StyleTails’ Head of Content, Laura Davis, and her mini Schnauzer Mahler, road test the brand new Animo – a lifelong dog activity monitor from the team at Sure Petcare.
*We have collaborated with our carefully chosen partner, Sure Petcare, to bring you this review. All opinions are genuine and based on two weeks using the device.
Do you know what your dog gets up to when they’re home alone? Do they sleep contentedly or race around the house chasing phantom squirrels? Do they get enough exercise when you’re out and about with them, or are they spending more time stationary? Is that behaviour normal, or a sign of something else more worrying? Understanding your dog’s daily activity patterns over time can give you a clearer picture of their overall health and wellbeing and help you to identify any issues before they become major problems.
There are plenty of dog activity monitors on the market, but when Sure Petcare asked StyleTails to try out Animo, their new lifelong activity and behaviour monitor, I was intrigued to find out exactly what all our hard work with our one-year-old Mini Schnauzer Mahler amounted to.
I knew from the vet that he was in good shape physically and didn’t have any particular issues with behaviour around the house, but I’d never been able to say with any certainty what he got up to when we weren’t with him and whether he was truly getting enough exercise from his walks.
According to Sure Petcare, the Animo learns and accurately interprets the unique behaviour and activity patterns of your dog. It delivers insights into your dog’s activity and sleep, as well problem behaviours such as shaking, scratching and barking. These insights help you to understand the changing needs of your pup over its lifetime, so you can take a proactive approach to your dog’s health and wellbeing.
The monitor itself is a small device that attaches flat to your dog’s collar with a twist and lock fitting. Some activity monitors can be bulky but Animo weighs just 22g, and there are three different band widths for different collar sizes so we got a snug fit: the monitor never shifted, and Mahler didn’t seem to mind it at all, even happily falling asleep while lying on it. It’s also waterproof so you can leave it on during wet walks. The device operates using a standard coin cell battery which lasts for six months, so you won’t be forever charging it either.
The Animo device syncs with a phone app in order to show you the data it’s collected. It was easy to set this up with a step-by-step walkthrough, and I was able to create a household account, so my husband could also snoop on what the dog and I were up to while he was at the office and Mahler and I were busy at StyleTails HQ.
After syncing, the app immediately shows data on your dog’s activity and calorie burn, and after 24 hours it will show you the quality of their sleep. After seven days it will show you information on their barking, scratching and shaking habits. Mini Schnauzers are known for their chatty nature, so the barking data didn’t come as a surprise to us, but any of these stats will be interesting to show what your dog has reacted to. Were they barking when you left them alone? Did they shake more often when you had guests at the house?
A bad night’s sleep can be a sign of underlying issues in dogs like stress or discomfort, so we loved seeing that Mahler is definitely the deepest sleeper in this household, barely rousing between when he goes to bed and when he hears us get up in the morning.
When he’s left alone at home during the day, his activity monitor recorded, blissfully, nothing. It was hugely reassuring to know that he’s content on his own, and I loved checking in on his activity after a jaunt with his dog walker – there was a noticeable spike each time in the ‘running’ section of his activity graph. We’d see that, too, when we bumped into any of his favourite friends in the park for a pup run-around.
After a week of data collection, the app suggested some activity goals for Mahler. The goals are based on the previous seven day’s activity to make the goal is unique to your dog specifically. This makes it easier to identify specific changes to your dog. Mahler’s goals were slightly skewed by a holiday he and I took where we went on long, long walks, so we struggled to meet these goals afterwards, and I became mildly obsessed with seeing how far the target bar had progressed after each game of tug. You can also amend the goals manually if you want in the app.
We were also cautious in relying too much on the goals and neglecting to respond to Mahler’s daily behaviour. As some of our testing was during chilly periods, there were days when he seemed more content to hibernate than zoom around bothering (real/imagined) squirrels, although nothing gets in the way of squirrel sentry duty.
Now that I know how active Mahler is, I’d be interested to see how many kilometres he walks each day and where, a functionality the app doesn’t yet offer, and receive notifications when, for example, he meets a daily goal. Maybe then, next time he’s staring at me begging for another outing, I’ll finally be able to convince him that he’s already walked his paws off.
Any inquisitive dog owner will enjoy using Animo, but you’ll get the most out of those addictive graphs and sleek user interface if you’re concerned about what your pooch might be up to when you’re not with them or if they need to embark upon on a strict fitness regime to lose weight.
Animo retail for £59.99. Find out more and get your own at www.surepetcare.com/en-gb/animo, and stay tuned because we will be giving away some of these clever gadgets to our lucky readers in the coming weeks!