Looking for the best pet locator for your dog or cat? Pet location 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 location 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.
Pet tracking systems can be sweet and simple or highly sophisticated. Some location trackers are only intended to help you locate your pet; most rely on GPS information. Others, called pet activity trackers, track your pet's health and activity; they rely on cell phone and Bluetooth signals. And now, there are some trackers that track your pet's location and your pet's health and activity....
Here, I'm focusing on the top pet location trackers, based on how owners review them on Amazon and other sites. Some have extra features; some have a lot of extra features. Some of the trackers below use cell phone service as part of their tracking system. The service they use, be it AT&T, T-Mobile, or other, does not have to be the same service you generally use for your cell phone; it is a separate service which generally costs about $6 to $10 per month.
In choosing a pet tracker for your dog or cat, you will need to choose which set of features are important to you. Location trackers come in a range of prices, and there are some good systems out there that are relatively inexpensive and hassle-free that can help you locate your pets. Make sure you add in the subscription costs for your device. You just need to find the pet tracker that can work best for your needs and budget.
Here are 5+ pet tracking systems that have the best reputations among U.S. and Canadian customers. They can all accommodate multiple pets for additional fees. 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 mile 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 Pod 2 also features WiFi capability which allows for faster locating, 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.
The POD GPS will be coming out with a new 3G system any day now. (We'll pop it in here!) We believe the price will be coming down on the new model too, so you may want to wait a bit to see what the new model offers.
The Link AKC won the CES 2017 best wearable electronic device award and it's been getting its fair share of thumbs up from dog parents who've purchased it. As a locator, this gadget uses cellular and Bluetooth technology to track your dog when she's nearby, and GPS technology when she gets out of the 'safe zones' you've drawn out. It communicates your dog's whereabouts through its cell phone app. In these ways the Link AKC is similar to several other pet trackers on the market.
But the Link AKC is also an activity tracker, a goal setter for your dog's exercise plan, a place to store your dog's veterinary records, a remote clicker-type training device, and a scrapbook for 'together' moments with your pup. As the device has a night-light that you can click on and off from the app on your phone. My favorite 'element' is the temperature tracker that alerts you when the ambient temperature in your dog's environment is more or less than the limits you set. You subscribe for monthly cell phone services through Link AKC, which currently uses AT&T, so the Link AKC is only available where AT&T cellular has service.
As of this writing, I believe the Link AKC has the most bells and whistles and if you will use those bells and whistles, and you have good cellular service, it's a good choice. If you don't have the need for the extras, go for one of the more simple devices. Amazon customers seem to be happy with the Link for the most part; it is most often compared to the Whistle tracker (see below). Some pet parents have commented about the device being too heavy for their pets (It is not recommended for pets under 15 pounds.), the battery having to be charged nightly instead of every 2 -3 days, and some errors in locating their pets, but by and large the review are quite positive.
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 location-available cell phone networks. The Tractive, like some other tracking devices, allows you to set an area where your pet should be, and if your pet leaves that area, it will notify you on your smartphone. There is also a pet light and beeper on the device that can be activated to make it easier to locate your dog or cat, especially in the dark. There is a subscription service (currently $5.00 per month) in addition to a fee for cellular service.
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 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 coverage by the connection service that Traction uses in your area, and you need a device that can locate your pet 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 through its app and then enables you to find your pet on a map. Free apps are available for Android and iPhones and it even gives 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. Truly, all trackers experience some delay so "real time" is a relative expression when it comes to pet tracking. 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.
Here are some other high quality trackers we thought you might like to check out.
The Gibi is lightweight and waterproof!
Brand new, but check it out!
For cats! And up to four cats!
Great for the little guys, dogs and cats! Nice reviews!
New pet location and tracking devices are coming out all the time. Check back often as we regularly update this column! If you find something you like, let us know in the comment section below and tell us why you think it's a great device!
That's the buzz for today!
Originally published in October 2014 and updated frequently. Last updated May 2017.