This month Fletcher has been trying a PitPat; an activity monitor for dogs.
I’ve always wanted to learn how much ground Fletcher covers on our daily walks. While I follow the path, he often runs ahead, leaps through fields and finishes with a swim in the river. He loops round and round, bouncing from ditch to ditch, through hedges and forest. Though it’s never enough. We’ll get home and within minutes he’ll be running around the house and squeaking a ball in my face.
When PitPat got in touch, I jumped at the chance to try it. I was intrigued to see how much exercise Fletcher has on a daily basis. I often worry I exercise him too much, after all he simply doesn’t have an off switch. He’ll just keep going and going and going…
Essentially a Fitbit for dogs, the monitor attaches to your dog’s collar, you download the app and set up a profile for your dog. It’s super easy. The profile includes your dog’s vital statistics including weight, age and breed and PitPat will create customised exercise goals and enable weight tracking for your four-legged friend.
Fletcher’s goal was 70 minutes of exercise a day. On day one, we’d reached our target by 10am. Over the course of a week, we were averaging 140 minutes a day. This was just our daily routine. Quite often my husband and I plan special days out for Fletcher (he’s so spoilt). Usually walks where we know he can swim, his favourite activity. I have no idea what the monitor would clock up on those days.
I did question how the goal was created as I know for a fact 70 minutes exercise a day would not be enough for Fletcher. He would be an absolute nightmare on anything less than 90 minutes. He would literally be bouncing off the walls. I can only guess the person who created the guideline doesn’t own a crazy cocker spaniel!
PitPat advised targets are “based on weight and breed and the goal also adjusts based on age. Therefore for puppies its starts off very low to avoid over exercise (which is very common and can lead to health complaints in later life) and for older dogs in ramps down to protect old joints.” The data works on your dog’s activity patterns and is supported by vets.
The app shows timings for walking, running and playing. It provides the mileage covered and badges too which reveal distances such as running a marathon and climbing up and down Snowdon – a fun little touch!
Overall, it’s great if you want to keep tabs on your dog’s exercise, especially if they’re overweight. For Fletcher it was more of a gimmick, but interesting none the less. If it had an in-built tracker I’d certainly use it every day, unfortunately, at the moment it doesn’t have this technology.
I had intended to record data over 30 days and share an average time, but in true Fletcher style, he can’t do anything without a drama and within a week we were once again back at the vets as he’d pulled a muscle in his chest.
I have no idea how it happened, but on this particular day he was being extra hyper; running around the house, charging up and down the stairs and hurling himself on and off the sofa. Of course, he had to do it on a day my husband and I had a lovely day planned in London. All plans cancelled. It was painkillers and rest for a full week. We certainly know how to rack up those vet bills!
Once healed which involved convincing Fletcher it wasn’t the stairs that were hurting him, and was in fact his own body, we had a lovely trip to Brighton and visit to our local Christmas tree farm.
If you know a dog lover the PitPat would make a great Christmas gift, priced £39.