Getting a dog will make you a fitter and healthier person. There are statistics and stuff that says so. And if you want your dog to get exercise but do a bit less of it yourself, there is some nifty technology that can help you.
Digital fitness trackers for dogs are pretty cool and incredibly clever. There might be many reasons why you would want one, the least of which is so you don’t have to do any actual exercise yourself. Most owners will very happily exercise with their dogs, so a fitness tracker is not a substitute but rather an excellent enhancement.
Why would you need a dog fitness tracker?
For dogs that need to lose weight and trim up, or those who are recovering from illness or surgery, a fitness tracker can be a wonderful tool to let you know how they are going. This can help you monitor their progress and ensure that they are improving at the level that you would like.
They can also track things like breathing, seizures, time to give birth, and pain levels through monitoring vital signs.
If you have a dog that you have rescued that is regrouping after some trauma this is very helpful to raise their health and fitness levels gently. Some dogs have health conditions which means it would be dangerous to get their vital signs beyond a certain level, such as heart rate or body temperature.
Some dogs work in conditions that can put them to the test, and this is an awesome way to not only track where they are, but to see that they are okay. Emergency and military services dogs for example benefit greatly from this kind of tracking, as well as farming dogs who work in more extreme environments.
What can a dog fitness tracker tell you?
Because of the extremely broad range of options and features of fitness trackers, and new models being constantly added to the list, it can be hard to compare them. The differences make them quite contrasting, but incredibly good.
They usually attach to your dog’s collar, and should at their very basic be waterproof, have decent battery life, track some level of fitness and send that information to your smart device or another recording system.
The best dog activity monitor for you will depend on what you need to know about your puppy’s fitness.
Some of the things that you can monitor include:
- Tracking your dog’s exercise levels in terms of distance, speed, time, calories lost and more
- Identifying when your dog is walking, running, playing and sleeping
- Track vital signs such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature
- You can set fitness goals for your dog and see if he is reaching them
Additional bells and whistles features which go beyond the standard models can also include:
- GPS tracking of your dog in case he gets lost or stolen
- Alerts for things like medication times, time to exercise, go to the toilet or feeding time
- Message system and to-do lists that can be swapped with other carers and dog walkers
- Bluetooth capabilities to see who is with your dog
Comparing the best dog fitness trackers
This is a strong and reliable product which has been around for some time and gone through some snazzy evolutions. It looks cute and fits neatly onto the collar, with dogs not minding when they are wearing it. It is tougher and more durable than previous models.
It is the best-selling model and considered to be the easiest to use. There are no monthly subscription fees. Tracking fitness, activity, goals and some health signs, this is a nice all-round device. You can also compare how your dog is going to other dogs of the same breed.
- Small and black, but with interchangeable colour covers
- Rechargeable lithium battery with long life
- Syncs with all regular smart devices and many human fitness trackers
- Tracks fitness levels, sleep and health signs
- Monitor and plan fitness goals through the app
Not only does this sync with all of the usual smart devices but can send information to some fitness trackers too including Fitbit, Apple Watch and Google Fit. This is a really good feature for healthy people who want to be able to monitor their dogs too and set and achieve goals for both.
This device is tough and sturdy and generally well regarded world-wide. It tracks fitness as well as health signs, including activity levels, quality of sleep, distance, calories and more.
You can also track your dog’s anxiety levels after you leave him alone or check things like his skin condition and scratching levels.
You can recharge the battery while he is wearing it which is a handy feature.
It is a good product for the price and worth the investment. It is also supported by a good customer service team for complaints or any troubleshooting.
The price may put this out of the range of many dog owners, but if you don’t need all of the health tracking features included then you may wish to settle for a more basic product than the FitBark.
Down the cheaper end of the scale, but still an excellent product is the Pitpat 2, which has also evolved and added features with time. At almost half the cost of the FitBark, this device is more for people who are just looking for a basic model.
It is good-looking, strong and sturdy, and waterproof. It tracks distance, activity intensity levels, sleep and calories lost, as well as setting and monitoring specific fitness goals. It does not track health information, so is not as useful for this purpose.
- Tracks dog exercise levels, rest and calories lost
- Allows you to set breed-specific targets
- Fits any collar
- One year battery, no recharging needed.
- Syncs with smartphone app
A handy feature of this device is the breed specific recommendations that allow you to set goals appropriate for your dog. Syncs with a smartphone app for Apple and Android phones that is easy to use.
The device works for any dog. It is a good reliable basic product and does what it says it will.
The battery cannot be recharged so will need to be replaced annually.
The tracker is less compact and light than more expensive models, but will still be fine for most dogs.
It doesn’t track health signs, so if you need a device that does this, you should be upgrading to a more complex model. But this is a great product for basic fitness tracking.
This is a higher end device but doesn’t get as many rave reviews as the others we have already reviewed. It is sleek and white, and tracks fitness, rest and health statistics by syncing to an app on Apple and Android smartphones.
This device can track many things, including his levels of activity such as running, walking, playing and sleeping, and can track calories lost. The health vital signs are very good and detailed, so this could be a good product if you specifically have a puppy with health concerns or recovering from illness or surgery. Can also monitor mood and emotional levels.
- Tracks fitness, activity levels and health signs
- 4 month battery
- Low power consumption
- Syncs to app on most smartphones
- Water and dust proof
Sleek and pretty, this is a middle range product in terms of fitness tracking. It syncs with smartphones and is easy to use. It fits on all collars and is easy to attach and detach.
With excellent health monitoring, this is a good device for sick or recovering dogs. You can monitor your pup’s health and mood levels when you are not around, and also provide a lot of information to your vet during check-ups.
This device weighs more than the others so may be uncomfortable for some dogs, especially smaller breeds. The battery doesn’t last as long as some.
It doesn’t offer quite as much in term of fitness training and information (it tracks only active minutes, not distance or steps), but is good on the basics, and has the extra health information as well.
It will only send you information while you are within Bluetooth connectivity of your dog, so this gives you less capability to track in real time.
Some devices have reportedly stopped working, and some customers felt it didn’t offer the level of fitness tracking they would like, which seems to be why the reviews are lower than for the FitBark or Pitpat.