The Ultimate Guide to Tractive GPS Pet Trackers

February 11, 2024

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Tractive GPS pet trackers help pet owners keep tabs on their furry friends. These handy devices attach to your pet’s collar and use GPS and cellular networks to track their location in real-time.

With Tractive GPS, you’ll get alerts when your pet leaves a designated safe zone, access to live tracking, activity monitoring, and more – right from your smartphone.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Tractive GPS pet trackers.

Plus plenty of tips for getting the most out of your Tractive GPS tracker. Let’s dive in!

How Do Tractive GPS Pet Trackers Work?

Tractive

Tractive GPS trackers use a combination of GPS satellite tracking and cellular network data to pinpoint your pet’s location and transmit it to the Tractive GPS app on your smartphone or computer.

Here’s a quick overview of how Tractive GPS tracking works:

  • The Tractive GPS tracker device attaches to your pet’s collar via a rubber strap or clip. It’s lightweight and waterproof.
  • The device has a built-in SIM card that connects to cellular networks to transmit data. No pairing with your smartphone required.
  • Using assisted GPS and cell tower triangulation, the tracker pinpoints your pet’s coordinates.
  • This location data transmits over the cellular network to Tractive’s servers.
  • The Tractive GPS app fetches the location data and plots your pet’s whereabouts on a map.
  • You can view your pet’s current or last known location in the app at any time.
  • For real-time tracking, enable Live Tracking mode to get location updates every 2-3 seconds.

The Tractive GPS tracker works anywhere there is cellular service, making it feasible to track your pet’s location across town or even across the country!

Shop Tractive on Amazon

But how accurate is Tractive GPS tracking? Let’s find out.

Tractive GPS Features & Accuracy

Tractive GPS trackers offer a robust set of features to help monitor your furry friend. Here are some of the key capabilities:

Real-Time Live Tracking

Tractive Tracking Features

The standout feature of Tractive GPS is real-time live tracking.

With live tracking mode enabled in the app, Tractive will update your pet’s location every 2-3 seconds allowing you to see their movements in real-time. This is the fastest tracking frequency of any GPS pet tracker on the market.

Live tracking is extremely useful for keeping tabs on runaway pets or tracking your pup’s path on a hike in the woods.

The downside is that live tracking drains the battery quicker. But even with live tracking on, you’ll still get several hours of battery life.

Activity & Sleep Monitoring

Tractive Activity

In addition to tracking your pet’s location, Tractive GPS monitors your pet’s daily activity and sleep cycles.

The tracker uses an accelerometer to detect motion and determine when your pet is active, resting, or sleeping.

You can check your pet’s:

  • Active time
  • Calories burned
  • Distance traveled
  • Sleep time and patterns
  • Achievement of activity goals

This data can help identify changes in your pet’s typical activity levels which may indicate health issues.

But Tractive GPS doesn’t monitor advanced health metrics like heart rate, respiration, scratching/licking, etc. For those, consider a smart collar like Whistle GO Explore.

Location Tracking

Tractive Location Tracking

Even when not in live tracking mode, Tractive GPS continually tracks your pet’s location.

The app shows your pet’s current location on a map along with a history of their movements for the past 24 hours (or 1 year with premium plan).

You can view walking routes, including start and end points, distance traveled, and time spent.

Tractive claims location accuracy within 25 feet, but real-world results are closer to 10 feet. Location updates occur every 2 to 60 minutes when not live tracking.

Customizable Safe Zones

Tractive Geofencing

A handy feature in the Tractive GPS app lets you define custom safe zones or “geofences” where your pet can roam freely.

If your pet leaves the safe zone, you’ll get a notification alerting you they are on the move.

Safe zones can be circular or polygon-shaped. The minimum size for a circular safe zone is a 164 foot radius.

Define a safe zone around your home or yard so you’ll know if your escape artist sneaks out.

Tracker Radar/Augmented Reality

Tractive GPS offers a radar-like feature called Tracker Radar to help you pinpoint your pet’s location when actively tracking them.

It uses augmented reality to overlay arrows on your camera’s view showing what direction to move bring you closer to your lost pet.

Multiple Map Views

Tractive Multiple Map Views

The Tractive GPS app offers four different map modes to help you track:

  • Live view: Real-time view of your pet’s movements
  • Standard view: Regular street map
  • Satellite view: High resolution aerial imagery
  • Hybrid view: Combines the satellite view with labeled landmarks

Toggle between these views as needed to give you the right perspective.

Speed & Altitude Tracking

Tractive Speed & Altitude Tracking

Premium Tractive GPS subscribers can view real-time speed and altitude metrics when live tracking their pet.

Speed is shown in mph or km/h while altitude shows elevation gain/loss on hikes.

Share Location Access

Tractive Share Latest Location

Going on vacation? You can temporarily share access to view your pet’s Tractive GPS location with friends or your pet sitter.

Or give permanent location sharing access to family members. Helpful if multiple people care for your pet.

Web App Access

In addition to the mobile app, you can access Tractive GPS from any computer by logging into the web app.

Use the web app to view your pet’s location from your laptop or desktop computer for more screen real estate.

Tractive GPS Plans & Pricing

Tractive Cost

Tractive GPS offers flexible plans to meet your budget and needs.

Here’s an overview of Tractive GPS pricing and subscription options:

PlanCostTermFeatures
Basic$13/monthMonthlyLocation tracking
Activity monitoring
Live tracking
Safe zones
Basic$96/yearAnnualLocation tracking
Activity monitoring
Live tracking
Safe zones
Basic$144/2 years2 YearLocation tracking
Activity monitoring
Live tracking
Safe zones
Premium$108/yearAnnualAll Basic features
+ Unlimited location history
+ Speed & altitude tracking
+ Advanced sharing controls
+ Web & mobile app access
Premium$168/2 years2 YearAll Basic features
+ Unlimited location history
+ Speed & altitude tracking
+ Advanced sharing controls
+ Web & mobile app access

The Tractive GPS tracker device itself costs a one-time fee of $49.99.

So your total first year cost would be:

  • $49.99 for the tracker
  • Plus $96 for Basic annual plan
  • Total: $145.99 for the first year

One tracker can be used to monitor multiple pets, but each pet needs their own subscription plan.

Tractive frequently offers discounts on the tracker and subscription plans. So be sure to check for any current deals before purchasing!

Tractive GPS Setup & Usage

Ready to start tracking your pet? Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up and using your Tractive GPS tracker:

1. Charge Your Device

Tractive Charge Your Device

After unboxing your Tractive GPS tracker, the first step is charging it.

Plug the device into a USB charger using the included charging cable.

The LED light on the tracker will shine red when charging and turn green at full charge.

Charge for at least 2 hours before first use. Fully charging can take 2-3 hours.

2. Download the Tractive GPS App

While your device charges, download the Tractive GPS app for iPhone or Android.

Or visit my.tractive.com to use the web app on your computer.

3. Create Your Tractive Account

Open the Tractive app and create an account.

You can register with your email address or connect with Facebook or Google.

4. Activate Your Device

On the tracker activation screen, enter the unique 8-character ID found on the back of your device.

You’ll then be prompted to select a service plan to activate tracking. Enter the activation code if you purchased a plan upfront or select a monthly, yearly, or 2-year plan.

Monthly plans can be canceled at any time if you decide to discontinue use of the tracker.

5. Attach Tracker to Collar

Tractive Size & Weight Ranges

Slide the rubber straps on the back of the tracker over your pet’s collar.

Position the tracker on the collar so the logo faces outward.

The tracker can be attached to collars up to 1.1 inches wide. Ensure it sits snugly.

If needed, purchase an additional collar mount for wide collars.

6. Set Up Your Pet’s Profile

Tractive Set Up Your Pet's Profile

In the Tractive GPS app, create a profile for your pet.

Enter details like their name, breed, gender, age, weight and photo. This helps tailor activity goals.

If tracking multiple pets, create separate profiles. You’ll need one subscription per pet.

7. Connect Tracker to Home WiFi

To conserve battery life, connect your tracker to your home WiFi network:

  • Tap the profile icon in the app.
  • Select your tracker and tap Options.
  • Tap “Connect to WiFi”
  • Enter your home SSID and WiFi password.

When your pet is home, the tracker will rely on WiFi instead of battery-draining GPS.

Repeat to connect additional safe space WiFi networks like your office, pet sitter’s home, etc.

8. Set Up Safe Zones

Tractive Geofencing

Next, define any safe zones or places your pet frequently visits:

  • Tap the profile icon.
  • Select Safe Zones.
  • Tap the “+” to add a safe zone.
  • Select circular or polygon shape.
  • Drag the boundaries to define the zone on the map.
  • Name the zone like “Home” or “Dog Park”

You’ll get notified if your pet leaves a safe zone.

9. Enable Notifications

Tractive Notifications

To receive alerts when your pet leaves a safe zone, escapes from home, their battery is low, or they enter a no-go zone, you need to enable notifications.

On an iPhone, enable notifications by going to your Settings > Notifications > Tractive GPS. Toggle them on.

On Android, go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Tractive GPS. Toggle on “Allow Notifications”.

Customize notification preferences from the app’s Account screen.

Now you’re all set to start tracking your pet!

Using Tractive GPS Pet Trackers

Once setup and attached to your pet’s collar, using Tractive GPS is extremely simple.

Here are some tips for getting the most from your tracker:

  • Check your pet’s location and activity stats in the app throughout the day.
  • Watch their battery percentage and recharge when it dips below 25% for uninterrupted tracking.
  • Use live tracking mode on walks, hikes, or if they escape to view real-time location. But don’t leave it on continuously as it drains battery.
  • Periodically check that the tracker remains securely fastened to the collar. Don’t want it falling off!
  • If your pet goes missing, first trigger the tracker’s sound alarm. Then enable live tracking to track their escape path.
  • Take your pet’s activity trends into account at their vet visits. Gradual changes may reflect health issues.
  • Keep your mobile handy and notifications enabled to respond quickly if your pet slips out of their safe zone.
  • Consider sharing temporary access with friends/family caring for your pet while traveling. Revoke access after.
  • Upgrade to premium to unlock additional capabilities like location history, speed tracking, and worldwide coverage when traveling overseas.
  • Buy a spare charging cable to keep one at home and one at your office or pet sitter’s home for easy recharging.

With regular charging and app monitoring, Tractive GPS provides invaluable peace of mind. Know your pet’s location and activity levels at a glance!

Tractive GPS App Overview

Tractive's App

The Tractive GPS app and web app offer a user-friendly experience. Here’s an overview of key screens and capabilities:

Maps Tab

Your starting point for checking your pet’s whereabouts. Displays your pet’s current location or last updated location on a map. Access live tracking and view location history here.

Activity Tab

View your pet’s active minutes, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep data. See how they stack up against activity goals. Monitor for changes over time.

Play Tab

Discover pets in your area and view leaderboards of the most active dogs by breed and location. Great for motivation and making new furry friends.

Profile Tab

Update your pet’s profile, connect home WiFi networks, set safe zones, share access temporarily with friends, and more. Configure tracker settings to your needs.

Account Tab

Manage your Tractive GPS subscription plan. Update billing details. Adjust app notifications and tracking settings like live update frequency.

The menu icons make navigating between these sections smooth. Whether using the mobile app or web app, you’ll have simple control over all tracker capabilities.

Tractive GPS Pros & Cons

Tractive GPS has a lot going for it, but there are some limitations to consider.

Here are the key benefits and downsides based on our testing:

Tractive GPS Pros

  • Excellent real-time live tracking frequency
  • Easy attachable tracker design
  • Useful activity and sleep monitoring
  • Customizable safe zones
  • Tracker radar helps recover lost pets
  • Multiple map viewing options
  • Speed and altitude tracking (premium)
  • Location sharing capabilities
  • Web and mobile app access
  • Lower cost than competitors

Tractive GPS Cons

  • Short battery life (2-5 days)
  • Requires cellular service for tracking
  • Small safe zone radius minimum (164 feet)
  • No advanced health metrics
  • Premium plan required for full features
  • Occasional live tracking connectivity issues

For most pet owners, the pros like precise real-time tracking and flexible pricing outweigh the cons. But pay attention to the battery life, connectivity, and activity tracking limitations compared to smart collars before deciding.

Tractive GPS vs Competitors

How does Tractive GPS compare against competitors like Whistle and Fi?

Here’s a side-by-side look at key differences:

Tractive GPSWhistle GO ExploreFi Smart Collar
Real-time TrackingEvery 2-3 secondsEvery 5-60 secondsEvery 5-60 seconds
Battery Life2-5 days20 days3 months
NetworkCellular 4G LTECellular LTE + GPSGPS + WiFi
Tracking RangeUnlimitedUnlimited3 miles
Waterproof RatingIPX7IP67IP67
Activity TrackingBasicAdvanced health metricsAdvanced health metrics
Monthly Cost$8$8.25$7.25

For real-time tracking frequency, Tractive GPS is the winner. But it comes at the cost of much shorter battery life.

For advanced health monitoring, Whistle and Fi Smart Collar excel.

And Fi boasts 3-month battery life, but at the expense of relying on your smartphone for GPS.

For a detailed feature by feature comparison of Tractive vs Whistle pet trackers, refer to this in-depth Tractive vs Whistle breakdown.

If you’re trying to decide between Findster and Tractive GPS, this guide compares Findster and Tractive across all specs and features.

So weigh your priorities – real-time tracking, battery, advanced health alerts, etc. – when choosing between these popular GPS pet trackers.

Is Tractive GPS Right For You?

Hopefully this guide provided you a complete overview of Tractive GPS trackers.

If you want advanced health metrics like respiration, heart rate, licking/scratching monitoring, and more, check out how Tractive compares to FitBark for those features.

But is Tractive GPS a good fit for your needs and budget?

Here are some final recommendations on when Tractive GPS makes sense:

Recommended If:

  • Your primary goal is real-time location tracking of your pet. Tractive’s live tracking blows away the competition.
  • You have escape artist pets prone to darting through doors or fences. Instant alerts provide peace of mind.
  • You want a budget-friendly tracker. Tractive GPS costs less than most competitors.
  • You travel overseas with your pet. Tractive works in over 150 countries.
  • You take your dog hiking/biking and want to map routes. Live tracking does this beautifully.
  • You need to share temporary location access with a dog walker or pet sitter while away.

Look Elsewhere If:

  • You frequently adventure off-the-grid where there is no cell service. Tractive relies on cellular networks to transmit data so it will not work remotely. For off-grid adventures, consider a tracker like Garmin Astro.
  • Battery life is critical. At 2-5 days max, Tractive has one of the shorter battery lives. Look to Whistle or Fi for weeks-long battery.
  • You want detailed health insight like licking, scratching, heart rate, etc. Tractive focuses on location and basic activity, not health monitoring.
  • Your pet weighs under 10 pounds. The tracker may be too large for tiny pets. Look for a smaller device.
  • Budget is a top concern. Though cheaper than most, monthly fees still apply with Tractive GPS after buying the device. A Tile or AirTag may work to just deter against loss, without live tracking capabilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Tractive GPS pet trackers use cellular networks to transmit your pet’s location to an app on your smartphone or computer, allowing you to view and track them remotely.
  • Live real-time tracking updates your pet’s location frequently, as fast as every 2-3 seconds, for precise tracking on the go.
  • Monitor your pet’s daily activity and sleep patterns with built-in activity tracking features.
  • Set up custom safe zones and get alerts when your pet wanders outside the designated area.
  • Purchase the Premium plan to unlock the full suite of features like unlimited location tracking.
  • Easy to attach and waterproof design, although battery life is on the shorter side at 2-5 days.
  • Overall an affordable, user-friendly option for real-time pet tracking and peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the Tractive GPS battery last?

On average, expect 2-5 days of battery life from the Tractive GPS tracker before needing to recharge. Factors like frequent live tracking usage will decrease battery faster.

Where does Tractive GPS work?

With cellular network connectivity, Tractive GPS provides unlimited range worldwide. It works anywhere with cellular service – across town or even across borders!

Can I track multiple pets with one Tractive GPS subscription?

No – you need to purchase one subscription per pet. But you can view multiple pets in the same app and manage their tracking from one account.

What information does Tractive GPS record?

Tractive GPS records your pet’s location, active time, distance traveled, speed and altitude (with Premium plan), safe zones, and basic sleep data. It does not monitor detailed health metrics.

Is Tractive GPS completely waterproof?

Yes, Tractive GPS has an IPX7 waterproof rating meaning it can withstand immersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. It is also shockproof and durable.

How accurate is Tractive GPS tracking?

Tractive’s location accuracy depends on cellular and GPS signal strength but is generally within 10 feet indoors and outdoors based on real-world use. Live locations update every 2-3 seconds for precision tracking.

Can I use Tractive GPS without a smartphone?

Yes! You can access all features and view your pet’s location using the Tractive GPS web app from any laptop or desktop computer.