Dog Tracker Chip vs GPS Pet Finding Technology

Looking for a reliable way to keep tabs on your furry friend? Dog tracker chip vs GPS pet finding technology? Which is the best option for you? Both have their own set of benefits, so it’s important to weigh your options before making a decision.

Best Pet Finding Devices

You may like to read:

What is a Dog Tracker Chip?

What is a Dog Tracker Chip

A dog tracker chip is a small, implanted microchip that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to help owners find their lost pets. The chips are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted just below the dog’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades.

When a lost dog is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, a scanner is used to read the chip’s unique ID number. This number is then entered into a national database, which can be used to contact the owner and arrange for the dog’s return.

What is GPS Pet Finding Technology?

Dog Tracker Chip vs GPS Dog Collar Pet Finding Technology 1
Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a US Government developed navigation system that employs satellites. A device capable of communicating with these orbiting satellites via radio signals completes the system.

Examples of GPS-enabled devices are smartphones, dedicated GPS gadgets, and pet/object tracking devices. These communicate with satellites by periodically sending radio signals back and forth. The latter of which provides locational data to the GPS device. Via this system, a GPS-enabled device can provide information pertaining to its location.

Traditional dedicated GPS devices provide precise data on the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the device. This data must then be translated by a user along with a map. In current times, the system has been made more accessible and convenient for consumers such as apps like Waze allow for easy navigation. These apps tell us where we are, where we are going, how we should get there, and the traffic conditions along the way.

For dog owners like us, GPS technology is now available for our pets. We could now know where our furry friends are at all times.

Does a Dog Tracker Chip have a GPS in it?

Although a dog tracker chip or microchip offers a permanent form of identification that cannot be lost or removed, microchips do not have GPS technology. In fact, they don’t have any internal power source which is needed by the radio receivers to get satellite signals. Additionally, microchips have limited frequencies and can only be powered by scanners. 

Why Can’t a Dog Tracker Chip Have inbuilt GPS?

Dog Tracker Chip vs GPS Dog Collar Pet Finding Technology 2

If you’re considering getting a dog tracker chip for your furry friend, you may be wondering why these microchips don’t have GPS capabilities. After all, GPS tracking devices are becoming increasingly common, and they offer a wealth of benefits. So, why not put a GPS tech in a dog microchip tracker? 

Dog Tracker Chip Does Not Emit a Signal

As mentioned above, GPS works by emitting a signal to communicate with satellites and get the locational data of your dog.  

A microchip is a tiny piece of circuitry that allows it to store data or perform calculations. While they are essential components of many electronic devices, microchips are not able to emit signals or radio waves. Thus, they are not able to send waves needed to triangulate your pet’s location. 

A Pet Microchip Doesn’t Have Any Power Source 

A GPS device uses a network of satellites to calculate its location on Earth. By tracking the position of these satellites, the GPS device is able to triangulate its own position and plot a course. However, this process requires a vast amount of computing power, which in turn requires a reliable power source.

Because traditional power sources, such as batteries, would be far too bulky and heavy to fit inside a microchip, microchips are usually inert. They must be powered externally, typically through a scanner. 

It’s too small to contain all the necessary components for a GPS tracker.

Dog tracker chip usually comes in 12mm size, a chip smaller than your fingernail. They are built small enough to be comfortably implanted onto your dog. 

On the other hand, GPS devices need an antenna of at least 1cm in size. Making it impossible to create a dog tracking chip with GPS tracker. 

Dog Tracker Chip vs GPS: Which Is the Better Pet Finding Technology 

I hope by now you understand why microchips cannot be used with GPS technology. So, now, which one should you get? Let’s discuss first how GPS technology is being used in pet tracking today. 

Dog Collars with GPS Technology

Dog Tracker Chip vs GPS Dog Collar Pet Finding Technology 3

GPS tracking technology has been employed by scientists in wildlife. Even before the idea of tracking your beloved canine’s location with a GPS chip/tracker ever came to fruition. Evidently, the ability to track animals using GPS has many uses. Being able to see where animals in the wild go allowed scientists to study the migration patterns of wildlife. This has provided useful data in wildlife biology, wildlife ecology, wildlife management, and conservation.

For example, a GPS device fitted to a close relative of our dogs; wolves, allows scientists to research a wolf pack’s, territory, hunting behaviors, and migratory patterns. Simply knowing where a wolf goes along with its pack provides a wealth of data for scientists studying wolves’ lives. GPS tracking also helps conservation efforts for vulnerable and endangered animals. Examples are wildlife such as elephants on land, and sea turtles in the water.

During the early days of animal GPS tracking, the technology used has been largely inaccessible for the average dog owner. However, with the advent of the smartphone, GPS technology is more accessible to regular consumers. Now, there are dog collars with GPS chips/trackers that can communicate with our smartphones. This provides us with real-time information on our dog’s whereabouts and their health status, sleeping patterns, and much more; kind of like Fitbits for dogs.

Best GPS Device and Collars for Dogs

GPS Dog Collars Uses

Given the number of choices of dog collars with GPS Chips/Trackers in the market, a particular product will have, along with basic GPS tracking capabilities a host of other features depending on the model. Considering a certain product’s features, a dog collar with GPS chip/tracker could be used for:

Finding Runaway Dogs:

Our dogs are escape artists. Although we would definitely want our dogs to stay in the confines of our homes and take them out only during playtime or walks, they might eventually wander off our homes and be exposed to a lot of dangers outside and potentially go missing. Most of the dog collars with GPS chips/trackers out in the market will have a feature that alerts us any time our dogs stray from a set area. This allows us to be informed if they stray away and the GPS tracking feature helps us find and retrieve them.

Stolen Dogs:

Heaven forbid that our beloved furry family members get taken from us. Still, this will always be a possibility. Similarly to runaway dogs, a stolen dog equipped with a dog collar allows us to be alerted if ever they get taken. A dog collar with GPS chip/tracker will allow us to track a dog thief with the help of our local authorities.

During Walks:

Some places and parks allow us to walk our dogs without a leash. Untethered, a curious dog may sometimes run off quite farther than we anticipate. With a GPS equipped dog collar/tracker, we could see whether our beloved pets are just playing around the area or if they stray towards possibly dangerous places such as streets. A particularly busy intersection frequented by vehicles could potentially pose a significant risk to our dogs. With a GPS collar/tracker, we have the ability to monitor where our dogs go during walks.


For the adventurous and outdoorsy types out there, bringing out pets along during camping trips or hunting is a very enjoyable activity. Although cell coverage might be sparse in the usual areas for camping or hunting, a dog collar with GPS chip/tracker that could connect to a partner app via other means such as Bluetooth could still be quite useful.

Checking Our Dog’s Health Status:

As established earlier, some types of dog collars with GPS chips/trackers not only show our dog’s location but also monitor important information regarding our dogs. Collars/trackers with temperature and heartbeat sensors provide us with information regarding our do’s vitals. Some models of collars/trackers also show us how active our dogs are which help us regulate their exercise. Others still, can even monitor behavioural changes such as scratching and excessive licking which could possibly be symptoms of underlying health complications.

It is quite obvious that investing in a dog collar with GPS chip/tracker could have a lot of potential benefits in the overall care and management of our dogs.

GPS Dog Collar Disadvantages

While GPS dog collars can offer a lot of advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider.

Bulky and Uncomfortable

One issue is that the collar itself can be bulky and uncomfortable for some dogs, particularly smaller breeds. If your pups hate being collared, then GPS dog collars will be more irritating to them.

Expensive Monthly Subscription Fees

Although some GPS Dog Tracking subscription fee is very reasonable, they can be potentially expensive over time. They can cost anywhere between $25 to $200 a month, depending on your GPS model and its features. 

Short Battery Life

Just like any other gadgets and devices, you need to constantly charge your GPS dog collar. It takes around 2-3 hours to fully charge and one charge usually lasts a day or two. 

Dog Tracker Chip Advantages

Dog Tracker Chip Implant

As mentioned above, one major disadvantage of microchips is the ability to track your pet’s location using GPS. Additionally, you will not be able to enjoy any of the benefits a GPS Dog Collar gives except for the ID tracking. But here are some benefits that you’ll find helpful especially if you have dogs that hate collars!

Permanent Form of Identification

A microchip implant is a permanent form of identification. And unlike tattoos, microchips can’t be seen and don’t change as your pet ages.

If your pet gets lost, any vet or animal shelter can scan for the microchip and contact you. They have a unique ID number that’s registered to your name, address, and phone number in a database.

Small Size

The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The procedure is similar to getting a shot and only takes a few minutes.


Microchips are more reliable than collars and tags, which can fall off or be chewed off.  Microchips are ISO compliant, meaning that they will work with any scanner used internationally to identify lost pets.

No Extra Fees

Getting your pet chipped is relatively inexpensive, and only needs to be done once in their lifetime.

Dog Tracker Chips Available on Amazon

Dog Tracker Chip vs GPS: Which Is the Better Pet Finding Technology 

There are a couple of different ways to keep track of your dog if they happen to escape from the yard or run off while out on a walk. You can either use a GPS dog collar or have your dog microchipped with a GPS tracker chip. Both of these technologies have their own set of pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision about which is best for your pet.

GPS dog collars are more expensive than having your dog microchipped, but they offer real-time tracking so you can see exactly where your dog is at all times. This can be helpful if your dog happens to run off while you’re out on a walk, as you can track their location and go pick them up. However, GPS dog collars can be bulky and uncomfortable for some dogs, and they also require regular charging in order to stay operational.

Microchips are much smaller than GPS collars. Vets implant these dog tracker chips right under your dog’s skin so they won’t even know it’s there. Microchips don’t require any charging or maintenance, and they’ll last your dog their entire lifetime. However, microchips only offer static location information, so you’re dog needs to be brought to a vet or clinic for you to be notified of its location. 

If you have a very active pet, who has the tendency to chew its collar, one best solution is to get both. This way you can track their daily location and health info and have insurance just in case their tracking devices or collars fall off.  

Ultimately, the best pet finding technology for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. I hope that this guide helped you better understand the difference between a dog tracker chip and GPS devices. 

K9FitClub may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not affect which products are included in our articles. We keep our reviews and comparisons fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for your pets.

Leave a Comment

  +  41  =  51