GPS dog collars are useful for keeping track of how active your dog is, locating an escaped dog, and keeping up with sporting dogs in the field. Some GPS collars and trackers have features such as long-range tracking capabilities or the durability to withstand a few dips in the water, while others offer simple tracking for pet parents who don’t need all the bells and whistles. A variety of options means that any dog parent can find a GPS dog collar that suits their needs (and budget).
Our vet advisor, Dr. Danielle Morosco, reviewed a range of GPS dog collars to identify the best GPS collars for most dogs. Dr. Morosco’s top pick is the Jiobit. This GPS dog tracker can be attached to your dog’s existing collar and pairs with your smartphone, making it easy to set up and convenient to use. Read how she chose the top 5.
Our Vet’s Top 5 GPS Dog Collars
Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Rating||Waterproof||Alerts||Subscription||Battery Life|
|Best Overall||Jiobit||Starts at $8.99/month||10 days|
|Best Budget||Tractive GPS Collar for Dogs||Starts at $5/month||7 days|
|Best for Hiking/Hunting||Garmin Alpha 200/TT15X Bundle||None required||20 hours|
|Best with Health Tracking Features||Whistle GO Explore||Starts at $8/month||20 days|
|Best without Subscription||PETFON Pet GPS Tracker
||None Required||Up to 16 hours|
*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 Collar
- New dog owners – When you first get a dog, it can be a good idea to have a GPS dog collar just in case until you’ve trained them better and know how likely they are to try to escape.
- Owners trying to keep their dogs active – It can be tough trying to keep track of how much activity your dog gets. Many GPS dog collars also function as activity trackers, allowing you to monitor how far your walks are and how much your dog actually moves each day.1
- Owners of doggy escape artists – If your dog manages to find a way out the door or through the fence no matter what you do, a GPS dog collar is invaluable.
- Owners of hunting dogs and other off-leash sport dogs – If you ever take your dog outside without a leash, it’s a good idea to have a GPS tracker so you can find them if/when you get separated. Even if your dog normally stays right with you and has good recall, you can never be too careful.
Who Should Not Buy a GPS Dog Collar
- Owners who keep their dog leashed whenever outside – If your dog is never off-leash outdoors, you probably don’t need to bother with a GPS dog collar. However, some pet parents use them anyway for the added peace of mind.
Research Tips (from a Veterinarian)
As a vet, I’m frequently asked about choosing the best GPS dog collar. Here are a few things that I recommend keeping in mind when evaluating the options. When researching a GPS dog collar, take the time to check out these features, and don’t forget to ask your friends, your family, and your own vet about their experience and recommendations in regards to GPS dog collars.
- Keep in mind why you’re buying a GPS dog collar – Look for features that will best suit the reasons you’re purchasing a GPS dog collar. If you don’t bring your dog on hunts or hikes, chances are you don’t need to spring for the more costly models that boast advanced features. Higher-cost models, such as Garmin, are superior for hunting and hiking but are probably overloaded with more features than the average dog owner needs while on daily walks.
- Consider your budget – There is a wide range of GPS dog collars available at different price points, so don’t feel like you can’t get one if you don’t have a ton of money to spend. There are definitely affordable, budget-friendly options that are also of good quality.
- Real-time mapping is a big plus – Real-time mapping allows you to track your dog from a handheld device or your smartphone, allowing you to keep up with your dog’s location as they move. Avoid collars with older tracking technologies, such as Radiofrequency/Bluetooth, as these won’t provide real-time location updates like newer technologies.
- Location history is another huge advantage – Look for collars with a location history feature which could be especially useful for tracking a lost dog. Using location history, you can see where your dog has been, which may help you predict where they’re going. It’s also just useful for keeping track of your dog’s activity.
- Think about safe zones – Look for a collar that can mark “safe spaces,” which are areas that your dog would typically frequent, like your yard or hunting property. When your dog leaves these spaces, you’ll get an alert so you know something’s up and can locate your dog quickly before they get too far from home.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $50 and $250
You can get GPS dog collars at a wide range of price points, usually anywhere from $50 to $250. Very high-end GPS dog collars can cost far more, though. In addition, for most GPS dog collars, you’ll also need to pay for a data plan. Depending on the company, these plans can vary in price. Fortunately, they’re usually pretty affordable, and most average out to less than $10 a month, especially if you pay for a year-long subscription upfront. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, you’ll want to look for a GPS tracker that comes with a handheld map device or is compatible with a handheld map device that’s sold separately.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pets Digest
As a veterinarian, I’ve frequently talked to both pet owners and other vets about the various GPS dog collars available. Using that experience, as well as my experience as a pet owner plus the specific characteristics of each product, I narrowed down the available options. When making my choices, I considered materials, size, subscription requirements, battery life, tracking radius, tracking technology and more to choose the top five GPS dog collars on the market. – Dr. Danielle Morosco
The Best GPS Dog Collars: Full Reviews
Our overall top recommendation for GPS dog collars is the Jiobit. This small, lightweight GPS tracker comes with three different clips that make it easy to attach the Jiobit to virtually any dog collar, so you can use it with the collar your dog is already comfortable wearing. It’s small and lightweight enough that your dog will barely notice it. For the most accurate tracking possible, the Jiobit uses a combination of GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular technologies. The Jiobit provides real-time tracking info from anywhere via the mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS. To keep your information secure, the Jiobit TrustChip is encrypted to meet US government standards.
In addition to basic tracking info, Jiobit also allows you to set up custom geofences and proximity alerts, so you can be notified when your dog goes somewhere they shouldn’t be. You can even add your dog walker or pet sitter so that you can be notified when they have your dog and where they’ve gone. The Jiofit is also waterproof and shockproof, so it’s tough enough to stand up to whatever your dog gets up to and in any weather. Jiobit advertises a battery life of 10 days.
- Small and lightweight
- Ability to set up custom geofences
- Ability to add dog walkers and pet sitters
- GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular technologies for accurate tracking
- Subscription required
- Live tracking drains the battery quickly
GPS dog collars can be costly, but they don’t have to be, thanks to the Tractive GPS Collar for Dogs. This lightweight little GPS tracker can be securely attached to most dog collars. It’s completely waterproof and shock-resistant, with a battery life of up to 1 week.
The Tractive GPS tracker updates your dog’s location every 2 to 3 seconds and provides live location tracking as well as location history. It also monitors your dog’s activity, showing active time, rest time, and the number of calories they’ve burned. Tractive connects to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Viaero Wireless, then uses the one that provides the most powerful signal to give the most accurate location info. You can also set up virtual fences so you’re notified if your dog leaves your approved zone. Tractive can be used in the U.S., Canada, and 150 other countries.
- Suitable for smaller dogs over 9lbs
- Updates location every 2-3 seconds
- Small and lightweight, but 100% waterproof
- Health-tracking features included
- Virtual fencing isn’t the most accurate
- Battery life
Garmin is already well known for its high-quality GPS devices, so it’s no shock that the Garmin Alpha 200/TT15X Bundle made our list of the top GPS dog collars. This bundle consists of the TT 15X GPS dog collar and the Alpha 200 handheld unit to receive and display the information collected by the collar. The devices use GPS and Galileo-multi-GNSS support for the best coverage, even in heavily wooded or dense forested areas. It’s water-resistant up to 10 meters.
The TT 15X collar and Alpha 200 handheld unit can communicate from up to 9 miles apart and with no cell coverage required, so it’s ideal for use in more remote locations, as well as while hunting, when your dog or dogs could be quite far away. It’s also capable of tracking up to 20 dogs at once, so you can keep an eye on each member of your pack at the same time. It has 18 levels of training stimulation, so you can even give your dogs feedback while they’re away from you. The battery provides up to 20 hours of battery life, so it should last you all day.
- Water-resistant up to 10 meters
- Up to 20 hours of battery life
- 18 levels of training feedback
- Ability to track up to 20 dogs at once
- Tacking via Galileo and GPS
- Very costly
- No geofencing
If you’re looking for a GPS dog collar more for health tracking, then Whistle Go Explore is your best option. The Whistle Go Explore tracks not only your dog’s location but also their activity levels, daily distance traveled, number of calories burned, and sleep patterns. It even monitors for potentially detrimental behaviors such as licking and scratching. Based on this information, plus your dog’s breed, age, and weight, Whistle will even provide recommended food portions and help you set fitness goals for your dog. It also gives you the option to send 30-day reports to your vet so that they can stay on top of your dog’s health with you.
Of course, the Whistle Go Explore provides location tracking as well. It connects to AT&T and Google Maps to update your dog’s location every 15 seconds. You can use live location tracking from anywhere in the world and can set up designated safe zones to get alerts when your dog leaves those zones. The battery lasts for up to 20 days.
- Tracks activity levels, calories, distance, and sleep patterns
- Monitors behaviors such as licking and scratching
- Access to licensed veterinary professionals via chat, phone, or email
- Goal setting & recommendations based on breed, age, and weight
- Provides weekly and 30-day wellness reports
- Must be used with a Whistle collar, sold separately
- Not designed for small dogs
Most GPS dog collars require a subscription, but not the PETFON Pet GPS Tracker. It still uses GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and wireless technology, but not cellular service. This means that it’s most effective in urban areas where there are more active WiFi networks. This GPS tracker tracks from up to 0.65 miles away in dense areas and up to 3.5 miles in open areas. It’s water-resistant, so it can work in the rain, but not waterproof, so it can’t be submerged.
The PETFON Pet GPS Tracker also has some neat features you don’t really see from other pet trackers. For example, you can set up geofencing to indicate safe zones, but you can also indicate danger zones so you’re alerted if your dog approaches an area where you absolutely don’t want them to go. You can also record voice commands to the device, then activate them from the PETFON smartphone app so you can give your dog commands when they’re separated from you. And to help you locate your dog at night or in other low light conditions, you can use the app to turn on an LED light in the tracker.
- Tracks up to 0.65 miles in downtown/dense spaces
- Tracks up to 3.5 miles in open areas
- Ability to set safe zones and danger zones for your dog
- Lightweight, but durable design
- Uses GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and wireless technology
- A bit more expensive upfront than most other options
- Not as accurate as devices that use cellular service
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most accurate dog GPS tracker?
Do GPS dog collars really work?
Is a GPS collar worth it?
Is there a chip to track your dog?
Pets Digest uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Larkin M. Dogs may not talk, but their collars can. Avma.org. Published December 17, 2014. Accessed May 16, 2022.
- Leininger MB. Pets and wearable tech. Aspcapetinsurance.com. Accessed May 16, 2022.
- American Veterinary Medical Association. Microchipping FAQ. Avma.org. Accessed May 16, 2022.