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Review: Voyce is the wellness monitor for dogs that makes wearables vividly relevant

Jon Phillips | May 28, 2015
Even if you retired your Fitbit or Fuelband to a desk drawer long ago, you may still find room in your heart for another activity-tracking wearable. No, not for you--for your dog. The Voyce health and wellness monitor bypasses human biology entirely, and sets its sights on canis familiaris, a species with much less capricious technology habits.

Deep dives into activity and sleep

Throughout my testing, I sifted through Whiskey's data with interest, observing how much exercise she was getting at doggie daycare on weekdays versus time spent at dog parks on the weekends. The Voyce dashboard's activity data shows periods of low, medium, and high intensity levels, as well as estimates of miles covered, all based on accelerometer readings. It doesn't, however, show actual pawsteps. In other words, it's not Fitbit for dogs.

Nonetheless, it was interesting to observe that Whiskey's activity during really busy daycare visits exceeded her activity when I only gave her two 35-minute walks on a really lazy Sunday.

The dashboard doesn't report sleep like a human activity tracker would. Instead it reports rest, which combines actual sleep with simple sedentary activity like kicking back on the couch and waiting for the fun to begin. I was surprised to discover that Whiskey's average daily rest count is 21 hours a day. That exceeds the estimated 80 percent of combined sleep/rest time that's taken root as conventional wisdom, but Dr. Landis-Hanna confirmed that Voyce is showing most dogs aren't quite as active as experts have always believed.

For what it's worth, I'm not worried that Whiskey is under-exercised. Looking at my Voyce dashboard, I can identify her most active days and correlate her numbers to night-time behavior. On the days when Whiskey has even approached 20 percent activity time, she's been absolutely wiped out at night, suggesting she's passed her limit.

The dashboard also shows an estimate of calorie burn (helpful if you've identified a weight gain problem), and reports how many hours your dog has spent in direct sunlight. This last metric can prove especially useful if you're concerned your dog walker isn't doing his or her job.

Depending on the data set you're looking at, the dashboard can show you daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly views. So, for example, when you're in the daily view, you can check to see the precise times when your dog was active and enjoying sunlight. The monthly view is available for all data sets, and is most helpful for spotting health trends. That said, I wish the dashboard mapped calendar dates to days of the week. This would make it much easier to compare weekday activity to the same metrics on the weekends.

A portal for all your dog's details

The Voyce dashboard is packed with features. In addition to tons of interesting articles (e.g., "Can my dog handle group walks?" and "How to train a rock solid recall"), there's a goal-setting tool (e.g., lose 5 pounds over three months) as well as a function for setting reminders for vaccines, appointments and routine care. You can also log all of your dog's health and nutrition details, such as which shots are up to date, what she's allergic to, and exactly what kind of food she eats.

 

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