FitBark 2 review – activity monitor for dogs

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This is a review of the FitBark 2 activity monitor for dogs.

FitBark 2 – what is it?FitBark 2 In Black

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?

Click here for the Summary

FitBark vs FitBark 2 – what’s new?

FitBark 2 PackageFitBark 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.

YFitBark 2 On The Collarou 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:
FitBark 2 Cover Colours

  • 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

Dog Wearing A FitBark 2There 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:FitBark Wi Fi Base Station

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.

Bark points

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)Dog Running Through Water
  • 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

FitBark Dog Making A High FiveThe 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

Buy from your local FitBark Distributor

USA
FitBark USA

UK
FitBark UK

Australia
FitBark Australia

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:

Flexi Retractable leashes

Kong chew toy

Best chew-proof dog beds

Best birthday cakes for dogs

Ian

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8 comments on “FitBark 2 review – activity monitor for dogs

  1. My girlfriend has a ‘fitbit thingy’ and she uses it all the time. It is a wonderful invention although the reality of its being useful is another story 🙂 I heard about the FitBark and thought it would be a good present – for her and her dog!

    You mentioned in your review that the upgrade now has more battery life than the original. Do you think that this will impact sales noticeably and version 1 owners will want to upgrade?

    I like the fact that you and your dog can exercise ‘together’ – this could indeed help owners to think about their health and that of their four-legged pals. I’m hoping my girlfriend will find it useful 🙂

    I love the part about the dog-walker and using it as a sort of ‘check’ to see if he/she is doing his/her job effectively. I can check my girfriend’s exercise while pretending to check the dog’s 🙂

    Thanks for the rview and keep up the great job!

    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle – thank you for checking us out! As you girlfriend already has a FitBit, I’m sure she will absolutele love the FitBark for her dog. As well as the health benefits, it’s fun exercising together and comparing results. Spoiler alert – the dog usually wins 🙂

      Yes, the increased battery life is a massive improvement. Some owners of the original version say the battery only lasts a week or just over. The battery life does seem to be related to how active your dog is. A week might seem like a long time but charging it meant removing the cover and plugging it in.

      The new increased battery life of up to 6 months (again, probably depending on your dog’s level of activity), is brilliant, and you don’t need to remove the cover to charge it.

      I hope your girlfriend enjoys ‘her’ present and you have fun comparing her results with her dog’s 🙂

      Ian

  2. When I was growing up, I had two dogs. They ate the scraps of food after meals and what ever they hunted and caught.  I can remember once one dog going to a vet because he was poorly.  I am looking at a device like this and wonder how the pet industry has changed.

    That was years ago. I always wanted to have a dog for my kids, but they have grown and moved.  I now spend a lot of time with my grandson, who has been promised a dog so I can share him. I like this device and will get one for my grandson’s dog.  My childhood dogs were not examined for ailments, but this device monitors a dog’s health that could signal a trip to the vet.

    I did visit an Instagram page on the FitBark, actually looking for a video or two showing the device in action. The FitBark is, in my opinin, very practical, especially when you incorporate it with a healthy lifestyle – dog and owner.   “Health on both ends of the leash.”  

      What is the biggest benefit of using the FitBark 2?

    • Hi Mark – thank you for sharing your story about your dogs. I never had a dog when I was youn although I always wanted one. I have no idea what he would have eaten 🙂

      You’re right that the pet inbdustry has changed – now we have everything from  retractable leashes to health monitors. Where will it end? But I think it’s great that modern technology can be used to improve the life of our dogs, as well as giving us a bit fun in the process.

      The biggest benenft of the FitBark 2 is simply monitoring your dog’s health. It’s not easy to tell if they are becoming less active when they’re off the lead so it can alert you to reduced activity levels. And it monitors their overall activity. Also, most vets should be able to access the data for a more complete diagnosis.

      Of course, if it help improve your own health – “Health on both ends of the leash” – that’s an added bonus 🙂

      Good luck with ‘your’ new dog 🙂

      Ian 

  3. What an amazing invention!

    I really wish I had known about this when my dog was still around – I am quite sure that it would have helped me realise that she had an underlying health problem, and it could very well have helped to prolong her life, as I would have been able to get the treatment which she needed that much sooner. She was such a beautiful and patient dog that we just did not realise that she had a cancer until it was far too advanced to treat.

    The Fitbark 2 would be ideal for any dog owner who wants to monitor the health and activity of their pet and who really cares about the well-being of their dog. I hope that that includes all dog owners!

    The good health of your dog is something we generally don’t think about until we notice a problem. It looks like the FitBark will be able to do that for us.

    We will be getting a new puppy soon and will definitely get one for him. Or her 🙂

    Is the Fitbark suitable for all dogs to wear throughout their lives from puppyhood onwards? Are there any contraindications to its use?

    In my opinion, I think that the Fitbark2 is a must for every caring owner.

    Very many thanks for your really helpful and informative post.

    Chrissie 🙂

    • Hi Chrissie – so sorry to hear about your dog. The FitBark monitors activity so if your dog is not as active as it used to be, that might indicate something is wrong and you need a trip to the vet.

      It’s quite difficult to monitor activity levels yourself unless your dog is really lethargis and then you know something’s not right. But when a dog is off the lead (or on a flexi leash) it’s difficult to know if they are running around as much as usual. It’s quite possible that a FitBark would have recorded lower activity levels in your dog even if you didn’t notice them yourself.

      The FitBark 2 is suitable for all dogs of all ages. It communicates via WiFi and the only possible contraindication I can think of is if your dog was fitted with a pacemaker of similar electronic device.

      Thank you for sharing your story and the very best o luck with your new puppy!

      Ian

  4. This is really cool, like a FitBit for dogs. This would be awesome for people, especially runners, who like to take their dogs with them on their runs. I live near a rail trail (running trail that is a former railroad) and there are dozens of runners out that way who take their dogs running on it. It would be ideal for them to use to track their dog’s activity level. What an invention!

    • Hi Tod – yes, it’s mega cool if you use it alongside your FitBit although your dog will always do more miles than you! 🙂

      It might also be a bit of an incentive for a dog owner to exercise more. Most of us exercise far less than our parents and grandparents and have a more unhealthy lifestyle. I suspect dog walkers, even the amblers, are a little healthier than non-dog owners, but most of us could use a little extra encouragement 🙂
      Ian

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