We humans are no strangers to wearable tech – chances are, you or someone you know has some sort of fitness tracker or smart watch. But did you know that there is also an array of wearable gadgets for pets? These devices are not just for fun and frivolous purposes – the best ones can actually help you keep your dog fit and healthy, and even find your dog if it wanders off or gets lost.
But how do you know which devices live up to the hype, never mind which actually work here in Australia? Many of the GPS tracking devices that pop up on a local Google search are designed for the USA and will only connect to US cellular networks. If you live elsewhere in the world, these devices will not function properly (if at all) and will therefore be a waste of good money for Australians.In this article, you can find our select list of the best of the dog wearable tech and tracking devices for Australian pets and their owners.
GPS trackers, or devices that are attached to your dog in order to track its movements, are becoming more and more popular, particularly among owners of adventurous pets.
In the past, if your dog or cat got lost, you’d have to spend hours searching the neighbourhood, plastering posters on every telegraph pole and hoping for the best. Nowadays, microchips are commonplace – and most states require all cats and dogs to be microchipped by law – but if your pet gets lost, a microchip can’t track where they’ve gone.
That’s where GPS trackers come in. Most trackers come with an app that you can use to track your pet’s movements, so you’ll never have to wonder where your dog or cat has wandered off to again.
Some words of advice –
- Many of the trackers we’ve come across use apps for Android or iOS devices to access and analyse the data they collect. If you’re not a smartphone user, these will not be suitable.
- The range of a tracker can vary significantly, depending on the model and the technology used, so look for one that best suites your own purposes. Some devices use radio signals to track instead of GPS. These have a much shorter range than GPS trackers, so are best suited to tracking in a small, local area.
- Be aware that there are typically monthly or annual fees associated with GPS tracking.
- Be careful when selecting the correct size for the device, particularly if you own a smaller dog, as you don’t want anything too bulky or heavy affixed to their collar.
- Buy the best quality you can afford, and avoid anything that seems like too much of a bargain… you need certainty that the tracker will actually do what it claims to do. Look for customer reviews that appear to be genuine and contact the manufacturer or supplier if you have any questions or concerns.
Tractive GPS Dog 4
AU $99.99 plus a subscription plan: Basic (AU$14.99 / month) or Premium (AU$114.99 per year)
The Tractive GPS Dog 4 tracker works in over 150 countries, Australia included. It’s got its own SIM card and can connect to networks worldwide, using the best available mobile / cellular network to send its GPS location to your smart phone. The range of the tracker is unlimited; in fact, you can even track your pet if you’re on the other side of the world. The data provided by the tracker is accessible via the free Tractive GPS for Dogs and Cats app (iOS) and the Tractive GPS for Dogs and Cats app (Android).
This device serves two very valuable purposes: to prevent your dog from getting lost with location tracking, and to keep it fit and healthy with activity tracking. Weighing in at 35g, it’s designed to fit most dog collar sizes, is recommended for dogs above 4 kg and can also work for larger cats. Tractive is not currently shipping to Australia (as at 31 August 2021), so you can’t purchase directly from their website. You can, however, order the Tractive GPS Dog 4 via the Pettecc website.
- Monitor activity and set activity goals to ensure your pet is getting enough movement to stay fit and healthy.
- Set safe areas (e.g. your garden) with virtual fences, and get a notification if your pet enters or exits them.
- See your pet’s location history (where he or she has been in the last 24 hours).
- Use the live tracking option to get location updates every 2 to 3 seconds.
Long-lasting battery that goes for up to 5 days.
- Waterproof and shock resistant.
- Securely fits dog collars and harnesses up to 2.8cm wide.
Nut Tag SEEK GPS for Pets
AU $279 (including collar attachment)
The SEEK from NutTAG Australia is a tiny, real-time GPS tracker that weighs 40g and fits into a rubber collar attachment that can attach to any dog collar. It locates your pet using multiple positioning technologies with an accuracy of 2-5 m, and there are no range limitations. The data is accessed via the NutTAG GPS App (iOS) or NutTAG GPS App (Android) and/or the web portal after purchase. The app gives you full control of the device from your phone.
Your initial purchase includes 1-year access to the online portal, mobile app and an active Telstra or Vodafone preinstalled SIM. Once the first year is complete, you will need to select a plan for each device. Plans start from $45 a year, and lifetime offers are also available. Note that the device is not designed to be submerged in water, although hosing your pet will be fine.
- Ready for use straight out of the box.
- Unlimited range (international SIM available).
- Create geo-fences and receive alerts if your pet breaches or enters your safety or danger zones.
- No monthly costs.
- Option for alerts to be sent via SMS at an extra cost.
- Charging dock and USB charging cable included.
- Battery life is 28 days on locate mode or 2-15 days on regular use.
- Custom low battery alerts.
- 1-year warranty.
- Free delivery and returns within Australia.
- Made in Melbourne; local support available.
Garmin Alpha 100/T5 GPS Dog Tracking System
AU $1,099.00 (includes handheld and T5 dog device)
Garmin is well-known for its GPS and activity tracking devices for people. But did you know that it also has a broad range of dog devices? These are designed largely for tracking and training, although some are geared particularly to hunting dogs, while others can help with obedience and nuisance barking. These devices are definitely an option for those serious about their dog sports and/or their bushwalking and those with multiple dogs.
Be aware that these devices do not work with your smart phone as do most other brands – you will need to purchase a handheld device as well as a special collar, which can make for a relatively expensive outlay. These items can be purchased as a bundle or separately, so additional dogs and/or owners can utilise the same platform.
A popular model for sporting dogs, theGarmin Alpha 100 and T5 dog device bundle is a multi-dog tracking GPS and remote training system all-in-one, allowing you to track up to 20 dogs from up to 7 km away. It measures each dog’s speed, distance and direction and will deliver their exact position as often as every 2.5 seconds. Preloaded with TOPO Lite Australia and New Zealand, you’ll always know your surroundings no matter how far off the beaten track, as it does not rely on being near a cellphone tower.
- Collar available in two sizes, regular and mini (minimum neck size for a mini collar is 9″ (23 cm), minimum neck size for a regular collar is 12″ (30 cm).
- Battery conservation mode automatically kicks in at 25% battery life, giving you more time to search for and locate your dog.
- Free trip-planning software available that lets you view and organise maps, waypoints, routes and tracks on your computer screen, with topographic map data in 2-D or 3-D.
- Software available for a laptop to be used as field control centre for tracking multiple dogs and buddies (up to 20 Alpha units or T5 devices), even where internet and cell phone service isn’t available.
See more Garmin GPS dog collars and handheld devices here.
GPS trackers aren’t the only wearable tech available to your pet. Bark correction collars and activity and fitness trackers are some other wearable options for your furry friend. A bit like a Fitbit for dogs, activity tracking devices can help to keep your dogs healthy and in good shape by monitoring the amount of exercise and rest they are getting each day, and even let you know how many calories they are burning.
The Tractive GPS Dog 4, discussed in the GPS section above, is a dual-purpose GPS and activity tracker, allowing you to make sure your dog always gets enough exercise. You can set daily goals that suit your dog’s breed and size, and get rewarded with badges when you reach them. If you are competitive, you can even go onto the monthly leader-boards and compare your dog’s activity with others of the same breed around the world.
US $80 (approx. AUD $110)
FitBark 2 is wearable activity tracking device for dogs that is available worldwide, and while it doesn’t offer GPS coverage, it can be used to monitor your dog’s activity, sleep and well-being. It can help owners understand their dog’s health, explain behavioural changes and offer more information to their vet if necessary. Data is provided via the FitBark Dog GPS & Health App (iOS) or FitBark Dog GPS &Health app (Android).
Be warned – do not purchase the FitBark GPS – this model is designed solely for the US market and cannot be used to track your pet’s movements with GPS in Australia.
- It can be linked to your Fitbit, Apple watch or Google Fit device.
- 12 cover colour options available (comes with a black cover, additional covers sold separately).
- Available in sizes from XXX-S to XXX-L, fits on collars greater than 38mm.
- Battery life up to 6 months.
- Light, rugged and waterproof.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- No monthly or hidden fees.
- Orders ship from Melbourne (free shipping for orders over US$20).
Does my pet need a wearable device?
Of course, if your pet is a notorious wanderer, getting a GPS pet tracker makes sense. It could save you the heartbreak of searching fruitlessly for a missing pet and might even allow you to save your pet’s life. Be aware, however, that even the best device can let you down when you most need it. If your pet goes missing when the device’s battery is low on charge, or location services is chewing through the battery power at a rapid rate, you will need to find your pet pronto, before it powers off completely.
If you are mainly after the activity and exercise tracking features, you don’t necessarily need a wearable device for your pet. As long as you are tracking your own activity with a watch or smart phone, you can use a smart phone app to get the same information for your dog. Rundogo is a dog sports tracker that syncs with your own Garmin device, allowing you to track your dogs as well as yourself, whether you are running, walking or participating in one of the many dog sports together. To remove ads and get additional features from Rundogo, you can buy the Premium version for a monthly or annual fee.
Can I use an object-tracking device for my pet?
It may seem like an option worth considering, but object-tracking devices are just not designed for pets. They are generally flimsier, not water- and dirt-proof, and not designed to be affixed to a collar, so they could easily fall off. In contrast, a good pet-specific device should be rugged, durable, water-resistant and dirt-proof, and should attach securely to your pet’s collar or come with its own collar. So even though it may be a cheaper option in the short term, an object tracker is probably not going to last nearly as long.
Can I use a tracking device on my cat?
Yes you can, but check that the manufacturer states that the device is suitable for cats, and make sure that it is small and light enough for your cat’s comfort. Cats are notorious for wriggling out of collars and losing their tags, so it’s essential to get one that is designed with cats in mind.
If you are looking to monitor your cat’s activity, be aware than this may not be as accurate for cats as it is for dogs. Felines move differently from canines, and some devices may not be able to distinguish a cat’s movements with sufficient accuracy for meaningful data.
*Prices accurate as at 31st August 2021 and do not include data costs.
Which is the best GPS tracker for dogs? ›
- Fi Smart Dog Series 2 at Tryfi.com. Jump to Review.
- Now Available: Fi Fi Series 3 Smart Collar at Tryfi.com. ...
- Best Collar Attachment: Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker at Amazon. ...
- Best for Cities: Apple AirTag at Amazon. ...
- Best for Hiking: ...
- Best Subscription:
Dog collars with implanted GPS trackers are also affordable, widely available, and well worth the investment. They're quite similar to the GPS trackers used to track wildlife migration, and they can help you find your lost pet's exact location in a matter of minutes.Do GPS dog collars work? ›
Yes, a GPS device is the best way to keep track of your dog. A GPS collar is the most effective way to keep track of your dog's location. It works by using satellites in space to determine where your animal is and how quickly it's moving.Do all GPS trackers require a monthly fee? ›
Unfortunately, most GPS trackers require monthly subscription fees. It can be too costly for some people to pay the fees. It's prudent for them to buy the best GPS trackers with no monthly fee.Can I track my dog with my phone? ›
Tractive GPS for Dogs and Cats
The Tractive GPS Tracker allows you to monitor your pet's whereabouts on the map without a distance limit. Besides locating your dog or cat, the app also allows you to track your pet in real-time. (Requires a Tractive GPS tracker.)
It's what leads thousands of us to ask, 'Can I get a GPS implant or microchip for my dog? ' The answer is no, and it's because the technology doesn't exist yet.How far will a dog tracker work? ›
A Bluetooth tracker will only track your pet to a distance of around 30 feet, or 10 metres.How long do GPS collars last? ›
Lightweight and waterproof, the tracker is compatible with any flat collar up to 1.5 inches wide. Battery life typically lasts between 10 and 20 days.How accurate are GPS collars? ›
The System works autonomously and is accurate within a few feet. It even gets more accurate as you use it more often! You can also check the status of your GPS signal, both in your app and on the collar.What is the best way to track a pet? ›
Use a GPS collar or tracker in conjunction with a microchip, which stores your pet's info and is still the best way to ensure you're reunited with them if they get lost. Most pet shelters and veterinary clinics have scanners for microchips.
How can I track my dog without a tracker? ›
- Center for Lost Pets.
- Pet FBI.
- Fido Finder.
- Lost Dogs of America.
- NextDoor and Front Porch Forum (check the lost and found section and post a lost pet notice)
You can always use GPS on your mobile device regardless of an internet or cellular connection. As long as you have a charged smartphone with you, you can find your way around remote areas and foreign landscapes. GPS tracking on your phone works just as well without internet connectivity or cellular service.Does GPS work without a service plan? ›
Yes. On Android and iPhone devices, the google maps app can locate and follow you wherever you are without the internet or without data. The GPS on your smartphone is able to do both things at the same time. In fact, smartphones make the best GPS that works without Internet.How much does GPS cost per month? ›
How much does a GPS fleet tracking system cost? GPS fleet tracking systems range from $0 to $700 in upfront costs and $18 to $65 per vehicle in monthly costs. But it's important to consider more than just the price tag when looking for a fleet tracking system.How far do Airtags work for dogs? ›
Here's a list of disadvantages of using an AirTag on your pet: The Bluetooth range is estimated to be only 800 feet, which isn't big enough to find a lost dog on its own using just your phone.Is there a monthly fee for fi collar? ›
The subscription costs $99/year, or $8.25/month, and gets your dog's collar added as a device to the LTE-M low-power cellular network, which was specifically designed for such devices, and offers 20-30% more cellular coverage in the US than 3G networks.Can I put an AirTag on my dog? ›
In short, while you can put an AirTag on your dog or cat (third-party manufacturers do make such AirTag accessories for pets), Apple does not encourage it to cover its own butt in case of legal action.What is the smallest tracking device? ›
8mm and weighing just 2.5 grams, the Micro Hornet GPS chip is the world's smallest.How much does it cost to put a GPS in your dog? ›
Note that trackers should be used in conjunction with microchips in a pet, not as a substitute. Most vets charge less than $50 to put the rice-sized permanent chip inside a pet.How much does it cost to put a GPS chip in a dog? ›
Microchipping a pet is inexpensive. The average cost of your dog's microchip is about $50. This includes the injection procedure as well as microchip registration. There is no annual fee for your pet's microchip.
Can you chip your pet with a GPS tracker? ›
However, it's important to be aware, that at this time, there is no such thing as a dog tracker chip that combines both a microchip and GPS tracker into one. There is no such technology which combines both a microchip and GPS tracker into one.How do dogs find their way home from long distances? ›
Dogs Navigate Using Magnetic Fields
The team then studied the dogs' return journeys to their owners—and it might be no surprise to learn that many dogs used their powerful noses to navigate, with almost 60 percent of them following their outbound route by tracing their own scent.
With having so many scent tracking abilities within their genetic makeup, we are able to train dogs in searching for specific smells. Police dogs are able to differentiate between certain types of smells due to the power of their nose, making them the perfect scent trackers in multiple areas of searching.Can a GPS tracker fall off? ›
It can hit against a bump and fall off depending how low the car is or how fast the driver passes by a speed bump.How far away do GPS trackers work? ›
The technology implemented in GPS tracking devices is so unique and advanced that it can provide you with the exact location of up to 10 meters. Some high-end devices can offer better precision and are accurate up to 1 meter.Should dog collars be removed overnight? ›
All veterinarians and dog trainers would agree that the collar is not designed to be a 24/7 accessory. Another good reason to remove it at night is nonstop wear could cause fur to break off leading to irritation or infection. The risk jumps if the collar frequently gets wet or if it's a bit too tight.Which GPS has the highest accuracy? ›
The Garmin GPSMAP 66st is at the top of its class in terms of accuracy and reliability, earning it our top honors. It boasts a powerful quad-helix antenna and reliably connects to more satellite networks with greater accuracy than most other models.Which of the GPS method is most accurate? ›
1. Static GPS Baseline. A Static GPS Baseline is a technique used to determine accurate coordinates for survey points. Baseline measurements achieve this by recording GPS observations over time, then processing that data to provide the most accurate result.What collars do vets recommend? ›
The calming collar most commonly recommended by Dr. O'Sullivan is Adaptil, while other veterinarians recommend Sentry.How can I monitor my pet remotely? ›
Monitor from multiple devices
Barkio is a multi-platform app available on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux. You can download it on all these platforms for free and try out the app without any commitments. With Barkio, you can monitor your dog from multiple devices at the same time.
What to do when your dog runs away? ›
- The First Thing You Should Do. ...
- Alert the Rescue Organizations in Your Area, Including the Police. ...
- Enter the Microchip Number Into the Registry. ...
- Create a Small Search Party. ...
- Post On Social Media and Neighborhood Networking Services. ...
- Flyers Are Still Effective in Getting the Word Out About a Lost Pet. ...
- Check Local Shelters.
Quite often dogs can't find their way back home, so act fast and maximise your efforts within the first 48 hours window.How do I turn my cell phone into a GPS tracker? ›
How to Enable Find My Device on Android
- Navigate to your device's Settings.
- Tap on Passwords and security.
- Select Privacy.
- Tap on Find My Device.
- Toggle on the feature on the next page.
Absolutely! This is actually a good idea, since you're less likely to play with a phone that isn't your main phone while you're driving. The only problem is that you need a GPS app that stores its maps offline — since your phone won't have a data connection. The Google Maps app has this option, but navigation is iffy.Is GPS free on mobile phones? ›
Do I need Mobile Internet Data connection to use GPS? There is no internet connection required to use GPS services. Global positioning system (GPS) is available FREE of cost everywhere on earth. That's the reason your car's GPS can work even if there is no internet connectivity in car's navigation system.Can an iPhone work as a GPS? ›
iOS and iPadOS devices might use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to determine your location. GPS and cellular location are available on iPhone and iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular) models.Does GPS use a lot of data? ›
Does Google Maps use a lot of data? The good news is Google Maps actually uses significantly less mobile data than some of the other apps you probably open every day. It's estimated that Google Maps eats up about 3 – 5 MB of data per hour of use.Are GPS trackers worth it? ›
Having a tracking device installed in your car is one of the most reliable and efficient ways of protecting it from crime. Although they can be quite expensive, these devices will lower your insurance premiums and could save you a huge amount of hassle, in the long run, if your vehicle is stolen.How much does it cost to install a GPS system? ›
Rates for installation range from $150 to $450 depending on where you have the service done. Generally speaking, the more complex the system, the higher the cost to install. Less frequently, a technician will charge by the hour, but it's more common to be charged for the job.
Here's a list of disadvantages of using an AirTag on your pet: The Bluetooth range is estimated to be only 800 feet, which isn't big enough to find a lost dog on its own using just your phone.
Is tile or AirTag better for dogs? ›
After testing the AirTags, I found them to be more intuitive, reliable, and easier to use than Tile trackers. In the event the AirTag is beyond the Bluetooth range of your iPhone, it uses Apple's crowdsourced Find My network that consists of nearly a billion devices.How can I track my dog without a subscription? ›
PETFON is the only GPS tracker without subscription that can track in real time, but even then you're limited to a range of 3.5 miles (5.6 km) in an open field. As many dog parents know, our buddies can cover that distance in minutes.Do AirTags work long distance? ›
This means as long as an AirTag is within Bluetooth range of anybody's iPhone (or other Apple device), it can passively communicate with it and then help you locate it. For example, you can locate an AirTag that's hundreds of miles away so long as somebody with an iPhone walks near it.Is it worth putting an AirTag on a dog? ›
The Apple AirTag has some stellar qualities that rival even the best GPS trackers for dogs on the market—and at a far lower price point. But it also has critical weaknesses that may make it unsuitable for some pet parents, like its limited ability to track a pet lost in unpopulated areas.Do AirTags have GPS? ›
No, Apple AirTags don't have GPS. But the technology is similar. Instead of calculating a location using a network of satellites, AirTags use a network of around 1.8 billion iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs.