Worried that your canine companion has packed on a few pounds, or concerned he’s not getting the physical activity he needs to maintain optimal health? Well, as with everything else these days, there’s an app for that! Like the FitBit that has become wildly popular for us two-legged mammals, the FitBark, Voyce and Tagg track your dog's activity.
FitBark began with the launch of a KickStarter campaign back in 2013, seeking funding to launch their wearable, bone-shaped fitness tracker for dogs. The tracker is connected to your dog’s collar and paired with the pet parent’s smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It constantly collects the physical activity data for your pet, storing that information in the collar device's memory. Then, when the FitBark is within range of the paired smartphone, it transmits Fido’s activity data to the FitBark smartphone app, allowing pet parents to see exactly how often their dog walks, when they’re walking, and for how long. The app determines your dog’s daily “BarkScore” based on his activity level and typical metrics for other dogs of the same breed and similar size.
The company i4C Innovations also developed a fitness gadget for dogs, known as Voyce, because, as their website says, they “believe in a world where pet parents don’t have to guess anymore.” Their hope is that Voyce will allow people to understand their dogs on a deeper level, allowing them to develop stronger relationships and bonds. Voyce’s tracker fits around your dog’s collar and features 450 different components which monitor your dog’s vital signs through the neck, including heart rate, respiratory rate, activity, rest and calories. Like FitBark, the data is transmitted via Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet to provide insight on Fido’s health.
And then there’s Tagg, a tiny device that slips onto your dog’s collar. That data it provides is quite similar to that of FitBark but, in addition to providing information about your dog’s daily activities, but it also offers a temperature sensor and GPS tracking. With the temperature sensor, Tagg alerts you when Fido becomes too hot or too cold, making it an asset for pets who prefer the outdoors. And, with the GPS tracking, pet parents can rest easier in the event Fido gets lost. The GPS coverage is nationwide, real-time, and notifies you with notifications should your curious canine wander outside of his home safe zone.
A great tool to monitor health
So how do these trackers and the data they provide benefit you as a pet parent? Pet professionals recommend 30 to 60 minutes of activity every day for your four-legged friend. With today’s busy lifestyles, full-time jobs, family and multiple other responsibilities pet parents have, sometimes Fido’s exercise regimen leaves a lot to be desired. Using a fitness tracker will help you pinpoint when Fido is lacking and the data can provide insight on setting goals, tracking progress and ensuring you and Fido are on the right track. It can also serve as a red-light should you see activity levels suddenly plummet, indicating a health issue may be to blame. The devices aren’t cheap – FitBark and Tagg run around $100 (plus Tagg charges a monthly fee for their GPS service), with Voyce averaging $300, plus a $100 yearly membership fee – but they could tap into your dog’s health and wellness before an issue becomes great, not to mention costly.