Pet trackers that help you keep tabs on your furry friends

What do they do when they’re not with you?

two dogs running
It's 9 a.m. Do you know where your pets are?Alvan Nee via Unsplash

Every pet parent worries about a worst-case scenario, where your best friend gets spooked and runs off, or gets into trouble on their daily prowl of the neighborhood. If you have an elderly or ailing pet, knowing that they are up and moving about while you’re at work can help you feel better about the time you have to spend apart. None of these devices are meant as a substitute for leashes, supervision, or to replace regular vet visits. However, they are a wonderful adaptation of wearable wellness gadgets to help pets live their best life in a forever home with you.

Whistle Go Explore Health and Location Tracker

Whistle Go Explore Health and Location Tracker

Insurance for when Rover lives up to her namesake.Amazon

This comprehensive GPS tracking system for pups (or cooperative cats) over eight pounds lets you see on Google Maps when Agnes is at the dog park with her walker, monitor for obsessive scratching or licking, and measure activity levels from resting to play. Choose from an array of colorful trackers, attach one to your dog’s collar, and purchase a subscription plan to connect the device to AT&T’s nationwide network. Then use the Whistle app to collect location data on your pooch, personalize notifications, and score badges for reaching fitness goals (yay for epic walkies!). The Explore model gives you battery life up to 20 days and also has a light you can use as a beacon in the dark. Keep in mind that location tracking is only as good as the cellular reception where your dog is, though it will still work if your dog somehow hops a train to a faraway city with reception.

Petble SmartTag Activity Tracker

Petble SmartTag Activity Tracker

You hit 10,000 steps. Did he?Amazon

If you aren’t interested in location tracking but want to make sure your pets are getting enough exercise, the Petble SmartTag is a light and waterproof solution for both cats and dogs. Monitor exercise, active time, and calories burned, and get a better sense of how they can reach and maintain a healthy weight and fitness level. The tracker weighs just 10 grams and uses Bluetooth to sync with the Petble mobile app for iOS and Android. It’s even waterproof, so throwing a stick in the pond for your Louie to fetch will still count as a workout. You can also monitor their food intake within the app by buying one of Petble’s SmartBowls. If you have more than one pet, the SmartBowl can recognize individual SmartTags to see who’s eating nicely, and who snuck a second helping from their sister’s bowl.

Findster Duo+ GPS Pet Tracker

Findster Duo+ GPS Pet Tracker

Doesn’t require a cellular connection.Amazon

The Findster is a tracking solution and activity tracker that relies on radio frequency communication between two devices: one for you and one for your pet. When in GPS mode, it works in a variable range depending on geographic and weather conditions: up to a half-mile radius in dense areas like city blocks, and up to three miles in open areas like fields. If your dog is off-leash and dashes up the path ahead of you, you can set preferences on the Findster app to notify you when she’s outside a chosen radius—and then find her before she gets too far away. The device is just two inches square and weighs less than an ounce, so grumpy cats don’t have too much to complain about.

Loc8tor Pet Tracker

Loc8tor Pet Tracker

Don’t let them get away with hiding from the vet.Amazon

When you’ve got a shape-shifting cat that can slip into small hiding places, radiofrequency technology can be a better choice than cellular-dependent GPS. Think small range but highly accurate coverage—up to 400 feet away, and within an inch of their swishing tail. When you suspect Boris got himself locked in the neighbor’s garage again, press the locate button on your handset, and a series of lights and beeps will connect to his sleek round homing tag and guide you to his grateful mew. The homing tag technology doesn’t require a pet to work and the tracker comes with two—so you can also use it to find frequently misplaced objects.