantly when your pet has left the alert zone so it's easier for you to catch up with them. We were impressed by Whistle's location and accuracy and Tractive's speedy refresh rate.
Most pet activity trackers have two modes; one that refreshes on a set schedule when the pet is in a safe zone, and one that updates constantly when they've left it. Often called active mode, this setting will drain the battery faster. We were looking for a tracker whose battery life lasted at least a few days when it's "relaxed" and 6-8 hours on active. After all, what good is a pet tracker if it dies after a couple of hours?
We were blown away by Whistle's impressive battery life. In fact, some reviewers say their Whistle 3 lasted up to 10 days for pets who tend to stay at home, and 1-2 days if they're using the outside-of-safe-zone mode the whole time. The next best was Tractive, which clocked in at 3-5 days for home use and 6-8 hours for active use.
Custom safe zone(s)
Safe zones are exactly what they sound like: areas you pre-determine that your pup or cat is free to wander. You should be able to adjust the size of a safe zone to best suit your property. We wanted the ability to set multiple safe zones if needed. Whistle not only allowed for unlimited safe zones, you can also customize their shape to exactly fit an area. Tractive however, is limited to rectangular and circular shapes, and Pod just to circles.
Pet trackers come in two main forms. They are usually either an attachment to an existing collar, or a collar in themselves. The attached versions are typically more compact, but could also run the risk of falling off more easily. We wanted to make sure that our tracker would stay on through running, jumping, mud, and water. Whistle was bested by Pod for its impressive hardiness through all the elements and outdoor activities.
Cell service & GPS
Some pet trackers only use cell service, others use GPS, and a few use both. We loved Whistle 3 for it's dual cellular and GPS tracking because it's more accurate than just one or the other. GPS only devices like Findster can struggle in densely populated areas while cellular dependent models like Tractive can suffer from flaky service in rural areas.
The vast majority of pet activity trackers have a monthly subscription cost, which pays for the use of cellular data and GPS. Our winner, the Whistle 3, has a very reasonable fee of $6.95-$9.95 a month. If you're looking to save extra, the Findster Duo+ has no added monthly costs.
Easy to use app
The accompanying app should be intuitive, straight-forward, and easy to use for tech beginners. We were pleased by all the apps we reviewed, but especially how intuitive Whistle's and Tractive's were.
Cat and small dog friendly
Not all pet GPS trackers are made equal, and that's especially true when it comes to sizing. We were looking for a tracker that suited pets of all sizes, one that wouldn't slip off tiny necks or hang unwieldy on small frames. The especially small size of Tractive's device is perfect for little bois, and Whistle's compact frame is right behind.
Bonus: activity features
Our primary goal was to unearth the best device for tracking our pets' locations, but an added cherry on top are the activity tracking features some brands offer. In addition to knowing where they are, Whistle, Findster, and Pod all give you detailed information on their sleeping habits, exercise levels, and heart rate. If you're don't to pay extra for these additional frills, stick with Tractive.
Most affordable: Tractive
The Tractive GPS uses 3G cellular technology, so to use it, you need to have coverage from either AT&T Mobility, Viaero Wireless, CinBell, or T-Mobile. People said its GPS only tracking can be limiting. Additionally, notifications are push only. There is no SMS option.
Reviewers said location updates were unreliable, and being unable to manually update position was difficult. However, when it did work, live tracking quickly updated every 2-3 seconds and was accurate within an impressive 25 feet. Unlike Whistle 3, Tractive allows for desktop tracking.
The Tractive pet GPS is one of the few that lets you share location with friends and family. The typical battery life is a respectable 2-5 days, and at least 8 hours when in live tracking mode. While reviewers praise the design for being unobtrusive, many criticized the clip attachment mechanism for feeling flimsy and not well secured.
The app performed solidly and was easy to use. Tractive works outside of U.S, which is a major bonus, as Whistle 3 does not. Their subscription plans start at a budget-friendly $5/month, which is a great value combined with their low price.
Their tracker currently sells for $69.99, but you can get frees shipping with Tractive promo codes.
Best for small pets: Findster Duo+
The Findster Duo + is the only pet GPS tracker that has no monthly fees. While their system is GPS based, it doesn't need cellular service, so you can still find your pet without cell coverage or internet. It has two parts; a collar-worn pet module and a guardian module for you to carry.
You'll always be able to see your distance from your dog or cat. However, some reviewers reported a substantial lag in updating the two locations. You're only able to create one safe zone, but you can also make a danger zone, a custom area where your pet should not go.
Like the Whistle 3, it offers activity tracking to keep tabs on fitness and sleep.The Findster Duo + battery life is solid at 3-5 days for twice daily walk schedules and about 5-6 hours for live tracking. The app is fairly simple, but with little kinks like difficulty swiveling around the map.
The signal works up to 3 miles away in open areas and 0.5 in congested ones. At a featherlight 22 grams, the Findster Duo + is especially convenient for even the smallest of pets. Like Tractive and Pod 3, it will work all over the world.
You can buy it now for $149.99, but be sure to use Findster promo codes to save an extra 10% off.
Most durable: Pod 3 GPS
The Pod 3 is the most expensive of the bunch with a base price of $250 and $8.95/month subscription fee. Like Findster and Tractive, it can be used in 175 countries. The battery life is usually 2-3 days in safe zones and 6-8 hours in adventure (aka escape) mode. You'll receive a notification on the app when the batteries run low.
With the Pod 3 GPS tracker, you can only set a single, circular safe zone. Performance for notifications and tracking were decent, but reviewers sometimes commented on lags or imperfect GPS reception.
At 2 inches and 31 grams, this tracker is a reasonable size, although some say it could be clunky on a smaller pet. Freezing weather, muddy creeks, and running were no match for the Pod 3. This tracker is so secure and so durable that support recommends cutting off the strap if you need to take it off.
Readers praised its activity tracking features, which the Pod 3 shares with Whistle and Findster. The app is easily navigated and even has a voice call feature so you can talk to your pet.
You can buy it for $250.00, but a Pod promo code can get you 15% off.
Stay one step ahead of your little escape artist
A pet GPS tracker is a great way to give yourself peace of mind when it comes to your cat or dog's whereabouts. And, if you're anything like me, a break from cross-neighborhood sprints. We can help you save on any of these devices with our pet gps tracker promo codes.