This Futuristic Smart Collar Is Like An Apple Watch For Your Dog
It does it all ⌚
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If you're an obsessed parent, you want to know basically everything about your dog — and make sure he's safe at all times. Which is why smart dog collars are so appealing.
But the Whistle Switch collar goes beyond just location tracking. It also tracks things like fitness and activity level, water intake, sleep patterns, and even problem behaviors that could indicate health issues. It's basically an Apple Watch for your dog.
That's why we were so interested in testing it on our own pups, to see if it could do everything the company claims it will. Keep reading to find out why we loved it, and why it earned our Dodo Paw of Approval.
What Is The Whistle Switch Collar?
The Whistle Switch is a smart collar that uses GPS technology and cellular reception to track your dog in real time.
It also has the ability to monitor your pup’s health and activity level, and can even identify excessive behaviors, like if your dog’s licking and scratching a ton.
The Whistle Switch batteries are rechargeable, and you can swap the dead battery out for another one while it’s charging, so you’d really never have to take the collar off your dog.
The Whistle Switch is available in two colors — yellow and black — and comes in three sizes:
How Does The Whistle Switch Collar Work?
The Whistle Switch collar’s tracking feature works by using GPS and AT&T cell towers to pinpoint your dog’s exact location, which updates every 15 seconds so you pretty much know exactly where your dog is at any given time (provided there’s good AT&T reception).
In the Whistle app, you can also designate safe areas, like your yard, so you can be notified whenever your dog leaves one of those zones.
As part of the health and fitness monitoring, the Whistle Switch collar will note the distance your pup travels in the collar and the amount of time he’s been active to make sure he's getting enough exercise.
The Whistle app will provide you with updates and summaries, and you can even create customized fitness goals for your dog.
The app also includes Tele-Vet services — aka telehealth for your pup — which you can use to chat, call, email and video conference with a veterinarian.
Whistle offers two other products in addition to the collar: an activity tracker collar attachment (for $64.95) and a GPS and activity collar attachment (for $119.95), both of which have similar features to the collar but they attach to your dog's existing collar.
We decided to test the original Whistle Switch collar instead of the GPS attachment because it fits more dogs — the collar fits dogs as small as 5 pounds, while the attachment is only suitable for dogs 25 pounds and heavier.
Why Does The Whistle Switch Require A Subscription Plan?
In order for the tracking features to work, the Whistle Switch collar needs to be connected to a cell provider and a GPS provider.
So, in addition to the cost of the collar itself, you’ll also need to sign up for a subscription plan. Each plan includes:
- AT&T wireless service
- GPS via Google Maps
- Whistle app
- Whistle support
There are three different subscription plans you can choose from:
- Monthly plan: $12.99
- One-year plan: Usually $99, but at the time of publishing, it costs $74.25 because you’ll get the first three months for free
- Two-year plan: Usually $192, but at the time of publishing, it costs $168.03 because you’ll get the first three months for free
What Comes With The Whistle Switch Collar?
In addition to the collar itself, the Whistle Switch includes:
- Two swappable, rechargeable batteries
- Charging cable
- Quick start guide
We picked four Dodo dogs who double as escape artists to try out the Whistle Switch collar.
Does The Whistle Switch Collar Work?
Our pet parents are really impressed with the Whistle Switch collar’s ability to locate their dogs around the clock, especially when they leave their designated safe spaces.
“You can literally draw a square around your yard, designating it as a safe space, and if your dog goes outside of that radius, you will get an alert on your phone. This is really amazing for escape artists and just for peace of mind in case something happens.” — Nicole H.
“When we left the house and headed to my mother-in-law’s, it recognized that Piper was not in a safe space and alerted me to where she was, even down to the approximate house number.” — Sarah H.
And when it works too well — aka bombards you with notifications every time you leave the house with your pup — you can adjust the settings in your Whistle app to recognize other safe spaces and devices nearby.
“When I got tired of the notifications, I noticed that you could make the GPS recognize your phone so I wouldn't get alerted as long as I was near Piper with my phone. AND you can add family members and safe places — both great things for a pup who comes with us often on trips to visit friends and family.” — Sarah H.
What We Love
There are so many things we love about the Whistle Switch collar.
Fitness tracking is super helpful
The fitness tracking feature is incredibly useful, too, and shows our reviewers what their pups need to be happy and healthy.
“The Whistle Switch app gave us insight into his activity and calories burned and put the spotlight on his health. It was great to see the data in real time and realize he's not getting enough exercise in and adjust his daily routine.” — Nicole H.
It even had their parents considering their own activity levels.
“The Whistle Go app really made us both more active! As a human, I LOVE external motivation, so the goal-setting in the app was super helpful to make sure that Piper (and me, in turn) was getting enough activity.” — Sarah H.
It offers so much insight
The Whistle app provides our pet parents with incredibly detailed data beyond just their dogs’ activity levels, like how much water they drink and the quality of their sleep.
“It gave us so many details about her daily activity, including distance walked, calories burned, hours rested, and even tracked her daily health insights, like how much she drinks, scratches and more! I had no idea a collar could do so much!” — Melanie D.
“It's smart enough to recognize when Piper is walking, playing or resting, so I could be at the store and checking to see if she was resting peacefully or pacing around the house.” — Sarah H.
“Hopper was even able to sleep with it on without any discomfort, which is great because it closely monitors sleep patterns, and that was a big draw for us.” — Lily C.
It’s also super easy to navigate while you’re perusing through all this information.
“It's so fun to look through the data insights to know your pup better and adjust their routine in real time to ensure they are healthy and happy.” — Nicole H.
“The app is very user-friendly and gives me all of the information I need at the touch of my hands.” — Melanie D.
You don’t have to worry about a dead battery
The rechargeable batteries for the Whistle Switch last a long time, so you don’t have to charge them constantly.
“The Switch battery also lasts FOREVER, so we only had to switch the battery out once in two weeks!” — Lily C.
And when a battery is close to dying, you’ll get a notification that the level is low. That way, you can swap it out for the second one while it charges, and your Whistle Switch collar will always be powered up and ready to go.
“It's quick and easy to charge, and the app alerts you when the battery is getting low, so there's never a lapse in coverage.” — Sarah H.
There are some small downsides to the Whistle Switch collar.
It can be a little heavy for smaller dogs
The Whistle Switch collar’s a bit thicker than your typical pet store collar. Some dogs might not have a problem with this, but smaller pups might find the collar to be a little heavy or uncomfortable.
“Piper really doesn't like the chunkiness of the collar itself, and started itching more and more at her neck, which she didn't do with her old collar.” — Sarah H.
The connection isn’t great everywhere
Since it runs on cell service, the connection between your Whistle Switch collar, AT&T’s towers and Google Maps’ GPS might not be strong in some places, like rural areas, so the location tracking might not work too well in those spots.
“We initially tried setting up the collar in a rural area, where AT&T isn't a strong provider, and had trouble connecting the collar there, but at our home in a major city, there was no trouble at all connecting the collar to the data plan.” — Lily C.
It’s an investment
The collar itself usually costs $199.95, but that the time of publication was on sale for $169.95, which still is a pretty significant investment (but Dodo readers get an additional 30 percent off with the discount code DODO30).
On top of that one-time cost, you have to sign up for a monthly subscription service, or the collar’s features won’t work.
While our reviewers acknowledged the price is a lot more than a normal collar, they all agreed the sense of security was well worth it.
Despite the minor drawbacks, our entire human judging panel plans to continue using the Whistle Switch collar and said they would gladly recommend it to other pet parents.
Is The Whistle Switch Collar Worth It?
The Whistle Switch collar does so much — from location tracking to fitness monitoring to Tele-Vet services — and it’s all easily accessible from the app, which definitely makes the product worth the price. (And don’t forget to use the code DODO30 to save 30 percent.)
Not to mention, the peace of mind that comes with the ability to keep tabs on your dog’s exact location at any moment is truly priceless.
What size Whistle Switch collar should I get?
According to Whistle’s size guide, there are certain ranges of neck measurements for each of the three collar sizes. They are:
- XS/S: neck size of 8 to 11 inches (typically dogs 5 to 25 pounds)
- S/M: neck size of 12 to 18 inches (typically dogs 10 to 55 pounds)
- M/L: neck size of 16 to 24 inches (typically dogs up to 75 pounds)
The Dodo may receive complimentary samples to test in our Paw of Approval program, but all our opinions are 100 percent our own. We only publish endorsements of products we (and our dogs and cats) absolutely love! You can find out more about our testing process here.
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