It’s every dog owner’s worst nightmare: Your best friend has gone missing.
But the days of conducting a search on foot or by car, or hanging “Missing” posters around the neighborhood? They’re behind us. Thanks to technology, there are now far easier ways to find a missing dog: You just need the best dog tracker.
Dog trackers come in all sizes, shapes, and types, and you have a lot of choices when looking for the right solution to keep your dog (or cat!) safe. If you want the best dog tracker on the market but aren’t sure which one offers the best features to protect your beloved pet, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our comprehensive review of some of the best dog trackers available today.
What Is a Dog Tracker?
First things first: What is a dog tracker? It’s a device, usually in the form of a collar or tag, that uses technology to help you track and locate a missing animal.
The best dog trackers are different from microchips because they’ll have some sort of communication technology that emits a signal that can be tracked and located — microchips can only be scanned for contact information after a lost pet is found.
That technology can come in several different forms, and so can the tracker itself. There are many different options available for dog owners with different needs — but more on that below.
Who Needs To Know the Best Dog Tracker?
Every dog owner should have a tracker for their pet.
The American Humane Association estimates that one out of three pets becomes lost at some point in their lifetime. That amounts to almost 10 million missing pets every year. According to the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, less than 23 percent of lost pets in the U.S. get reunited with their owners.
In other words, it can happen to you. Your dog can get out or get away from you, and if it happens, you’ll want to have a way to find him or her as quickly and safely as possible.
That’s why every dog owner should have the best dog tracker for their pet. It’s simply the best way to keep your pet safe and up the odds that you’ll be reunited should they ever go missing.
Which is the Best Dog Tracker? Compare 11 Options
Here’s the hard part for dog owners who just want to do their best to protect their pets: The number of dog trackers you have to choose from is overwhelming. How does one find the best dog tracker in the sea of options available to them? That’s where we come in.
We compared important features like battery life and range, size, water resistance, tracking type, and more for 11 of the best dog trackers on the market today.
Here’s what we found.
We have a lot more details about each of these trackers in our reviews below. Read on to learn everything you need to know to choose the best dog tracker for keeping your beloved pets safe.
The Best Dog Tracker: Huan
Most of the trackers on this list use GPS or radio wave technology. Huan is different — it uses bluetooth signals and a community network to help find your lost pet quickly and safely.
Huan tags attach to your pet’s collar or harness. Unlike GPS models that are always on and need to be charged frequently, a Huan tag can work for up to a year on a single battery charge. Also unlike GPS trackers, Huan tags don’t emit radiation that might be harmful to your pet. And with tag sizes ranging from tiny to standard, you can use Huan with any dog — even the smallest breeds — as well as cats and other small animals.
Huan users can invite their friends, family, and neighbors to download the Huan app and join the online community. Then, if your pet ever goes missing, other members of the Huan community will get a smartphone alert if your pet comes within range of their phone. You can even broadcast a “Lost” alert to every Huan community member in your area so they can be on the lookout.
Huan comes with other useful features, like an alert system that detects if your pet has been home alone for longer than usual, and alerts a trusted contact to check on both you and your pet.
Because of its long battery life, community support, added features like Home Alone Alert, and the fact that it doesn’t emit any potentially harmful radiation, Huan is the best dog tracker on the market today.
PetFon’s GPS tracker attaches to your dog’s collar and sends real-time location information to a smartphone app that allows you to find and monitor your dog. This tracker is more expensive than many on the market, but doesn’t require an ongoing data plan to work. The size of the tracker makes it not suitable for some small dog breeds, or for cats. The short battery life (8-16 hours) also leaves a lot to be desired.
The LINK AKC Smart Collar comes with a lot of appealing features: an LED light that can be turned on remotely, alerts if your pet leaves its “safe zone,” and warnings if your pet’s environment is too hot or too cold. But the collar isn’t recommended for dogs under 10 pounds, and some users report that the GPS tracking isn’t as accurate as they’d hoped, which gives us serious pause when it comes to looking for the best protection for our pets.
Tractive’s GPS dog tracker works in an impressive 150 countries, meaning you can track your dog in real time from virtually anywhere. However, the tracker is too big for cats or very small dogs, the battery life is limited, and subscription plans must be purchased in yearly increments, making the upfront cost of this tracker higher than some other options on the market.
The Whistle Go Explore is the newest and most feature heavy in Whistle’s line of pet trackers. While we’re impressed with the battery life and added features — like a three-mode night light, feeding recommendations based on your pet’s activity level, and televet services available through the Whistle smartphone app — we’re less impressed that this is another tracker that’s too big and heavy to be used by cats or very small dogs.
Finally a tracker that’s designed for small dogs and cats to use! But before you get too excited, the Bartun GPS Pet Tracker does have some drawbacks, like it’s short battery life. This tracker is also on the more expensive end compared to some of its competitors, and in addition to the high cost of the tracker itself, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for the cellular data required to use it.
The fact that Findster’s pet tracker doesn’t require a monthly or yearly data plan to use will likely appeal to a lot of pet parents. But this is another tag that won’t work for all pets — it’s too bulky to be used by very small dogs or most cats. And while there are a ton of cool health tracking features available, you will have to pay a monthly fee to use any of them.
The MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Monitoring System has a great battery life and can work for any pet over five pounds. But because it uses radio frequency instead of GPS tracking, its range is very limited. There’s also a little sticker shock with this one — at $235, it’s one of the most expensive dog trackers on the market. Plus, this system works with a proprietary tracker that you may not always have with you, making it less convenient than other systems that allow you to track your pets with your smartphone.
While Loc8tor does make a product called Tabcat that’s meant to be a pet tracker, this company makes Tile-like devices for tracking any item. Its pet trackers are not waterproof, which makes them a less appealing choice for any pets, but dogs especially. Users also complain that the battery life and range for these trackers don’t live up to the company’s promises.
Despite it’s high upfront price tag, the Fi Smart Dog Collar has one of the most affordable monthly subscription prices on the market. Still, even the smallest collar size will be too big for some very small dogs and cats, and a battery life of only two days if your pet gets lost is concerning from a safety standpoint.
Garmin is one of the most trusted names in wearable tech. So how does their pet tracker stack up? The battery life of this tracker leaves something to be desired. It also has one of the highest price tags on our list — and that doesn’t even include the handheld tracking device you have to have to use it. Nine miles is an impressive range, but you’ll have to sacrifice aesthetics to have it — with its long antenna, this is not the sleekest tracking solution out there.
Ready to Try Huan, the Best Dog Tracker?
With small, lightweight tags suitable for pets of all sizes, long battery life, affordable upfront costs and monthly plan, and the support of a community to help find your lost pet, our favorite pet tracker on the market today is Huan. But don’t just take our word for it — order your Huan tag today and keep your beloved pets safe wherever you go.