Looking for the best pet locator for your dog or cat? Pet trackers can have a range of capabilities or just a few; they range in price too, but you can probably find a good tracker to meet your budget. Of the many systems available, here are the top 5 pet tracking systems that we recommend.
Pet tracking systems today are so sophisticated that they can find your cat, dog, farm animal or even tortoise, on your property, at your neighbor's across the street, or clear across town. An investment in one can definitely ease that sense of powerlessness and fear that can overcome you when you've lost your pet. More importantly, finding your pet quickly can possibly save your pet's life. There are powerful systems that come with a hefty price tag, but there are also less expensive trackers on the market too that work pretty well; it all depends on your needs.
While the technology is changing rapidly, the Marco Polo (#1) looks most promising. Many of the dog trackers and cat trackers available today are very good but all have some limitations. Pet tracker Technology is still evolving so there are drawbacks with almost every tracker.
In choosing a pet tracker for your dog or cat, you will need to choose which set of features are important to you. You may even want to consider combining two trackers to get the set of features you are looking for, perhaps one that is very good for close-by locations like finding your cat inside your home and one for longer distances for lost dogs. There is no perfect pet locator yet. But there are some good systems out there that are relatively inexpensive and hassle-free that can help you locate your pets. You just need to find the pet tracker that can work best for your needs.
Here are 5 pet tracking systems that have the best reputations among U.S. and Canadian customers. They are listed from highest to lowest price.
An interesting, yet simple, logical, and pretty well-endorsed tracking system is the Marco Polo System. It uses radio waves to monitor, track, and locate pets over 10 pounds. Though the manufacturer doesn’t recommend the Marco Polo for cats, cat owners report that the Marco Polo has been a life saver for their outdoor cats. Dog owners stand strong behind the product as well.
The Marco Polo tracks and locates your pet up to a 2 miles radius of a central location, which moves with you if you are holding the locator. Once you establish and program ‘safe areas’ for your pet, the radio waves notify you within seconds of his leaving that safe area, and will allow you to head in the right direction towards him and find him - even in someone’s garage, if the wall’s not TOO thick. You can search on foot or by car.
The set comes with a handheld locator, a tag for one pet, and a charger, plus user guides. Although one system can accommodate up to 3 pets (even with different safe areas), this set comes with just one pet tag. Additional tags can be ordered here.
Battery life on the Marco Polo can last up to 90 days, although you may want to charge it more frequently. There is no subscription service, no monthly fee, just the cost of the monitoring system, which is higher up front than the other systems in this article, but lower when the others’ monthly fees are considered. This is the pet tracking system I would buy: sweet and simple. (You can read reviews for the older system to get a sense of the great reviews it got here.)
Pod GPS and Wifi Tracker claims to be the smallest and lightest real-time pet GPS tracker in the world. It helps you locate your dog or cat anytime on demand, indoors and outdoors, using GPS, WIFI and a 2G cell network, and it also alerts you when your pet leaves what you set as a safe zone. You can also monitor their activities with a fitness tracking app and even record their adventures. The new Pod 2 also features WiFi capability which allows for faster location, and it is even accurate enough to find your pet indoors. Very few locators are good at finding your cat or dog indoors and outdoors so this is a key benefit of the Pod.
The POD GPS is small and waterproof and fits on almost any dog or cat collar so it will work well with smaller dogs and cats. It weighs about 1 ounce and is about 1 x 2 inches. It includes two interchangeable batteries, so there is no need for down-time.
The POD relies on 2G service, so make sure you have 2G service before you buy this tracker if you want to use it when you are away from your computer. You can check here. The makers have plans to provide a tracker relies on the 3G network, but it won't be free so know when your supplier is shutting off 2G service. AT&T is planning on shutting 2G service in January 2017 and T-mobile and Verizon in January 2020. Owners of the old system can upgrade to the new system for 50% of the purchase price.
You can purchase the POD GPS at Petsmart. The POD is a subscription-based service. The first year is included in the price of the POD and, each year thereafter, subscriptions are currently priced at $49 per year. Coverage for the POD tracker is successful using almost any cell phone in the United States and in Canada. If you are looking for a pet GPS tracker in Canada, this is the one you want to try if you have 2G service.
I have not personally tried this pet locator, but the POD GPS seems to have many features one might look for in a good pet tracker.
The Tractive GPS Pet Tracker is a pet tracking device designed specifically to track your pets outside your home, and you can use it with your cell phone or a web browser anywhere there is good cell phone service. It is designed to find lost pets and it offers accurate live real time GPS tracking (with a few minutes delay) using available cell phone networks. One interesting feature of the Tractive is that it allows you to set an area where your pets should be, and if your pet leaves that area, it will notify you on your smartphone. There is also a light and beeper that can be activated to make it easier to locate your dog or cat, especially in the dark. There is an optional subscription service (currently $5.00 per month) that pays for access to the cellular service, but you can turn it on and off at your convenience.
The Tractive works well for pets that are larger than 9 pounds. The Tractive is durable and waterproof. Customer complaints about the system are usually about the short battery life of the system (around 24 hour hours on live tracking mode). It works in the U.S., Canada and 80 other countries but it is important that you have strong cell service to enjoy the features of this system. The Tractive gets some mixed reviews... but if you have good cell service and need something to help you locate your pet outside in real time, this is one of the better systems available.
The Whistle GPS Pet Tracker is a pet locator and an activity tracker that helps you monitor your pet's health. The locator functions with GPS technology and the Verizon network and works with any phone or computer with SMS capability, as it messages you by their app or text and then enables you to find your pet on a map. Free apps are available for Android and iPhones even give you driving directions, but the tracking service is not free; plans start at $6.95 per month.
Pet owners define the areas where their pets are supposed to be in the "Whistle Zone", and whenever they leave that vicinity, the owner is alerted. Some users of the Whistle noted that there is a lag between the time the dog leaves the Whistle Zone and they received the alert, so it is not quite real time. While the delay is unfortunate and reduces the usefulness of the tracker, it is still better than most pet trackers out there. Bottom line is that users seem to love this device or hate it - most love it.
The collar attachments are lightweight but too large for pets under 15 pounds. The Whistle has about a ten day battery life for the Tracker which is great.
The Gibi Pet Location Service Unit is a waterproof lightweight locator for tracking and finding your pets in real time. The Gibi tracking device uses an online web-based application for your computer and smartphone to locate your pet on Google maps. You have to sign up for their monthly service for about $10 per month. It does not have a limited range and should work anywhere there is GPS service. You can set custom safe zones for your pet which is a great feature, but only one safe zone can be selected at a time. Reviews of the product are a bit mixed on Amazon and Walmart. It is clear that the device is new and the company is still working out some of the kinks, but some of its unique features like the real time tracking and custom zones make it worthy of consideration.
In Britain, one of the favorites is the Retrieva GPS Pet Tracker, but I have not found it available in the U.S. If you are looking for a serious tracker and willing to pay for it, the Garmin has a pet tracker for sporting dogs.
Hopefully with one of these helpful devices, you will never lose your pet....even for a few minutes.
That's the buzz for today!
Originally published in October 2014 and updated frequently. Last updated March 2017.