Prevent Your Pet from Getting Lost with The Best GPS Collars of 2017
You love your pets and your pets love you, but sometimes the furry goofballs decide to go off on an adventure. In fact, the American Humane Association estimates that 10 million cats and dogs are lost or stolen each year. We researched the best GPS dog and cat collars so that whether you have an escape artist, an aging animal, or pets you take on trips, you can keep them by your side.
1. Whistle Activity Monitor For Dogs and Cats
Whistle was founded by animal lovers in 2012 and was the first of its kind to combine a GPS tracking collar with an app and activity monitoring system, allowing pet-owners to track the whereabouts and health of their animals remotely. Some of our favorite Whistle features include its lightweight design at 1.3 ounces, cellular uplink that keeps a read on your pet all over the U.S., and rechargeable battery that fully charges in one hour, so you can do this in between potty breaks. Plus, if you don’t like it, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Features We Love
- Buy this GPS collar for under $100 instead of double that for many other models.
- Use the Whistle app to set and get alerts, track your pet, share information with contacts, and monitor activity levels.
- Live GPS tracking. See where your pet is at all times on a live-tracking GPS map.
- Location Alert. Set safety perimeters so that if your pet wanders outside of the yard or a preset zone, you’ll get an alert to your phone so you can catch your pet before it runs off.
- Activity monitoring. Animals mask illness, but signs normally show up in eating, drinking, and activity levels. Detect health problems before they become serious by comparing activity trends like sleep, rest, and exercise through this device.
- Health Settings. Set goals for pets who need to lose weight and track how much exercise they’re getting each day.
- Dogs and cats can get wet in this GPS collar without it breaking, but cats probably won’t in the first place!
- Service Plan Required. Some other GPS collars require service plans, but Whistle’s in on the higher end at $10 per month.
2. Pod 2 GPS
The Pod 2 GPS is designed for both cats and dogs and clips onto all collars. This is great for cats in particular, since it’s important for them to wear easy-release collars in case they get stuck on something.
Each tracker comes with two sets of rechargeable batteries, so you never have to take a tracker off of your pet to charge or give them a chance to disappear undetected. The Pod 2 tracker is on the higher end price-wise, but its worldwide coverage, live tracking, free first year of coverage, and other features warrant the spend. Plus, if you don’t absolutely adore your Pod 2 GPS, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Features We Love
- Live GPS tracking. See where your pet is at all times through an app, so whether you’re at work, on vacation, or searching for your furry friend, you can do it all.
- Download the app on your phone to track health, monitor your pet’s location, and get alerts if your pet leaves pre-set safety zones.
- Cheap Plans. Monthly service is free the first year, then $49 per year after, making it much cheaper than other models.
- Location Alerts. Set perimeters where your pets can hang out and get alerts if they escape. If you live next to a busy road, this is critical for keeping your dogs and cats safe.
- Activity Monitoring. Keep tabs on your pet’s health by reviewing activity logs to see how much sleep, exercise, and rest they’re getting.
- Eight-Hour Log. The Pod 2 app stores eight hours worth of mapping, so you can see where your pet wanders throughout the day. This isn’t an actual video, but it displays your pet’s whereabouts on a map.
- Worldwide Coverage. Pod 2 GPS works in 175 countries!
- 3G Coming Soon. Pod plans on releasing a 3G pet tracker in 2017.
- Expect to spend close to $200 for this device.
- 2G Coverage. You need to have 2G coverage at your house, or this GPS won’t work.
Wüf began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 with the hopes of becoming the “world’s smartest dog collar,” and it’s proven to be just that with two-way audio, invisible leash settings, pre-programmed training programs, and more. As of November 2016, the company was sold out of its first batch of GPS collars and in a pre-order phase for its second shipment in early 2017.
Features We Love
- Two-Way Audio. Listen to your pet and talk to them through this collar wherever you are. Most pets become scared when lost, so hearing your soothing and familiar voice while you retrieve them is a fantastic ability to have.
- Invisible Fence. When you hike, bike, or jog with your pet, set a leash-length perimeter to keep them close by without the hindrance of carrying a leash.
- Training Programs. No other GPS collar on this list has an app like this. Use Wüf’s training programs to make dog training fun and successful.
- Color Options. Wüf collars don’t clip onto existing ones, so it’s important to love the look. Choose between three colors to accessorize your pooch or cat stylishly.
- Included Data Package. The price of your Wüf collar includes an unlimited data package, which is a major plus since other brands don’t offer this for free.
- Live Tracking. See where your pet is at all times, whether they’re in the yard or on the loose.
- Location Alerts. Set boundaries where your pet is allowed to be and get alerts if they stray from those zones.
- Use the app to track GPS locations, health stats, and more.
- Worldwide Coverage. Wüf works in 200 countries thanks to its combination of GPS, Bluetooth LE, Compass, built-in 3G data package, and GSM technologies.
- Collars are close to $200 each, so if you have two or three pets, you’ll spend a pretty penny.
- Growing Pains. As a new company, buyers may deal with long wait times on shipments and issues as Wüf works out the kinks.
4. Tractive® GPS Pet Tracker
Tractive—like most GPS collar companies—is a relatively young company. Founded in 2012, Tractive has proven itself as forward thinking with GPS tracking collars, health monitors, and dog training technology. In addition to its classic tracking collars, Tractive also has a hunting dog version that’s more suited to pets that run through the bush, water, and rugged terrain.
Features We Love
- Most GPS collars cost upwards of $200, but you can buy Tractive’s GPS device for under $100.
- Live Tracking. Monitor your dog, cat, horse, or other pet’s location in real-time with Tractive LIVE.
- Tractive has a general app for live tracking of your mutt or kitty cat. It also has produced Tractive Dog Walk, Pet BlaBla, Pet Battle, Petnames, and more, which do everything from monitoring walks to making your pet look like they can talk and comparing cuteness to and generating names.
- Location Alerts. Set perimeter zones—like the backyard, certain areas inside your home, and more—and get alerts when your pet leaves that permitted area.
- 24-Hour Reporting. Tractive’s GPS device is the only one we’ve seen that records a 24-hour log of your pet’s whereabouts so you can study trends and keep them out of harm’s way.
- Pet Remote. This is sold separately, but the remote hooks to your dog’s collar and vibrates when you push a button to reinforce desirable behaviors. Tools like these make training a breeze.
- Service Plan Required. Monthly plans start at $5 per month, which is cheaper than other companies, but that’s still $60 per year on top of the cost of the collar. Also, you need to sign up for AT&T or T-Mobile coverage for this collar.
- Activity Tracking. The company offers Tractive MOTION, which shows how much exercise, sleep, and rest your beloved pet is getting. The only catch is that this is a separate device you need to buy in addition to the GPS monitor, while most companies offer this built into their GPS collars.
5. Marco Polo Pet Tracking System
Marco Polo is the perfect tracking collar for small dogs and cats as well as working breeds, but it’s actually an RF tracker (radio frequency) and not a true GPS device. While it’s one of the more expensive trackers on the market, it doesn’t need a data plan, so buying this device ultimately saves you money.
Features We Love
- No Monthly Fee. While the system costs close to $200, there isn’t any monthly service fee, so you’ll save in the long run.
- Location Alerts. Set perimeter zones and get alerts if your pet wanders outside of that area so you can stop your pet from disappearing.
- Live Tracking. If you lose sight of a pet, turn the device to live tracking mode and follow the arrows to your fur baby.
- Very Long Battery. Batteries last up to 45 days, giving you ample time to track down a lost pet.
- Waterproof and nylon material equip these collars with the ruggedness they need to stand up to pets with a high activity activity level or daily routine.
- No App. This handheld tracker is as far as Marco Polo’s technology goes—you won’t get an app or other modern conveniences.
- Prepare to spend close to $200 for each Marco Polo GPS collar.
- Two-mile radius. This collar only works within a two-mile radius, which is problematic since most animals can venture much further.
6. Garmin Astro® 320 GPS Collar
Garmin made its debut as a GPS device for humans and now has a line of GPS collars for dogs. This particular tracking collar is made for hunting dogs and their handlers, as it has the capacity to track 10 pooches simultaneously from a handheld device. The receiver is the only thing that comes with this order, but it can track dogs from four to nine miles away depending on which compatible collars you use. Although this collar isn’t technically a live tracking device (since it updates locations every five seconds instead of continuously), it made our list of top GPS dog collars since it can handle tracking so many dogs at once.
Features We Love
- Decent Tracking Zone. This device works within four- to nine-mile radiuses, so unless your dogs get really lost, you can keep tabs on them.
- Mature Company. Garmin was founded in 1989 and has been around long enough to work out the bugs in its products. To give that perspective, most other brands on this list haven’t even been in operation for five years.
- Smart Battery. When you’re looking for a dog, the device moves to “rescue mode” when battery life falls below 25 percent so you have longer to find a lost animal.
- Desktop Compatible. Use BaseStation on your computer to turn that into your monitoring station for tracking dogs.
- Garmin’s Astro 320 GPS Collar downloads topographic maps, so you can see landmarks that might help you find your dogs.
- Hunting Stats. Use the Covey CounterTM to mark where and when you found your prey—an added bonus for hunters.
- Very Expensive. This tracking collar retails at $599.99, which could buy you six collars from other companies. Plus, you need to buy collars separately.
- No Live Tracking. This device updates every five seconds and only works within four to nine miles.
GPS collars are one way to prevent pets from wandering off, but so is microchipping your animals which makes your pet identifiable and easily traced back to you if they wind up in a shelter. Contact your vet to set up an appointment.
Have a story about reuniting with a lost pet? Share it in the comments section below!
*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.