Walkies: The fitness app for dogs

FitBarkFitness tracker apps are already well established for runners, cyclists, or those who just want to monitor how many steps they take during the day.

Now, the concept is being transferred to our four legged friends with a new app designed to make sure owners are giving their dogs enough exercise time.

Shaped like a tiny bone, FitBark attaches to your dog’s collar, monitoring your canine’s activity throughout the day before charting the results in graph form in a companion smartphone app.

FitBark aims to ensure our pooches are fitter and healthier by setting daily goals based upon your dogs breed, size and age.

These goals are set in a bid to make sure dogs complete the “equivalent to approximately one hour of moderately intense physical activity, and the rest of the day spent at a lower energy level.”

FitBark is the brainchild of a New York-based start-up, which is making a second attempt to raise money through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

Back in May, FitBark cancelled its first try after raising just over $52,000 of its $100,000 goal. But, this time round, the project is trying to raise just £35,000 and has already been pledged more than $42,000, with 28 days still to go.

The company said it had decided to cancel its first attempt and try again after receiving “tons of feedback on the product,” along with finding out more about pricing and developing supplier relationships which mean it can “build an even better FitBark device at a lower price point”.

Fitbark picExplaining the concept behind FitBark on Kickstarter, the company says: “As dog lovers, we always wonder if we’re doing our best to keep our dogs healthy and happy. Over and over, we hear that exercise is crucial for their physical and mental wellbeing. Yet, there’s a black hole in the way we track their activity throughout the day.

“FitBark combines our love for dogs, tech and beautiful design into a product that helps humans better understand dogs and give them back the joy that they provide to us. With FitBark, you can stay connected and get valuable insights into the life of your dog so that you’ll know when to take action.”

While, at first, FitBark may seem like a barking mad idea, with pet obesity growing at an alarming rate just like human obesity, clearly pet owners do need to be re-educated.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, out of the 77.5m dogs in the US, a staggering 35m of them are considered overweight, and 6.7m are clinically obese.

When you consider that being overweight takes an average of two years off your dog’s life, it’s obviously important to make sure they are at their premium weight.

FitBark has also partnered with fitness apps for you, such as NikeFuelband and FitBit to give you a family fitness dashboard, which will give you a run down on who in the family has hit their targets, and when they had their best day.

FitBark is expected to start shipping in late 2013 – just in time for you to pop one of the gizmos in your hound’s Christmas stocking.

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