Many of us try to live our healthiest lives, be it through counting steps or walking to work rather than driving. And we want the same for our dogs too.
Dogs are suffering from some of the same problems that humans are. With rising dog obesity rates and lower daily activity levels, it’s affecting their overall health and wellbeing.
According to research from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, vets found that 51 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. This excess weight can cause health problems, such as arthritis, back pain, and higher rates of cancer.
In the same study, 80 percent of vets said they believe dogs are overweight due to a lack of exercise.
This is where dog fitness trackers can help. They not only track and report on your dog’s daily physical activity, but they also track their sleep, anxiety and general wellness.
By using a dog fitness tracker, you can get a clearer picture of your dog’s activity levels and make any necessary changes.
We’ve chosen to compare 2 of the best dog activity trackers on the market: Whistle and FitBark. They’re considered leaders in the field thanks to the complete picture they give owners of their dog’s health.
Both companies allow you to track your dog’s levels of activity, rest and sleep over a 24 hour period. You can also set health goals and receive health recommendations. A few of their models have GPS tracking as well.
Here we compare the devices side by side, so that you can see which one may be more suitable for you and your dog.
- What are Dog Activity Trackers?
- FitBark vs Whistle Comparison Table
- Whistle Review: GO vs GO Explore vs FIT
- FitBark Review: FitBark 2 vs FitBark GPS
- Which Dog Activity Monitor is Best, Whistle or FitBark?
What are Dog Activity Trackers?
Dog health monitors are devices that measure a dog’s activity, much like Fitbits do for humans.
They also track a range of other health metrics such as sleep and anxiety, to give you an overall picture of your dog’s wellness.
How Do Dog Activity Trackers Work?
Canine fitness trackers contain a sensor called an accelerometer. This sensor can tell when your dog is moving, how they’re moving, and at what speed.
Using this information, the fitness tracker feeds back data on your dog’s activity levels and other metrics. You can view it all in an app on your smartphone.
What Do Dog Fitness Trackers Monitor?
Not only can fitness trackers tell you when and how much your dog moves, they can tell you the types of activities your dog engages in.
You can receive information on:
- How often your dog runs and plays.
- If they are sleeping well.
- If your dog is suffering from anxiety or stress.
- If your dog is licking or scratching more than normal.
- Skin problem detection.
All this can help identify certain health issues sooner than you may notice them on your own.
As it gives a complete picture of your dog’s activities on a day to day basis they can accurately calculate their calorific needs for your particular dog.
This can help you to serve the right portion of foods at mealtime.
Many of them also have GPS tracking so that you can monitor where your dog is at any given time.
FitBark vs Whistle FIT vs Whistle GO vs Whistle GO Explore: What’s the Difference?
GPS tracking can be a literal life-saver if your dog gets lost. Plus, you can use it to track your routes on walks or runs.
Both the Whistle and the FitBark have apps where you can view data but the FitBark app also allows you connect with dogs in the area or link it to your own human activity tracker.
For some users, this friendly competition can spur them on to get out and exercise their dogs more.
Comparison Table: Whistle vs FitBark
|Dog size||Any dog size from 2lb to 240lb.||8 pounds or more so it works for dogs or cats.|
|Price||$69.95 for FitBark 2
$69.95 for FitBark GPS (US only)
|$79.95 for the FIT
$99.95 for the GO
$129.95 for the GO Explore
|Subscription fee||None for FitBark 2
$9.95 montly for FitBark GPS (US only)
|$9.95 monthly for W GO and W GO Explore
$2.95 monthly for W FIT
|Tracker Weight||10 g (0.35 oz) – FitBark 2
17 g (0.6 oz) – FitBark GPS
|28 g (just under 1 oz)|
|What’s included||1 FitBark device
1 black cover
8 zip ties for attaching
1 charging cable
1 quick start guide
|1 Whistle device
1 snap collar attachment (GO and GO Explore)
1 hook and loop collar attachment
1 USB charging cable
1 quick start guide
|Monitors||Activity & Sleep 24/7
Quality of sleep
Stress & Anxiety
Itchiness and skin conditions
|Various activities on a 24-hour timeline:
Pet’s licking and scratching
Set fitness goals
|GPS tracking||Only with FitBark GPS (US)||Only with Whistle GO and GO Explore|
|Wellness reports||Yes, weekly||Weekly wellness reports and monthly stats|
|Helps with||Improving fitness
Accurate meal portioning
Tracking stress and anxiety
Monitoring existing health conditions
Detecting for new ones
Tracking location (FitBark GPS only)
|Tracking general fitness
Accurate food portioning
Keeping an eye on changes Detecting health issues
Tracking your pet’s location (GO and GO Explore models only)
|Ease of use||Simple to use – tie onto collar with 2 zip ties. Pair device with app.||Easy to set up, clicks onto a base plate on the collar. App is simple and clear.|
|Links to Human Fitness Trackers?||Fitbit
|Add multiple owners||Yes||Yes|
|Add multiple pets||Yes||Yes|
|Virtual vet support||No||Yes. Virtual vet appointment bookings through the app.|
|Wellness updates emailed to vet||No||Yes, can opt to send a 30-day wellness report to vet|
|Battery life||6 months – FitBark 2
10-20 days – FitBark GPS
|10 days – Whistle GO
20 days – Whistle GO Explore
15 days – Whistle FIT
|Waterproof||Yes with IPX67 rating of up to 1 meter depth for 30 minutes.||Yes all are waterproof or water-resistant up to 1 meter depth for 30 minutes.|
|Night light||No||Night light on the GO Explore only|
|Return Policy||30 day money back guarantee||90 day risk free return period|
|Warranty||2 year limited warranty||1 year limited warranty|
|Review summary||4.3 stars out of 5 from 331 reviews||4.0 stars out of 5 from 8,589 reviews|
|Where to buy||FitBark||Whistle|
Is There a Fitbit for Dogs?
Yes both Whistle and FitBark dog activity trackers are essentially like Fitbits for dogs. Both devices monitor things like activity, types of activity and sleep. This data can help you check your dog’s staying healthy and active enough.
The FitBark device even links to human Fitbits so you can view your activity together.
Whistle was originally co-founded in 2012 by Ben Jacobs who remains the company’s CEO. He was raised in a family that owned and loved dogs and this motivated him to start Whistle later in life.
The Whistle Activity Monitor launched in the summer of 2013 and focused mainly on monitoring dog’s activity and wellness.
They quickly found that many owners feared losing their pets and decided to make GPS tracking a central feature of their monitors.
This fear is justified with over 10 million dogs being lost in the U.S. each year. Around 1 in 3 pets will be lost at some point during their life. Many owners feel the need to track their pets in order to safeguard them.
What are Whistle’s fitness tracker options?
Whistle currently has 3 main activity monitors available:
- Whistle GO Explore: newest model, with activity and GPS tracking.
- Whistle GO: earlier model, with activity and GPS tracking.
- Whistle FIT: monitors activity but with no GPS tracking.
Wellness Monitoring Across All Models
All 3 of these devices offer certain wellness monitoring features. These are:
- Dog’s Activity Levels. All 3 models monitor your pet’s activity and can give you tailored diet and exercise recommendations based on your dog’s size, age, and current activity levels.
- Licking, Scratching and Sleeping. This can give you insight into any skin conditions or health problems he may have from early on.
- Notifications of Changes. You get alerts if there are any changes in your dog’s behavior so that you can make any necessary adjustments.
- Weekly Wellness Reports. You also get monthly statistics.
- 30-Day Health Report Emailed to Vet. You have the option to email your dog’s 30 day health report to your vet automatically.
- Waterproof. All 3 are waterproof or water-resistant up to 3 feet.
Here are the details about each individual device and what extra features each one has:
Whistle GO Explore
This monitor is at the top of the range. It features both wellness and activity monitoring and GPS tracking.
The real-time GPS tracking allows you to find your dog if lost and track the routes you take on walks.
Escape alerts tell you when your dog leaves a set perimeter (such as your house or garden).
Since the GPS tracking relies on AT&T cell service, there’s a monthly fee involved. This is:
Monthly: $9.95 per month
2 year subscription: $6.95 per month
It also won’t work in some rural areas.
Night Light (controlled in app)
It has a night light that’s controlled by the Whistle app to help you spot your dog in the dark.
Longer Battery Life
The battery life is the longest of all current Whistle activity monitors, lasting up to 20 days between charges.
The Whistle GO is similar to the GO Explore but with a few key differences.
The GO doesn’t feature a night light. It also has a shorter 10 day battery life compared to the Go Explore’s 20 day battery life.
More Economical Price
At $99.95 the Whistle GO costs $30 less than the GO Explore. So it’s a great choice if you don’t need the night light and don’t mind charging it up a little more often.
The monthly subscriptions are the same at $9.95 per month for the GPS Tracking.
With the Whistle GO, you get the same GPS tracking and activity monitoring functions as you do with the GO Explore.
It includes all the activity and wellness monitoring that is common across all 3 Whistle devices.
This can help you to see whether your dog is getting enough exercise or needs more. The monitoring of licking and scratching can also help pick up health problems or stress.
The Whistle FIT, gives you all the excellent activity monitoring functions found on the GO and GO Explore but without the GPS.
This makes it a great choice if you like the look of Whistle products but think you’d be unlikely to use the GPS.
Reduced Monthly Subscription Fee
It’s monthly subscription fee is less as it doesn’t have GPS tracking.
This is priced at $35.40 per year ($2.95 per month).
The original price is also lower at $79.95 so it’s cheaper to buy than both other models.
Mid Range Battery Life
It has a 15 day battery life that sits between the 10 day battery life of the Whistle GO and the 20 day battery of the Whistle GO Explore.
It’s a great option for dog owners more concerned with activity monitoring and wellness markers, than the location tracking.
How do you use Whistle dog fitness trackers?
The Whistle GO and GO Explore devices are offered with a ‘snap’ attachment and all devices are offered with a ‘hook & loop’ attachment.
The snap attachment is a base plate which sits on either side of the collar and clips into place. It stays on the the collar so that the Whistle GO device can be twisted and clicked on and off as required.
The hook & loop attachment has the same base plate that is fitted to the dog’s collar. In this case the base place has 2 velcro loops that secure it around the collar. This makes it a better choice for thick collars or those wider than 1 inch.
The device then twists and clicks into and out of the base plate as required.
The real action comes from the compatible app. To set it up you:
Download the app to your phone or tablet. Start set up by selecting your device type.
Use Bluetooth to find your Whistle device and pair them to one another. It will then ask you to connect the device to your WiFi to activate the tracking.
You can then use it to view your dog’s data. From here you can see your dog’s 24-hour activity timeline, active minutes, calories burned, and more.
Keep the tracker device charged and it will automatically send all new data to the app. The app will also allow you to track your dog’s location in real time, if you have the GO or GO Explore.
Are Whistle Dog Trackers Waterproof?
All models of the activity tracker can be submerged in water, but they each have different waterproof ratings:
|Device Model||Waterproof Rating||Details|
|Whistle GO||Waterproof IPX7||1 meter or 3.3 feet static water
Up to 30 minutes
|Whistle GO Explore||Waterproof IPX8||2 meters or 6.6 feet of static water
Up to 30 minutes
|Whistle FIT||Water-resistant and durable IPX7||Up to 30 minutes swimming|
The safest option is the Whistle GO Explore which has the best waterproof rating. However the other models can be used in water as well.
What do Dog Owners Think of Whistle Fitness Monitors?
Whistle activity trackers have an average of 4.0 stars out of 5 from 8,589 reviews across 2 independent websites.
These are some of the common themes that came through in their customer reviews:
Peace of Mind
Dog owners who bought the Whistle GO or GO Explore love the peace of mind that comes with the GPS tracking.
They like to be able to know exactly where their dog is and feel like they’d be able to retrieve them if they did go missing.
That said, we did find rare cases of false readings. Plus, the GPS will only work in areas with AT&T cell service.
Sometimes you get a great product with a terrible app, but not with Whistle. Buyers report the app is well-designed and easy to use.
Since most of your interaction is with the app rather than the device itself, it’s important that it’s designed well.
Dog parents find the personalized diet and activity recommendations useful. Some activity trackers list your pet’s activity but don’t tell you any more than that.
Whistle devices, on the other hand, tell you whether your pet needs more activity based on factors like breed, size, age, and weight.
They also give portion advice, which is handy if your dog is overweight or underweight.
The majority of users find Whistle’s customer service excellent.
They report getting excellent advice and support with any issues. A small minority of users didn’t find Whistle’s customer service up to scratch.
Recent reviews for the Whistle GO Explore:
What Other Whistle Products are Available?
Whistle also sells “Twist and Go” collars that are easier to fit a Whistle fitness tracker to than a standard collar. You can also buy leashes to match these collars.
Is Whistle a Good Dog Activity Monitor?
Whistle dog trackers are ideal for anyone who wants to keep an eye on their dog’s health, fitness, and wellbeing.
We love that it notices subtle changes in canine behavior as it can often pick up changes before a pet parent would.
The GO and GO Explore are great for people with escape artist dogs or anyone who is worried about their dog going missing as they offer GPS tracking.
Full Review of FitBark
FitBark co-founder Sara Rossi describes their goal in creating the device as “a way to be a better dog parent.”
Their devices aim to help dog owners to find out exactly what their dog is doing when they log into the app. Whether they’re sleeping, walking or running.
Rather than focussing on the GPS tracking, the FitBark 2 focusses on your dog’s health and wellness.
What are FitBark’s fitness trackers?
There was previously an older FitBark model on the market, but the FitBark 2 is currently the only option on sale worldwide.
They have recently launched the FitBark GPS which is only available in the US.
FitBark 2 – newest wellness monitor model. No GPS tracking.
FitBark GPS – all the wellness monitoring of the FitBark 2 plus GPS tracking. Only available in the US.
Wellness Monitoring Across Both Models
Both the FitBark 2 and the FiBark GPS monitor certain key wellness metrics:
- BarkPoints: dog’s activity level counters.
- Activity type: rest, active and play time
- Sleep score: sleep duration and quality
- Overall health index
- Calories burned
- Distance travelled
- Signs of anxiety
- Signs of skin conditions: scratching or disturbed sleep.
The FitBark 2 is purely an activity tracker as well as a general wellness monitor.
The health metrics listed above are tracked 24 hours a day to give you a comprehensive view of your dog’s wellbeing. You can even see what your dog does when you’re not home. Does he move and play around or does he lounge on the couch?
As well as tracking this activity and health data, there are a few unique features to the FitBark monitors:
The FitBark not only tracks activity but it turns this data into actionable health advice. Your dog’s daily activity and sleep are converted into BarkPoints so you can monitor how well they’re doing or set your own goals.
Via the app, you can learn whether your dog needs more exercise, for instance, or whether an increase in scratching indicates a possible skin complaint or flea infestation.
Links to Fitbits and Other Human Fitness Trackers
You have the option to link the FitBark to your human fitness tracker so that you can track your dog’s activity alongside your own. It also helps you to work out together and get more active.
FitBark links to FitBit, Apple Watch, HealthKit or Google Fit.
Connect to Dogs in Your Community
You can ‘follow’ dogs in your community. This can either be dogs that you know – such as those owned by friends and family – or you could find dogs of a similar breed and size to connect with.
You can then set goals between you and track each other’s progress in terms of your dog’s activity.
FitBark GPS (US only)
The FitBark GPS has all the functionality of the FitBark 2 in terms of tracking your dog’s activity and wellness, with the added feature of GPS tracking.
The FitBark GPS is slightly heavier than the FitBark 2 at 17 grams (0.6 oz) versus 10 grams (0.35 oz) although this is still very light. Due to the location tracking the battery life is at 10-20 days.
However it has the added functionality of:
- real-time location tracing
- setting safe zones along with alerts of entries and exits to those zones
- 24 hour view of your dog’s whereabouts
FitBark GPS – $69.95 (currently US only)
How do you use the FitBark 2 and GPS activity monitors?
The FitBark 2 and FitBark GPS work in the same way. The activity monitor attaches to your dog’s collar using 2 black zip ties.
You loop the zip ties around the device and thread the collar through them. Tighten the ties to secure the device to the collar.
Cut off excess from the ties and fit your chosen FitBark cover over the device to complete the set up.
You’ll receive 8 zip ties with your FitBark 2 (10 with your FitBark GPS).
Thanks to the FitBark 2’s impressive 6 month battery life, these should last you 2 years and you can easily buy more when you need to.
The FitBark GPS needs more frequent charging so you may need to buy more zip ties to secure the device each time.
What do dog owners think of FitBark activity monitors?
The FitBark 2 has an average of 4.3 stars out of 5 from 331 reviews across 2 websites.
Here’s what customers think of this product based on their reviews:
Impressive Battery Life
Since it doesn’t rely on GPS or other battery-draining technology, the battery on a FitBark 2 can last up to 6 months.
Users like being able to attach it to their pet’s collar and having nothing else to do for months other than checking the app.
It should be noted that the battery life of the FitBark GPS reduces to 10-20 days depending on your dog’s activity. This is to support the on-going location tracking that it offers.
No monthly fees
It’s not uncommon for canine activity monitors to have monthly fees, but with the FitBark 2, you only need to pay for the tracker unit.
Buyers on a budget appreciate the lack of additional monthly fees and other unexpected costs.
The equivalent unit from Whistle the Whistle FIT still has a monthly subscription albeit at a lower level of $2.95 per month.
The FitBark GPS which is available in the US only does have a monthly subscription of $9.95 which is at the same level as that of the Whistle GO and GO Explore devices. This is necessary for the location tracking to work through AT&T.
Users love that the FitBark 2 is small and lightweight. Even toy breeds such as Chihuahuas don’t find it obtrusive.
Larger breeds probably don’t even notice it on their collars.
The FitBark 2 and FitBark GPS are waterproof, which is great for dogs who like to swim.
Users who previously owned the original FitBark noted an improvement in the charging port.
The old model could let moisture in so you had to be careful, but the new port is designed so that no water can enter the device.
Many dog owners enjoy the community aspect of the FitBark 2.
Via the app, you can connect with other pet parents who use the FitBark, set goals and compare BarkPoints.
Here are some recent FitBark reviews from customers:
What Other FitBark Products are Available?
FitBark has a large range of color options for their device covers which helps you to personalise it to your dog’s character. There are 12 in total including fuchsia, blue, purple, red, baby pink, aqua, orange, yellow and green.
You can also purchase extra zip ties and charging cables for the device.
Is FitBark a Good Dog Monitor?
The FitBark 2 is an excellent monitor for dog owners who want to track their pet’s activity but don’t want or need GPS tracking. It can help you improve your pet’s fitness and activity levels. It also notices behavior changes that might point to a health problem.
The FitBark GPS is still only available in the US but it offers all the great features of the FitBark 2 with the location tracking as well.
Which Dog Activity Monitor is Best, Whistle or FitBark?
Both the Whistle and FitBark are excellent dog activity monitors, but you may find one suits you and your dog better than the other.
Whistle has 2 devices with GPS tracking as an added feature and this has proven useful to a number of owners who have lost their pets.
So if this is an important feature for you, you may want to look at the Whistle GO Explore which is their newest model. If you’re located in the US however then you can also consider the newer FitBark GPS which includes location tracking and has great reviews.
If you are only concerned with health and activity monitoring, the FitBark devices offer unique features such as setting goals, converting activity to BarkPoints and creating a community around you and your dog.
You can connect with other dogs that you know or ones in your area so that you can compare activity goals or set challenges for each other.
They also allow their devices to link to Fitbits and other human activity trackers so that you can see your activity levels alongside that of your dog’s at all times.
The FitBark 2 has a very long battery life of 6 months meaning you don’t need to worry about recharging it every few weeks.
In terms of convenience, the FitBark devices are lighter (at 10 and 17 grams versus Whistle’s 28 grams) and seem a little less bulky.
However the Whistle devices are easier to attach and detach from your dog’s collar for charging as they have a backplate which stays permanently on the collar and you clip the device onto and off of that. FitBark on the other hand needs to you cut the zip ties and reattach them each time.
Whistle does offer a vet consultation feature where you can arrange virtual appointments with vets from your home through their app. So this could be convenient for you to use.
Otherwise both Whistle and FitBark are waterproof so you don’t need to worry about them getting ruined when your dog gets wet or splashes about.
Both have well-designed and informative apps that give you weekly health reports and let you look at your dog’s activity over a 24-hour period.
This is the most important feature as it helps you to check that your dog doesn’t have any underlying health conditions, that he’s not feeling anxious or stressed and that he’s eating enough for his size and activity level.
Whichever you choose, Whistle or FitBark, you’ll be getting a quality dog activity monitor that will help you keep tabs on your dog’s wellness and pick up on any issues early on. It can also motivate you to do more together.
Customise Your Own Activity Tracker
Whistle GO – first model with health monitoring and GPS tracking
Whistle GO Explore – newest model with health monitoring and GPS tracking
Whistle FIT – health monitoring only no GPS tracking
FitBark 2 – newest wellness monitor model. No GPS tracking.
FitBark GPS (US only) – all the wellness monitoring of the FitBark 2 plus GPS tracking.