In this day and age when people are concerned about their diet, health, and fitness, it’s only natural that dog lovers would also want to make sure their dogs are staying fit, too. Enter fitness trackers for your dog. Depending on the brand or model you purchase, a fitness tracker for your dog might have GPS features, track the intensity of your dog’s activity during the day, and even monitor how much food and water your dog consumes. Some fitness trackers can even provide high definition video from your dog’s collar. It just depends on how much money you are willing to spend.
Fitness trackers and pet technology
Fitness trackers, also called activity monitors, are part of a growing industry of gadgets for pets that includes GPS trackers, automatic feeders, ball throwing machines for dogs to fetch, and self-cleaning litter boxes for cats.
According to the American Pet Products Association, people in the U.S. will spend $72.1 billion this year on pet products and care, up 3.6 percent from last year. Sales of pet products have been growing steadily since the mid-1990s. Spending on pets worldwide in 2017 was $109 billion, according to Euromonitor International.
Pet technology is a surging part of the pet industry in recent years. It typically uses innovations that were developed for humans and turns them into helpful ways to care for your dog or cat.
Pros and cons of fitness trackers for dogs
Like any gadgets that you can buy for your dog, there are always pros and cons. Here are things to consider about fitness trackers for your pet:
- Fitness trackers can provide lots of information, especially if you aren’t home with your dog during the day. Again, depending on the brand or model you choose, a fitness tracker can tell you about your pet’s activity, rest periods, how many calories he’s burning, his food intake, and more. This can be helpful even with a small dog if he doesn’t eat regular meals and you’re concerned about how much food he eats. If you have a high energy dog, you can get an idea of how much exercise your dog is getting when you’re out – and how much more exercise he might need when you’re home.
- Fitness trackers can monitor changes in your dog’s activity and eating habits. Changes in your dog’s activity levels and eating habits can be an indication of a health problem so knowing about these issues as soon as they start to appear can let you catch problems early.
- Some fitness trackers also have a “lost pet” mode, in case your dog goes missing. The lost pet mode and GPS tracking can make it easier to find a missing pet as long as the tracker and collar remain on your dog.
- Fitness trackers can be especially helpful if you have an overweight or obese dog. If your dog needs to count calories and get a certain amount of exercise per day, a fitness tracker can help you keep track of how your dog is doing. It’s a good way to manage your dog’s weight loss.
- Cost. While basic fitness trackers cost around $30-50, if you want a fitness tracker that has some of the more advanced features, be prepared to pay more – often a lot more.
- Necessity. If you have managed all this time to take care of your dog, feed him, and provide proper exercise without a fitness tracker, you may ask yourself if your dog really needs one. This is a perfectly legitimate question. Pet tech isn’t for everyone.
Functions to look for in a fitness tracker
If you decide to get a fitness tracker/activity monitor for your dog, here are some features to consider. You may not need all of these features. In general, the more features a fitness tracker has, the more it will cost.
- GPS pet tracking
This feature lets you monitor the precise location of your dog if he happens to wander away – great if your dog gets out of your yard or house. Allows you to make full use of extended GPS systems.
- Bluetooth connectivity
Since Bluetooth relies on devices near it, this allows you to see who is near your dog at any moment. You can also determine if your dog is still in Bluetooth range.
- Management apps for veterinary records
Many fitness trackers come with apps that allow for the integration of veterinary and other pet-related health records so you can mange your pet’s care more efficiently.
- Organizer functions
Organizer functions are now standard on many fitness trackers. They allow you to track your dog’s progress relative to other dogs of the same size or breed and keep track of his previous physical information.
Finding a good fitness tracker
Apart from choosing the specific features that you are looking for in a fitness tracker/activity monitor, there are also some boxes that any good fitness tracker should tick.
- It should be accurate. It won’t be any good for you or your dog if it doesn’t provide accurate information. Read customer reviews to see if people are pleased with the information it provides.
- It should track your dog’s health status. Even most basic fitness trackers will provide some feedback about your dog’s health. This is valuable information.
- It should be easy to use. If a fitness tracker isn’t easy to use, you won’t use it. It’s wasted money.
- It should be durable and waterproof. We all know that dogs can be rough (or is that ruff?) on products. Make sure you buy a fitness tracker that can stand up to daily wear and tear from your dog. Plus, it needs to be waterproof in case your dog decides to dunk his head in the bathtub or jump in the pool.
Read customer reviews and product information carefully when choosing a fitness tracker so you can find out about the product.
A fitness tracker for your dog can be a great way to know how much exercise your dog is getting during the day, how much he’s eating, and even track him if he wanders off. There are lots of positives about getting a fitness tracker/activity monitor for your dog. The biggest downside can be the cost, especially if you are interested in some of the more advanced fitness trackers. Check them out and see if a fitness tracker is a good investment for you and your dog.