Activity Monitoring Can Differentiate Intensity of Exercise in Companion Dogs
Extent of activity directly affects an individual dog's energy balance and factors into that dog's caloric requirement. An objective method that captures the activity level of dogs in their everyday environment could aid in tailoring feeding recommendations to better reflect an individual companion dog's opportunity and inclination to exercise. The Actical Activity Monitor (AAM) is a sensitive, watch-sized, accelerometer that continuously measures the intensity, frequency and duration of movement for extended periods. Our objective was to investigate whether the AAM could be used to differentiate the intensity of activity in companion dogs.
While wearing an AAM, each dog was led through a series of standardized activities: lying down, walking laps, and trotting laps. At least 20 dogs were recruited in each of 5 weight ranges. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare sedentary activity counts to walking activity counts and walking activity counts to trotting activity counts. Receiver operating characteristic curves were generated to determine the optimal activity counts for predicting whether an animal was sedentary, walking, or trotting.
Data was collected on 104 dogs. The median counts (range) for sedentary activity was 10 (0-64), for the walking activity was 290 (91-622), and for the trotting activity was 785 (359-1517). Both sedentary and walking activity counts and walking and trotting activity counts were significantly different from one another (p<0.001). At an activity count of 65 there is 100% specificity and 100% sensitivity in distinguishing the sedentary activity from the walking activity. At an activity count of 441 there is 92% specificity and 92% sensitivity in distinguishing the trotting activity from the walking activity.
In conclusion, activity counts recorded by the AAM were highly accurate in differentiating among standardized activities in companion dogs.