With a GPS tracker for dogs or cats, it is easy for you to keep an eye on your pets all the time. This is especially useful if your cat roams freely around the neighborhood or your dog likes to run away. In our comparison of GPS trackers for animals, we highlight popular models and tell you if using an AirTag or a SmartTag are good alternatives.

GPS tracker for dogs and cats in comparison

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What are GPS trackers for dogs and cats and how do I use them?

With a GPS tracker for dogs and cats, you can easily find the location of your four-legged friends even when they are out of sight. As the name suggests, GPS is used for this purpose. the Global Positioning System can pinpoint the location accurately to several meters and is used in your smartphone for Google Maps or Pokémon GO, among others.

In this article, we’ve also included Apple’s AirTag and Samsung’s own SmartTags, which compensate for a missing GPS module by connecting to other devices. We will discuss in more detail the pros and cons of using them. To help you decide whether to buy one or forget to buy a GPS tracker for dogs or cats, we’ll also dive into the details for clarity.

The Differences to Look for When Buying a Pet GPS Tracker

With or without subscription?

The first question you need to ask yourself when buying a dog or cat GPS tracker is whether you’re willing to pay a recurring fee. This fee is necessary because many trackers connect to the mobile network via a modem. Only in this way is it possible to retrieve the location independently of a wireless connection to your smartphone. If this feature is important to you, you should be prepared to shell out monthly fees that range from a few dollars to 10 dollars.

The Tractive Dog 2 is prominently displayed on your dog’s collar / © Tractive

If you want to do without a subscription, you will have to use Bluetooth or ultra-wideband for tracking. Since radio standards are limited to a few meters, you should approach your four-legged friend from a short distance. With the AirTag and SmartTag, you will get more accurate location in densely populated areas. This is because item trackers share your location with the manufacturer’s servers through connected devices such as smartphones or tablets, where you can then retrieve the location.

Handy features like activity tracking or runaway alerts

In addition to the ability to track your pet’s location, many trackers offer other useful features. In the table below, we have selected popular features of GPS trackers for dogs and cats for you along with a brief explanation.

Unique Features in Pet GPS Trackers

A function Utilize
Activity monitoring Informs you about the active and rest phases
Virtual fence/runaway alarm Notifies you when the animal leaves a certain area/area
Job history Records the route taken by your pet
Beep Plays a sound you can use to condition your pet (works mainly for dogs)

Special features for pets are of course only available in this product category for models specially designed for dogs and cats. This excludes the AirTag and SmartTag See the table at the top of this article to find out which model offers such functionality.

Battery life

The battery life of object trackers and animal trackers differs significantly. However, with at least seven days of charging, all models in this article last quite a long time. Shorter battery life is usually offered by models equipped with a cellular modem and a GPS module. Apple AirTags and Samsung SmartTags offer much longer battery life without these features.

Der AirTag a einem Schlüsselbund.

Instead of key rings, you can also attach the AirTag to your dog’s collar / © NextPit

In addition, they are powered by a single button cell. Models with shorter battery life need to be charged like a fitness tracker via an included charging cable.

Collar clip or outer collar?

Although GPS trackers for dogs and cats target a very specific group, none of the models listed above come with an included collar. Instead, some models come with a plastic clip that can be attached to existing collars.

For Apple AirTags, Samsung SmartTag and Vodafone Curve Pet you will need to purchase an additional collar or clip. Alternatively, you can attach the SmartTags to your dog’s collar using a keychain.

Price

In addition to the monthly subscription fees we already talked about at the beginning of our guide, there are also one-time fees for the purchase. These vary by model and range between $30 and $50.

AirTag vs SmartTag vs GPS Tracker

When looking for GPS pet and cat trackers online, the question of whether you can use Apple’s popular AirTags or other item trackers as an alternative constantly comes up. The simple answer: Yes, because they offer a much more limited range of functions compared to real trackers with GPS.

This is because Apple’s AirTag and Samsung’s SmartTags do not use GPS and rely on a network of devices to locate matching items. If you place an AirTag on your dog, you can first track it at home. Since dogs generally tend to stay loyal to their owners, this feature is probably more useful for cats. However, the AirTag becomes interesting if your dog managed to escape.

In this case, you can report your AirTag as stolen in the “Where is it?” section. app and get an approximate location. But that’s only possible if your dog walks past someone who has an Apple device in their pocket. If he bumps into the woods while taking off, that would be an unfortunate turn of events.

Click here for Apple AirTag review on NextPit

Object trackers don’t offer absolute security, but they can be useful. Besides tracking your dog/cat, you can also save your address on the tracker. If someone picks up your dog and sees the tracker on the collar, the person can then check your details over the phone and contact you that way.

Alternatives to GPS trackers for dogs and cats

If you are looking for alternatives to GPS trackers for dogs and cats, there are no digital solutions apart from the item trackers already mentioned. There’s the old-school analog method where you attach a tag with your address to your pet’s collar. If your dog is recovered, you will be contacted as best as possible.

If your dog or cat has been away for a long time, it is also advisable to inform the local council. Also, web experts recommend setting up a power station near your apartment or house. If possible, it is also advisable to leave a door open so that the lost pet can return safely.

What are your experiences with dog or cat trackers? Let us know in the comments!