Do dog trackers create privacy issues? (GDPR and Security)

dog trackers and privacy

The concern is that if a client’s dog wears a GPS tracker, can the client see not only where their dog has been, but also each stop you made to collect and drop off any other dogs on your group walk that day. Let’s take a look and see if you’re right to be concerned.

TLDR: If a dog owner uses a GPS tracker on their dog and does not publish the tracking information publically then its use is within the law

What’s the difference between a dog’s microchip and a GPS tracker?

Microchip: A microchip is primarily used for identification purposes. It contains a unique identification number that is associated with the pet owner’s contact information. If a lost dog is found, a veterinarian or animal shelter can scan the microchip to retrieve the owner’s contact details. Microchips cannot be tracked on a dog.

GPS Tracker: A GPS tracker, on the other hand, is designed for real-time location tracking. It allows pet owners to monitor their dog’s location in real-time using GPS technology. This is especially useful for tracking a pet that is on the move or lost.

Currently (December 2023) the technology doesn’t exist (at least not available to the public) to implant a GPS tracker into your dog.


How far do GPS trackers range?

GPS trackers, unlike Bluetooth trackers, do not have a limited range. As long as the unit can get a signal then it can be tracked.

GPS is a global positioning system (GPS) working through a network of satellites and receiving devices used to determine the location of something on Earth. A GPS receiver in the device listens for the signals from these satellites. Once the receiver calculates its distance from four or more GPS satellites, it can track where you are.

How accurate are GPS trackers?

A typical receiving unit (tracker or mobile phone) will pinpoint your position to within 5 metres (16 feet).

Can owners see live data only when looking or can they see the route I drove and the addresses of collected dogs?

Depending on the type of tracker and their subscription plan, it’s perfectly possible to see both live tracking data from a dog’s GPS collar and also historical tracking data from their entire route that day (and previous days)


Dog trackers and GDPR

The EU’s GDPR legislation does not apply to animals or pets, therefore no laws are being broken if a dog in your care wears a GPS tracker, whether you or the owner placed the tracker on the dog.

Even if an owner can see which house you went to directly after collecting their dog this information is not covered by GDPR rules as the information cannot directly identify an individual. All they have is an address which would be the same as walking down a street and stopping outside a random house. They have no way of identifying an individual with purely that information.

The owner of the tracker is not processing the data beyond the scope of “purely personal or household activity” as defined in Article 2 of the GDPR and is therefore able to continue tracking their dog without breaking any rules. An exception to this is if they make public the information, such as posting their dog’s entire route on the internet for anyone to see.

Pet Technology and the Internet of Things

By the end of 2022 an estimated 13.1 billion pet related devices were expected to be connected to the internet including GPS trackers along with pet cameras, remote treat dispensers and toys, and even feeding stations.

A lot of these devices are equipped with cameras and microphones, making them part of a wider security risk in your homes, especially those with children. And yet the lack of security built into these devices is based on a lack of regulations regarding the data related to animals and pets. Pet data is not considered identifying information in the GDPR legislation.

Common Sense Approach

Although you may have concerns, in reality, an owner who has booked you to walk their dog and has put a tracker on their dog, is unlikely to do anything untoward with the route information they might glean from that tracker.

They have entrusted you to take care of their dog and other than the first week or so of having the tracker and it being a novelty to see the dogs route, they probably won’t even look at it unless there’s an issue (the dog getting lost / double checking the dog had been for a walk).

A higher concern would be the security of the information gathered by that tracker that is stored by the tracking company, and on the owner’s phone as investigated by this recent study into pet tech.

This article is written for information purposes based on widely available advice online and primarily by the UK government online at


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