It’s not that they don’t like you – they just sometimes want to explore a bit more than they should!
Most of us with pets will have experienced this trauma at some point when your dog goes missing. You will look around your neighborhood wishing you’d invested in one of these locators previously!
Before you look further down to see what we suggest, know that there are many different types of dog locator you can choose from.
Also, note that as a lot of these dog locators utilize GPS so you will usually need a monthly subscription to access the data. We do have an exception to this rule below however.
The main advice we can give would be to really consider getting one of these. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t and they’re really not that expensive.
Best Dog Trackers
Whistle GPS Pet Tracker
The Whistle 100 is the next iteration of this popular GPS tracker and has fixed the problems some people experienced in earlier versions. It has many excellent features such as nationwide (if you’re in the US) tracking, alerting, movement history and excellent battery life. It is waterproof and quite small so won’t cause any problems when it’s attached to your dog’s collar.
You will need to purchase a monthly subscription to use this device. To be able to achieve truly nationwide coverage there’s no way around this. This device uses cellular data (which costs money) to report the dog’s current position. You will then use your phone to track your dog’s location.
This is a great product and has been well received in the community. It also has a great app that can be used with either iOS (iPhone) or Android devices and just works really well.
Findster Duo+ Dog Tracker
The Findster Duo+ is more expensive than the Whistle 3 but has one major advantage over it – the Findster has no subscription fees. This is a major positive but the cheaper running costs come at another price, one which we shall look into later.
Although the feedback for this device is generally positive, the one negative does seem to be related to the range. Although 0.5 miles should be ample if you’ve just lost your dog and are on to it quickly but if you haven’t realized for an hour or two then they could be way outside of this zone.
If you fancy checking out the Findster Duo+ in more detail, then do take a look at the current price here (opens in a new window).
The recommendation I would make is for you to purchase the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker (opens in a new window). There are a few reasons why I’m doing this:
- Range – if you’re going to get one of these locators you should consider getting one that covers the whole country. It might not be as important to everyone but I would suggest that you factor the cheap monthly subscription cost into the typical dog costs. Actually, when you think about it the subscription is only the equivalent of a couple of pints of beer!
- Size – the small size of this means your dog will soon forget its there!
- Price – I know there are monthly subscription costs but they aren’t a lot and this, combined with the relatively cheap purchase price means it’s actually quite affordable.
- App Support – the phone application that works alongside the Whistle is nice and clean and just works, making it easy for you to find your dog quickly.
- Positive Feedback – it’s not just me that loves it, just look at the great reviews online and you’ll see that other people agree.
There aren’t a lot of products in this market but we are fortunate that what we do have, is pretty good. If you don’t want the monthly subscription, you certainly can’t go too far wrong with the Findster but you may just get caught out by the range.
This Is What to Look for When Buying a Dog Locator
Just taking a quick look on the internet you’ll see how many different options you have, regardless of what breed of dog you have and how big or small it is. The things you need to look for are:
- How bulky is it? The last thing you need is for your dog to have to carry around a brick tied to its collar for several hours! As technology is improving, these GPS devices are becoming much smaller than they used to be. I’m only interested in devices that won’t cause discomfort to your dog.
- What options do you have to view the received data? Some of the devices are compatible only with certain types of
phoneso I discounted these straight away. If you do need a phone to see the data, it has to be compatible with both iOS and Android. How long does the battery on the receiver last for?
- Is the data that you receive accurate? GPS devices are the way to go. You can buy other types of locators but they will only work over a couple of hundred yards, this is fine with a cat but certainly not with a dog. How much is it? With pretty much all good GPS locators you will need to purchase a subscription as well as the original purchase price of the device.
- Finally, we needed to consider how the devices were perceived in the market place. I’m only interested in established products that have been proved and rated by the community.
About Dog Locators
Dog Trackers will enable you to find your dog if they go running off. Trackers usually tend to work in one of two ways:
- A Signal is received from the dog that is wearing the transmitter via RF (radio frequency).
- The location of the animal is established via a GPS receiver. This location is then transmitted to a server via a mobile signal. The user would then view the data that resides on this service via an app on their phone or a website.
Both of the above methods have their strengths and weaknesses. The RF method is cheaper and the transmitter can be a lot smaller. They are quite commonly used for cats as they don’t tend to run off as far as dogs. I would not recommend using an RF method with a dog. You’ll get a few hundred feet if line-of-sight but if your animal is in a shed or something then this distance is considerably reduced.
The GPS method has its positives and negatives. For a start, the GPS device that the dog will wear is bulkier than an RF device. The GPS method will also have a monthly or annual subscription, and this can vary from product to product. Its advantages are significant, however. The GPS coverage is national and you can not only track the location of your pet but also track where they’ve been all day.
The typical problems that can arise with pet trackers
- The dog can lose their device which can be expensive to replace (it’s happened to us) – although this is unlikely with the two we recommend above considering how they are attached to the collar.
- The batteries can run out on the transmitter, rendering it useless (however this is more related to user error and you can easily charge it when required).
Just a final note, a dog tracker is a lot like an insurance policy. You hope you’ll never need to use it but you’ll be real glad you have it if you need it!