We received an Animo Dog Activity and Behavior Monitor for review. All statements and opinions are our own.
We’ve all seen activity trackers for humans. You strap it on, and it tallies how active you are throughout the day and how well you are resting at night.
Activity trackers for dogs work much the same way–but also help provide us with information not just on exercise but also on behaviors our dog is exhibiting when we’re not home. Is your dog barking when you’re gone? Nervously scratching or sitting by the door shaking? Is he napping while you’re out or is anxiety keeping him up and waiting for you?
A dog activity tracker can alert you to concerning patterns in your dog’s behavior in the day when you’re gone or at night when you’re sleeping.
We recently had the chance to review the Animo Dog Activity and Behavior Monitor, a small, battery-operated device that slides on your dog’s collar and tracks his motion throughout the day and night. An app on your smartphone syncs with the device to provide data on your dog’s activity, sleep, calories burned, barking and more.
What Does an Activity Tracker Tell You?
You know your dog’s basic routine: you walk your dog, he takes a nap, he wakes up and runs around a bit, you walk him again then you settle in for the evening. In between, he eats his meals and sleeps some more.
But is that activity enough? How much exercise is he really getting? If you hire a dog walker, how long is your dog really getting walked?
While you are asleep, is your dog sleeping like he should?
When he’s active, is your dog active enough for his age–or has there been a sudden change in his activity level? Is he burning enough calories?
And, of special importance as so many of us head back out into the world after months of around the clock time with our dogs, is our dog suffering from separation anxiety while we are gone? Is he barking uncontrollably? Shaking at the door? Nervously scratching or pacing?
An activity tracker can tell you these things–and more.
What an activity tracker doesn’t tell you
- It doesn’t tell you where your dog is, if he should get lost. That requires a GPS tracker.
- It doesn’t tell you how much your dog is eating. You can purchase microchip pet feeders so that you can restrict feeding from one bowl to a particular pet. By measuring the amount of food in the feeder you can know how much that dog ate while you were away.
- Animo does not track your dog’s heart rate.
Setting Up an Animo Dog Activity and Behavior Monitor
The Animo is extremely easy to set up; it took just minutes to get it ready to put on Barli’s collar. The device comes with three sizes of silicone collar attachments, depending on the width of your dog’s collar.
Animo includes a lithium battery (it should last about six months). Once that was set, we placed the Animo on Barli’s collar and downloaded the app.
Animo is waterproof (so there’s no need to remove it when your dog swims…a good thing with Barli!) And there’s no need to recharge the device every few days, since it is battery operated.
Another thing I really liked: there is no month to month fee with this device.
An Overview of Animo Information
Whenever I want to check Barli’s progress, the first step is to sync the Animo; with a quick click of the Sync button, the device updates to the newest data:
Next, I can see a dashboard of Barli’s readings. As you can see, I can see the newest data or scroll back through previous days. The dashboard provides information on the intensity of Barli’s activity (low, medium, high) and duration of his activity:
The dashboard also provides information on your dog’s sleep habits including the length of time he sleeps per day (a lot!) and the quality of his sleep. It takes Animo 14 days of gathering data to learn your dog’s sleep pattern then provide you with a score as to how he’s sleeping through the night:
The dashboard also provides information on calories burned and wellbeing–scratching and shaking per day:
And of special interest to me is the barking information, providing data on bouts of barking:
How Active Is Your Dog?
Do you wonder what your dog does when you’re not home? The Animo doesn’t say what he’s doing–but the activity tracker does show an hour by hour breakdown of his activity levels. It’s easy to see when Barli’s naptime is, along with this evening walk:
You can compare his activity level on a day-by-day basis, too, to see if you spot any trends:
How Well Does Your Dog Sleep?
Is your dog’s sleep quality suffering due to a change in your schedule or a potential issue that you might need to discuss with your vet? The Animo tracks the quality of your dog’s sleep, comparing it to his average sleep score, so you can look for patterns. It’s easy to see some nights when we had coyotes howling nearby in the night, waking Barli:
That data also lets you look at the quality of your dog’s sleep on an hour-by-hour basis:
Is My Dog Barking When I’m Away?
As many of us return to a more normal schedule and leave our dogs at home during the day, you may be worried that your dog is barking while you’re gone. Animo’s information includes indications when your dog has barked several times in a minute. If he’s barked for more than five minutes, the indicator will be orange:
Another indicator of your dog’s wellbeing is the amount of time he spends scratching or shaking. Animo shows how much and when your dog is scratching or shaking–and alerts you to changes in that behavior compared to his average day:
What We Thought
Animo was extremely easy to set up, and it immediately started compiling a profile for Barli, tracking his sleep and activity to create an “average” especially for him.
I loved being able to see how much he barks when we’re not home (which isn’t much these days but I know it will be of even greater importance as we get back out in the world more in the coming months).
And I’m glad to see how well he is resting at night. Barli is an energetic young dog–and often reacts to sounds of wildlife he hears during the night–so I’m glad to see that he is sleeping soundly.
But, most of all, I love that Animo gave me a way to learn even more about Barli and his behavior. It’s an easy way to get a peek into more of our best friend’s behaviors so we can help with potential problems–and that’s what being a best friend is all about, right?