Pet Activity Trackers


With the huge popularity of fitness trackers, it was only a matter of time before pets got in on the action with activity monitors of their own. These pet wearables hang from your pooches collar and can track their activities using accelerometers that measure motion. This is the same technology that is used in the most popular human activity trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone. While most owners are very aware of just how much (or little) exercise their pet is getting, these wearable devices give you in-depth data not just on how much walking or aerobic play they get, but also info on how many calories are burned, some monitor breathing and heart rates, and you can even log meals and keep track of medication.

Since all dogs are different, picking the best activity tracker is all about figuring out which device offers the best combination of features that will work with you and your pets fitness goals and health needs.

Pet Fitness Tracker Comparison

Best for Small Dogs

Best Budget

Best Seller

For the Stylish Dog

For Health

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FitBark

Whistle

Tagg GPS Plus

WonderWoof

Voyce

 fitbark whistle tagg-device-3-sq wonderwoofvoyce
What are the main features of this pet tracker?
  • Monitors activity and tracks progress.
  • Lets you compare activity level to similar dogs
  • Comes in 5 colors
  • Can set custom goals
  • Track progress
  • Compare to similar dogs
  • Medication and health tracking
  •  Has a GPS
  • Has an air temperature sensor (to prevent pet from overheating)
  • It looks like a bowtie
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy
  • LED indicators
  • Waterproof
  • Exercise tracking social network
  • Provides in-depth activity metrics
  • Tracks resting heart and respiratory rates
  • Is marketed as more than an activity monitor, but rather a health monitor and wellness management system
 Weight: 8 grams 16 g 1.3 ounces 6 ounces
Read the Full ReviewRead the Full ReviewRead the Full Review

 

What are the Benefits of Getting a Dog Monitor?

Getting pet owners motivated to increase their pet’s activity level is the big benefit of pet activity trackers. For some pet owners walking your dog slides down the list of things to do with within a busy life, but if you are finding that activity levels are down you will get that extra encouragement to help you get going and keep motivated. This in turn will keep your pet healthy and happy. Sadly there are a lot of overweight pets, some reports suggesting more than half of the dogs in the U.S are overweight or obese. Carrying excess weight can lead to all kinds of health problem, so it makes a lot of sense to keep active and fit.

Another reason to use these types of products is that it can help track abnormal behaviour in your pet, alerting you to illness or medical problems that you may not be aware of.

They are also very useful for owners whose dogs go to doggy daycare or are left in the care of dog walkers, so you can check if your pooch is getting as much exercise as you are paying for.

How do Pet Activity Trackers Work?

Just like human fitness trackers, the main technology used in most of these devices is a three-axis accelerometer. Accelerometers measure either up and down, side to side, or front to back. When the accelerometer isn’t moving it only records the force of gravity, when it moves it records the acceleration, although its main function on most of these types of devices is to count steps. Three-axis accelerometers are very inexpensive these days so a lot of start-ups are using them in different kinds of products with varying degrees of success.

When used in pet fitness trackers the accelerometer is added to a tag or device that is worn on the pet’s collar. The tag then sends the data that is collected to an app that the owner has installed. The app processes the data that is collected using software algorithms to analyze the motion and estimate the amount of activity (or lack thereof) your pet has reached in a day, as well as other reports.

Some activity trackers include other sensors that are common on human trackers like an ambient temperature sensor that can let you know when your dog is too hot or too cold, or a new more advanced sensor that uses low-frequency radio waves to measure heart rate (available on the Voyce).

Features you may want to look for

Rechargeable battery/Battery Life

In general most trackers will last between one to two weeks on a charge. Most are charged by using a USB connector that you plug into your computer to charge.

GPS

Having a device with GPS lets you keep track of your pooch, which is especially useful if they are prone to wandering off as many dogs like to do. Keep in mind if you go for a product with GPS, you will have an additional monthly fee for using the GPS service. So a GPS enabled devices isn’t necessarily the best choice for everyone.

Durability

If you have a very active dog that spends a lot of time outdoors, you will want to get a monitor that will be able to withstand what your mutt can put it through. If you are worried about the durability of a product, pay close attention to warranty and the company’s reputation for replacing defective devices and faulty parts.

Waterproof

If you have a dog that loves to swim and makes a beeline for any  areas of water that they can find, be sure to only get a monitor that is waterproof not just water resistant. All of the products listed in the table above are waterproof.

Size

Considering your pet will be wearing the tracker almost all the time, it is important that you make sure it will be light and comfortable to wear. Think about the weight of the attachment, the shape of the design may also be a factor to consider.

Wireless Data Syncing

In order to use the monitor you will have to regularly “sync” (transfer) its data to your computer or one of the apps. Syncing your data ensures that you can see all your pets activity history, and other data that is collected.

 

App Features

These devices have to be used with an app to access the data that is collected. All of the apps have slightly different reporting and cool features like:

Text and email alerts – You can gets all kinds of different types of text or email reminders for things like: if your pet leaves your home safe zone, vaccination, appointments, event reminders, alerts to help you keep track of medications, whether the pet is under active,  and to-do lists. These messages can be set up to be sent to all of a pet’s caretakers including pet walkers.
Goal Setting – Set a daily activity goal customized to your dog’s age, breed, and weight.
Bluetooth capabilities  – Lets you see who’s with your dog at any given time.
Progress – Learn when your dog is most active and the type and quality of exercise they’re getting and whether it is improving or getting worse.
Track Medication You can set reminders for ongoing treatments and vaccinations.
Monitor Health Track your dog’s long-term activity level to detect even small changes. Get notifications for notable changes that might require some extra attention.
Log Food – Keep track of your pet’s nutrition through daily food logging to avoid over and underfeeding. This is useful if multiple caretakers are feeding one animal.

 

Top Picks for Pet Activity Monitors

Fitbark

fitbarkSummary Fitbark is bone shaped monitor that logs your dog’s daily activity and tracks progress with no monthly fees. It can help users keep their dogs healthy, explain changes in behavior, help you communicate health concerns to your vet and it lets you compare your pup with similar dogs to help owners understand what a normal activity level is for a particular breed.

FitBark weights only 8 grams making it one of the smaller devices on the market, but it fits dogs of any size. You can even get it wet, as it is waterproof up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. FitBark syncs via BLE whenever it’s next to your smartphone or that of another authorized user. It also has a battery life of up to 14 Days. Read the Full Review

 fitbark.com| Amazon

 

Tagg GPS Plus

fitbarkOverview

Tagg is the world’s most popular activity tracker for pets. The Tagg GPS plus has two primary functions, it lets you track your pets location as well as the activity level of your furry friend. This new model has added an ambient temperature sensor that can let you know if your dog is getting overheated.

Since Tagg uses GPS there is a monthly fee starting at $6.95.

Read the full Review.

 

 whistle.com| Amazon

 

Whistle

Whistle is owned by the same company as Tagg and this device works as activity tracker that will help pet owners keep track of their pooches activity, rest patterns, and fitness goals through easy access from a smartphone. It also lets you keep track of medications, a food log, or make notes of things you noticed that day.
The app also has a cool Communication Hub that lets you communicate with family, friends, dog walkers, and anyone caring for your pet.

Read the Full Review


 whistle.com| Amazon

 

WonderWoof

fitbarkIf you are looking for the cutest pet activity tracker then this one wins hands down, it is shaped like a bowtie that you attach to your pet’s collar and comes in 6 different colors
Data is analysed according to your dog’s size, breed and age so that you can keep track of their sleeping and activity patterns.

This one helps dog owners track, train and ‘socialize’ their dog. The device is a tracker and pedometer for the dog and connects to the owners app, but the app can also be used on its own.

Dogs can get a profile, while the app does goal setting for health objectives, tracks exercise progress, goals and ‘bones’ earned; gives reminders about medical, grooming, food and playtime and will socialise the dog via a Twitter feed.

$89.99, WonderWoof.com

 

 

Voyce

fitbarkThe Voyce Health Monitor is one of the more expensive devices you can get, costing around $300, In addition you must pay a monthly or yearly membership plan fee of $9.95/month or $99.95/year to have access to the online portal. (Without access to the portal you can’t see the data collected from the band.) . It was developed in collaboration with biomedical engineers, veterinary experts and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Using non-invasive sensors and exclusive patented technology, it gathers health information about your dog. In addition it tracks resting heart and respiratory rates – potential indicators that may help detect health problems early.

$300, voyce.com|

 

 

How long will they last?

With reasonable care you should get at least a couple of years of use out of your activity monitor. Most products come with a 30 day return policy and a limited 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. Since many of these products are relatively new to the market, you will want to test them out as soon as you receive it in case you end up getting a defective device and you can return it hassle free under the 30 day return policy. Also ensure you are checking for any signs of damage to the tracker that the pet is wearing to avoid loss of the tracker, or general problems that can arise from damage.

 

Customer Service and Support

When reading reviews and doing research it is important that any products you are considering have good customer service. Since some of these products can be difficult to set up or sync with other devices and you may find yourself looking for support that may be in short supply.

Many of these gadgets are pretty new to the market and some of these start-ups may not have had time to fine tune their customer service, so if you are reading reviews make sure you go with a company that honors the warranty (usually 1 year limited manufacturer’s warranty). Ensure they have a good reputation for replacing parts and most importantly is the customer service easy to get in touch with.

 

Bottom Line

The marketing of these pet trackers is extremely appealing, they promise pet parents fantastic features that will revolutionize life with your pet, but the reality is that these are new products and some of the devices still have some bugs to work out – so you will need to keep that in mind when you are shopping for a pet monitor. Promised features and reports don’t necessarily work as expected, battery life quite often also doesn’t live up to expectations, and the durability of some products needs to be improved. However, these are some pretty cool tech toys that will go a long way with helping you understand and get your pet healthy. Activity trackers still can’t understand every different exercise and move — but they do a pretty good job at monitoring your pooches overall daily activity level.