Okay… I’ll admit it… I succumbed to adverts!
All over my facebook and instagram feed I kept seeing the ads for the FitBark popping up alongside the FitBit, with talk of how you can sync them together.
I’ve had a Tractive pet tracker before but didn’t find it to be very good quality, the battery would barely last for a day and I would have real problems connecting it to my phone. It was a shame as I was actually really enjoying seeing Guinness’ activity levels.
My FitBit however I’ve had for over a year now and I love it, it’s such a great product and I’ve never had any technical hitches. So when I saw the FitBark pictured alongside FitBit I thought I’d give one a go, although I’m not actually sure if they’re made by the same company.
The FitBark is really easy to set up and charges via a standard MicroUSB. It attached on to the collar with super-strong rubber band things. I was a little concerned that they may be a bit flimsy at first but I couldn’t have been more wrong, they are super secure. It just about fits onto Guinness’ big chunky collar and it has survived a tough testing by him. Charging through woodland, diving into bushes, swimming, agility, playing with other dogs. It’s stayed put and worked through all of it. I’m always nervous about technology in water but he has been swimming in lakes quite a few times and it’s still fine, so definitely waterproof.
The app is simply to use and it connects and updates really quickly as long as the device is nearby. Instead of steps or distance travelled it gives you a breakdown of how many minutes the pet has spent at rest, active and play per each hour and generates a daily score based on how active the dog has been. It also gives you a sleep index which lets you know what quality of nights sleep they have had.
I’m really intrigued as to why pet activity monitors don’t give you number of steps or distance travelled, if anyone knows please let me know. I’m assuming it has something to do with the movement of the dog and their stride lengths perhaps. However the breakdown the FitBark gives you is really easy to understand and I love how you can get a good idea of what he’s been doing during each hour of the day.
I especially like seeing what Guinness has been doing for the time I’ve been out of the house and it’s pleasing to see he will go from an average of 30 minutes activity per hour while I’m home to about 5 minutes max per hour while I’m out. Paired with some videos I have done while left alone it all suggests he just sleeps and chills while no one is home. It does sync with your FitBit but all you get is a bar chart of the day with you and your dogs activity side by side (see far right of image above).
The FitBark website features loads of articles on dog health and tips and advice. One of the selling points of the FitBark is that it can help you to spot health problems. I’m a bit sceptical to this, I feel like there would be signs from your dog without having to look at their activity tracker, however that doesn’t mean that keeping a track of their average activity is a bad thing or can’t help to give you some indications, as part of a bigger picture.
Overall the FitBark is great. I like how it presents the data and what is tells me, plus it’s strong, durable, has a very long battery and good connectivity. The only slight glitch I’ve had with it is that it doesn’t seem to hold much history, as if I haven’t connect it for a few day it doesn’t always tell me about the previous day… However saying that today there was an update, after which the last two days of data loaded up which they hadn’t beforehand, so I suspect FitBark may have changed this now. Which means I can leave him with my Mum for a weekend and see what they’ve been doing ;).
If you’re after an activity tracker I’d definitely recommend you take a look at this one. It’s only about £60 and has been great for the past month and a half for which I’ve been using it. I’ve not tried them all though so let me know if you think there’s better ones out there.