According to recent statistics in Italy about 40% of families have a dog or a cat. Hosting and having the friendship of an animal involves duties and responsibilities, one of which is taking care of it on a daily basis, not only giving it food and affection but also making sure it is always safe. A concern that, especially in this summer period, also involves doing everything possible so that it doesn’t get lost, perhaps because it is at home alone or because it has accompanied us on holiday and is out of its environment. For this purpose we are helped by technology such as that contained in Tractive, a GPS for animals(49.99 euros on Amazon) that we have tested in these days.

What is Tractive

Tractive is a tracker, in Italian a locator, which is a system that allows us to find something to which it has been applied. The concept should be familiar to those who read us: Airtags is in fact a tracker. Like an Airtag, Tractive once connected to a smartphone (whether iPhone or Android) via an app helps us to never lose sight of what we care about so that it doesn’t get lost. Despite the similarity in operation and purpose, however, the Tractive also has substantial differences compared to an Airtag.

Recensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gatto<img src=” 1400w,×360.jpg 480w,×23.jpg 30w,×56.jpg 75w,×83.jpg 110w,×120.jpg 160w,×375.jpg 500w,×38.jpg 50w,×75.jpg 100w,×150.jpg 200w,” alt=”Tractive review, the GPS that acts as your dog or cat’s guardian angel” width=”1400″ height=”1050″ />Otto become familiar with the Tractive package


While Airtag doesn’t have a GPS but takes advantage of the iPhone one, Tractive has an internal GPS receiver. This will allow us to locate the dog or cat to which we will have our tracker wherever it is, even thousands of miles from our smartphone because it will be the device and not the phone to understand where the animal is moving. Tractive takes advantage of the positioning detection using also the triangulation of the cellular network towers to increase the accuracy or to replace the GPS network when there are not enough satellites in visibility of the device.

The cellular network

In addition to a GPS Tractive also integrates a chip-SIM with cellular connectivity. The cellular network essentially serves to send the data collected by the GPS to our phone, keeping it always in communication. The integrated cellular network of Tractive is universal, it works practically everywhere in the world (150 countries) without the need for configuration or special settings or contracts with specific operators. However, it requires a subscription, as we will explain below.

Why it’s different from Airtag

Having said how it works, those who know Airtag will have already understood what the difference is between Apple’s product and Tractive. Airtag, which is formally discouraged by Cupertino to “track animals and people”, provides a location based entirely on the presence of an iPhone that detects the location and communicates it to iCloud. In practice, until an iPhone is approached by an Airtag we will never know where that Airtag is; when the Airtag moves away from an iPhone we will only know its previous location until it comes across a new iPhone. Tractive, on the other hand is able to follow the dog or cat wherever they are, even if it’s in a desert or on top of a mountain with no phone around. Many other advantages, which we will talk about later, in terms of using Tractive compared to Airtag as a pet tracker, make the two devices not comparable.

How Tractive is made

From the design point of view, we are talking about a parallelepiped measuring 71 x 28 x 17 mm for a weight of about 30 grams, anatomically structured with a slight curvature to adapt to the animal’s body. Although it is not too big, it cannot be defined as small either. Tractive recommends it for animals from 4 kg upwards and in fact realistically it is difficult to imagine it around the neck of a puppy or a very small dog. Much will also depend on the tolerance of your animal to a device of this type. In our case, Otto the dachshund of the house, was equipped with a harness that allows you to hold the tracker in place more easily, giving little discomfort to our dog who weighs about 8 kg.

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Recensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gatto<img src=” 1400w,×360.jpg 480w,×23.jpg 30w,×56.jpg 75w,×83.jpg 110w,×120.jpg 160w,×375.jpg 500w,×38.jpg 50w,×75.jpg 100w,×150.jpg 200w,×522.jpg 696w,×801.jpg 1068w,×42

The Tractive has also other interesting and useful features for a system like this. For example, it is IPX7 certified, so it can be submerged in water up to one meter deep for half an hour. In addition it has the ability to emit a sound or turn on an LED to find the animal more easily, which could be useful for a cat that tends to hide in the house or for night research. In our case we have to say that the use of sound should be discarded a priori because although particularly high volume has a disconcerting effect on Otto, but this of course (as in the case of the weight of the Tractive) is definitely subjective.

The application of the tracker occurs through an elastic mesh that is applied between the collar and the tracker. This is a system that provides a solid grip even if in some cases requires a process a bit ‘laborious because the elastic resists a lot of traction. Since, as we will see, recharging the battery will be an almost daily process, you have to take this into account.

Speaking of charging the battery, this is done through a USB cable (two hours is the time needed to restore the autonomy), but on the other side has a proprietary system with two pins, a magnet and a “tooth” in plastic for the attachment of the cable. The connection takes place efficiently and without any possibility of error, plus it is completely moisture-proof even if we allow ourselves to advance some reservations about the choice to use a plastic crab. This makes the grip very dependent on the resistance of this protrusion.

Tractive how it works

Activating the Tractive requires on the one hand that the device is charged, and on the other an application on the smartphone. Technically it’s actually possible to activate and manage the tracker with a webapp as well, but it’s a less functional and more inconvenient solution for many easily guessed reasons. In any case, it’s one more option that widens the possibility of using the tracker.the ability to find your pet even when you don’t have your phone with you. In addition to these two fundamental elements, there is a third, even more important one: the subscription to the Tractive services.

Recensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gattoRecensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gattoTo access Tractive’s services you need to register and then enter the serial number of the locator.

The indispensable subscription

The Tractive system is entirely subscription-based. In practice, the tracker will only work if the app is used to sign a contract of use that entitles you to use the mobile network without limits on data consumption or geographical coverage. Only with this subscription we will be able to find our pet and use other services. There are two types of subscription, Basic and Premium, with different costs based on the duration of the contract. The lowest cost for a single month is 9.99 euros with the ability to cancel when you want, you can get to pay even only 3.75 euros for a month if you enter into a contract for five years.

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Activating Tractive

Activation is very simple. You load the Tractive, download the app and follow the guided procedure, passing through the subscription that in the case of those who use an iPhone passes through the purchase in app. At that point, with the collar and tracker in place, the system is ready to work.

The application

The Tractive application is the heart of everything. From it we configure the entire system and various preferences. Not only can we define the various modes but we can also get information about activity tracking. Using an accelerometer it will measure the time our friend is on the move, the calories consumed, set goals and even award medals, just like in Apple’s Fitness application.

Recensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gatto<img src=” 1400w,×446.jpg 480w,×1200.jpg 1291w,×28.jpg 30w,×70.jpg 75w,×102.jpg 110w,×149.jpg 160w,×465.jpg 500w,×93.jpg 100w,×186.jpg 200w,×647.jpg 696w,×992.jpg 1068w,×420.jpg 452w” alt=”Review Tractive, the GPS that acts as your dog or cat’s guardian angel” width=”1400″ height=”1301″ />To the left the app’s recording screen

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How Tractive follows your pet

Tractive essentially has two modes: what’s called default and Live mode. These are two different systems that address different needs including optimizing battery consumption. Each of these modes has different options that allow you to optimise both consumption and tracking accuracy.

Default mode

In the default mode the position of the Tractive is detected between two minutes and an hour depending on the activity of the animal. For example, when it is at rest the updates are infrequent, otherwise they are closer together. This saves battery power because the GPS network is only activated when needed. It is also possible to set a fixed rate of sending the position every 10 minutes by activating the energy saving mode. In the LTE version of the Tractive it would also be possible to create a so-called Power Saving Zone, that is, to establish that when the Tractive is in an area covered by Wifi, the GPS is turned off. As we have said, this last system turns off the GPS when there is an active Wifi network (2.4 GHz excluding the 5 GHz network) where we are going to register the Tractive. In this case we will not see the position detected constantly but we will only have the confirmation that our dog or cat are in the Power Saving Zone, the one covered by that Wifi network. All this allows you to keep an eye on our dog or our cat without affecting the battery. In our case, however, despite having purchased a Tractive of last generation, we have not seen appear the option of the Power Saving Zone.

Live Mode

The Live mode allows you to find the position of the animal and follow its path in real time. Like a GPS the Tractive sends in this case a signal every two seconds. This is the typical function to find dogs and cats when they are lost; in Live mode it is also possible to activate an augmented reality function (the surrounding environment is seen by the camera and the position of the tracker is indicated on the screen), turn on the LED or make the device ring and also search with Bluetooth through the Find function. If you take advantage of Bluetooth the Tractive works a bit like Airtag’s proximity search; we’ll know how far away we are from the animal and we’ll have the ability to know if we’re approaching or moving away from it, as long as it’s close to our phone. Obviously the Live mode, with cellular network and GPS network constantly active, consumes an enormous amount of energy and for this reason it is deactivated after five minutes, even if it’s not…and we can obviously extend it.

Virtual fence mode

Tractive also has an area mode that is called “Fence”. In practical terms, it is a system that will alert us when the tracker goes out of a certain area that we will define based on what we consider a safety margin, typically a courtyard. This is a useful system if we have an animal that has a habit of finding a way out of a safe area to venture where there might be danger. This is useful to alert us immediately and have a quick intervention to prevent not so much that the dog gets lost (since with the Live mode we will always know where it is) but for a quick action.

Recensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gattoRecensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gattoOn the left the virtual enclosure, on the right the “heat map” the places where our dog has been staying the longest.


Tractive claims its device’s battery life of two to five days. In reality, for our experience, we can expect a maximum of 36 hours of autonomy using all possible precautions for battery saving and with the excellent coverage of cellular network and GPS of our house. We reached two days (scarce) by activating the battery saving option (the tracker sends its position at a fixed rate: every ten minutes). On balance, assuming you don’t use Live tracking which only makes sense if you’ve lost the animal) you have to imagine having to recharge the Tractive once a day. In our case when we put Otto to rest for the night, we also put the tracker on recharge by having it on the next morning.

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Field test

In addition to the autonomy we tested the main function of the tracker.cipal of the Tractive: its operation in the case of a lost animal and we must say that the system works very well. With the default mode and a virtual fence, the device remained silent and alerted us to the presence of the dog in the safety zone. We then took the tracker outside the virtual fence. The alarm came after about 30 seconds. We then activated Live Tracking and started to follow the route, which was updated very quickly. If Otto had really been lost, it would have been very easy to find him again. However, we never tire of repeating that in Live mode tracking is possible for no more than about twenty minutes, provided that the Tractive is charged.

If you look at the ergonomics of the device, we never had the impression that the dog was in any way annoyed. In any case, since we are talking about a living being with all its load of character aspects, it is not said that the same thing happens with other individuals. One thing is certain: for a dog smaller than that of a dachshund the tracker starts to become quite challenging. Impossible to apply to a puppy, very complicated to use it, to give some examples, to a Pomeranian, a Maltese, a Silky Terrier or a Chihuahua. The cat version includes a collar, but even here we imagine that the cat to be tracked must be used to the collar and have a certain size.

Recensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gattoRecensione Tractive, il GPS che fa l’angelo custode del vostro cane o gattoOn the left is the main Tractive settings screen, on the right is dog activity information.

Bottom line

Tractive delivers what it promisese: it is a valid system to never lose sight of your pet. The technology is functional and precise tracking, the various options allow you to make the tracker very flexible adapting to the vast majority of needs that can be imagined. Even the size and weight, tuttosommato are adequate, hard to imagine that you can reduce further, considering the battery must necessarily have a certain capacity then occupy a certain volume. The cost of the subscription is in line with the functions and purpose: even 9.99 euros per month in the most expensive option to have an emergency network around your dog or cat must be considered adequate.

A word of praise must also be spent on the Tractive website which is very detailed and has a complete support system (even if only in English). It is difficult to find a question that does not have an answer in the help section. The parent company, Austrian, also maintains a Facebook page where it answers questions and doubts.

The real limit to be taken into account when buying the Tractive is the autonomy. The manufacturer also speaks of seven days but it is a threshold that we believe simply impossible to reach outside a laboratory; realistically in our experience, while taking advantage of all the energy saving options possible without affecting the purpose of the device, you will not exceed 24 hours that can become 36 in case the animal is not very active. In this scenario the tracker becomes useful during a walk or for those who leave their “furry friend” at home only for a day. In other situations involving, for example, being away from home for longer periods of time, it will always be necessary to have someone who not only looks after and looks after the dog or cat but also takes care of recharging the Tractive’s batteries.


  • Precise localization
  • Numerous tracking options
  • Adequate subscription cost


  • Reduced autonomy
  • Significant size
  • Proprietary connector

Price and availability

The Tractive can be purchased on the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon, where it is presented with a specific showcase. The cost is 49.99 euros both in the dog or cat version. The subscription price starts at 3.75 euros per month and goes up to 9.99 euros per month depending on the length of the contract and features.