Is a GPS Tracking Device a Good Idea for my Pet?

(Dr. Iulia Miha, DVM) The nightmare scenario of realizing your pet is missing is quite common amongst pet owners. Imagine coming home to discover that your dog somehow got out and they are nowhere to be found. Perhaps your pet spends time outdoors and they have not returned by their usual time. How does one even begin to search for them? 

Fortunately, there are many different GPS tracking devices on the market that can bring peace of mind to pet owners. These devices will help you easily track the movements and location of your pet, as well as their travel history. 

Is It Worth Buying a GPS Tracking Device for Your Pet?

A GPS tracking device can be a good idea especially if your pet has a track record of frequently getting out. With these devices, you can easily track the location of your pet by pinging the device that is attached to their collar. Some companies offer mobile apps that pair with these devices to make tracking more convenient. 

Top notch products can track up to 20 pets at a time within a 10 km radius. The data update rate can vary between seconds to minutes (depending on the device) and you will receive feedback with the location and activity of your pet. However, these devices are expensive, the battery can drain pretty fast, and some can be a bit bulky and cause discomfort to your pet.

Overall, GPS devices have a lot of variety on the market. Your choice as a pet owner is personal and should make the most sense for your situation. However, the peace of mind of knowing you can locate your pet may be worth the investment. As with anything, there are pros and some cons to watch out for with GPS devices. 

GPS Tracking Device Pros

Locate Your Pet Remotely – Real-time tracking

A GPS tracking device allows you to monitor your dog from the comfort of your home. These devices will show you how long and in which area your pet has been active. In addition, these devices are an excellent way to find your lost pet. Whether it was stolen, ran away, or simply went for a walk in the neighborhood, GPS tracking devices will show you the location of your pet in real time.

GPS Tracking Is Easy to Use and Reliable

No special training is needed to use GPS tracking devices for pets. These devices are super easy to use – you can place them on your pet's collar, harness or anywhere you like. Many newer kinds of tracking devices are very small and are easily added to a pet’s collar with no encumbrance to your pet. They can also be fairly durable and withstand the conditions your pet may experience. 

You Can Better Understand Your Pet

With the help of these tracking devices, you can better understand your pet by tracking their activity. This is especially true if they spend time outdoors or they have a large area to roam. This way, you will know which are their favorite spots to rest and where they like to explore.

Geofencing function – Set up Boundaries

This function alerts you when your pet leaves a certain perimeter. A Geofence is a virtual perimeter of a certain geographical area that you set up when managing your GPS device. It can be bound by a radius around a location, virtual boundaries drawn around your property, or a predefined set of GPS coordinates. The maximum virtual perimeter will vary depending on the device. When your pet leaves the perimeter, the device will warn you in real time, and then you will be able to quickly find your beloved four-legged friend.

Different Features to Choose from

There are countless GPS devices on the market you can choose from with more and more varied functions. For example, there are GPS devices that can track up to 20 pets simultaneously. However, a drawback to having this feature is that each pet will need their own device to wear. 

Additionally, many of these devices have an app that pairs with your phone. This allows you to keep a virtual eye on your pet in a convenient manner!

Here are some of the features GPS tracking devices for pets have:

  • Map display of all devices (if you have multiple pets and multiple GPS devices)
  • Online maps
  • Compass
  • Registration of all devices
  • Acoustic signal - training/localization
  • Measuring distance and area
  • Saving waypoints on the map
  • Geofencing
  • Circular fence
  • Android or iOS connection

GPS Tracking Device Cons

Although these devices have their advantages, like any other device, they also come with some cons. It is best to be aware of these disadvantages when you decide to purchase such devices. Here are the most common cons GPS tracking devices for pets can have:

GPS Tracking Devices for Pets Can Be Expensive

GPS devices for pets vary widely in price but there will be an initial investment regardless of your choice. Depending on the features and benefits, they can reach up to $1000. In addition, many of these devices also come with an annual subscription that can reach $100 per year. Therefore, choose the right device according to your needs.

GPS Tracking Devices for Pets Can Be Bulky

Technology evolves from year to year and these wearable devices become smaller and smaller with time. If you have a toy breed dog or a cat, some of these older devices can be too big and cause discomfort. As these devices continue to get smaller, this downside might not exist in the future.

GPS Tracking Devices Can Have Difficulties With the Signal

The GPS signal can vary in intensity depending on where you live. As a result, there is a possibility that these devices do not have a strong signal to be able to effectively monitor your beloved pet. In addition, the further your dog moves away from the location, the more the signal strength will decrease. Therefore, if you know that your dog likes to go kilometers away from home, it is best to choose devices that have a greater range of action.

GPS Tracking Devices Can Have Battery Problems

Like any other device powered by batteries, you will have to constantly monitor the state of your device's battery. In this way, you will ensure that your GPS device does not have zero battery when your dog is lost or stolen. The monitoring time in active mode is usually one day or more, depending on the device. However, most devices also have an economic mode (standby) that will make the battery last from a few days to a few months. Additionally, some GPS devices that are smaller might have finite battery supply.


GPS tracking devices for pets are innovative and extremely useful devices. With their help, you will always know where your four-legged friend is in real time. You can check the location of your pet directly from your mobile phone or GPS device. Most devices have the geofencing function to set a virtual perimeter. When your pet leaves that perimeter, the device will notify you and you will be able to act immediately. Like any other devices, these also come with some disadvantages such as high price, size (can cause discomfort to small pets), battery issues, and signal strength issues depending on the area. However, it is a worthwhile investment to know and keep your pet safe.


Dr. Iuliana Mihai, DVM, Masters In Small Animals And Equines Pathology

Iuliana graduated from the University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in 2012, Romania. She has a Master’s degree in Small Animal and Equines Pathology and a strong affinity for Veterinary Parasitology and Laboratory. In 2013 she started her Ph.D. in epithelial cancer in dogs and cats. She volunteered at the faculty’s clinic in her 3rd year of study, and continued her career in small animal pathology and laboratory. She has one cat and eleven rats. Her interests outside of work include traveling, writing, and crafting.


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