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Article

Evaluation of the FitBark Activity Monitor for Measuring Physical Activity in Dogs

1
Department of Agricultural Science, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO 63501, USA
2
Department of Statistics, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO 63501, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew Nicholas Rowan
Animals 2021, 11(3), 781; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030781
Received: 29 December 2020 / Revised: 4 March 2021 / Accepted: 8 March 2021 / Published: 11 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Global Dog Management)
Altered activity in a dog can be an early indicator of health and welfare concerns. Accelerometers, a type of activity monitor, are being used more frequently in dogs and may be a simple way for owners and veterinarians to monitor a dog’s changing health and welfare needs. However, there are few peer-reviewed studies evaluating the accuracy of these devices. Therefore, this study evaluated the accuracy of the FitBark 2 accelerometer (FitBark) by comparing activity data recorded using the FitBark to dog physical activity recorded using video analysis of dog step count. Dog step count and FitBark activity were highly correlated when the dogs were exploring a room off-leash and when they were interacting with their owner. However, when the dogs were being walked on a leash, low correlations between step count and FitBark activity were observed. In conclusion, the FitBark is a valid tool for tracking off-leash activity in dogs; however, more work should be done to identify the best method of tracking activity in on-leash situations.
Accelerometers track changes in physical activity which can indicate health and welfare concerns in dogs. The FitBark 2 (FitBark) is an accelerometer for use with dogs; however, no studies have externally validated this tool. The objective of this study was to evaluate FitBark criterion validity by correlating FitBark activity data to dog step count. Dogs (n = 26) were fitted with a collar-mounted FitBark and individually recorded for 30 min using a three-phase approach: (1) off-leash room explore; (2) human–dog interaction; and (3) on-leash walk. Video analysis was used to count the number of times the front right paw touched the ground (step count). Dog step count and FitBark activity were moderately correlated across all phases (r = 0.65, p < 0.001). High correlations between step count and FitBark activity were observed during phases 1 (r = 0.795, p < 0.001) and 2 (r = 0.758, p < 0.001), and a low correlation was observed during phase 3 (r = 0.498, p < 0.001). In conclusion, the FitBark is a valid tool for tracking physical activity in off-leash dogs; however, more work should be done to identify the best method of tracking on-leash activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal behavior; animal welfare; dog; canine; pet; accelerometer; activity monitor; FitBark; wearable technology; validation animal behavior; animal welfare; dog; canine; pet; accelerometer; activity monitor; FitBark; wearable technology; validation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Colpoys, J.; DeCock, D. Evaluation of the FitBark Activity Monitor for Measuring Physical Activity in Dogs. Animals 2021, 11, 781. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030781

AMA Style

Colpoys J, DeCock D. Evaluation of the FitBark Activity Monitor for Measuring Physical Activity in Dogs. Animals. 2021; 11(3):781. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030781

Chicago/Turabian Style

Colpoys, Jessica, and Dean DeCock. 2021. "Evaluation of the FitBark Activity Monitor for Measuring Physical Activity in Dogs" Animals 11, no. 3: 781. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030781

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