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I tested the most advanced GPS dog tracker and it puts the AirTag to shame

The Petcube GPS Tracker is a stellar way to watch your dog's location in real time, with the added bonus of fitness tracking.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Petcube GPS Tracker for Dogs

Your dog may not know they're wearing the Petcube GPS Tracker but you'll know, and that peace of mind can be priceless.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Petcube GPS Tracker is now available for sale for $53, though it's down to $40 for a limited time. 
  • Held in a silicon case, the Petcube GPS tracker goes on your dog's collar and lets users track their pet's location in real time, set safe areas through geofencing, and turn on 'lost dog mode'.
  • The tracker can only be used with a monthly subscription, which starts at $5 a month -- there's no free way to track your pet's location with the Petcube GPS Tracker. The device can also be too big and heavy for some small dogs.

Petcube just launched a new Petcube GPS Tracker that lets users keep tabs on their dog's location. The tracker fits into a silicon case that goes on a dog's collar, The device, which has an LED light and a beeper that can be controlled in the Petcube app, is also waterproof. 

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Anyone who has raised a puppy likely knows the panic of having the little scurry furball slide past your legs through an open door. This activity is typically followed by a panicked owner chasing a dog that has yet to master recall and is fueled by a lack of common sense and a desire to wreak havoc, as puppies usually are. 

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My dog is one and a half years old now, and though his recall is somewhat reliable thanks to training, he still prefers a good two minutes of freedom to poop in the neighbor's yard, rather than coming back to me immediately after I call him when he gets out. 

Getting the Petcube GPS Tracker gives me peace of mind that I'll be able to find my dog if he wanders, but also if I take him hiking or exploring in the woods behind my house. 

Petcube GPS Tracker
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

I don't let my dog out unleashed beyond our fenced-in yard, but this tracker also lets me set safe zones through geofencing. If my dog leaves those safe zones, the Petcube alerts me with a phone notification. This alert lets me rest easy that he's always where he's supposed to be.

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Although I'm always working on training him out of his crazed puppy antics, I like the idea of having a GPS tracker on him to not only prevent him from getting lost but also help strengthen his recall. The Petcube GPS Tracker has a beeper that you can ring on the Petcube app from your smartphone. I'm currently teaching my dog to find me when he hears the beep, so he learns that beeping equates to me calling him.

Petcube GPS Tracker
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The device fits my medium, 35-pound dog well, but as the device has a 2.3" x 0.9" x 0.7" size and is almost three ounces in weight, I can see how it would be too big for some small dogs.

This GPS tracker also offers activity monitoring, which tracks your pet's burned calories, activity time, and distance walked, all with historical data. When you enter your dog's information, including its weight, the app will recommend a daily goal of activity time to keep your dog healthy and happy. 

Petcube GPS Tracker

The Petcube GPS Tracker is waterproof and comes with a magnetic charger.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

A dog fitness tracker might not be a priority for many pet owners, but it can be a welcome addition for people who like to work out with their pet or those with a pup that needs to lose weight. The historical data is a fun addition that gives the GPS tracker an extra function.

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The biggest downside to the Petcube GPS tracker is that it requires a monthly subscription, starting at $5 a month. The subscription includes GPS and activity tracking, access to the Petcube Tracker's features, such as the built-in light and beeper, and even a Vet Online chat consult, which gives you access to a licensed veterinarian on the app -- for the next time Fido chews that weird plant from the neighbor's yard. 

Petcube GPS Tracker

He looks far calmer in pictures than in real life -- he's a runner.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Petcube gives you different options, from a basic subscription to a premium one, with options to choose monthly or annual payments. You can even pay for up to five years in advance. But, at the end of the day, it's still another subscription added to your list of monthly payments. 

ZDNET's buying advice

After testing the device for over a week, I'd recommend the Petcube GPS Tracker for people who are looking to find their pets quickly and easily via GPS, as long as you don't mind paying for a subscription. 

Anyone looking to avoid a subscription fee could opt for an AirTag with a waterproof case, as is common practice for some pet owners. The AirTag doesn't use GPS. Instead, the device employs the iPhone's Find My network to communicate its location. This approach means an AirTag has the risk of not being found in remote locations with no iPhones nearby, such as if you go hiking or camping and lose your dog. 

I like the fact I can always see precisely where my dog is and that I have peace of mind from tracking his steps with 'Lost Pet Mode', which is a high-sensitivity tracking mode you can activate when you think you've lost your dog.

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