Last Updated on March, 2023
Small dogs are so much harder to track when compared to regular, or bigger dogs.
How do I know? I used to keep losing track of my Chihuahua, Max, at least once a week.
But a few months ago, Max met with an accident. Thankfully, he’s alive, but I still cannot get over the guilt of being irresponsible; I don’t want any dog parent to have that feeling.
So, I decided to buy the BEST GPS tracker made specifically for small dogs.
I know you’re here because you want the same thing too.
The advantage is that you don’t have to go through the nuisance of checking each on your own. Why?
Let me tell you about my testing process.
Table of Contents
- My Testing Process
- 7 of the Best GPS Trackers for Small Dogs
- Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking a GPS Tracker for Small Dogs?
- Benefits of Dog Trackers for Small Dogs
- In Conclusion
My Testing Process
I bought all of these products and tested them on Max, which is how I know them inside out. Some of the information you find here is unique to this article only.
So, let’s get right into it.
7 of the Best GPS Trackers for Small Dogs
1. Tractive GPS Collar for Dogs (Editor’s Choice)
My best friend owns a Persian cat named Trixie, and that’s how I initially heard about Tractive. They happen to produce GPS trackers for both cats and dogs.
The company is Austria-based, and I got to tell you, so far, I’m absolutely in love with the tracker I got for Max.
The Tractive GPS tracker’s dimensions are 2.8 inches in length, 1.1 inches tall, and 0.68 inches wide.
Before you say, “Oh, that’s perfect!” let me also tell you that it weighs only 35g (1.23oz) — PERFECT for small dogs above 4kg (8.8 pounds).
With 2-3 hours of charging time, the battery lasts for a week; mine lasted for eight days.
The tracker is waterproof as well with the IPX7 rating.
Being a GPS tracking device, you need to choose a subscription plan. This plan covers the tracker’s data usage, so that’s cost-effective.
Tractive has its own designated app. I absolutely love its feel and functionality, and through the app, you can access its unique operational features. Let’s check them out next.
- Real-time tracking
The location refresh rate is 2-3 seconds, which is considered to be the industry’s standard for “real time” refresh rate.
This has been possible due to the combination of the three main types of location tracking — GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
- Virtual fences
Virtual fences let you define a boundary and alert you when your dog crosses it.
- Stores and exports data
Tractive lets you both store and export the data, not just monitor it. But not just location data.
- Activity monitoring
You can monitor how your pet sleeps and how often it plays. Like location history, you can export this data as well. Checkout the best dog activity monitoring devices here.
Tractive lets you share access to multiple users, so you don’t have to update them separately.
The most significant advantage is that Tractive’s coverage is worldwide, and that makes it quite priceless.
In conclusion, the trackers’s specs and performance are pretty impressive; there’s real time tracking AND activity tracking. Shareability adds more value to it and the battery life is amazing.
See why I recommend Tractive GPS Collar for Dogs.
2. Whistle Go Explore (#2nd Best Choice)
Whistle is a similar-level company as Tractive; they have a lot of brand value. So, I liked how the website presented the Whistle Go Explore tracker to me.
The company is based in the USA, and like Tractive, their product works on cats, dogs, inanimate objects, and the elderly.
I knew one important feature would be lacking in Whistle Go Explore compared to Tractive.
The tracker is only 1.8 inches long, 1.4 inches wide, and 0.7 inches thick. This compactness comes with less than a 1.3 ounces of weight (37g).
So, it fits dogs as small as 5lbs.
It also has the IPX8 waterproof rating.
The battery is expected to run for 20 days by design, and mine ran for around 16 days; that’s with intense use of around 8 to 12 hours per day.
You get GPS tracking, so there is a designated app and subscription plan. The updating frequency of real-time tracking is every 15 seconds.
You can access the location history for 24 hours and name designated safe places.
But what makes the Whistle Go Explore special is that it also has the features of the Whistle Health Tracker. Here are some of the activity aspects monitored in the Whistle Go Explore,
- Drinking habits
- Fitness and activity
All of these parameters are monitored in almost real-time. Once the system gathers data, you can view the wellness score in the app.
How does health tracking help you?
You can contact a vet directly through the app and consult for advice; it’s that simple.
In addition, there’s a food portion calculator that lets you personalize the food portion based on their age, breed, weight, and exercise levels.
You can also set fitness goals for your dog.
In conclusion, the Whistle explorer is amazing for those who are careful about their dog’s health. With this tracker, you can track both the location and the health of your dog better.
Learn more whistle here.
3. Jiobit Smart Tag (#3rd Best Choice)
I have learned the hard way that branded and reasonably priced products last the longest. Jiobit is one such brand, just like Tractive and Whistle.
Seeing a $20 discount on their landing page, I knew this product would work pretty well.
The Jiobot tracker weighs only 18g (0.6 oz), and they compare the size of the tracker to an Oreo cookie to say how small it is.
The dimensions are 37mm in width, 50mm in height, and 12mm in diameter.
The tracker is also IPX8 waterproof rated, so you’re safe from water.
Like all GPS trackers, you should choose a monthly subscription plan to use the Jiobit tracker, and one plan requires no contract.
The company claims 10 days of battery and mine died around 7 days.
Jiobit’s tracking system is a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. Depending on the accuracy range, this helps locate your pup very accurately.
I like Jiobit’s app. It feels neat and simple. For trackers, the simplicity of the designated app goes a long way.
Did I tell you about Jiobit’s geofence? They call it the “trusted places” and you get notified when a pet leaves the boundary.
The variety of the six operational modes brings a lot of value to the tracker. They are as follows,
- Smart tracking mode (changes between Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS automatically
- Live tracking mode (refreshing speed varies between 5-15 seconds)
- Trusted places mode (you can choose designated safe places)
- Care team mode (location status shareability with others)
- SOS mode (to alert the designated care team and make 911 calls on behalf of you)
- Timeline mode (track the location history)
Why include all 3 GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth?
Bluetooth signals have the highest level of locational accuracy with the lowest range, and GPS is the direct opposite of it.
So, when a tracker has all that, it basically means you’ll get the most accurate location settings.
In conclusion, the accuracy of tracking and USA-wide coverage is impressive. It makes Jiobit a uniquely fantastic tracker along with geofencing, SOS, and even timelines.
4. Petfon Dog GPS Tracker
I came across the Petfon dog GPS tracker with a referral. With reference, I get extra skeptical.
But the moment I landed on their website, I immediately felt the brand value.
With that brand value, Petfon’s dog tracker didn’t take that long to impress me. I’m sure it’ll impress you too.
The tracker is relatively small in size, with dimensions of 1.7 x 1.7 x 0.6 inches, and weighing around 5 ounces. The product is specifically made to track dogs and dogs.
Unlike the Jiobit tracker, which is made to track kids, cats, and dogs.
My battery ran for close to 10-ish hours, even though the company guaranteed about 16 hours of maximum runtime.
I’m positive it depends on the way you use the tracker.
The tracker will withstand rain and a decent amount of dust, but your dog should NOT swim with the trackers on; even if the tracker is IP65 waterproof rated.
Although the Petfon tracker comes with a free designated app and is more or less GPS-based, it doesn’t require a subscription plan.
However, the range is of two types; up to 0.65 miles of range in congested urban areas and 3.5 miles of range in outdoor open areas.
This happens due to the nature of the signal transmission of Petfon. Even in this limited range, Petfon uses all three GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth tracking technologies.
Radar tech is a special tracking feature found just in Petfon. By Radar tech you’re able to see the direction of the lost dog. It’s a feature found in expensive hunting GPS trackers.
Pretty cool, huh?
Here are some of the notable features:
- E-fence (same thing as virtual fences)
- The alarm system of both sound and light
So, in conclusion, although cost-effective, this product isn’t for you if your dog is the kind to wander out often and for long distances. But if the terms are in favor, you’ll save a little fortune down the road.
Read the full PetFON Dog GPS Tracker Review HERE!
5. Fitbark GPS (2nd Generation)
Like the Whistle company, Fitbark also has its health tracker (Fitbark 2) and health+location tracker (Fitbark GPS 2nd generation).
What YOU need is the Fitbark GPS (2nd gen)
The tracker has dimensions of 1.85 x 1.18 x 0.59 inches and weighs 16g (0.56oz)
These dimensions and the lightweight makes the tracker suitable for all sizes and weights. For example, it fits all dogs between a 3-lb Chihuahua and a 240-lb Leonberger.
The tracker has an IP67 waterproof rating.
The tracker lasted for 4 weeks with typical use, and the company claims that the tracker can last up to 5 whole weeks.
But what’s impressive is that it took me just around two hours to charge it fully.
Luckily, I wanted real-time tracking, and the new Fitbark GPS seamlessly switches between Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile networks to provide the most accurate position.
In terms of precision, the tracker uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Cellular (LTE Cat M1) networks.
The tracker’s health monitoring is quite useful. All GPS owners get the health monitoring features of the Fitbark 2 in the Fitbark GPS tracker.
The only difference is the time commitment of the subscription.
All these features are operated within the Fitbark mobile app, to which you can add multiple friends and vets.
Here are the health monitoring benefits you get,
- Being able to set health goals in terms of bark points
- Bark points are the measuring unit inside the Fitbark app
- Goal-based on age, weight & breed
- Being able to track the sleeping durations
- Being able to track activity score
- Notifications for change in behavior
- Notifications with escape detention (geofencing)
- Monitor stress and anxiety
You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee with a 1-year product warranty.
Because the tracker works with GPS, you need to have a subscription.
Overall, the tracker brings a lot of value as it combines GPS tracking and health monitoring. With brand value, it has a high resale value as well.
Here’s the complete review of Fitbark 2.
6. Cube GPS Tracker
When my friend told me about the Cube tracker and how it lasts for around two whole months, I knew I had to make it to the list.
Cube GPS is unique amongst the other trackers from the company. They are such as Cube shadow, Cube PRO, and Cube tracker.
Its dimensions are as small as 2.75″ x 1.57″ x 0.64″, and it comfortably fits typical 5lbs dogs and above.
I personally love the smooth matte rubber-coated design.
As I counted, my battery ran for almost 58 days, which backs up the claim of the battery life. The battery is not only replaceable. It’s ALSO replaceable.
With GPS, the communication range is nationwide in USA.
Like the Fitbark GPS tracker I just told you, device shareability is enabled in Cube. So, you can easily add multiple accounts so your friends and vets can always know the dog’s location.
Four key features make the Cube tracker quite valuable.
- SOS button
The SOS button is on the Cube tracker and can be activated via the app. With this programmable button, you can easily set and send custom messages to friends and family.
- Lifetime warranty
Cube gives you a lifetime warranty under one condition — the service should be active. This refers to the subscription.
- Location History
Most of the GPS trackers only let you see the live location status. On the other hand, Cube also allows you to access location history.
The details are pretty helpful as they are, such as the location, the stops during the journey, and the traveling speed.
You can easily set virtual geofence zones and get real-time alerts when the tracker, which means your dog, leaves OR enters the area.
Overall, the tracker has many features that aren’t seen in other trackers, which brings more value to what you pay.
7. Garmin TT 15 Mini Dog Tracker
Garmin’s company history is a bit intimidating. They have been providing GPS solutions to the United States since 1989. Only recently, they have turned to the pet tracking market.
So, I knew the brand value was relatively high, and so was their customer service. Companies this big do not want to ruin their good name.
The Garmin TT 15 mini is not just a dog tracking device but also a dog training device.
There’s the Garmin TT for somewhat bigger dogs, so we’re on the safe side of product relevance.
The mini’s dimensions are 3.1″ x 1.8″ x 1.4,” and the weight is 5.6 ounces which is pretty impressive. You can also replace the rechargeable battery, which usually runs for up to 30 hours.
I calculated mine to have completed around 28 hours.
The range of the tracker is 4 miles with a water rating of 1 ATM (submersible up to 10 meters).
It also has a high-sensitivity GPS/GLONASS receiver, which makes the accuracy accurate to the last millimeter.
Now you have an important question; how does it work?
There are no subscription plans, but you need to have your own GPS reading device with you. If not for that, no mobile app could read the location data transmission.
This handheld device can be either be bought separately or with the bundle.
So, you can do the math with each subscription-based GPS tracker in this list. That’s how you can assess whether or not it’s cost-effective for YOU.
In conclusion, TT 15 mini is a powerful real-time dog tracker for those who want nothing but the best collar from Garmin.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking a GPS Tracker for Small Dogs?
These questions are the main ones. Take your time to think, and elongate these questions to speed up the filtering process.
- Is the size comparable enough?
- What is the average location refreshing rate?
- What’s the most extended battery life?
- Can I buy it straight from the website? If not, at least from Amazon.
- Are the customer reviews satisfactory? Are the reviews from TrustPilot and/or Amazon?
- Will the device weigh too much?
- How much for the subscriptions? Cancellations? Upgrading and also downgrading?
- What’s customer service like?
- Is the tracker waterproof? Dustproof? Borderline dog-bite proof?
- What are the product-specific features?
- Does the product have a designated app? Is it free? Is it compatible with my OS?
- How easy is it to use the app?
Benefits of Dog Trackers for Small Dogs
The benefits of a dog tracker for small dogs directly depends on the person. But here are some of the common benefits.
- Always know the exact, or the closest, location of your dog
- Be alerted in case your dog leaves your house or the lawn
- Predict severe health complications of your dog well-beforehand
- Reduce channeling time with your vet thanks to shareability
- Increase the convenience of not-so-active people in monitoring the dog
- Be relieved of false accusations with location history
- Plan your dog’s activity need to the with the highest accuracy
- Bond better with your dog
Comparison of similar circumstances is the best way to evaluate the quality of any product. That’s precisely what you have been reading.
It’s clear how Tractive, Whistle Go Explore, and Jiobit have retained their places in the list. I’m confident that you’ll be more than acceptable if you pick one of them.
Keeping your small dog safe is a challenge. Having the ideal small dog tracker is the most cost-effective way to do it. Now that you’ve seen the full picture, the final decision is all yours.
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