These Companies are Making ‘FitBits For Dogs’
It seems like we are all tracking our health stats, but now there’s a way to make sure Fido is fit, too. Enter FitBark, the brainchild of MIT alum Davide Rossi. The product monitors your dog’s health and activity levels from head to tail so you can be sure your furry friend is in top notch shape.
“There’s a huge limitation in understanding our pet’s needs, and that bothered me,” Rossi says. “Our pets are full members of the family, and we needed a way to monitor how they are doing.”
FitBark is a small wireless device, shaped like a dog bone, that attaches to a dog’s collar. The device gives the owner 24/7 updates, directly to the FitBark mobile app, on their dog’s activity and health statistics. The app will also send emergency alerts to the owner’s cell phone and will keep an active log of health data for future vet visits.
“The name might remind you of a FitBit,” Rossi says. “But that’s why this was a good opportunity for us. It made it easy for us to be identified with exactly what we do. But instead of the FitBit that’s for humans, it’s a FitBit for dogs.”
The features on the FitBark will also monitor the dog’s play time, nap time, and time together with their humans by using sensors in the wireless device that measures a dog’s heart rate and energy. The app also adds some friendly competition to the mix by monitoring how your dog compares to others of the same breed. You can even check to see if the dog walker really did take Fido for that long walk.
“There’s so little information available for dogs right now,” Rossi says. “This device can make it possible for owners to understand their specific dog breed, and for vets to monitor the development of a disease, or to diagnose a disease.”
The FitBark raised more than $80,000 through 700 backers on Kickstarter last year, and Rossi expects the device to ship in early January. The FitBark runs for the flat rate of $99 on fitbark.com, with no monthly fees.
“The bar has been set so high by the people with the human monitors,” Rossi says. “They came up with products that are so sophisticated, that’s why it took a long time for us to develop it.”
Also in the pet fitness industry is Whistle, a San Francisco-based company that makes a tracker that monitors your dog’s health. Whistle was the first fitness tracker to come out specifically for dogs, and similar to FitBark, it attaches to a dog’s collar and provides a summary of a dog’s daily activities. This device runs for $99.95.
And then there’s Voyce, a dog health tracker that doesn’t want to be called a “FitBit for dogs.” Voyce, similar to FitBark and Whistle, works through a wireless collar that delivers a dog’s data to the owner’s smartphone. However, Voyce is much steeper in the price than their competitors. You can purchase Voyce for $299, in addition to a monthly program fee.
Although FitBark has competitors, Rossi says that their product is more universally acceptable for all types of dogs because it is smaller. “Our product is eight grams, about half the size of the other two products. It was crucial to make the product small because I grew up with small dogs,” he says. “There’s really no size limit of dog that the product fits onto.”
And what about our other beloved pets? So far these animal trackers have only been designed for dogs, but FitBark hopes to make products for felines soon.