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Best dog activity trackers in 2021
As you know, your dog needs plenty of exercise to ensure that he or she lives a long and happy life (with you!). Below we’ve shared our reviews of the best dog activity trackers on the market, to help you find the right device for your pet in 2021.
What is a Dog Activity Tracker?
A dog activity tracker is designed to monitor the activity levels of your canine friend, allowing you a greater insight into when they walk, run, nap, and play.
Just like with a human Fitbit!
You can make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise every day and keep a closer eye on their health, behaviour, and weight.
Is your dog overweight, or are you worried about your pups when you’re not home? Or are you concerned that your dog walker isn’t doing their job properly?
Either way, a dog activity tracker will help solve the problem.
Our Top Picks
- PoochPlay: Best dog activity tracker for price
- Whistle Go Explore: Best dog activity tracker for accuracy
- FitBark 2: Best dog activity tracker for ease of use
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Best Price
Founded by a team of vets and engineers at the Google Campus in London, PoochPlay is not only the most affordable device we found on the market, but it also has no subscription fees!
This is incredible and makes it the ideal choice for you, as a caring dog owner on a budget.
Considering the extremely low price, it also has some impressive features. Like its more expensive counterparts, this activity tracker helps you tailor your dog’s diet plans based on the breed and the brand of food your dog eats.
However, I’ve noticed that it doesn’t have all breeds listed and there isn’t anywhere you can add a mixed breed dog, but PoochPlay is making updates to its free app all the time.
It’s also completely waterproof making it great for your water-loving pup, although it’s not as durable as other models I’ve seen, so you might want to steer clear if you have a particularly big dog that enjoys rough play!
Unfortunately, it also has a tendency to slip off my dog’s collar sometimes, which is annoying as if it happens when you’re out walking then you’ll have to replace the unit.
However, I really love the battery life of this device, which lasts for an incredible six months using a watch-style battery. You won’t have to worry about recharging it all the time and you only have to replace the battery twice a year. Nice!
If you’re interested in buying this device, you just need to be aware that it can’t track your dog’s location. So if this is an important feature to you, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
- Most affordable activity monitor
- No subscriptions fees
- Long battery life
- Can’t be used to track your dog’s location
- Has a tendency to fall off the collar
- Some dog breeds are missing from the software
- May not be durable enough for larger breeds
Whistle Go Explore Ultimate Health & Location Tracker – Best for Accuracy
The Whistle Go Explore tracker is the most accurate activity tracking device we found and it’s also one of the most comprehensive monitors we’ve seen.
You’ll love it because it’s enhanced accuracy and advanced features mean that you can keep an extra close eye on your dog’s health and wellbeing.
The app actually monitors your dog for you and sends you an alert if it believes your pet is displaying elevated levels of licking or scratching (for example). You’ll find this really useful for identifying any potential health problems early on, as well as making sure that your four-legged friend is as healthy and happy as possible, at all times.
What I love best about the Whistle Go Explore is that it offers you on-demand access to a veterinarian (through the app). This is great because you can chat with the vet about any concerns you have, potentially saving you loads of money on trips to your usual vet!
This tracker also provides real-time location tracking of your best friend, allowing you to pinpoint their location anywhere in North America. Whether they’ve escaped next door or are 3,000 miles away!
However, you do need decent AT&T coverage in your area to make the GPS on this product work for you.
Another nice feature for if your dog does have a tendency to run off, is the built-in night light, great for helping you track down your dog in the dark! I sometimes used the light on night-time walks when we were near roads for extra safety too.
You will have to recharge the device battery fairly often as it only lasts 20 days. But to be fair, 20 days outperforms many other GPS tracking devices on the market (which obviously didn’t make it to our list!).
As expected, with all its bells and whistles (no pun intended), the Whistle Go Explore is the most expensive dog activity tracker on this list and a subscription is also required. But if you have the money and want the most comprehensive activity tracker, then this is it.
- Real-time location tracking and alerts
- On-demand support from a qualified vet
- Most comprehensive data and alerts
- Built-in night light
- Most expensive tracker on this list plus subs costs
- GPS only works in the US with AT&T coverage
FitBark 2 Dog Activity Monitor – Most User-Friendly
In our opinion, the FitBark 2 Dog Activity Monitor is the most user-friendly device on the market right now.
It gives you access to some pretty comprehensive information, all set out in a really easy to read manner, allowing you to receive updates on your dog’s health quickly and easily.
FitBark has a long history in the dog activity market and their user-friendly app allows you to compare your dog’s activity data to other dogs of the same breed. If you’re anything like me then you’ll find this data really interesting, and you might also find it helpful to get motivated!
It could be the ideal activity tracker for you if you want to build healthy habits for you and your dog together.
And it’s compatibility with other (human) fitness tech is second-to-none!
You can link your dog’s FitBark up to your Fitbit, Apple watch, HealthKit, Google Fit device or smartphone. This is great because it means you can keep track of your activity together and compare stats side by side, all in one place.
The FitBark 2 doesn’t come with GPS, but they do have a GPS version if you’re prepared to pay a little extra and commit to subscription fees. The GPS service is powered by Verizon so if the Whistle Go Explore won’t work in your area, then this one might.
We love the fact that the FitBark device also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning if you don’t like it or just simply change your mind, then you can. No questions asked! They also provide a two-year limited warranty on top of this. Great, huh?
- Most user friendly interface
- Compatible with human fitness devices
- 30-day money back guarantee and two-year warranty
- Compare your dog against other dog’s activity data
- Long battery life (six months or 10-20 days for GPS version)
- Cute, small and lightweight design
- Zip ties that connect the collar seem cheap and might break.
- I’ve heard of some people not getting any response from customer services.
I’ve seen and used a lot of dog activity trackers and none have impressed me quite as much as the Fitbark 2 Dog Activity Monitor.
And it’s not because of the cute doggy bone design of the device!
I chose the Fitbark 2 as the overall best dog activity tracker for several reasons, as listed below:
- It offers all the readings you would expect from a dog activity tracker and more, including sleep and health index, calorie counter, rest/active/play times, and distance covered
- You can compare your dog’s data with other user’s data, just like on Fitbit!
- It is smaller and more lightweight than many other devices, making it suitable for all dogs from three pounds to 200 pounds
- It features a durable, waterproof design with a great battery life
- It has a really user-friendly interface with easy-to-read information
- It’s compatible with most human fitness trackers too
How Does a Dog Activity Tracker Work?
Most dog activity trackers rely on motion sensors to detect and relay information on your dog’s activity levels.
Unlike human fitbits, a dog activity tracker detects motion up and down and side to side. The app software then interprets the data received and good trackers will be able to tell if the dog is sleeping, scratching, walking etc, by the way it’s moving.
What to Expect From Dog Activity Trackers
Some older activity trackers only allowed you to monitor the number of steps taken each day by your four-legged friend. This is great if you want an activity tracker purely to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise each day, but these days many dog owners want more from their device.
For example, more modern, comprehensive units will show you when your pet is sleeping, licking, scratching, and walking about. This kind of data is really handy for closer monitoring of your pet’s behaviour and identifying potential problems.
For example, if your tracker reveals that your dog is scratching more than usual, then a quick visit to the vet might reveal that they have a skin condition. This can be treated much sooner with earlier identification, keeping your pooch much happier!
You should also look for a device that is waterproof, especially if your four-legged friend loves to swim!
I often walk my dog near a big pond and there’s no stopping him from jumping straight in as soon as we arrive!
Plus, you never know when you’ll both be caught out in a torrential rainstorm.
What Else to Look For in a Good Dog Fitness Tracker?
The very best dog activity trackers will contain state-of-the-art technology that not only monitor your dog’s activity levels, but they’ll also offer an insight into their health. Heart rate monitors and calories counters are hugely desirable features in these devices and will help you keep track of your pup’s health and weight.
Higher-end models also allow you to keep track of your dog’s whereabouts via GPS or radio frequency. This is a great feature to have if your dog has a tendency to take himself for walks from time to time!
Some dog fitness trackers will also link seamlessly into the other tech in your life. Look out for the devices that incorporate the technology you actually use, making your dog’s fitness data more easily accessible to you.
Whether you want your data on a laptop, user-friendly app, or prefer the tracker to link up with your own human fitness monitor, check that the device is compatible with you before you invest.
Battery life will vary a lot from one tracker to the next. Devices that simply track activity will have longer battery life, whereas those with GPS capabilities will need charging regularly.
If the device doesn’t charge, then look for a device that needs the battery changing once every few months. The longest battery life I’ve seen is around six months.
In the worst case, I’ve seen GPS activity trackers that last just one day (or less!) before they need charging again, which is super annoying.
You should be able to find a decent GPS tracker that offers between seven to 10 days of battery life, some even offer up to 20 days.
And of course, longer battery life means that the device will spend longer on your pooch and less time attached to the wall, meaning you will receive the most accurate data on your dog’s behaviour patterns.
I speak from experience when I say that durability is hugely important when it comes to dog activity trackers. You need a device that will withstand rough play and the bigger your dog, the more durable the device will need to be!
That’s why it’s really important to invest in a well-made, quality product from a reputable manufacturer. That way you can make sure you get your money’s worth out of the product.
If the product comes with a guarantee or warranty, then that’s even better.
Don’t forget to take into consideration that some devices carry ongoing subscription costs to support the capabilities of the fitness tracker.
Usually you’ll only get subscription costs for higher end activity trackers that also offer GPS tracking, but do check before you make your purchase so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.
If you’re on a budget, then you’re better off opting for a tracker with a single upfront payment, that doesn’t require ongoing subscription and support.
Are Activity Trackers Safe for Dogs?
Activity trackers do not pose any short or long term health risks to your dog, so long as the device weight and size is suitable for the size of your pooch.
They contain a small battery that is designed to not heat up while in use, like those found in watches.
The only problem that could potentially arise would be for longer haired dogs getting hair caught up in the casing of the device. But I’ve never heard of this actually happening!
Benefits vs Limitations of Dog Activity Trackers
- Help your dog lose weight by monitoring activity levels
- Monitor your dog’s behaviour to identify problems early on
- Track stress and anxiety levels
- Monitor sleep levels
- Monitor walks with your dog walker
- Get fitter together
- Locate your dog with GPS tracking (in some models)
- GPS models need to be recharged on a regular basis
- Some also carry monthly subscription costs
- Not all devices offer accurate readings
- Not all devices are completely waterproof
How Much Does a Dog Activity Tracker Cost?
As with any other tech gadget, dog activity trackers can vary hugely in price, depending on their features and capabilities.
The most affordable tracker I’ve come across is around £30-40, but higher-end models with GPS tracking capabilities usually start at around £130-160. As mentioned previously, some devices also come with monthly or yearly subscription costs on top of the initial tracker cost.
Fitbit is a brand of fitness monitor and while Fitbit themselves don’t manufacture a device for dogs, other companies do.
Some of the more reputable brands in the market include FitBark, PitPat, PoochPlay, Tractive, and Whistle.
In short, no.
Currently, you can only chip your dog with an identity microchip that will help you be reunited with them if they’re found.
The activity monitor by Petfit is currently the smallest and lightest device on the market.
Some dog activity trackers are waterproof, while others are only water-resistant. So this is something you should check before buying a device, especially if your doggo loves to swim!