Published on: April 19, 2024
Author: Alix Mitchell

Dogs are quick creatures with a strong sense of smell and prey drive. Sometimes these instincts drive them to take off, leaving their owners startled and worried. Adding a GPS tracker attachment to your dog’s collar can help you keep track of your dog so you know their whereabouts at all times. Not only will this help keep your dog safe, but it’ll give you an immense amount of peace of mind!

When you buy a GPS tracker, you’re looking for a small GPS receiver that attaches to your dog’s collar and then a corresponding app that you download onto your smartphone. Once you attach the GPS receiver to your dog’s collar, it interacts with the GPS satellites that orbit the Earth to calculate its position. That position is then sent to the app on your smartphone, so you can look at a map in real time to know your dog’s location. 

Importance of Tracking Dogs with GPS

Even though we try our best to keep our dogs safe and secure, sometimes they can still manage to get away from us despite our best efforts. 

Unfortunately, some dogs are simply prone to running away because they may enjoy roaming the neighborhood and visiting with other people and animals. Dogs with high prey drive, like Beagles or German Shepherds, may lock onto the smell of a small animal or wildlife and take off chasing after it. Some dogs, like livestock guardian dogs, are happiest when they’re outside roaming large farms all day, but unfortunately, that leaves them with a greater chance of getting out and your dog getting lost

Even if your dog doesn’t have roaming tendencies but you’re very active, a GPS tracker could be useful in keeping your pet safe. If you travel a lot or go hiking with your dog off-leash, the GPS tracker will give you peace of mind, just in case something were to go wrong. GPS tracking for dogs can help you locate your dog when you can’t find them so you can be reunited and bring your dog back to you safely. 

Features of a Reliable GPS Tracker

As with most technology these days, not everything is created equal. Before you spend money on a pet tracker and trust it to keep your dog safe, you should do your due diligence in researching the different devices to choose the best one for your situation. 

Geofencing capabilities. You can think of geofencing as a virtual fence for your dog. Not all GPS trackers offer this functionality, but it’s incredibly useful in providing an extra layer of security and peace of mind. With geofencing functions, you create safe boundaries on the app that you don’t want your dog to leave, like your backyard. Once your dog crosses the backyard fence boundary, you receive an alert notification on your smartphone. 

Real-time tracking. Some GPS devices can turn on real-time tracking inside the app. This allows the app and receiver to communicate even more quickly than usual, so you’re getting real-time live tracking of your dog’s location in the moment. Some brands can provide updates as quickly as every 3 seconds, ensuring that you’ll be able to locate your dog as quickly as possible. 

Long battery life. For GPS tracking for dogs to work, it needs to have a fully charged battery. While charging the battery is as quick and easy as plugging it in, the longer the battery life lasts means that you’ll have to recharge it less frequently, so it can stay on your dog and ensure that they’re kept safe. Having a battery life of up to 7 days means you’ll only need to charge it once per week! 

Activity tracking capabilities. Using a GPS tracker with additional activity-tracking capabilities can help you make sure that your pet’s physical exercise needs are being met. This feature works by using proprietary algorithms and sensors within the GPS receiver that record movements and translate them into physical activities.

Built-in LED light. A GPS device with a built-in LED light can be incredibly helpful in locating your pet in the dark. This is usually an option that can be turned on inside the app, and when done so, the LED light will light up on the GPS receiver device so that you know exactly where your dog is even if it’s dark outside. 

Virtual leash. Bluetooth connections have a shorter range of distance, so if you’re hiking with your dog and want to keep them close and not too far away, a virtual leash function is useful. Once your dog leaves the Bluetooth range and has moved too far away from you, you’ll get an alert notification on your phone. 

Waterproof. Some dogs love to swim and will jump into the first body of water they see. If your dog is a swimmer, you should opt for a device that is waterproof to ensure it will keep working even if your dog goes for a swim. 

Historical positions. If your dog tends to roam, or perhaps you have a large plot of land your dog runs free on, having the ability to record historical positions means you can figure out where your pet enjoys spending the majority of their time. 

GPS Trackers are Easy to Use 

Perhaps the best thing about GPS trackers is that they are incredibly easy to use! After you attach the GPS receiver to your dog’s collar, all you have to do is download the app and register a profile for your pet. The apps function similarly to other smartphone apps with clearly labeled buttons to click through all of the different screens and options in the app.

Peace of Mind for Pet Owners

The worst nightmare for a pet owner is having a lost pet, so we strive to keep our pets safe. Using a GPS tracker gives you peace of mind knowing that even if your dog gets a little too far away from you on a hike, you can bring up his location on the app to go find him. 

If you read reviews, many pet owners rave about how life-saving the GPS trackers are! They have been proven time and time again that they repeatedly help owners locate their dogs after they run off. If you want to give yourself some peace of mind, there is nothing else that can give you such a quick recovery time if your dog were to get away than a GPS tracker can. 

Tips to Optimize GPS Tracking

To ensure your GPS tracker will work when you need it, it’s important to keep the GPS receiver attached to your dog’s collar at all times, except for when you’re charging it. Even though the battery life may last up to 7 days, it’s important to check it regularly and make sure it’s always charged, even if that means charging it more than once per week. Since these devices rely on connections to a cellular tower, you’ll also need to ensure that your monthly service package remains active. 

Addressing Common Concerns

In addition to providing the peace of mind that your pet is safe since you’ll always be able to access their location, GPS trackers have no negative consequences and are well worth it. 

GPS trackers are incredibly lightweight, so your dog won’t even notice it’s on his collar. If you prefer, you could also attach the GPS tracker to your dog’s harness instead. 

Do GPS trackers release hazardous emissions to my pet? Since GPS trackers are a piece of advanced technology, they do release emissions similarly to a cell phone, though in much smaller quantities since they transmit so little data in comparison. One study deemed that the exposure of pets to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields is well below limit values and not a health risk1. These trackers must comply with various laws and regulations to ensure that they meet pet safety standards. 

Are there privacy concerns knowing my dog’s location? Manufacturers of GPS tracking devices understand the sensitivity of the data they collect, so they have regulations on how to collect data and store it securely to ensure that your data isn’t compromised or accessed by unauthorized individuals. 


GPS trackers are incredibly useful tools that provide you with not only important information like real-time updates on your pet’s location but also information on their activity levels and when they move too far away from you. Even if your pet naturally stays close to you, the peace of mind a GPS tracker could provide you to keep your dog safe on a simple hike is invaluable.