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Animals 2018, 8(12), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8120230

Combining Actigraph Link and PetPace Collar Data to Measure Activity, Proximity, and Physiological Responses in Freely Moving Dogs in a Natural Environment

1
Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center, VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
2
Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 August 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Simple Summary

The Actigraph accelerometry monitors, the most widely used and extensively validated devices for measuring physical activity in humans, have also been validated for use in dogs. The ActiGraph GT9X Link monitor has Bluetooth Smart technology and a proximity-tagging feature that potentially allows for the measurement of distance between subjects, e.g., between human caretakers and their dog(s). The PetPace Smart-collar is a non-invasive wireless collar that collects important health markers, including heart beats, variation in the intervals between heartbeats, breaths per minute, and position data (lying, sitting, standing), in addition to activity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether combining data from the Actigraph monitor and PetPace collar would provide reliable pulse, respiration, and heart rate variability results during various activity levels in dogs, and whether these variables were affected by the absence or presence of their caretakers.

Abstract

Although several studies have examined the effects of an owner’s absence and presence on a dog’s physiological responses under experimental conditions over short periods of time (minutes), little is known about the effects of proximity between humans and freely moving dogs under natural conditions over longer periods of time (days). The first aim of our study was to determine whether the combined data generated from the PetPace Collar and Actigraph Link accelerometer provide reliable pulse, respiration, and heart rate variability results during sedentary, light-moderate, and vigorous bouts in 11 freely moving dogs in a foster caretaker environment over 10–15 days. The second aim was to determine the effects of proximity (absence and presence of caretaker) and distance (caretaker and dog within 0–2 m) on the dogs’ physiological responses. Aim 1 results: Pulse and respiration were higher during light-moderate bouts compared to sedentary bouts, and higher at rest while the dogs were standing and sitting vs. lying. Heart rate variability (HRV) was not different between activity levels or position. Aim 2 results: During sedentary bouts, pulse and respiration were higher, and HRV lower, when there was a proximity signal (caretaker present) compared to no proximity signal (caretaker absent). Using multiple regression models, we found that activity, position, distance, and signal presence were predictors of physiological response in individual dogs during sedentary bouts. Our results suggest that combining data collected from Actigraph GT9X and PetPace monitors will provide useful information, both collectively and individually, on dogs’ physiological responses during activity, in various positions, and in proximity to their human caretaker. View Full-Text
Keywords: Actigraph; accelerometry; PetPace; proximity; rescue dogs; foster caretakers; pulse; respiration; heart rate variability; vasovagal tonal index Actigraph; accelerometry; PetPace; proximity; rescue dogs; foster caretakers; pulse; respiration; heart rate variability; vasovagal tonal index
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ortmeyer, H.K.; Robey, L.; McDonald, T. Combining Actigraph Link and PetPace Collar Data to Measure Activity, Proximity, and Physiological Responses in Freely Moving Dogs in a Natural Environment. Animals 2018, 8, 230.

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