According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, roughly 55 percent of dogs and cats in the United States are considered overweight or obese. That’s actually a pretty startling number when you think about it, so it’s not entirely surprising that more businesses with products and apps for pets are coming out with fitness tracking devices, especially for dogs. This January at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a company with a product known as WonderWoof showed off its bow tie version of a fitness tracker for use with fat Fidos everywhere.
Fitness Trackers for Dogs
WonderWoof is a Bluetooth connected tracking accessory shaped like a bow tie that clips on your dog’s collar and monitors his or her activity levels in real time with the intention of helping them improve their health. It also allows humans that make use of it to meet other dog lovers in their area, if that’s a plus for you. The device and accompanying app are ultimately supposed to help pets lead healthier lifestyles by making sure they are getting the proper amount of exercise based on their size, breed and age. Through the use of analytics in the form of real-time updates received on users smartphones, owners can see their pet’s current activity levels and make adjustments to their exercise regimen.
Obesity in Pets
While obesity in pets is a genuine concern in this country, the only real benefit trackers like the WonderWoof appear to supply is information on what pets are or are not doing when you’re not around. Most pets that are locked inside all day sleep. And, yes, dogs that stay outside all day are probably getting more exercise than their shut-in counterparts, but they’re probably sleeping a lot of the day away, too. It’s been determined that domestic pets sleep roughly 12 to 14 hours out of each day as it is. Unless you’re looking to confirm that your pet’s a couch potato all day when you’re away, I’m not sure of what the point or the actual usefulness of products like these are.
If your dog’s overweight the first thing you should do is consult your veterinarian for advice. Your vet is better able to determine the reasons behind the excess weight gain and can rule out any underlying medical conditions. If it’s determined your pet’s just not getting enough exercise in conjunction with overeating — which is the most common cause of obesity in humans and pets — they’ll probably recommend a reduced diet or the use of lite dog foods and an increase in walking and exercise. It’s really as simple as that. There’s cause and effect to everything and the answers are usually pretty straight forward.
People have a tendency to try to over-complicate things with animals and apply the same kind of logic of our tech-driven lives to our pets. We have to track our every move now and then post about it so others can monitor what we’re doing as well. But you don’t need to look at a touchscreen to see if you’re overweight and wait for conformation and advice to do something about it. Put down the fork, put on your tennis shoes and walk, run, ride a bicycle, swim or play tennis. The point is just move. The same applies to our pets. If Fido’s fat, then cut back on his food intake and start walking him or playing fetch or take him to a dog park where he’s more likely to run.
Doggy Play Dates
On the other hand, devices with apps like these can be a great way to meet other dog owners (if that’s what you’re looking for) for possible play dates, and they provide some fair opportunities for networking. But it’s really all about you, because it’s doubtful your dog is interested in social media, which this product provides to some extent. So what it boils down to is this: If you’re someone who has to have the latest technical device and/or are looking to find new friends, make a love connection or are trying to scout a reliable dog walker/sitter, the Wonderwoof and products like it might be perfect for you. Otherwise, you and Fido just need to start putting one foot/paw in front of the other and begin walking.