First, my wife, Amber, got a Fit Bit® and started challenging her friends to walk and exercise more. Then, I got a Fit Bit. All of a sudden, Amber and I were competing to walk our dog, Tater Tot. Minimally, a short Tater walk will give us 1,000 steps. That is a good chunk out of the American Heart Association’s goal of 10,000 daily steps. Tater was thrilled that his daily walks seem to double overnight.

Soon, we got a Fit Bit® for Tater! Well, it’s actually called a FitBark® ( . A Fitbark® is a bone shaped device that attaches to his collar. It is virtually connected to an app on my phone, so that I can track his activity. Instead of counting steps, the program calculates Barkpoints through an algorithm that senses exercise, play and rest. I have no idea how it actually figures out his Barkpoint number, but I do know that Amber, Tater and I are active as ever. We are all motivating each other.

Wait a minute, you say! How is Tater motivating us? It is psychology 101, man! As a pet owner, I feel bad if my dog is lying around all of the time. Now, I have numbers to tell me when he is living an active or a lazy existence. Be careful what you measure!


As a veterinarian, I have encouraged many parents to exercise their pets more. This is a great tool to assist in those efforts. There are other similar devices out their like Voyce® and Whistle®. They all have some unique attributes. For me the price was right for the Fitbark® (about $58) and it does not require a monthly fee.

Clearly, none of us need to use a device to keep our pets in shape. Sometimes, tools come along to help us connect with our pet in a fun way. For cats, one of my favorites is a laser pointer. If you have never seen a cat attempt to pounce on a laser spot, you are missing some good fun.

Please share your thoughts on the Golden Paws Facebook page about what you do to stay active and engaged with your pet. I would love to hear your ideas!

Stay Well, Golden!
Doctor Sam