No-one wants a portly pooch. Yet over 40% of the UK’s dogs are overweight according to research compiled by MedicAnimal. Just like humans, diet and exercise are the two key inputs into just how (un)healthy our dogs are and sadly how long they live. Who wouldn’t want their best friend to live for longer? I know I certainly do, so I’ll take all the help I can get with monitoring diet and exercise for my dogs. Fortunately the PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker aims to do just that (but more on that in a moment).
When it comes to diet, I’ve been watching what Belinha & Moleque eat for some now and have got into the habit of weighing out their food so I don’t over feed them without realising. But what about their exercise? As I work full-time I rely on using a doggy daycare service during the week to make sure they’re exercised and entertained. I hope that means they are running around all day and getting lots of exercise but for all I know I could be paying a small fortune for them to go and sit and sleep in a field all day.
So it was time to find a way to measure how much exercise they were getting. Not only to make sure they were not lazing the days away but because despite watching her diet, Belinha is actually overweight and quite simply needs to lose weight.
Enter the PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker. Firstly this little device promises to tell me how much exercise Belinha is getting. Secondly, with the PoochPlay Wellbeing App, it also aims to help me make better diet decisions and has a handy personal assistant feature too to track reminders for things like de-worming and vaccinations. At this rate Belinha will be hitting her daily step goals and managing her diet better than me!
So let’s take a closer look at the PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker…
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Design
The PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker is sleek, small and modern and comes in two colours pink and black, obviously I picked pink for Belinha! When we first got the PoochPlay it only came with one type of ‘band’ for the tracker that hooked either over your dog’s collar or over the d-ring on the collar.
Over the d-ring was definitely more secure but we did have a small issue with the rubber on the band wearing out as it rubbed against the d-ring after some time. However when we let PoochPlay know we were immediately sent a replacement band free of charge. PoochPlay have since released the ‘Tracker Band – Extreme’ which is more like a watch strap that fits securely around the collar (purchased separately). Although the new band only comes in black, I personally prefer this type of band both for security and to avoid the issue mentioned above. Hopefully there will be one coming out in pink soon too.
The PoochPlay is waterproof (put to the test) and has a battery life of 6 months (yet to be put to the test).
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Set-up
Set-up was super easy, download the app and away you go.
Depending on age, breed and how ‘overweight’ your dog is, the PoochPlay then makes a recommendation of how much daily exercise is needed or in PoochPlay speak, ‘daily moves’.
It will also make a recommendation on how much food should be eaten each day and has an ever-growing list of UK dog-foods to choose from (recommendations are made with the input of a vet on the PoochPlay team). If the food your dog eats isn’t listed, then there’s a handy ‘let the PoochPlay team know’ function in the app and then PoochPlay will get that food added to the database. We’re in the process of changing foods at the moment so I should say that I didn’t fully test this feature.
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Personal Assistant & Wellbeing Management App
From the app, you can manage not only the device and see activity levels (for up to 3 dogs) but you can also use it as your pup’s own personal assistant with reminders for things like vaccinations, de-worming and more. As long as you update it, it will also keep track of your pup’s weight month by month so that’s very useful to see the trend yourself rather than have to get it from the vet.
The app was also recently updated and the new version has a lot more functionality than the previous version, see below.
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Tracking Exercise & Activity Levels
This is where in my opinion, the PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker excels. In the past we had tried the PitPat (the PitPat 1) and found the way that data is tracked to be really lacking as only continuous exercise of 10 minutes and over was tracked which didn’t give an accurate picture of the amount of exercise Belinha & Moleque were doing. So I was really pleased to see that’s not the case with the PoochPlay, every step is counted!
I could literally see the number of steps increasing as Belinha walked if I had the app open. The app has always shown the amount of exercise in moves measured against the daily goal on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Plus with the latest version of the app, you can now also see the total amount of time active, resting and miles covered.
Ironically, when I got the PoochPlay I had in mind that I would use it to make sure Belinha got the right amount of daily exercise but now I also use it make sure she doesn’t get too much exercise! Belinha was recently diagnosed with arthritis so managing her exercise levels to make sure she gets the right amount and at the right times is key and with the app I can do this. It’s also no surprise that when her arthritis flares up, it’s on a day where she’s really exceeded the daily exercise goal the day before.
As part of managing her arthritis, Belinha’s also been (much to her dismay and quite frankly, disgust) been having hydrotherapy sessions. The PoochPlay tracks this kind of exercise really well and the device has no problem being submerged in water. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Belinha who definitely does.
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – The Verdict
Is the PoochPlay helping Belinha to get fit? Well the saying ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’ is definitely true and the PoochPlay definitely helps me measure and therefore adapt the amount of exercise Belinha is doing. I’m also reassured (with actual data), that she is definitely not just sitting around at daycare all day!
So, is the PoochPlay useful? Yes it definitely is, especially for dogs where you need to keep an eye on exercise levels to ensure they are getting enough (for overweight dogs) or not too much (for older dogs) exercise.
The app was helpful for me too with the reminders and weight tracking but in our case it was definitely the activity tracking capabilities that were the most beneficial. The fact that the device design is cool definitely helped with Belinha’s park cred too.
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Giving Back
PoochPlay have partnered with London Rescue & Rehoming Charity All Dogs Matter and if you purchase your PoochPlay from the All Dogs Matter shop, not only does the charity benefit from each tracker sold (this gives it extra bonus paw points from us), but it’s considerably cheaper at £25.00 than anywhere else we’ve seen it for sale (normally £39.99).
PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker – Rating
We give the PoochPlay Dog Activity Tracker 4.5 Stars!