/ Health, Technology

Fitness tracking for Fido – is it barking mad?

Fitness tracker for dogs

Wearable technology is everywhere and it’s not just for humans. Pets are getting in on the action too, letting you track their fitness, sleep patterns and more.

When I first heard about wearable technology for dogs I chuckled to myself, wondering who on earth would want to strap something around their pet’s neck to see if they’re getting a good night’s sleep.

Even so, I was left feeling curious about the wacky world of activity trackers for doggies, and decided to try some for myself (well, for my dog) to see what all the fuss was about. It turns out that these products are rather clever.

Walkies with wearables

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been putting these fitness trackers to the test with my four-legged partner in crime, Milo the labrador. We’ve gone for walkies with the FitBark, PitPat and Dog Tracker Nano, three mini devices that all aim to tell owners more about their furry friends.

The FitBark (£59.99) and PitPat (£39.99) focus on telling you how much exercise your pooch is getting, and the FitBark also lets you know how fit your dog is compared to an ‘average’ dog of the same breed. Both devices are very small, attach easily to your pet’s collar and won’t cause any discomfort as he or she plays a round or 10 of fetch.

Doggy data

Each dog activity tracker sends feedback to your smartphone, which means you can take a look at when your pet was most active, how many steps they’ve taken, sleep quality and other general habits. While I’ve found the smartphone apps a little basic, they all do a good job of telling you some interesting stats that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

The most intelligent fitness tracker Milo took for a spin was the Dog Tracker Nano, which includes SIM support, so you can pinpoint your dog’s location on a map wherever you are. It’s a little pricy at around £100 and it’s not the prettiest product ever, but if you’re regularly losing your dog, it could be a good buy. Next time Milo decides to go off on an adventure to next door’s garden, I should be able to track him down quite quickly.

So after laughing off the idea of activity trackers for dogs, it turns out they’re potentially very handy gadgets. If you want to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise or you’re keen to know where they’ve wandered off to if you can’t spot them, a wearable could be the way to go.

You can find out more about fitness trackers for dogs and how I got along with the FitBark, PitPat and Dog Tracker Nano over on Which? Tech Daily.

Are you tempted to try a fitness tracker for your fluffy friend?

Comments
Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

This isn’t April 1st, is it?

I’m torn between thinking that this is one of the funniest, more ridiculous things I ever heard, and thinking, what the heck, if it helps you look after your dog, go for it, it’s your money. At least your heart is in the right place, and it will keep the device manufacturers happy, employ people and keep the economy going round and all that.

Profile photo of Beryl
Member

Is this the most recent must have bit of high tech? Barking mad idea! Can they be used for cats as well. You could detect whose flower bed your cat has decided to use as its toilet and quickly run round with a doggy doo bag before the neighbours notice!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

No – it’s 25 June but a bit of light hearted fun that might stop us wondering about how our lives will change as a result of the referendum. Obviously the next step is to sell dog baskets that will charge the dog fitness trackers wirelessly.

Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

Thanks for that, wavechange. A bit of levity is indeed what I need today…

Super this idea of dog baskets charging the trackers wirelessly! Could the trackers have flashing lights that you can switch on for the dark winter days? That would be useful for crossing the road. I saw a dog with a flashing-light collar last winter, and he was also carrying in his mouth what looked like an illuminated tennis ball. Something else to charge through the dog basket.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

We should go into marketing, Sophie. All we need is wacky ideas.

This reminds me that not all daft ideas turn out to be worthless. I remember the first time I saw a doglet (small dog) with a carrying handle. Then I saw how easy it was to get the small animal onto a bus. I did wonder if dogs suffer from embarrassment.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Will they be any use on the grandchildren?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Trackers and fitness decices for children are very useful if you lose them in the shopping centre. Perhaps if these devices sold for dogs were also attached to kids we might see some efforts being made to keep them free from obesity.

I had Labradors once, and they had regular exercise – mostly organised by themselves as in a three mile walk they probably covered 20 rushing off in all directions. I knew when they were losing fitness because they began to have larger bodies.

I’m all for these devices though. Certainly if you can afford to keep a dog you can afford one of these. And given the price of dogs, apart from their affection, you’d want to keep track of them, wouldn’t you?

wavechange and Sophie – my advice is not to go into marketing. you are far too honest. You’d need to employ someone to say the things you would disapprove of. 🙂 🙂

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I would look to the guidance of Gerald Ratner if I was concerned that a product might be substandard in some way, Malcolm. Until today I have only read about his refreshingly honest approach, but there is a YouTube video entitled: Gerald Ratner speaking at the 1991 Institute of Directors Annual Convention 3:40 – 6:30 includes the celebrated remarks – including the one admitting poor durability.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

Malcolm, your aside regarding fitting these to children is interesting. One of our two boys was a ‘wanderer’ as a child, the other one remaining firmly adhered to our sides. I built a small RF signal emitter which blocked a receptor I carried from emitting a loud wail. If he wandered too far then my ‘alarm’ went off. As with all RF devices, however, it was only intermittently useful, and the range varied too much, but the idea is sound. We gave them Walkie Talkies as soon as they were able to use them.

Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

wavechange, you’d better patent that dog basket charger now!

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

We rarely see children in reins these days. We obviously care more for our dogs and wish to have systematic ways of ensuring they are at peak fitness and do not run away.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If the idea is already in the public domain, that means that it cannot be patented. 🙁

Member
bishbut says:
27 June 2016

Dogs need exercise lots of exercise,fitness trackers someone’s brilliant idea to make a lot of money from those lazy people with more money than sense Hype again !!

Member
Tony says:
27 June 2016

Are we going to get a Robot dog next , these are pets which we should love and keep safe . My dog is a show dog and I have had them since 1975 and having been to dog show around the world but I have a dog who will stay with me all his life he gets to go for a walk with me twice each day he can get wet and run where ever he likes (using an extender lead to respect everyone who may not like dogs )walking in the park, towpaths and foot paths in my area . Please don’t make your dog into something you buy from a toy shop or make it like a human which it is not JUST LOVE THEM and you will get back more than you give.

Member
Indeana says:
12 March 2017

Our border collie ran away uncontrollably because he was spooked by a frightening experience yesterday and was lost for half an hour. Fortunately a dog lover realised he was lost and phoned my mobile number on his collar tag, and he was recovered within the hour. However, a GPS device would have enabled us to locate him much more easily without human intervention. Although this is hopefully rare we are going to buy a GPS tracker as we feel it could be of value in a desperate and very upsetting situation.