By Laura Christianson
During the water aerobics class I attend, most people wear fitness trackers. We have a friendly competition going to see who can burn the most calories during class.
Fitness trackers are all the rage, not only for humans, but also for dogs (who wear them on their collar, not their wrist).
Activity trackers made specifically for dogs help you monitor your furry friends’ health and activity. They can provide a wealth of information about your dog’s overall well-being, including how many steps they take each day, the distance they walk, how many calories they burn, and how much sleep they get. Some trackers include features such as a heart rate monitor or a built-in camera.
Two Types of Activity Trackers
Collar-mounted trackers are attached to your dog’s collar and track their activity level using a built-in GPS receiver. They are typically more expensive than clip-on trackers, but they offer a wider range of features.
Clip-on trackers clip onto your dog’s collar or harness and track their activity level using an accelerometer. Clip-on trackers are smaller than collar-mounted trackers, but they’re not as accurate.
6 Benefits of Activity Trackers
- Monitor your dog’s activity level. Helps you ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit.
- Identify potential health problems. If your dog’s activity level suddenly decreases, a tracker can give you early warning of potential problems so you can get your dog to the veterinarian for the treatment they need.
- Share your dog’s activity data with your veterinarian. When your vet examines your dog, the data from the activity tracker can be helpful.
- Encourage your dog to be more active. Some dogs are naturally more active than others. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, a fitness tracker can help you encourage them to be more active.
- Track your dog’s progress. If you’re working on a weight loss or fitness goal with your dog, tracking their progress over time will help you stay motivated.
- Find your dog if it gets lost. Trackers have a built-in GPS receiver so they can track your dog’s location.
6 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Tracker
If you’re thinking about getting a fitness tracker for your dog, here are six important considerations:
- Dog’s size and activity level. Some trackers are designed for small dogs, while others can accommodate larger breeds. Check the size and weight of the tracker and/or tracker collar.
- Waterproofness. Make sure the tracker is waterproof, especially if you live in a rainy or humid environment or you plan on taking your dog swimming.
- Durability. The tracker should be able to withstand being chewed on by your dog.
- Accuracy. The accuracy of the tracker is important, especially if you are using it to track your dog’s health data.
- Battery life. The tracker’s battery should last for several days (or even weeks) without needing to be recharged.
- Price. Trackers typically range in price from around $50 to $150. Many of them require an ongoing subscription plan in addition to the price of the tracker itself. Choose a tracker that fits your budget.
5 Important Features of Activity Trackers
Next, it’s time to think about the features that are most important to you.
- Step tracking: This is the most basic feature of any fitness tracker, and it can be a great way to see how much exercise your dog is getting each day.
- Calorie tracking: Helps you make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
- Sleep tracking: Helps you identify any potential sleep problems that your dog may be having.
- GPS tracking: A lifesaver if your dog ever gets lost.
- Two-way communication: Some trackers allow you to send voice commands to your dog, or even receive live updates on their location.
6 Popular Activity Trackers (in no particular order)
To help you research, we compiled information and current pricing on six popular activity trackers. Many of these companies offer multiple types and sizes of trackers for both dogs and cats, each with varying features and pricing. In this article, we feature one device from each company.
In addition to the cost of the device itself, most activity trackers require an annual subscription plan. When comparing prices, calculate the costs over the life of the device. Many devices include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Fi Smart Dog Collar
This collar includes GPS tracking, activity monitoring, and escape detection (which sends an alert to your phone if your dog gets out unexpectedly). The waterproof collar has a stainless steel body to resist chewing, and the battery life averages 1.5-to-2 months.
Price: Approximately $148
Tractive GPS Tracker for Dogs
Designed specifically for dogs, this subscription-based GPS tracker offers live tracking, so you can always know where your dog is. This waterproof tracker also offers a virtual fence, all-day activity monitoring, historical tracking and health reports.
Price: Approximately $49 plus required subscription plan (monthly, 1, 2, or 5-year plans)
This collar attachment is good for dogs of all sizes. It requires a subscription plan that uses sophisticated AI to track your dog’s health, fitness, nutrition, and activity. Some – but not all – Whistle Health devices include GPS location tracking. The subscription also gives you access to on-demand veterinary help through chat, phone, video, or email––right from the Whistle app. Waterproof up to 6 ft., the Whistle Health has battery life of up to 60 days and a built-in night light with three settings.
Price: Approximately $69 plus required subscription plan
FitBark GPS 2nd Generation
Weighing half an ounce, the FitBark GPS touts itself as the world’s smallest pet tracker, fitting dogs as small as 5 pounds. The required subscription plan tracks a variety of metrics, including steps taken, calories burned, and sleep quality. This tracker also offers features that can help you improve your dog’s health, such as goal setting and progress tracking. The FitBark is 100% waterproof and has a battery life that ranges from 24 hours (for live tracking) to up to 6 months (Bluetooth).
Price: Approximately $100 plus required subscription plan
PetPace Smart Collar
The PetPace Smart Collar is a non-invasive wireless collar that continuously collects your pet’s vital signs and behavior patterns. It offers real-time GPS tracking, activity tracking, sleep tracking, and a variety of other features. The PetPace Smart Collar comes in three sizes, is water-resistant, and the battery lasts around three weeks before it needs recharging.
Price: Approximately $150 plus a monthly monitoring fee
Pawfit 3s Dog GPS Tracker
This subscription-based tracker enables you to record up to 5 personal voice commands so you can recall or train your dog with the speaker of the tracker, even when they’re out of earshot. The Pawfit can be submerged in water up to 9.8 ft. deep and for up to 30 minutes. It offers activity tracking, real-time GPS tracking, sleep tracking, and has a built-in LED light and alarm that makes your dog easier to find in the dark. You can create safety zones around your home and other important locations. If your dog leaves one of these zones, you will receive an alert.
Price: Approximately $100 plus required subscription plan
Which Activity Tracker is Right for You?
The best dog activity tracker for you will depend on your individual needs, preferences, and budget.
Whether you are looking primarily for a GPS tracker, the most affordable device, or one with all the bells and whistles, an activity tracker is a valuable tool for ensuring that your furry friend is getting the best possible care so they can live a long, healthy, and happy life.
*Note: Amazon links in this article are affiliate links. If you purchase a product using a link, the author will receive a small commission on the sale.