Humans love to use a fitness tracker to help them know if they’ve gotten enough steps for the day or if they’ve eaten the right foods throughout the day. Now human owners can make sure their dogs are getting enough activity too.
Dog activity monitors have grown in popularity in recent years. They’re able to tell you how much of the day your favorite furry friend spends walking, running, playing, or sleeping. Some versions of the activity monitor even provide a “GPS dog” function so you can quickly find your dog on your phone if they somehow manage to take an unsupervised walk around the neighborhood.
Many of these smart dog collar trackers are also waterproof, so you don’t have to take the fitness tracker off your dog if you need to bathe them or if they want to go for a swim. Many of the pet tracker devices also have a battery lifespan that lasts for a year. Battery longevity is a major plus since you won’t have to go through the hassle of remembering to charge the dog activity monitor.
The dog activity monitor is also extremely convenient because it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and then you can view all of your dog’s stats in your specific pet tracker app. Most of the smart dog collar apps will work with both iPhone or Android devices.
Why Buy A Dog Activity Monitor?
- To Make Sure Your Dog Is Getting Enough Exercise
There are many benefits that the dog activity monitors can provide for both you and your pet. The first involves knowing if your dog is getting enough exercise throughout the day. Understanding your dog’s activity level is especially good for dogs who tend to be overweight. They could be overweight because of what they’re eating, but they might also be overweight due to lack of exercise.
- The GPS Dog Function
Another reason that many owners want a smart dog collar is due to the GPS dog function. Not all owners want to put a GPS tracker into their dog’s body, so the GPS dog function that comes with most activity monitors allows owners to track their dog if they were to get loose. The tracker provides real-time GPS data about your dog’s movement, so you can easily follow them on your phone. You can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to track your dog’s location if they ever leave the yard.
- Help You Reach Your Own Fitness Goals
One main benefit that many people don’t think of when they think of having a dog is how owning a dog can help you reach your own fitness goals; if you’re out walking your dog every day, you’re also getting in a higher number of steps each day. Many people who have bought a pet tracker for their dog have found that they’re also raising their average number of daily steps by ensuring that their dog is getting enough steps each day.
- Ability To See Changes To Your Dog’s Health Overtime
It isn’t easy to quantify your dog’s health without data to back it up. You might feel like your dog has suddenly become less active, but you can’t say for sure.
This is where a dog activity monitor is beneficial. It allows you to compare long term data. It could help you establish a baseline for your dog’s activity metrics, and then you can more easily pick up on any early-onset health or behavior changes.
What Makes A Good Dog Activity Monitor? Essential Features to Look For
When you’re looking at a dog activity monitor, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a couple of these key features.
- How Accurate is it?
You’ll want to pick an activity monitor that is known for its accuracy in giving you more information about your dog’s activities throughout the day. This will help you have more confidence in the data the device collects.
You can’t watch your dog every second of the day, so you won’t know when your dog will play with one of its toys or roll on the ground. Having an activity tracker that can’t withstand a dog’s usual activities isn’t much help to you. (Pro tip: If you have a dog that’s an incredibly rough playmate, consider buying a tracker that has a longer warranty).
You’ll also want to pick a waterproof activity monitor. A water resistance device will be helpful if you occasionally take your dog on walks while it’s raining. You don’t want to have an activity monitor on your dog’s collar that you have to remember to remove each time it’s raining outside (you also don’t want one that could short circuit just from your dog drinking sloppily from their water bowl).
Many of the activity monitors listed below are water-resistant up to a couple of feet, so your dog will be able to wear it into the pool or lake if they’re a fan of swimming.
Top 6 Dog Activity Monitors
If your main focus is your dog’s health, then this could be the activity tracker for you. FitBark attaches to your dog’s collar and then gives you information on your dog’s activity and sleep patterns. It also is a stylish accessory since it looks like a dog bone.
Many dog owners like this fitness tracker because of it’s ability to set customizable health goals for their pet. If your dog isn’t on track to reach its goals for the day, then you’ll receive a notification through the app.
On top of all the other information that the app will provide about your dog, you’ll also receive a weekly update on your dog’s activity. You’ll be able to compare the amount of exercise your dog received in the most recent week vs. the week before it.
The app also features an online community where you can see how your dog’s activities compare to other dogs of the same breed.
Pros of FitBark
- Sleep quality and sleep time
- Distance your dog traveled in a day
- Calories burned
- Overall health
- Licking, sleeping, and scratching
- Weekly wellness reports
- Waterproof up to one meter for 30 minutes. You’ll just need to ensure that you keep the rubber piece covering the charging point completely closed before your dog goes into water.
- Has GPS dog location abilities.
- You can compare your dog’s activity to other dogs from the same breed.
- Give your dog’s health activity to your veterinarian.
- Risk-free trial. You can try out FitBark for 30-days. If you don’t love it, you can send it back through the company’s money-back guarantee policy.
- No monthly subscription fees. This is a massive benefit for many dog owners since so many dog activity monitors have a monthly fee associated with them.
- 14-day battery life.
- Free iOS and Android apps.
- One-year limited warranty
- Weighs 0.32 ounces. Lightest dog collar tracker.
- Has an online community.
Cons of FitBark
- Some users have found that the activity tracker is not as waterproof as advertised.
- There have been some issues with data synchronization automatically connecting between the device and your smartphone app.
FitBark costs $99.95. This puts the FitBark in the middle range for its cost. It isn’t the most expensive GPS pet tracker on the market, but it also isn’t the cheapest. One thing that helps many dog owners save money is the lack of a monthly subscription too.
2. Whistle Go Explore
This dog activity monitor does three things at once: it acts as a GPS tracker, provides details about your pet’s activities, and gives you a way to update your dog’s pet care history. The activity monitor also lets you see what your dog has been doing in the past 24 hours, so you can always know what parts of the house or yard your dog wanders in when you’re not at home.
This activity monitor is unique because it allows you to pinpoint your dog’s location with both WiFi and cellular data instead of using only Bluetooth or cellular data. Since the GPS tracker uses cellular data, you’ll track your dog for up to 3000 miles, instead of the 50 feet that a Bluetooth connection provides.
You also can set a “safe area” with this app, so you’ll know as soon as your dog wanders too far away from home. The tracker sends out your dog’s location every 15 seconds, so you’ll know instantaneously if your dog has left the safe area.
The activity monitor is also unique in the activities it can track and provide detailed information on. The monitor will tell you if your dog is scratching more often than usual, which could mean that it has a skin allergy or infection. It’ll let you know if your dog is drinking more water than usual, which could be a result of disease or diabetes. It tracks excessive licking that could be happening due to discomfort, pain, or dietary issues.
It’ll even track sleep disruptions in your dog’s sleep cycles that could take place because of a sleep disorder or insomnia. Knowing about a change in your dog’s behavior early on can help you prevent a health issue before it worsens.
Pros of Whistle Go Explore
- Location of your dog
- Sleep quality
- Distance traveled on a walk or hike
- Calories burned
- Overall health
- Waterproof for splashes, rain/snow, dog shower
- Keep track of medications, a food log, or make notes of things you noticed that day
- Nightlight (in the Go Explore version)
- 90-day money-back guarantee (most extended of the risk-free trials)
- Utilizes both WiFi and cellular data
- Free iOS and Android apps
- One-year warranty
Cons of Whistle Go Explore
- Must have an AT&T cellular network plan
- More expensive than other activity monitor options
- Can’t be used with dogs that weigh less than 8 pounds
- $129. 95
- Requires a $7.95 per month subscription fee
3. Link AKC Smart Dog Tracker
The Link AKC fitness tracker is the tracker you’ll want to get for your dog if you’re working on training them. It’s the best dog tracker for training because it’s the only one with a remote turn-on LED light. It also has a beeper associated with it, so you’ll be able to emit sound from the Link AKC Smart Tracker to help you train your dog and enforce positive behavior.
The dog activity monitor uses artificial intelligence to learn what counts for your dog as “intense” activity. Once it has that baseline established, you’ll receive a notification that lets you know if your dog has gotten enough intensity minutes that day or not. Link AKC will provide personalized recommendations based on your dog’s age, breed/ mixed breed, behavior, and size. This takes the guesswork out of the equation for you if you’re unsure how much activity your dog should be getting each day.
You can set a “safe zone” for your dog and receive a notification when the pet tracker realizes that your dog has left the safe zone. These real-time notifications can help to give you peace of mind about your dog’s safety. Since Link AKC uses an AT&T cellular connection, you’ll also be able to locate your dog if they wander further away from the safe zone.
A unique feature that Link AKC offers is the ability to record adventures with your furry friend. You can quickly start an adventure in the Link AKC app and then edit photos you take during the walk or hike. You can then sort your photos into separate adventures that allow you to store an unlimited number of pictures. If you forget to take pictures, the app will also track your dog once you start the app’s adventure and then show you a map after completing the activity with timestamps connected to it.
The Link AKC smart dog tracker also stores vet information within the app. You can quickly access your pet’s vaccination records and set reminders when your dog needs to have its next appointment.
Last but not least, the Link AKC device will notify you if your dog’s environment is too hot or cold for them. The temperature gauge can be critical if you’re someone who tends to leave their dog in their car while running a quick errand. It is also a nice feature if you and your dog have been outside for an extended period.
Pros of Link AKC
- Sleep quality
- Distance traveled
- Overall health
- Water-resistant up to 3 ft.
- Durable and impact resistant.
- Temperature alerts (if it’s too hot for your dog, it notifies you)
- 24/7 access to vet professionals in case of emergency
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- iOS and Android apps
- Three-year limited warranty. More extended warranty than some of the other dog trackers.
- Virtual scrapbook capability.
Cons of Link AKC
- Has a shorter battery life than other dog trackers. Battery life lasts up to three days maximum.
- Comes with an associated subscription plan. The lowest price per month comes with the biennial plan, but not everyone will want to commit to a two-year subscription plan.
- Costs $86
- Subscription price varies. Monthly it’s $9.95 per month. An annual plan is $7.95 per month, but you pay annually. The lowest price point per month is $6.95, but it’s for two years, and billing is biennial.
PetPace activity monitor tracks your dog’s activity the same way that the other dog trackers on this list do. However, PetPace has a larger focus on the heart rate of your dog. It’s constantly checking your dog’s vitals and will let you and your vet know if something’s wrong.
Although this dog activity monitor and GPS tracker costs more than others on this list, it also provides a very long battery life. This GPS tracker can last up to three weeks on one charge, making it the dog activity monitor with the longest battery life out of the options mentioned here.
Unlike the other dog activity monitors, PetPace isn’t placed on your dog’s collar. Instead, the device comes attached to its own dog collar. Once you put it on your pup, you’ll be able to track your dog.
PetPace is the best dog activity tracker for small dogs because it also sells a device marketed for cats. If you have a tiny dog, this may be the tracker you want to choose.
Another unique thing about this dog activity monitor is its ability to track your dog’s positions throughout the day. It can identify your dog’s body posture and then tell you about trends that could help you prevent pain or allow your dog to recover from an injury.
You can also access your dog’s activity levels in a web browser instead of on your phone. This can be a significant advantage for dog owners who have at-risk dogs and want to look at a larger screen to assess all of the data.
Pros of PetPace
- Activity levels – determine if there are changing trends in your dog’s daytime activities. You can also set goals.
- Pulse – find low or high heart rates. Can also identify irregularities.
- Respiration – can find any unhealthy changes that take place in your dog’s breathing patterns.
- Heart rate – can find changing patterns that indicate pain, stress, or underlying disease.
- Calories burned and consumed – track these to help prevent obesity or help your dog in a weight loss program.
- Positions – provides information on your dog’s posture.
- Overall health
- Temperature alerts (if it’s too hot/cold for your dog, it notifies you)
- Alerts you and your vet if it detects a problem
- Share your dog’s activity report with your vet
- Weight: 1.5 oz
- Risk-free trial: You can try this GPS pet tracker for 30 days and know that the company has a money-back guarantee.
- Free iOS and Android apps
- One-year limited warranty.
Cons of PetPace
- More expensive than other dog activity monitors and is the most expensive option on this list.
The cost of the tracker depends on the exact package that you buy. There are currently four main packages, and they don’t all provide the same thing. The main difference in the pricing is how often the trackers check your dog’s vital signs and whether or not they provide access to the dog’s web portal.
Below are the current PetPace prices. Occasionally they’ll offer up to 40% off.
- $199.95 – includes a one-year subscription for health monitoring. No web portal. Vitals checked every 120 minutes.
- $249.95 – includes a one-year subscription for health monitoring. No web portal. Vitals checked every 30 minutes.
- $319.95 – includes a one-year subscription for health monitoring. Access to a personal web application. Vitals checked every two minutes.
- $499.95- a lifetime subscription is included. Access to a personal web application. Vitals checked every two minutes.
- The health monitoring subscription is $60 a year after the first year.
5. PETKIT P2
If you’re not entirely sold on buying a more expensive dog activity monitor, then the PETKIT P2 makes for a great starting point. At $44.72, it’s the least costly fitness tracker on this list. Like the other dog activity monitors, it’ll record your dog’s steps and activities throughout the day while also keeping a record of your dog’s sleep cycles. It’ll also connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and you can check out your dog’s activities in the app.
Part of the reason this fitness tracker costs significantly less than some others on the market is because it lacks a GPS tracker. You can still keep track of your walks around the neighborhood, but the app will only show you the amount of time you were walking your dog, not the distance the two of you covered. The time tracking could be a positive or a negative, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an activity monitor that will fit a dog collar and track both your dog’s activities while also providing real-time GPS tracking, then this isn’t the dog activity monitor for you. However, if you’re looking for a simple fitness tracker while cutting costs, then this is the activity monitor for you and your furry friend.
Another pro of this activity monitor is its long battery life. It can last up to six months without being charged or replaced. This is a major plus for people who don’t want to take their dog’s collar off every couple of days to charge their fitness tracker.
A unique feature that this fitness tracker provides is its ability to automatically update the calories your dog has consumed if you also purchase PETKIT’s smart dog bowl. Although you can manually input your dog’s calories into the apps of the other fitness trackers listed here, this is the only tracker that updates the calories for your dog’s official meals. The app tracks your dog’s meals when the user enters a baseline for the number of calories the dog has consumed. Once the dog’s food information is entered, the smart bowl will track the number of calories your dog consumes every day based on the amount of food you place into their bowl.
Users can connect with other dog owners by posting their dogs’ pictures to the online community in the app itself. You can also comment on, like, or share other owners’ posts or photos.
The app also offers a calendar function that allows you to set important dates and reminders. Some of the main notes you can add to the calendar include medical appointments, feeding, grooming appointments, deworming, vaccination appointments, deflea, and more.
Pros of PETKIT P2
- Calories burned and consumed (only with the PETKIT bowl, which is sold separately)
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Most extended battery life – 6-month battery life
- Compatible with iOS and Android
- Most affordable dog activity tracker
- No monthly subscription required
- Weight: 0.34 ounces
- One year warranty
Cons of PETKIT P2
- No real-time GPS tracking function, so you can’t track distance traveled on a walk or locate your dog if they leave the yard.
- Data storage only lasts a week.
- $44.72 – least expensive dog tracker listed here.
- No monthly subscription required
Tractive could be your top choice for a fitness tracker if you’re most interested in the dog GPS to track your dog. This dog monitor doesn’t have a range limit on how far it can reach. As long as your dog’s activity tracker has access to a 3G signal, then you can see your dog’s real-time location on your phone.
Tractive is also extremely durable and lightweight. You can easily attach it to your dog’s collar without them noticing.
This activity tracker is also unique because it has the capability for you to create a “virtual fence”. This feature allows the user to pinpoint a specific area that your dog needs to remain inside of. If your dog leaves that area, you’ll then receive a notification on your phone.
Pros of Tractive
- Distance traveled per day
- Immersive waterproof up to one meter
- Free iOS and Android apps
- One-year warranty
- Tracks temperature of the environment so you can see how an external temperature affects a dog’s behavior. This can be an excellent feature for dog owners who like to take their dog’s hunting or hiking.
- Has the ability to create a virtual fence.
- Weight: 1.28 ounces
Cons of Tractive
- Not ideal for small dogs. The dog needs to be at least nine pounds for the tracker to work.
- Requires a monthly subscription
- Battery has to be changed every 2-5 days
- No WiFi connection functions.
- Costs $49.99. There’s an added cost of a $4.99 per month subscription plan that has a five-year commitment.
Features to Look For When Buying the Best Dog Activity Monitor
With all of the dog activity monitors on the market, it can feel overwhelming to know which one is the best dog monitor for you. When you’re looking at buying a dog activity monitor, you’ll want to think about you and your dog’s lifestyle to help you determine which activity monitor is the one you wish to purchase.
- What Features Does That Specific Activity Monitor Offer
Although many of the activities monitors seem like they’re similar fitness trackers, each of them keeps track of information differently, and some of them have niche offerings that might be perfect for you and your dog.
Keep these main offerings in mind when you’re looking at a dog activity monitor.
- Tracks Activity Levels
Each of the activity monitors will keep track of your dog’s health parameters to a certain extent. However, some of the trackers offer more data than others. If your dog is relatively young with few health issues, then tracking their playtime and sleep cycles might be enough. Suppose your dog is a little older and has begun to show some signs of aging. In that case, you might want to look at an activity monitor that will provide even more in-depth information, such as the number of calories burned, your dog’s heart rate, and even their body posture.
- GPS Dog Tracker
Many people purchase a dog activity monitor because it acts as both a fitness tracker and a GPS tracker. A GPS dog tracker can be beneficial if your dog tries to escape the yard often or has a habit of running out the front door as soon as you open it to greet someone.
All of the GPS trackers will connect to your phone via your app. Many of them use cellular data, while some others use a radio frequency.
Cellular Dog Tracker – you can track your pet’s location in real-time as long as their activity monitor can access a cell signal. Although this will give you a more accurate location for where your dog wandered off to, you’ll also have to recharge their battery more often. Suppose you live in an area where you don’t have fantastic cell service, or you tend to take your dog hiking or hunting in a fair amount of remote places. In that case, you’ll struggle to track your dog if they wander away from you because no cell tower will be able to access your dog’s activity monitor.
Radio Frequency Dog Tracker – with these types of trackers, you’ll be able to track your dog through the radio that points you in the direction that your dog ran in. The radio can be helpful if you’re in a remote location without any other way to track your dog. It’s less useful if you live in a city where you have access to a cell tower to pinpoint your dog’s exact location.
However, of note is that radio trackers (typically) have a longer-lasting battery life, which is extremely helpful if you forget to charge your activity monitor often or don’t have access to a lot of electricity.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which type of GPS dog tracker is best for where you live.
- Notifications When Your Dog Wanders Too Far
Some of the trackers offer the ability to set a safe area around your yard, and you’ll receive a notification if your dog wanders from that space. This is best suited for people living in an apartment building or house without a fenced-in yard. Pet owners who get a notification about their dog’s location will be able to catch their dog before they have the chance to wander too far away.
Does The Activity Monitor Require A Monthly Subscription?
Even though most dog activity monitors don’t have an expensive monthly subscription, you need to keep it top of mind when looking into buying one. Many of the GPS dog trackers have a monthly cost associated with them because they require cellular data. You’ll also want to pay attention to the amount of time you may have to commit to a subscription. Some of the subscriptions drop significantly in price if you pay on an annual or biennial basis. Still, you’ll want to know if you’re going to stick with the dog activity monitor for an extended time.
Either way, take a look at your monthly budget and determine if a subscription cost is feasible for you to pay for each month.
- Information Easily Transferred To Your Veterinarian
Some of the apps will also allow your vet to upload your dog’s health record directly into the app itself. That means that pet owners will be able to look at their dog’s medical history while also checking on their dog’s prescriptions if they need a reminder about what pills to give to their dog each day.
Many of these trackers will also send information to the vet about your dog’s activities. At your next vet meeting, your vet will be able to review the data and make recommendations for your dog’s lifestyle based on the data the activity monitor has collected.
- Simplicity of Using the App
Let’s be honest: technology comes easy to some people while it’s a struggle for others. However, part of the reason that some people struggle to understand technology is due to a particular app’s product design.
When looking at a dog activity monitor, realize that you aren’t just buying the monitor itself- you’re also purchasing the app. Look at the app and its ratings in the app store. Review what others have liked (or not liked) about the app itself. Check screenshots of the app and its appearance. Everyone’s mind works differently, so some people will love the specific layout while others will hate it. Looking at the app’s appearance ahead of time will help you make a more informed purchase.
Summary: Why You Should Get a GPS Pet Tracker & Dog Activity Monitor
Many people’s dogs are like family members: you take care of them from the time they’re young, and you watch and support them as they grow. If you have children, many memories of your child’s early years may be intertwined with your family dog. Dogs bring a sense of happiness and company to many people, which is why they’re such a popular pet. They’re also a popular pet because they force people to get outside to enjoy the great outdoors by taking their dog on a walk or playing with them in the yard.
Many people worry about their own fitness goals, along with their family’s fitness goals, so why would your furry family member be left out of that equation?
Pick a dog activity monitor that’ll track all of the essential things that your dog needs to lead a happy and healthy life. You can worry less about your dog’s health, knowing that you have a baseline for their everyday activities and can detect if anything quickly changes. You’ll even be able to share the data with your vet, so they can provide you with more insights on why your dog’s behavior has suddenly changed.
Last but not least, monitoring your dog’s fitness goals could help you monitor your own fitness goals. If you’re worried about how many steps your dog is getting each day, then you’re more likely to take them on long walks and explore new parts of the neighborhood.
So, pick out a dog activity tracker today and get started on ensuring your dog is leading its best life!