The latest figures on overweight and obese adults prove once again that dogs and their owners are often alike. Overall, 70.2% of adult men and women in the U.S. were overweight or obese in 2013-2014 according to the CDC and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Of that portion, 37.7% were obese or extremely obese. In a 2015-2016 finding, the percentage of obese adults grew to 39.8%. Showing similar gross numbers and periodic growth, The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that 54% of dogs and 59% of cats were overweight or obese in 2016 and increased to 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in 2017. As with humans, pet obesity has severe health consequences, including chronic inflammation, kidney dysfunction, respiratory disorders, metabolic and endocrine disorders, cancer, skin disorders, and overall reduced life expectancy and quality of life.

Kansas City-based FitBark‘s eponymous FitBark 2 dog activity monitor clips to a dog’s collar. The wearable tracks activity levels, distance traveled, calories burned, sleep quality, and overall health and behavior. FitBarks can be linked to iOS and Android smartphones and human fitness trackers from Fitbit, Apple, and Google to chart progress for humans and their canine companions. Weighing just 0.35 ounces, FitBark is IP67 waterproof-rated and runs on a lithium-ion polymer battery with a 3.5-dog-year life per charge (6 months in human time). You can charge the device with a cable without removing it from the dog collar, although it’s undoubtedly a good idea to remove it from the dog.

The FitBark 2 is a research-grade monitoring platform with a single sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer. FitBark 2 was designed with input from more than 45 veterinary schools and research institutions that have used the FitBark platform in studies involving canine mobility, skin disease, nutrition, cognition, vision, and more. The wearable uses data from the accelerometer to compile and report separate health index and sleep quality scores.

FitBark 2 and other wearable fitness and health devices for pets have a dual benefit. Owners can monitor aspects of their pets’ health and activity with FitBark 2, but if the owners also want to work on fitness, the interaction between the animal and human can support both.