Apple AirTag As A Dog Tracker – An Honest Review

July 11, 2022
July 11, 2022

Dog trackers are one of the perks of modern dog ownership – but how does the Apple AirTag stack up?

As always, I’ve been testing out the Apple Airtag in order to give you guys the best insight into these products that I possibly can. So, for the last 9 months or so, I’ve been looking into the Airtag and how you may be able to use it as a dog tracker.

Now, this is not exactly a new idea. I’ve seen it mentioned a few times online! And There are even accessories for it too. But the point is whether it can actually do what we’re asking it to do.

Because finding your keys and finding your dog are two very different things – I mean – whilst I swear my keys can get up and walk around – my dogs are still far better at it.

S-biner belkin holder and apple airtag as worn by indie the german shepherd dog on his tactipup collar
S-biner belkin holder and apple airtag as worn by indie the german shepherd dog on his blue tactipup collar

Pros

No subscription
Affordable
Hard wearing
Water resistant to 3ft

Cons

Low on Features
Lacks precision
Unpredictable signal

How I Set It Up

Because the Airtag isn’t designed to be a dog tracker, it’s got a few options for integrating it to your dog’s set up.

There are Collars, Silicon attachments, but personally? My set up became the Belkin plastic holder and I replaced the keyring with an S-biner clip because they’re some of the most secure ways to attach to a collar, but it also allows you to switch collars and move it around really easily.

I moved this across all my dogs to get an idea of how it worked in different situations? Because as much as I love my hounds, they’re not dogs I trust off leash in the wilderness with an untested tracker!

You may not want to use the s-biner, but it’s actually a really useful way to only attach it to your dog when you’re going walking too.

The airtag sits quite nicely on a collar for your dog with the right holder
The airtag sits quite nicely on a collar for your dog with the right holder I used a Belkin holder and a S-biner.

What I Love About The AirTag

No Maintenance

This is possibly the very best thing about the AirTag with dogs – I’ve had things dangling from a dog collar for months and it’s not even really that damaged. It works, it’s a little grotty, but it’s phenomenally resilient.

It doesn’t ask me to charge it, or maintain it, and then I don’t have that “Oh bugger, I left the collar on charge” moment.

Small

It’s really light. 11g light. So light that I think even a tiny puppy isn’t going to notice this on their collar. Whilst this doesn’t provide a way to secure it to your dogs collar or gear, it also comes with a lot of options,

City Friendly

Becauase of it’s small size and because of how it functions as a crowdsourced signal tracker, it’s uniquely suited for cities. Those weird blackspots in a city? Don’t exist. It all depends on foot traffic.

Affordable

The price on this is great. Really affordable at $29 and no subscription, this particular choice for a dog tracker is the cheapest option for tracking your dog.

Resilient

It’s equally dirtproof as other options on the market, but it is a little less water resistant? So if you have a dog who loves to swim, maybe pick another. But this one will definitely work for rain and a quick paddle – which makes it pretty good for a dog, right?

Easy Set up

Because there is pretty much no set up if you have an iPhone, this thing is super freaking simple. Takes all of about 5 mins. There’s no making an account (assuming you have an icloud account), and it just slips straight into the “Find My” app. Super easy.

What I Don’t Love About The Apple AirTag

It’s Spartan.

At risk of sounding dumb, it’s not a dog tracker and this is definitely a draw back because, whilst it works, it’s definitely not quite in the same realms as the purpose made dog trackers. There’s no denying that the airtag has barely has a bell, let alone a whistle.

There’s no health tracking like Whistle, there’s not even a sleep tracker like Fi series 2 – but that’s because it’s not a dog tracker.

Signal Source

So the signal source is crowd sourced – meaning that the time that the device gets signal and ‘pings’ a location is when it’s close enough to another apple device to say “It’s here!”.

This means you’re not tied to cell service – which is phenomenal.

Though, it does mean that you’re tied very much to a populated area because without people? Or even, an area without apple iphones then your chance of finding your dog diminishes…

Airtag apple device tracking tracker for dogs gps collar work
These aren’t technically GPS trackers for dogs, but if you do want to know the best ones? That’s something I can help with! 6 Best GPS Trackers For Dogs 2022

It’s Not Hike Friendly

Because it’s a crowdsourced signal, it means if you live remotely, or if you enjoy hiking in remote trails, and this is what you’re looking for support on? This is just not for you. Because if your dog does, say, get on a game trail and wander off? This is not going to support you in the way that you want it to. Head over to Whistle Switch Vs Fi Series 2 – Which Is Honestly Better?

Airtag set up for dog tracking
This is an example of the “Find My” app when you go and dive in to your dog’s AirTag

General comment On AirTag Functionality

I don’t normally add this in, but it’s a consideration some of you may have. But the noise that the airtag is made to make doesn’t seem to be aversive to any of my three dogs (and Indie is quite sensitive to these things).

That said, it’s not the loudest noise and I can’t see a reason why you would use this? I’ve heard of people considering training it to be a recall cue? But I don’t feel like it would ever be needed.

Pet dogs (aka any dog who isn’t a hunting dog) should not be out of sight at any time.

Would I Recommend The AirTag As A Dog Tracker?

Well… this one is tough. Because if we bring it back to brass tacks, then the big question becomes Can the Apple AirTag find my dog?

And the answer to that wholly depends on where you live and what you want to do.

Kaiann Drance, Vice President of iPhone Marketing at Apple Inc., has even said, “If people do that [track pets with an AirTag], they just have to make sure that their moving pet gets into range of a device in the ‌Find My‌ network” so its location can be tracked.”

And her insights totally agree with my own experience.

If you’re a city-living dog parent this may really work for you! A high population density will mean that your dog can be tracked quite regularly.

But if you’re not? Or if you regularly spend time in the more remote areas of this world, then this one may not work for you, the same as it doesn’t for me.

If you’re looking for a tracker for your dog and you’ve just decided the airtag isn’t for you? Then head to the Trackers category for the reviews I’ve already completed and check out your options!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

 

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