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Why activity trackers for Dogs are worth the investment.

In a world full of technology it is safe to say that there is a gadget for anything and everything! This also includes our furry companions. 

Activity and GPS trackers are becoming increasingly popular to help owners understand their pets’ activity levels. But what does this data actually mean? How can you use that to help ensure your dog’s needs are being met? 

In this blog post we are going to be looking at a few different types of trackers on the market. But are also going to be exploring the research behind them and see if they are actually useful for us as owners. 

Important notice: this blog post has been created with impartial advice sourced from other sites. We are not affiliated with any of the mentioned products nor are we biassed toward any specific products 

What is an Activity tracker? 

The activity monitors that you can buy for your dog are similar in design to those that you may have for yourself e.g. FitBit or Apple Watch. They are mostly pedometer based trackers. Some have a global positioning system (GPS) functionality, whilst some will also track your dog sleeping pattern as well. 

They are small handheld devices that you can attach to your dog’s collar or harness, they are often waterproof devices which are rechargeable. The length of time between charges is dependent on each device. 

What devices are available?

From the research we have done on the different trackers available there are a vast number of products available. Here are just a few that are available:

  • PitPat activity tracker 
  • FitBark 
  • Tractive GPS tracker 
  • Apple Airtag 
  • Poochplay activity tracker 

In depth product reviews of these products can be found here

Activity trackers vs GPS – What’s the difference?

As you may have noticed from the list of devices above, there are some products called activity trackers and some that are called GPS trackers. But what if the difference? 

Activity trackers are devices that do exactly what they say on the tin. The simply monitor your dogs activity which can include:

  • Exercise 
  • Distance covered 
  • Sleep 
  • Calories burned 
  • Weight (requires user input) 

Because they do not have GPS capabilities these devices do not typically need charging as often. They are still durable and most products are waterproof. 

If you have a dog that tends to wander or take themselves on adventures then it may be an option to have a device with GPS tracking. Although these devices may need more frequent charging. 

What does the research say? 

A study is currently ongoing in the USA by Jayawardene et al., (2021) which is looking into whether there is a link between the use of both human and animal activity trackers increasing the likelihood of moderate intensity activity. 

This study is using a randomised model that consists of dog–human duos, in which none, either, or both is/are wearing an activity tracker for eight weeks. The results of this study are still ongoing, however it has been identified that by linking the use of activity trackers for both humans and dogs may have a beneficial effect on improving targeted behaviour i.e. increasing activity levels. 

With the number of people becoming dog owners, it’s easy to see how this combined with the use of an activity teacher can have a positive long term impact on the health and wellness of both humans and their furry companions. 

The Verdict 

Whilst activity and GPS trackers are still a relatively new trend, research is beginning to be undertaken to demonstrate the positive impact that these devices can have on both parties. 

The use of these trackers can be a great tool to help with the long term management of weight loss in dogs, but with the caveat that they are used alongside a complete and balanced diet and clinical advice from your vet 

You can get £5 off a PitPat activity trackers www.pitpat.com with the discount code PS-SLIMPETVET at the checkout! 

Join the Slim Pet Vet community to get regular prompts to record your dog’s activity levels. 

References:

Jayawardene, W., Huber, L., McDonnell, J., Curran, L., Larson, S., Dickinson, S., Chen, X., Pena, E., Carson, A. and Johnston, J., 2021. ‘Tracking Together’—Simultaneous Use of Human and Dog Activity Trackers: Protocol for a Factorial, Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 18(4), p.1561. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916073/ [Accessed 25 May 2022]

Thepetjourney.com. 2022. Best Dog Activity Trackers 2022 | Dog Fitness Trackers | ThePetJourney. [online] Available at: https://thepetjourney.com/dog-care/tech/best-dog-activity-trackers/#:~:text=A%20dog%20activity%20tracker%20is,like%20with%20a%20human%20Fitbit.

> [Accessed 25 May 2022].

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