We may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, from companies mentioned in this post.
This is a review of the FitBark 2 activity monitor for dogs.
FitBark 2 – what is it?
FitBark 2 is an activity and sleep monitor for dogs designed to monitor health, activity and sleep patterns.
It’s an updated version of the original FitBark launched in 2015, with several new features.
Dashing Out For Walkies?
FitBark vs FitBark 2 – what’s new?
FitBark 2 is made from high-impact polycarbonate and is more rugged and durable.
The original FitBark has a mini USB charging port. The new FitBark 2 charger connects to the FitBark with clamps so there are no rubber covers which could let in water.
The FitBark 2 is everso slightly larger measuring 4.1 x 2.8 x 1.3 cm whereas the original FitBark was 4.1 x 2.8 x 1.1 cm. You’d barely notice and it will fit comfortably on the smallest dog.
Battery life has been increased from up to 2 weeks to up to 6 months, which the company is fond of quoting as 3.5 dog years. So you won’t have to charge it so often and it only takes about 90 minutes to fully charge. A bone icon on the Activity page shows the level of battery charge.
The original FitBark attached to the collar with rubber bands which, under extreme play conditions, could snag or snap. The FitBark 2 attaches to the collar with two zip ties which are extremely solid and durable and should stand up to the most arduous rough, tumble and exploring.
Attaching the FitBark 2
FitBark 2 attaches to your dog’s collar with two zip ties, and it will fit collars up to 1.5″ (38mm) wide. You get 8 zip ties in the box which you should only need when you change collars.
You can buy an additional pack of 24 although you can also find zip ties on Amazon and in most computer stores (where they’re used for keeping the wires inside a PC tidy).
Make sure the collar isn’t too tight although it shouldn’t be tight anyway. If your dog has fine fur, just check it to make sure it’s not chaffing.
FitBark 2 has you covered
The FitBark 2 comes in black only but there are 12 coloured covers you can buy for it separately.
You might want the colour to match the collar, your dog’s colouring, your dog’s personality (however you determine that), and the fashion conscious can change colours to match their walking or running gear.
Covers are also useful if you have more than one dog so you don’t get the FitBarks mixed up while charging.
The colours have fun names, too:
- Passionate Lover Red
- Royal Purple
- Life of The Party Blue
- Bossy Diva Fuchsia
- Partner in Crime Black
- Bundle of Energy Orange
- FitBarker Blue Aqua
- Romantic Snuggler Pink
- Rockstar Gray
- Free Spirit Green
- Happy Sunshine Yellow
- Peanut Butter Monster Brown
The covers are soft and easily fitted while your dog is wearing the FitBark 2. They’re washable but not indestructible so be aware of that. And, of course, they are optional.
Is FitBark waterproof?
The original FitBark had a rubber cover over the USB charging port which had the potential to leak. The FitBark 2 charger clamps to the unit so there are no holes for water to get in.
The FitBark 2 has an IPX7 rating which means it has been tested to a depth of 1m (3ft) for 30 minutes so it should happily survive a swim with Rover.
How FitBark 2 works
FitBark 2 is an activity monitor that uses an accelerometer like that in mobile phones. Readings are taken several times a second and aggregated into minute units.
So the more your dog moves, the more points the unit registers.
Collecting activity points
There are free FitBark apps for iOS and Android phones. To collect the activity points data you need both Bluetooth and an internet connection.
Data is collected by your mobile phone when you sync with the FitBark. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) so you need to be within 30ft (9m) of the FitBark although the range may decrease if there are obstacles in between.
When the data has been collected, the app transfers it to FitBark’s servers which interpret it and make it available to those associated with your dog including you, of course.
FitBark recommends that you sync every day although the FitBark 2 can store up to 100 days of data.
It makes sense to update regularly so you always have an up-to-date record of your dog’s activity. And, should a disaster affect the unit, you won’t lose the data.
Wi Fi Base Station
The FitBark Wi Fi Base Station is an optional extra but extremely useful. It’s a hub that automatically syncs to the FitBark 2. This has several benefits:
If your dog is home alone you can monitor his or her activity remotely from your phone in near-real time.
If you have more than one dog, the Wi Fi Base Station will automatically sync all their data so you don’t have to flip through all their profiles in the FitBark app.
You can quickly check your dog’s recent activity levels at any time without having to run through the sync process first.
The Wi Fi Base Station is an excellent investment – it saves you time and makes all the data immediately available.
When we work out we often count our steps. A ‘step’ isn’t so easy to measure with a dog for several reasons so FitBark uses BarkPoints which are defined as ‘total physical activity’.
From these readings, the system calculates:
- Activity counts (BarkPoints)
- Rest, active and play time
- Nocturnal sleep score
- Overall health index
- Activity index
- Calorie burn
- Distance travelled
Data is shown on your mobile phone in easy-to-read format and charts.
The data can be used in several ways. It’s particularly useful for monitoring changes in your dog’s activity or sleeping pattern as these can indicate a problem.
Sleep patterns also indicate how restless your dog is so you can monitor the effectiveness of any medication and if it’s wearing off.
You can show the results to your vet, too.
You also see how it compares to other dogs and share readings with other dog owners. FitBark also gives you baselines with dogs of a similar age, weight and breed so you can put your dog’s activity into perspective.
Fit or fat?
It’s a sad fact but over 50% of dogs in the USA are overweight or obese, and this figure probably extends to the UK and many Western countries.
We feed our canine friends ’cause they’re cute – and always hungry! – but that’s not helping them at all. An overweight dog still looks cute but they are re more prone to disease and problems such as diabetes, heart disorders, osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal problems to name just a few.
Sometimes we’re not aware how much we should actually be feeding out dog. FitBark can help by monitoring calorie burn. You can use this is conjunction with the dog food manufacturer’s recommendation amount to adjust the amount according to how active your dog is.
You should get your dog checked by your vet if your dog has any weight or health issues.
FitBark and FitBit
Another great FitBark feature is using it with your own health monitor. It’s compatible with FitBit, the Apple Watch, HealthKit, Google Fit and Jawbone so you and your dog can exercise together and set targets together – although they probably won’t be the same!
This provides great motivation for both of you. We know exercise is essential for dogs – but we need it, too. But be sensible about it – both for you and your dog. It’s great to set goals but don’t be governed by them.
Another benefit is that you can check if your dog walker is actually walking your dog and not sitting in a coffee shop somewhere. And, if you need to leave your friend in kennels, you can tell if they have been getting the promised amount of exercise.
FitBark 2 summary
The new FitBark 2 is an ingenious device which provides many benefits for you and your dog. It’s rugged, waterproof, easy to fit and easy to use. It’s a FitBit for dogs!
It monitors activity levels and sleep patterns 24/7 and gives you a heads up for potential problems. It can help set a rehabilitation regime if he or she has been ill. And you can show your vet the data.
It helps you select the right amount of exercise and, connect it to your own health monitor and you can exercise together.
Your dog can’t tell if there’s something wrong. FitBark 2 is the next best thing.
FitBark 2 is available worldwide and has local distribution centres in the USA, the UK and Australia. And, of course, it’s available on Amazon.
Don’t forget your Wi Fi Base Station, too!
Buy FitBark 2 from Amazon
If you have any questions about the FitBark 2, please leave them in the Comments below and I’ll back to you as soon as I can.
You may also enjoy these reviews:
If you enjoyed this review, please share it on your favourite social media sites – it only takes one click.