PitPat Dog GPS Tracker Review.

PitPat GPS Tracker on a dog.
Lumi wearing her PitPat GPS Tracker.


Disclaimer - This review contains no affiliate or advertising links. The PitPat GPS tracker was bought by us and this review is merely my opinion. You may have a differing opinion and that's fine!

This review was first written in January 2023 and has continued receiving updates.

The "Too Long; Didn't Read" Summary

We've found the PitPat GPS tracker to be a mixed bag. Tracking can be somewhat unreliable but ultimately, if bought at the right price and tested fully in the 21 day return period, it's worth giving it a go as it's better than having nothing.

We have some concerns about the long term reliability after our first tracker died but are hoping the replacement lasts much longer.

Why We Bought the PitPat GPS Dog Tracker

We welcomed our first dog, little Lumi, into our lives during 2022 and we decided it might be a good idea to have a GPS tracker for her. Even with excellent recall, dogs can do stupid things so it made sense to investigate the available options. The costs of owning a dog can soon mount up so being subscription-free made the PitPat very appealing.

I won't list all the specifications as I want this to be a real world review rather than just quoting a bunch of marketing blurb.

The Price

We paid £99 for our tracker during PitPat's Black Friday 2022 sale. This was a 30% saving on the regular price of £149. I noticed it was reduced by the same amount during their Christmas 2022 sale as well. Don't forget that there is no on-going subscription cost which means the initial price is higher than other similar GPS trackers.

How It Should Work

The PitPat app explains how the tracker is supposed to work much better than the actual website. I'll try to summarise below - 

  1. The tracker contacts PitPat HQ every 2, 4 or 8 minutes. Default is 4 minutes.
  2. You press "Find my dog now" in the app.
  3. This tells PitPat HQ that you need to find your dog.
  4. Next time your tracker contacts PitPat HQ, they tell it to connect to the GPS.
  5. Your tracker now looks for the GPS satellites and finds out where it is.
  6. The tracker then sends its location to PitPat HQ and the app shows that location.
  7. Roughly every 10 seconds the tracker sends an updated location.
  8. After 10 minutes of tracking, the GPS will switch off.
  9. Once the GPS is off, you have to repeat this process to find your dog again.

During 2023, PitPat added a "Start a walk" button on the location screen. This simply turns the GPS on at the start of your walk and then stops when you tell it to finish or after 90 minutes. We don't use this option as it would seriously shorten the battery life. If the length of time it takes to connect to the GPS is an issue for you then this option might be for you. Just have your charging pad handy when you get home!

How It Actually Works

The first time I tried tracking Lumi, the PitPat was hopeless. I managed to get her location just once on an entire walk. I feared the worst at this point but the tracker has been better on subsequent walks although occasionally it'll be annoyingly slow. It does feel that each stage of the tracking process takes a bit too long but I have ultimately received her location. It's probably not going to be as smooth or as quick as you'd like it to be in an emergency. 

PitPat suggest the location will update roughly every 10 seconds and their website states "real-time" tracking but I found it closer to 20 seconds with some updates being up to a minute or longer.

Each location update I received was fairly accurate although at times it was maybe 20 or 30 metres off.  Probably close enough to visually see your dog although I can imagine trying to find the tracker if it had fallen off would be harder.

A Few Things to Consider

There are a few things that are worth considering when deciding if the PitPat would work for you.

It Needs a Mobile Signal

According to PitPat, the tracker makes use of LTE-M and NB-IoT mobile networks. These are designed for "Internet of Things" devices and the PitPat device supposedly uses whichever is the strongest in your area.

One problem with this is it means you can't easily test the signal strength in your area before buying the tracker as mobile phones use different technology. When I first bought the tracker in November 2022, PitPat stated on their website that they used O2 and Vodafone but this piece of information has now been replaced with the wording "mobile/cellular operators".

Fortunately, PitPat now have a signal checking map on their website here. Unfortunately, they also say "there may be areas of poor performance even where the map shows good signal" so it remains to be seen how useful it is. 

Based on PitPat's map, it would appear that parts of western England, most of Wales and western Scotland suffer from "weak" signal strength (Aug 2023).

You Can't Turn It Off

Originally, I thought it was probably a good thing that you can't turn off the PitPat as it meant you wouldn't forget to turn it on before a walk. The problem with this is the constant "phoning home" to PitPat HQ is draining the battery. The tracker usually loses around 3% to 5% each day just from the "phoning home" activity.

You wouldn't want it to drop below 20% in case you need to track your dog. So realistic battery life for us varies around 2 to 3 weeks.

The big issue with the inability to turn it off comes when the PitPat can't find a signal. This was a scenario we discovered whilst on holiday on Dartmoor and my December 2023 update below has more details. 

If the PitPat can't find a signal it will drain its battery extremely quickly and there is no way to stop this from happening.

Saving a Route Requires a Subscription.

Up until August 2023, PitPat didn't offer the ability to save a record of your dogs route. This has now changed and has become a feature of their PitPat LIFE subscription which costs £3.99 a month. I am unable to test this feature as the whole reason for getting the PitPat was the fact it is subscription-free. It does concern me that core functionality may end up being moved behind a subscription paywall but hopefully PitPat realise the main selling point of their tracker is the fact you don't need a subscription.

Attaches with Velcro

The PitPat attaches to your dogs collar or harness using a simple piece of velcro. Whilst this is a simple and straightforward method there are other trackers that use a clip based system. PitPat provide 4 pieces of velcro (approximately 11cm x 3cm) with the tracker. When I ordered ours, they also gave a £1 option to add a longer piece of Velcro for wider collars. This provided 1 extra 11cm x 3cm piece and 1 new 13cm x 3cm piece.

I notice that PitPat now sell a set with 4 of the 13cm x 3cm Velcro pieces at a cost of £3.

To attach the tracker to Lumi's PerfectFit harness, we had to use the longest piece. It's a shame PitPat didn't provide a couple of sizes of Velcro as standard.

Dog Activity Monitor & The App

It's worth pointing out that the PitPat GPS tracker includes the same functionality as their Dog Activity Monitor so that you can track activity, food & weight using the app. Having bought the tracker purely for the GPS functionality none of this bothers me although it might be nice to have the option to hide all this within the app. Telling me I've received a virtual activity "badge" when I just want to track our dog in an emergency would be annoying.

Qi Wireless Charging Pad

This is a nice touch as you just place the tracker on to the pad and it starts charging. I imagine it makes it easier for PitPat not having to keep water and dirt out of a charging port.

When I first wrote this review, you were able to visit the Wireless Power Consortium website and the tracker was shown in the list of QI Certified products. For some reason the tracker is no longer listed (as of December 2023) but it will still work with other Qi Certified charging pads.

Being compatible with Qi Certified devices means the PitPat charging pad can be used to charge other devices. For example, my iPhone 12 can be charged by the PitPat pad.

PitPat sell spare pads here but at £29 it's rather expensive compared to pads from known brands such as Belkin and Anker.

Paw pads light up indicating the charge level.
The paw pads light up indicating the charge level.

Compared to Alternatives

Whilst researching which pet GPS tracker would be good for our Lumi I came across quite a few options. Here are some of them and the reasons why we didn't go for them.

Tractive GPS Dog Tracker

The Tractive seems to be one of the most popular dog GPS trackers and has thousands of positives reviews on Amazon. It seems to have better real-time tracking, geofencing and easier removal from a collar as it uses a clip based system rather than just 1 piece of velcro. The PitPat would appear to be better for battery life and the lack of on-going subscription costs.

Tractive dog tracker with blue clip.
Note the blue clip piece on the Tractive.

Ultimately, the subscription is why we didn't go for the Tractive. The table below shows the initial price of the 2 different trackers and how much it would cost after 1 and 2 years. Both units seem to be reduced at certain times hence I have included their lowest and highest prices. Tractive also offer a more expensive "premium" plan.

PitPat GPS Tracker Tractive GPS Tracker
Tracker Price £99 to £149 £26 to £45
Subscription Cost for 1 Year. £0 £72
Total Cost for 1 Year. £99 to £149 £98 to £117
Subscription Cost for 2 Years. £0 £108
Total Cost for 2 Years. £99 to £149 £134 to £153

As you can see, the PitPat and Tractive are very closely priced for the 1st year (£99 & £98 if bought at their cheapest prices). After the 2nd year, the PitPat starts to become much more cost effective although this is based on buying the PitPat at its cheaper sale price of £99. Use these trackers over 2 years and the PitPat would win easily in terms of value for money.

Petfon 2 GPS Tracker

This was an interesting option as, like the PitPat, it doesn't need a subscription. It's sold for £164 on their own website (based outside of the UK?) and on Amazon UK for £199. 

The main difference between the Petfon and the PitPat is that the Petfon doesn't use a mobile network to transmit the location. Data is relayed from the tracker using a small receiver that pairs via bluetooth with your mobile phone. It's an interesting concept but it means you must always carry the receiver with your phone plus Petfon state "the tracking ranges can be up to 0.65 miles in downtown/dense space and 3.5 miles in an open environment". 

The PitPat won here as you don't need to carry an additional item and aren't limited to the range between the tracker and receiver.

Apple AirTag / Tile Pro / Other Bluetooth Trackers

I have seen some dog owners using these for their pets. Whilst they are relatively cheap compared to GPS trackers, and are going to be better than nothing, they simply aren't designed for tracking pets in the great outdoors. The range on a bluetooth tracker is far too small and if the dog has gone outside of that range then you're reliant on someone with the correct phone and/or app to be near to the tracker. Don't rely on one of these for your dog.

Garmin Radio Collar

OK, I looked at these for about 20 seconds before realising they cost over £750 and were very bulky. There will be a reason why these are used by professionals. Like the Petfon they don't need a mobile signal which does mean their range is limited to around 6 to 10 miles. If Lumi was a working dog maybe 1 of these would have been considered but she isn't so the price and bulk isn't justifiable.

Insert Name of Random GPS Tracker Here

There is a huge amount of GPS trackers available at the moment from brands that you've probably never heard of. A search on Amazon UK for "Dog GPS Tracker" returns 366 results. I looked into lots of them but many of them were either poorly reviewed, required a subscription or shipped from overseas. 

August 2023 Update

After 8 months of using our PitPat GPS Tracker - it died!

The Death of our First Tracker

There had been some signs that our tracker was starting to malfunction. A couple of times during the charging process it would seemingly refuse to charge to 100% until I lifted it off the charging pad and put it back down. Then at the end of July 2023 the tracker completely died. No signs of life at all. 

The Replacements

Yes, you read that right. Replacements is plural. PitPat sent me a replacement for the dead tracker and, when I started trying to use it, it couldn't get a signal to activate. Eventually it did manage to activate after I placed it on the charging pad outside of the house but it then proved to be absolutely awful at tracking Lumi. 

PitPat sent me another replacement. This had exactly the same problem - it couldn't get a signal. If this had been my first PitPat GPS Tracker then I probably would have just given up and put it down to poor mobile signal in our area but I knew, having had the first tracker for 8 months, that the signal shouldn't be an issue. PitPat did some digging and discovered an issue with the built-in SIM card that the SIM provider was able to issue a fix for. As soon as that fix had been applied, our replacement tracker started working as expected.

Three PitPat GPS Dog Trackers in a row.
The dead tracker and the replacements. All but 1 have been returned!

PitPat Customer Support

I can't fault PitPat's customer support during the e-mail exchanges and the process of getting replacements. They provided pre-paid envelopes to return the replaced trackers and kept me up to date when working on finding a solution.

December 2023 Update

Following a short break and some more local testing I've started really questioning if the PitPat is worth it or not.

A Short Holiday on Dartmoor in Devon

We took Lumi on her first ever holiday during October 2023. I fully charged the tracker before we left home but then noticed as we were leaving Devon that the PitPat was dead. It wasn't until we got home again that I realised it had a flat battery. I'd received no notifications from the app to say it was getting low.

The cottage that we stayed in had no mobile signal at all and this will have meant the tracker was constantly trying to get a signal. The battery probably flattened within 2 or 3 days but I had no warning. Whilst I don't blame PitPat for the lack of signal in certain places, the fact that the tracker just drains the entire battery looking for a signal means that once you get back to an area with a signal the tracker is flat and useless.

A Local Test

On a clear, crisp afternoon in December I decided to do a little test. One of Lumi's other walkers would head off with her and I'd follow 30 minutes later and use the PitPat to find them.

Frankly, it went badly. It took 15 minutes from me pressing "Find my dog now" to a location appearing on my screen. At one point the app told me "No satellites heard". Once it picked up a location, it was then another 5 minutes before it starting updating regularly. The fact it took so long to start tracking meant I just guessed which way to go to find Lumi (and got lucky). 

App screenshot of the
No satellites despite being outside.


Do I recommend the PitPat GPS Tracker? Yes and no!

In terms of tracking your dog, it's far from perfect. If it works, there can and will be short delays between each step in the tracking process. If it decides to take 15 minutes to start tracking, it can be really annoying.

I also have major reservations about the longevity of these trackers. Hopefully our first tracker dying after 8 months was just bad luck but I will be keeping an eye on other user reviews to see if it becomes a common theme.

Is there another way of (eventually) finding your dog without a subscription or being prohibitively expensive? Not that I know of.

If we found a better alternative then we'd stop using the PitPat. Until that time, the PitPat stays on Lumi.

Some Advice

Keep an eye on PitPat's website and Facebook page for information on sales. The £99 we paid is much better than £149. Unfortunately, they don't seem to reduce it by quite so much nowadays but I certainly wouldn't be paying full price for it. 

Use the 21 day returns policy to check the signal in your area. Test it in all the most common places you walk. Test it in different weather conditions. If it's not getting a signal, return it! The slight caveat here is that I presume the LTE-M and NB-IoT networks will keep improving but don't keep the PitPat on the off chance it might work better in a year or 2.

Pitpat's Website - PitPat Dog GPS Tracker
Facebook - pitpatpet

Lumi wearing her PitPat GPS tracker and PerfectFit harness.
Lumi wearing her PitPat GPS tracker and PerfectFit harness.

This article was updated on 9 December 2023

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