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Evaluation of a novel canine activity monitor for at-home physical activity analysis

By Jonathan M. Yashari, Colleen G. Duncan, Felix M. Duerr

Category Journal Articles

Background: Accelerometers are motion-sensing devices that have been used to assess physical activity in dogs. However, the lack of a user-friendly, inexpensive accelerometer has hindered the widespread use of this objective outcome measure in veterinary research. Recently, a smartphone-based, affordable activity monitor (Whistle) has become available for measurement of at-home physical activity in dogs. The aim of this research was to evaluate this novel accelerometer. Eleven large breed, privately owned dogs wore a collar fitted with both the Whistle device and a previously validated accelerometer-based activity monitor (Actical) for a 24-h time period. Owners were asked to have their dogs resume normal daily activities. Total activity time obtained from the Whistle device in minutes was compared to the total activity count from the Actical device. Activity intensity from the Whistle device was calculated manually from screenshots of the activity bars displayed in the smartphone-application and compared to the activity count recorded by the Actical in the same 3-min time period.
Results: A total of 3740 time points were compared. There was a strong correlation between activity intensity of both devices for individual time points (Pearson’s correlation coefficient 0.81, p < 0.0001). An even stronger correlation was observed between the total activity data between the two devices (Pearson’s correlation coefficient 0.925, p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Activity data provided by the Whistle activity monitor may be used as an objective outcome measurement in dogs. The total activity time provided by the Whistle application offers an inexpensive method for obtaining at-home, canine, real-time physical activity data. Limitations of the Whistle device include the limited battery life, the need for manual derivation of activity intensity data and data transfer, and the requirement of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth availability for data transmission


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2015
Publication Title BMC Veterinary Research
Volume 11
Issue 146
DOI 10.1186/s12917-015-0457-y
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Activity
  2. Animal health and hygiene
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Dogs
  6. Mammals
  7. Pet ownership
  8. Pets and companion animals