Are you the parent of an active, water-loving dog, snow-loving dog, or an outdoor cat with a big territory to defend? Like pet parents around the world, you might’ve found yourself stuck between wanting to encourage your pet’s sense of adventure – but also wanting to prevent them from getting lost. (Which is where a small waterproof GPS can come in handy, even if you’re not with them 24/7.)

For pets, a tracking device like the Tractive GPS is the waterproof GPS tracker you need. And it can also be used for other purposes, like tracking boats, cars, or other animals.

So here’s a deep dive into Tractive’s waterproof build…for the next time your pet wants to take, well, a deep dive. (We just had to.)

Dogs, cats, water – and prey drive

Most water- and snow-loving dogs tend to have high prey drive. (For example, Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters, Shepherds, and even Poodles.) So these dogs might be more likely to chase ducks and other woodland animals right into ponds, lakes, and even rivers nearby.

Read: Marnie the Escape Artist dog who ran into a pond full of ducksbut was rescued with a little help from her Tractive device.

brown dog wearing gps tracking collar outside

What about cats – don’t they hate water? Not quite. Different cat breeds have water-resistant fur and actually enjoy a swim every now and then! (Like, for example, Turkish Vans, Turkish Angoras, Siberians, Bengals, and even Maine Coons.) And much like dogs, they tend to be highly active, outdoor-friendly – and likely to fall back to hunting behaviors out of instinct. (Which might include a dive into a lake if they’re particularly motivated.)

With all this said, prey drive and hunting behaviors are two of the key reasons that dogs and cats get lost. And with their rough and tumble activities outdoors, you need a way to keep them safe – no matter where they’re off wandering.

Cattery owner and trainer, Clair Chesterman

“Tractive is the #1 cat GPS tracker in the industry. And it’s the highest quality cat tracker you can find. I was able to set the safe zone as my house area and once my cat gets outside I get an alert right away.

In fact, it probably saved my cat’s life that time she chased a bird and got lost. She was scared and I was able to find her with the help of the GPS tracker. Tractive’s chip frequently calculates your cat’s location and is updated on the map every 2-3 seconds. Furthermore, the LED will help you guard your furry friend at night.”

– Clair Chesterman, Owner of CFA and CCA-registered cattery and fostering company, FluffyMeowPaws1

Tractive Dog + Cat GPS trackers packaging

Always know where your pets are

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 pet too.

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Enter waterproof GPS trackers

A GPS tracker allows you to track something in real time using:

  • A GPS tracking component (for example on a pet’s collar)
  • Plus a software or app (where you can view your dog’s location)

With such an important service, it’s 100% essential that the device also be waterproof. (Otherwise the tracker would break as soon as it touches water.) Plus, if you’ve got a water-loving dog like a Newfoundland or a snow-loving dog like a Labrador at home, you’d know how much of a struggle it is trying to keep them away from the nearest pond or snow pile.

⚠️ Most GPS tracking brands make sure their products are waterproof. (Because otherwise, their trackers would be useless, given how active most dogs and cats are. But be sure to check the details of a tracker before purchasing, since not all of them might be 100% waterproof.

The Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition, on the other hand, comes with IPX7 waterproof capabilities – plus extra tough fiberglass casing. For your most adventurous dog breeds who like their rough and tumble play.

Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition

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.

Shop Dog Trackers

Water-resistance is especially important if the tracker is intended for outdoor use, like tracking a dog in the heart of the mountains, or keeping an eye on where your outdoor cat goes during the day. A waterproof GPS tracking device is essential safety gear to use when you’re:

Just check out these furry friends who always have their GPS trackers with them on their wet and wild adventures:

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Is the Tractive a waterproof GPS tracker?

Yes, both the Tractive GPS Dog and Cat Tracker are 100% waterproof.

Tractive GPS devices do not have SIM-card openings or USB ports. Because of this, they’re perfectly safe to use on the rainiest, snowiest of days.

Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive

“You don’t need to worry about the Tractive tracker while you’re enjoying a walk in the rain or jumping in the water along with your pet. According to IPX7 standards, Tractive devices can be immersed in water up to 1 meter (or ~3 feet) depth for about 30 minutes. Which makes them the best choice for daily use – or if you’ve got a dog who loves their daily swim.”

– Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive since 2016

In fact, Tractive GPS trackers have been waterproof for as long as they’ve been around, since 2012. Our tracker was developed by some of the most pawssionate entrepreneurs and top engineers in Europe and is available worldwide. It’s been developed over years and years in the heart of Austria, close to the Alps, where they’re no strangers to wet, cold, and snowy weather. That’s why at Tractive, we knew we had to make a GPS tracking device for pet parents that would be 100% adventure-proof, water-proof, and able to withstand any amount of wear and tear.

And our hard work has paid off! The Tractive GPS waterproof tracker is already trusted by hundreds of thousands of pet parents worldwide. Take this muddy pup’s parent for example:

black dog relaxing in a mud pond outside

I took my dog to the dog park yesterday and he found a mud pool to soak in 😳. He would lay in the pond and then go roll in the dirt. I was worried the tracker would be ruined but after getting him home and thoroughly cleaning and charging the tracker it was just fine! So happy with the durability of Tractive!

Cindy and Lhotse, USA

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What is the longest range GPS tracker?

When it comes to GPS trackers, there’s more factors to consider besides waterproof-ability. What about range, for instance? Dogs running off to hunt can cover miles in just minutes. And the average outdoor cat can wander even further, depending on the size of their territory. So what if you could track your wandering pets over an unlimited range?

⚠️ While they may seem like a good option for tracking a pet, keep in mind that Bluetooth trackers like Tile, Samsung SmartTag, or Apple AirTag typically have a range of only 100-200 meters or less. So if your dog or cat runs out of the Bluetooth radius, you’ll no longer be able to track them.

GPS vs Bluetooth tracker range comparison infographic

A true GPS tracker should be able to track anywhere in the world, sinces it uses the Global Positioning System, which is just that: global. Buildings, forests and weather can cause temporary GPS interference, but in general they do not impact the range of the tracker. As long as the tracker utilizes another technology, such as cell service, to send its location data to your smartphone, the range should be unlimited. However some GPS trackers only work in certain countries.

woman tracking dog with gps tracker and app

The Tractive GPS works over any range, with no distance limitation.

Track your dog from anywhere in the world, pretty much everywhere in the world – or in 190 countries to be more exact. Even if you’re on different continents, you can follow your furry friend’s every step. See if Tractive works in your country.

And even better? Tractive doesn’t limit you to a network of devices like typical Bluetooth trackers.

Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive

“Much like the AirTag, your Tractive GPS tracker can use a short range radio to help determine your pet’s location. But unlike the AirTag, Tractive also uses mobile connectivity and GPS. So even if your tracker is nowhere near another mobile device, it’ll still be able to send data to the Tractive servers. So you can quickly and easily see your pet’s location in the app.”

– Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive since 2016

Track Your Pets With Tractive

What is the smallest GPS tracker?

Another important factor to consider when purchasing a GPS tracker is size. When it comes to tracking pets, most people want to find the smallest GPS tracker available. Because your furry friend is going to wear the tracker on their collar or harness, it needs to be lightweight, small and discreet. So your pet won’t even notice it. Like this handsome fellow here with his Tractive GPS:

Cat wearing Tractive CAT Mini GPS tracker

For this reason, GPS trackers for dogs and cats are some of the smallest GPS trackers out there.

Tractive CAT Mini GPS tracker Tractive Dog GPS tracker
Size55 x 28 x 17 mm71 x 28 x 17mm
Weight25 grams (0.05 lbs)35 grams (0.07 lbs)
Suitable forCats above 7 lbs (3 kg)Dogs above 9 lbs (4 kg)
Unlimited rangeYesYes
Compatible withiOS, AndroidiOS, Android

Basically, the tracker size is comparable to that of a watch – only it’s packed with loads of pawsome features.

Why isn’t a GPS tracker the size of a microchip?

Some people think that a GPS tracker for pets shouldn’t weigh anything at all – and should be able to be implanted under the skin of your dog. However, this is a misconception: there are no GPS tracking microchips for dogs at this time. A GPS tracker needs to contain a battery, GPS antenna, GSM module and more. Learn more about microchips vs GPS trackers.

Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive

“We use modern high-integrity components for building our GPS trackers. These components tend to consume space – because we want to ensure the best quality. Also, if you want to reliably and continuously track your pet, you’ll need a strong, heavy battery pack. (In some cases, more than half the space in the device is reserved just for the battery.)

It’s a balancing act to find a compromise between size and quality. And one we can assure you that we’re constantly working on.”

– Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive since 2016

How about a waterproof GPS fitness tracker for dogs & cats?

So, we’ve covered several things. A GPS tracker can be waterproof and allow you to track your pet’s movements in real time over any range. Moreover there are small pet GPS trackers that won’t bother your furry friend when worn on the collar or harness. But what about fitness GPS trackers for dogs and cats?

Many modern day GPS trackers for pets double as activity monitors, making them like a fitness tracker for your pet! With Tractive’s Activity Monitoring for example, you can:

An outdoor cat exploring a garden with Tractive's Activity monitoring features in the foreground
  • Keep your pet fit by tracking all of their physical activity.
  • Set activity goals for your furry friend and celebrate together then you reach them.
  • Enjoy a friendly competition among other dogs or cats in your breed group, neighborhood, or friends circle.
  • Stay in shape with your four-legged companion and
  • Strengthen the bond between you and your furry best friend!

And most importantly – tracking your pet’s activity can help you pick up on a sickness early. It’s why vets recommend tracking how much your dog or cat can keep up with you.

Because one of the first signs they might be struggling with an illness or pain? A drop in their activity levels. But if you’re monitoring their regular exercise, you can more quickly and easily catch on to a change – and take action early on.

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

Learn more about Tractive GPS

How the Tractive GPS is saving water-loving pets’ lives all over the world

We’ve covered how most water-loving dogs tend to have a strong prey drive. But sometimes, their hunting instincts can take them to some dangerous spots. And the same applies for dogs and cats who are out exploring in snowy weather – because snow can mess with their sense of smell. (Making it difficult for them to sniff their way back home.)

Imogen the Borzoi resting with her Tractive GPS tracker

Take the story of Imogen, a high-energy Borzoi who bolted the fence, chasing something near a bush. Unfortunately, she ended up crashing into the ice at a frozen lake nearby.

Luckily, her mum was able to track her down with Tractive’s Location History and Heat Map. Rescuing her from freezing and drowning.

And the best part? Tractive’s Location History work can help you find your pets even in areas with poor network.

Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive

“If you want to pinpoint your pet’s location or store their Location History, you don’t actually need a cellular connection. So once you’ve equipped your Tractive GPS, there’s no need to worry if your device loses coverage for a little while. Your tracker stores your pet’s positions securely. So you’ll be able to see where they’ve been even if you’re offline.”

– Ivelin Nenkov, Embedded Systems Engineer at Tractive since 2016

Learn more about Tractive GPS

Want to see Tractive’s waterproof magic in action? Here’s a review by Modern Canine which opens with Apollo the Australian Shepherd frolicking in the water:

And if you’ve found this article useful, share it with a fellow tech-savvy pet parent – and make their day!