Dogs run away for a whole bunch of reasons: hyperactivity, fear from loud noises like fireworks, separation anxiety, prey drive, or just being a puppy. Even dognapping is on the rise around the world. And at the end of the day, coming home to find your dog missing is one of the worst feelings possible. But like dog parents around the world are finding out, it’s also one of the reasons to get your dog a GPS tracker.

Specifically, a GPS tracker you can use to track your dog in real-time, over an unlimited range, and which is actually built for pets – not your car or keys. So you never have to worry about losing your dog ever again.

Because, let’s face it. Even the best-trained dogs can run off if they get scared. In other words, you may never end up needing a GPS tracker – but it can be a lifesaver in case you do. So here are ten reasons to get your dog a GPS tracker – for your peace of mind and their safety and wellbeing.

What is a GPS tracker for dogs?

A GPS tracker for dogs is a small device that attaches to your dog’s collar or harness and allows you to see where they are – and follow every step – with help of GPS (Global Positioning System) and other technologies.

How does the Tractive GPS work, for example? Here’s a quick explanation:

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“Your Tractive device’s GPS module receives signals from several GPS satellites. This helps it better and more accurately calculate your pet’s position. These satellites then forward their location to the Tractive servers with the help of the network module. (Which also includes a SIM card.) Once the Tractive servers receive this information, you can quickly and easily check your pet’s location when you open the Tractive app.”

– Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive since 2016

Besides showing your dog’s real-time location across the globe, Tractive also comes with Activity Monitoring. That means you can see how much exercise your buddy is getting, make sure they get enough rest, and spot any out-of-the-usual patterns.

Importantly, tracking your dog’s daily activity can help you better intervene if you notice they’re less active or more lethargic than usual. (Which can actually indicate that they’re sick.)

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Your dog is an escape artist.

Why does your dog keep running off? It could be one of many reasons, but one thing is clear. If you have an escape artist on your hands, you’re not alone. According to a survey by the ASPCA, 15% of pet parents had lost their dog or cat in the past five years1. Some even estimate that 1 in every 3 dogs will go missing in their lifetime. And for many pet parents, that’s the number one reason to get a GPS tracker – to stop that from happening to their furry friend.

  • Take the story of Marnie, an escape artist Irish Setter who often runs off from home due to her high prey drive. With a little help from her Tractive GPS, her family was able to find her safe and sound.
Marnie, an Irish setter who escaped into the woods but was rescued by her family with the Tractive GPS

Some of the reasons dogs go running off include their hunting instincts – but also their sense of smell. (Like, for example, if they smell a female in heat nearby.) And in the colder months, snow can actually mess with their sense of smell – and make it more difficult for them to sniff their way back home to safety.

💡 But if you’re tracking your dog’s location and movements in real-time, you’ll never lose them in the first place.

packaging of the Tractive GPS DOG tracker

Always know where your dog is

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.

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Your dog’s microchip won’t help you find your dog.

Do microchips for dogs come with GPS to track four-legged friends? The answer is no. A microchip works only to identify lost and found dogs. A GPS dog tracker, on the other hand, allows you to track your dog in real-time and retrieve them quickly.

Find out more about the difference between microchips and GPS dog trackers.

If your dog runs off or goes missing, a GPS tracker can help you to bring them back home safe on your own. You won’t need to rely on microchips, lost dog posters or kind strangers to be reunited with your dog. With a GPS dog tracker, you can simply track your buddy on your phone screen. Aka, take a more active role in finding your lost dog.

brown dog running outside in grass with a tennis ball in mouth

Because, think about it. Just leaving your dog’s safety to a microchip is actually not a 100% guarantee for their safety. A stranger might find your dog – but then you have to rely on them to take your dog to a vet or animal shelter. (Where they’ll scan your dog’s microchip, find your contact details, and then get in touch with you.)

💡A dedicated dog GPS tracker, on the other hand, can help you in case your dog is the victim of a dognapping event.

Take the story of Kathy, an off-leash Beagle who was in the middle of her hunting dog training – and tracked by her dad via her Tractive GPS. Suddenly, he noticed she was traveling at high speeds and way off-course!

From her movements, he realized she’d been dog-napped and the kidnappers were driving off with her in their car.

Tracking her with Tractive’s LIVE Mode, her dad called the police and after a two-hour car chase had her back in his arms, safe and sound.

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You can locate your dog, no matter how near or far.

GPS is available worldwide, which lets modern GPS trackers follow your dog everywhere they go . And unlike Bluetooth trackers (a.k.a. “item finders” like AirTags) or even radio frequency pet trackers, GPS dog trackers have unlimited range.

Besides, Tractive connects to mobile networks across 175 countries with its built-in SIM card. So no matter how near or how far, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your buddy. (Even while on vacation.)

GPS vs Bluetooth tracker range comparison infographic

💡Think Tractive only works using GPS? Think again. Your Tractive device also offers Bluetooth-powered features like Radar Mode which helps you pinpoint your dog in close range. Ideal for when you’re at home, or somewhere with a weak GPS signal.

Your dog is easily frightened.

A frightened dog is one that is more likely to run away. That’s why so many dogs go missing on New Year’s Eve and 4th of July each year2. Dogs are often afraid of fireworks and other loud noises, but other things can cause a fear response too.

So if you notice your dog getting scared easily, a GPS tracker is a good safety measure. You may not be able to predict when they bolt, but you can see where they’re off to right away.

A frightened dog running away outdoors

For example, your dog might be stressed out from the constant foot traffic at your home over the holidays. (Like, for example, if you have trick or treaters over at Halloween or a host of friends and family for Christmas.) Which might end up in an escape attempt or two. So another one of our reasons to get your dog a GPS tracker.

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You want to take an active role in your dog’s health & wellbeing

Did you know that some GPS trackers for dogs also double as activity trackers? This means you can:

  • Set activity goals and make sure your dog gets enough exercise.
  • See how much rest they get throughout the day.
  • Earn badges, break personal records and stay fit together.
  • Share progress and compare activity with other pets… and get some competition going among friends!
  • Keep track of all your dog’s activity in one place.
  • Get inspiration to help keep your dog at their ideal weight.

Most importantly, regular activity tracking can help you pick up on if your dog is sick. For example, a drop in your dog’s activity can indicate they’re struggling with an infection or pain.

But much like cats, your dog might be more likely to mask any signs of discomfort and even seem happy and healthy.

Here’s a story of how a pet parent caught on to a drop in her dog’s everyday activity from her Tractive Wellness profileand narrowly avoided a medical emergency:

When I looked at Ruby’s Wellness profile, the data showed that her activity level was low and that she hadn’t slept well. I was concerned and watched her carefully.

Brown dog walking with tractive gps app in the foreground

Early the next morning, she had blood in her urine and was lethargic. We visited the emergency veterinarian, and Ruby was diagnosed with a UTI.

She received antibiotics and pain medication and is feeling much better. Her tracker data made me aware that she was not acting normally and that something could be wrong with her.

I love her tracker, and I will always have one for any dog I ever own.

– Katie J, Delaware

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Sebastian Raab, Product Manager at Tractive

“It can be easy to miss out on changes in your dog’s or cat’s regular activity – or just if they’re on the move more or less than usual. So we’ve set up Activity Degradation alerts for when your pet’s active minutes drop significantly. They can help you intervene in a situation where your pet might be struggling with an infection or even just pain.”

– Sebastian Raab, Product Manager at Tractive & occasional pet-sitter

You want to enjoy your evening walks, stress-free.

Do you take your dog on walks in the evening? As the days get shorter in fall and winter, you’ll find it’s pitch black by 4 pm (if not earlier, in some parts of the world!)

Now imagine your dog running loose in the dark and being unable to find them?

Luckily, your Tractive device helps you find your dog with light or sound instead. (No matter how dark it is outdoors.)

Tractive GPS dog trackers come with a Light & Sound feature you can turn on with a single tap. Your device includes a small LED light to help you locate your dog visually – or with a gentle, high-pitched melody that’s soft enough to not spook your dog.

To quote one of our users, it’s “Especially useful if you have a black dog!

You want to quickly intervene if your dog sneaks away from home.

Physical dog fences are effective, but no match for adventurous, resourceful dogs. Besides, a physical fence might easily cost you anywhere between $4000-$12,000 just for setup. (Without factoring in ongoing maintenance costs.) And even then your dog might jump it – or dig their way under it, if motivated enough.

Also, electric invisible fences for dogs are not ethical, leaving dogs with a nasty shock and more fear and anxiety.3 It’s why vets and animal rights groups strongly discourage the use of e-collars or fences that rely on static shocks to train your dog to stay within limits.

So, what to do? Easy. Set up a virtual fence around your yard, or anywhere you think of as a safe space. Your Tractive GPS tracker will then immediately send you a notification on your phone or tablet the moment your dog leave its – or when they come back in.

With a virtual fence, you can quickly and easily intervene if:

Protect Your Dog With Tractive GPS

No shock or stress involved. Just a smart, humane alternative to electric fences or e-collars – which keeps your dog safe.

You want to let your dog enjoy nature leash-free.

Sally the Samoyed wearing a Tractive GPS tracker out in the woods

It’s important to mention that some countries have leash laws that mean dogs can’t be off-leash, period. However this is not the case everywhere.

Like Sally the Samoyed in Scotland, whose mum has complete peace of mind with her trusty Tractive GPS.

Unleashed dogs can enjoy their freedom and get lots of healthy exercise. That, plus being able to 100% enjoy just being a dog.

Of course, the safety of everyone – you, your dog and others around you – is the top priority.

So make sure your dog is not a threat to anyone before you let them off leash. Follow local leash laws and equip your dog with a GPS tracker for security, and peace of mind.

You just want to know your dog is safe and sound.

Some say that the real point of a GPS dog tracker (besides GPS tracking of course) is to let a dog parent worry less. If you’re someone who tends to get anxious about your beloved pet(s), or often worry about where your dog is and whether they’re in danger, a GPS dog tracker may be your new best friend.

Read more: Tractive customer reviews on Trustpilot

And while peace of mind is priceless, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can keep your dog safe for the cost of a Tractive GPS tracker and a subscription that costs as little as a cookie and a coffee a month.

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You want a potential life-saver by your dog’s side.

We just listed a whole bunch of reasons to get your dog a GPS tracker. But there’s one more big reason we have to add to this list. A GPS dog tracker could save your dog’s life – like it did for these Tractive GPS users:

🐶 “Have had Tractive GPS a few months for 2 of my dogs who like to wander sometimes. The tracker has saved my dogs life already once. She got stuck in a hole and couldn’t get out. The tracker lead me right to her. I would have never found her otherwise.”


🐶 “I’ve now been using Tractive for just under 2 years. I use my tracker multiples times every day. The tracker has literally saved my dog’s life on a couple of occasions when she has become firmly stuck well away from any recognizable path. Tractive Dog is a brilliant product… no hesitation in awarding Tractive 5 stars!

dog and man walking side by side outside, off leash with tractive gps

🐶 It has actually saved our Border Collie’s life twice, when he decided to go off on an adventure to the neighbours farm. Our dog, Molson, also goes on group pack hikes with a dog hiker. Having Tractive gives us peace of mind if he were to get spooked and take off.”


🐶 “We live next to a forest reservation and walk both our dogs off leash. One of them, Marley, tends to wander away and get lost. Having the Tractive GPS tracker on her collar has practically saved her life. Very accurate, great reception even in the woods. Can’t thank Tractive enough for creating such a reliable product.”


🐶 This tracker saved our own dog and my grand-dog. Our dog is a senior dog who wandered away from home. Someone was kind enough to pick her up and take her to their home. Within minutes, we were able to knock on their front door and find our beloved pet. We lost our grand dog in a storm that came up. She ran for the high hills. It took us to the field where she was lost and she was to extremely happy to be found. Best investment for my pets EVER.”


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So there you have it, 10 reasons why you should get your dog a GPS tracker! For more tips on dog tracking from a dog mama and experienced GPS dog tracker user, check out the video below.

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