If you’re a DogGo Dash Club customer, then you know that our dashers record their runs using various fitness trackers like Strava, Garmin, or Apple Watch. These allow them to share the route they traveled with you, along with the mileage, pace, etc. They also provide the runner with useful personal health metrics and trends. But the humans aren’t the only ones reaping the rewards – the dogs are too.
There are benefits that we as owners can easily recognize. Maybe you’re coming home to fewer accidents and no more chewed shoes. Maybe your pup has more energy during the day and sleeps better at night. But there are things that are a little more difficult to discern with the naked eye. That’s why we decided to strap a FitBark to Denver’s collar. We wanted to prove, with objective measures, that running with your dog improves their health.
FitBark is a dog activity monitor that tracks “activity levels, quality of sleep, distance traveled, calories burned, and overall health and behavior 24/7”. When the box arrived, it was super easy to set up, attach to a collar or harness, and get started. A single charge can last up to 6 months and the device is compact and attractive – available in a number of different colors. It’s important to note that the battery life is so long, and the units are so lightweight, because FitBark does not include GPS tracking. That’s by design – the company chose to focus on measuring health and activity levels rather than geolocation, which was perfectly OK with us.
In addition to the device itself, FitBark is intended to be used with the mobile application that can be downloaded for free from the App Store. It is user-friendly and interactive, allowing you to follow similar dogs and friends. The team also sends you a weekly activity report, which proved to be very useful.
In our mini-experiment, we started by simulating a “sedentary” baseline week. In these first seven days, Denver would not go on any sustained runs, but still enjoyed off-leash playtime and midday and evening walks. The next week included a dash (3-5 miles) every other day: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. She exceeded her activity goal of 11,800 BarkPoints each of those four days, a feat she had not accomplished even once during the baseline. She traveled 13 more miles, burned 250 more calories daily, slept better, and increased her overall health index. Denver was more active than 88% of all FitBark dogs.
We often hear about the obesity epidemic in the United States. Extremely serious for people, the VCA claims it is also the most common preventable disease in dogs, affecting roughly 25-30% of the population. Studies have found that it could result in a reduced lifespan, anywhere from 6 months to 2 years shorter. It also leads to an increased risk of other diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and osteoarthritis.
At DogGo Dash Club, we’re passionate about leveraging the human-canine bond to promote a healthy lifestyle. FitBark is too. They strongly encourage people, through their “Healthy Together” campaign to get out and exercise with their pets. They have also been able to turn all of their data into really cool and informative insights. Curious if babies or puppies sleep more? Or which breeds get the most anxious with fireworks? Find out with FitBark Explore.
It turns out Vizslas need A LOT of activity, but we already knew that!