Is your dog getting enough exercise? That can be a daunting question for pet parents concerned about dog health, especially those who work during the day and leave the dog on the couch or in the hands of a dog walker. What exactly defines “enough exercise?” More exercise than other dogs? Less? What’s just the right amount?
Michael Chiang was wondering those very things about his dog, so he threw technology at it. A lot of technology, with a lot of smart people. And the result is FitBark, a cute little bone-shaped device that transmits details about your dog’s activity to the cloud in real time. The dog wears it on his collar. You access the results on your smartphone or other device.
Think NikeFuel for dogs.
“What started as a fun and curious project to check up on our dog Freud — and track if our family, friends, and caretakers were really walking him — has become the start of an amazing journey through technology and pet parenting,” Chiang told Mashable.
The device calculates a minimum daily goal for your dog (equivalent to one hour of moderately intense physical activity), then chronicles your dog’s activity toward that goal. When he hits it, congratulations, you’ve done your job as a pet parent.
You can also review hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly trends in your dog’s activity levels. As more people adopt the service, their info will be incorporated into its database.
”As we gather more data from the growing community of FitBark users, we’ll be able to identify trends which are meaningful and will be able to break down the information in a more granular way,” Chiang told Mashable. “The goal is to use historical information to be able to guide actions in the future through recommendations and even develop predictive capabilities.”
The FitBark device is 1.6 inches long, weighs 10 grams, comes in five colors, and attaches to your dog’s collar. And the bone shape is quite handsome.
How do you get one? Well, they’re not available yet — but the company has started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund mass production. (FitBark expects to start shipping soon, “in spring 2013,” according to the website.)
You get a variety of goodies for different pledge amounts, of course, but we like $99 pledge, in which you get a FitBark from the first batch to be released, elastic bands to attach it to a collar, and free access to the mobile app.