The PitPat of tiny footsteps – a dedicated fitness tracker for your pooch
A couple of years ago, my expectations were shattered after putting a Fitbit on our family dog. I’d expected a good 20,000 steps per day – but what the readouts showed was a fairly dismal 6000 or so steps, and 18 hours of sleep!
Putting a €100-plus wearable on our dog was also taking a risk – what if he lost it / chewed it etc? Tracking our dog’s fitness seemed like a good idea, but we needed a dedicated device.
To make the grade, it would need to be unobtrusive – as you can imagine, our dog is averse to anything else around his neck and would have quite liked to get his teeth into the Fitbit’s soft silicon band. Also, any pet tracker must be waterproof – able to withstand an occasional roll in the nearest pile of manure (oh yes) and small/light enough for a 10KG dog.
A price point below the: “You idiot! You put a €100 tracker on the dog, it’s not surprising he lost it” would be nice, too …
It looks like a British start-up, PitPatPet, has come up with the answer – the PitPat, which fixes securely to the dog’s collar, is waterproof, has a long-life battery, and costs a lot less than a Fitbit: GBP 39.99, to be exact.
Putting PitPat through its paces
Our family mutt, Chipsie, has been putting PitPat through its paces and so far, it gets the thumbs up from us, and since he still hasn’t yet managed to lose it, it appears to be up to the job.
When you first set up PitPat, you’re asked for the dog’s details such as their sex, weight, and whether or not their essential bits are intact. When we accidentally put that our ankle-biter weighs 110KG, we were given a friendly warning that he might be overweight … he’s actually 11KG, which is “in the zone”.
Like most human trackers, activities tracked are movement – with PitPat categorizing this into various categories – playing, walking, running and of course resting. If your hound hasn’t had the required level of exercise, the app will suggest that you take your pet for a walk, or play a little more, the device “suggests an exercise goal tailored to your dog, based on their breed, age and weight, and then lets you track their progress to help keep your dog happy and healthy.”
Syncing requires pressing the big red button on the device – and a battery life of more than a year, according to the firm. The device can store up to a week’s worth of data between syncs.
Proud pooch owners who want to share their pet’s progress and join in the chatter about dog exercise can join the PitPat Facebook community or follow the company on Twitter @pitpatpet.