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The Best GPS Dog Tags To Keep Your Furry Friend Safe

December 06, 2023 10 min read

gps dog id tag

Introduction

GPS technology has revolutionized the way we keep track of our pets. GPS dog tags allow you to monitor your dog's location and activity levels from your smartphone or computer. These smart tags work by using cellular and satellite networks to transmit your dog's location data to you.

GPS dog tags provide peace of mind by letting you know where your pup is and if they have wandered off or gotten lost. They allow you to set up virtual fences and get alerts whenever your dog leaves a designated area. You can track their daily exercise and even replay walks to see the exact route. Some GPS tags have additional features like temperature monitoring and veterinary health updates.

The benefits of GPS dog tags are numerous. They help dog owners find lost pets quickly before they get into danger. You can also make sure your dog walker or pet sitter is taking your dog where they should go. Overall, GPS tags give you more insight into your dog's daily activities while allowing you to relax knowing you can locate them if they go missing. With so many options available, you can find a GPS dog tag designed to suit your budget and needs.

How GPS Dog Tags Work

GPS dog tags use advanced technology to pinpoint your dog's location if they ever get lost. Most models contain both cellular connectivity and GPS tracking capabilities.

The cellular connectivity allows the tag to connect to cell towers in the area. This provides more general location data by triangulating the cell towers picked up by the tag.

The GPS component provides precise location tracking by connecting to satellites orbiting the earth. GPS uses advanced trigonometry and signals from multiple satellites to determine coordinates on the earth's surface.

By combining both cellular and GPS technology, most dog tags can provide location updates within several feet of accuracy. This allows owners to pinpoint their dog's location in near real-time if they ever go missing.

The GPS dog tag sends this location data wirelessly to an app on the owner's smartphone or to a web portal. As long as the tag is charged and has cellular and GPS connections, owners can see exactly where their dog is located.

Some tags include additional features like temperature sensors, activity tracking, and even remote audio so owners can hear what's happening around their dog. But the core purpose is leveraging cellular and GPS to provide detailed location information to bring lost pets home.

Benefits of GPS Dog Tags

GPS dog tags provide several key benefits for pet owners that make them a worthwhile investment.

Help Find Lost Dogs

One of the biggest advantages of GPS dog tags is the ability to locate your dog if they ever get lost or wander off. The GPS tracker inside the tag allows you to pinpoint your dog's location through a smartphone app and then go retrieve them. This provides tremendous peace of mind for pet owners, knowing they have a way to find their dog if they go missing. The GPS tracking eliminates the need to search the neighborhood or rely on "lost dog" posters.

Provide Peace of Mind

Along with finding lost dogs, GPS dog tags also provide general peace of mind for pet owners about their dog's whereabouts and safety. The GPS tracker allows you to check your dog's location at any time to know they are safe. This is especially useful for times your dog is home alone in the backyard or if they are being cared for by someone else while you are away. The GPS tracking allows you to digitally keep an eye on them.

Track Health and Activity

Some GPS dog tags include additional features beyond location tracking. This can include health and activity monitoring to track your dog's steps, exercise, sleep patterns and more. This data can provide helpful insights into your dog's health and habits to allow you to provide the best care. The location tracking combined with health metrics provides a comprehensive overview of your pet's wellbeing.

Features to Look For

When choosing a GPS dog tag, there are a few key features to look for:

  • Waterproof: Since dogs love playing in water, mud, and snow, you'll want a waterproof GPS tag that can withstand the elements. Waterproof tags allow you to track your pup even if they're swimming or out in the rain. Look for tags with waterproof ratings of IPX7 or IPX8.

  • Long battery life: Battery life can vary greatly among GPS tags, from a few days to several weeks or months. The longer the battery life, the less frequently you'll have to recharge. Opt for a tag that lasts at least 2-4 weeks to start. Some use replaceable batteries you can easily swap out.

  • Accurate tracking: The accuracy of the GPS tracking can range from 10 to 100 feet. Go for a tag with accuracy of 10 feet or below so you can pinpoint your dog's location precisely. The tag should provide tracking updates every 2-5 minutes while your dog is on the move.

  • Lightweight: Especially for smaller dogs, you'll want a lightweight GPS tag that won't weigh them down. Look for compact, minimalist designs under 1 ounce.

  • Range: Most GPS tags have a range of around 10 miles or more. If you plan to use your dog's tag while hiking or in remote areas, look for a longer range.

  • Durability: Since active dogs will be running and playing outdoors, durability is a must. Seek out tags made of durable materials that can withstand bumps, scratches, and being chewed or clawed at.

  • Alerts: Many GPS tags allow you to set virtual fences and safe zones. If your dog wanders outside the designated area, you'll receive alert notifications on your smartphone. This is a useful feature for keeping tabs on your pup.

Top GPS Dog Tag Models

GPS dog tags have evolved a lot in recent years, with several excellent options now available. Here are some of the top models to consider:

The Link AKC collar is one of the most full-featured GPS collars available. Key features include:

  • GPS and cellular tracking - works anywhere in the US
  • Activity monitoring and weather resistance
  • Customizable geo-fencing alerts if your dog leaves a designated area
  • Lightweight, waterproof design
  • App with location history and health insights

Whistle GO Explore

Whistle GO Explore is a versatile health and location tracker. Highlights include:

  • Accurate GPS and cell tower tracking
  • 20 day battery life
  • Activity and behavior monitoring
  • Geofencing and adventure mapping features
  • Rugged, waterproof design

Fi Smart Dog Collar

The Fi collar uses GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi tracking to monitor your dog's location both indoors and outdoors. Features include:

  • Real-time location tracking
  • Customizable geofence alerts
  • Rechargeable battery lasts up to 3 months
  • Activity and health tracking capabilities
  • Works with Apple Watch

Tractive GPS Dog Tracker

The Tractive GPS tracker attaches to your dog's collar or harness. Key specs:

  • Accurate live location tracking worldwide
  • Geo-fencing options with escape alerts
  • Built-in SIM card, no monthly fees
  • Waterproof and rechargeable battery lasts up to 5 days
  • Location history tracking via app

Gibi Pet Tracker

Gibi offers an affordable GPS smart collar good for basic tracking. Features:

  • GPS and wi-fi tracking
  • Geo-fencing alerts if your dog wanders
  • Collar is water resistant and rechargeable
  • App with location check-ins and history
  • No monthly fees required

How to Choose the Right GPS Tag

When selecting a GPS dog tag, it's important to consider your dog's unique needs and characteristics. The right tag for a Chihuahua that rarely leaves your backyard is very different than what an adventurous Husky may require.

Size of Your Dog

One of the most obvious factors is your dog's size. Large GPS tags can be too heavy and unwieldy for small dogs, while mini tags made for little pups may not be durable enough for big breeds. Measure your dog's collar size and look for a tag that's lightweight yet sized appropriately. The tag should not hang too low under your dog's neck or rub uncomfortably.

Age of Your Dog

Puppies and seniors dogs have different activity levels from adult dogs in their prime years. Active dogs need a durable GPS tag that can withstand running, hiking, swimming, etc. More sedentary elderly or young pups may only need basic location tracking without as much durability. Consider battery life as well - older dogs may need a tag with user-replaceable batteries.

Breed and Temperament

Some breeds like Huskies and Beagles are prone to wandering and exploring, so they need reliable tracking over longer distances. Breeds like Chihuahuas that stick close to home need shorter tracking distances. High energy working breeds need tough GPS tags that can handle all kinds of terrain and activities. Timid or anxious breeds prone to bolting need quick live tracking features.

Your Dog's Lifestyle

Think about your dog's daily lifestyle and needs. Is your dog outdoorsy or a homebody? Does your dog go to dog parks, hike trails, swim, or travel frequently? The more active your dog is, the more rugged and durable your GPS tag should be. Ensure the tag has enough battery life and durability to match your dog's energy and habits.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can select a GPS dog tag well-suited for your dog's unique needs and personality. The right tag provides peace of mind for both owner and pup!

Using GPS Dog Tags Effectively

For GPS dog tags to be effective, they need to be properly fitted, charged, and monitored. Here are some tips for getting the most out of GPS tags for your dog:

Proper Fitting

  • Make sure the GPS tag fits snugly but is not too tight on your dog's collar. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog's neck.

  • Check the tightness every few weeks as your dog's collar size may change over time.

  • Look for GPS collars designed not to chafe your dog's neck. Chafing can become irritated and may cause your dog to try removing the collar.

Charging

  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for charging frequency. Most GPS tags need charging at least every 2-3 days.

  • Get into a routine of charging the battery overnight or while your dog naps. Don't allow the battery to die completely.

  • Consider getting a backup battery or tag so one can remain on your dog at all times.

Monitoring

  • Check your tag's app or website frequently to monitor your dog's location, even when at home. This verifies the tag is working.

  • Set up geo-fencing alerts for when your dog leaves a designated safe zone. Respond quickly if they do.

  • Keep an eye on the tag's remaining battery level so it does not die when your dog is away from home.

  • Note any inconsistencies or large gaps in location history, which could indicate a tag malfunction.

Properly fitting, charging, and monitoring a GPS dog tag helps ensure you get accurate location information and full benefit from the technology. With good tag habits, you can have peace of mind knowing your dog's location.

Potential Drawbacks

While GPS dog tags provide many benefits for pet owners, there are some potential drawbacks to consider as well.

Subscription Fees

Most GPS dog tags require a monthly or annual subscription fee to use the location tracking services. This ongoing cost can add up over time. Some models charge $10-15 per month. Make sure to factor in subscription fees when budgeting for a GPS tag.

Inaccuracies

GPS signals are not always 100% accurate, especially when there are obstacles like buildings or trees blocking the dog's location. GPS dog tags can sometimes show an incorrect location up to several feet away from the pet's actual position. This imprecision may make it hard to pinpoint your dog's exact spot.

Short Battery Life

In order to continuously track a dog's whereabouts, GPS tags need consistent battery power. However, most models have a battery life of only a few days before needing a recharge. Some even last less than 24 hours before dying out. Frequent recharging is usually necessary. Consider tags with user-replaceable batteries to easily swap in freshly charged spares when needed.

So while GPS dog tags offer important benefits for monitoring a pet's safety and location, the costs, inaccuracies, and maintenance required for consistent operation should be considered as well. Examining the pros and cons will allow owners to make an informed decision.

Alternatives to Consider

While GPS dog tags are certainly useful, they aren't the only option available for keeping track of your dog. Here are some other methods to consider:

Microchips

Microchips are tiny radio transponders implanted under your dog's skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The microchip contains a unique ID number that can be scanned at shelters and veterinary offices. If your lost dog turns up at one of these places, staff can scan the chip to get your contact information and notify you of your dog's whereabouts.

Microchipping is permanent, doesn't require batteries, and can't fall off. However, the chip only works if your dog is taken somewhere with a scanner. It doesn't allow you to actively track your dog's location like a GPS tag.

Smart Collars

Smart collars like Whistle or Fi contain GPS and cellular connectivity to track your dog in real-time. You can define safe zones on a smartphone app and get alerts if your dog wanders outside the zone. Smart collars also monitor your dog's activity levels and health stats.

The downside is that smart collars are bulkier and more expensive than basic GPS tags. And just like any collar, a smart one can potentially be slipped off or damaged.

Fenced Yards

For many pet owners, a fenced yard is the simplest way to keep dogs safely confined at home. Invisible underground fences work well too, giving dogs room to roam without actually leaving the property.

Of course, fences don't offer active tracking like GPS. And fences can't keep dogs contained when away from home. But installing a secure fence around your yard is a worthwhile layer of protection.

While GPS dog tags, microchips, and smart collars each have pros and cons, using multiple solutions together can help provide full protection. But for pet owners who prioritize active tracking and location monitoring, a GPS dog tag remains an excellent standalone option.

Conclusion

GPS dog tags provide pet owners with an invaluable tool to help keep their dogs safe and secure. For those who allow their dogs to roam and play freely, whether in the backyard or at a park, GPS tags offer much-needed peace of mind. If your dog ever wanders too far or manages to slip through a fence or door left open, you'll be able to quickly track their location through a linked smartphone app.

GPS tags are most useful for owners whose dogs spend a lot of time outdoors unattended and those living in rural areas where dogs have space to roam. They provide insurance against your pet getting lost, stolen, or injured, allowing you to find them quickly before the situation escalates. Additionally, GPS tags can help recover dogs if they are stolen, as the tracker stays with your dog wherever they go.

If you want to provide your beloved pet with an extra layer of protection when they are outside on their own, GPS dog tags are absolutely worth considering. Just be sure to choose a reputable brand with accurate GPS, long battery life, and smart alert capabilities. Take time to properly fit and acclimate your dog to wearing the tag as well. With the right GPS dog tag, you'll have invaluable insight into your pet's location and increased confidence letting them enjoy off-leash freedom.

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