In the last few years, our smart phones have become as much our constant companions as our dogs, but did you know that there are some very useful apps available to make your life as a pet owner easier and more convenient?
Here are our recommendations for five very useful apps available for both Android and Apple phones, which we’ve tested on both platforms. Each description is followed by a link to the app and user ratings. The apps are arranged alphabetically, so this is not a best-of order.
Have you ever tried to get that perfect photo of your dog only to find that she’ll look at everything but the camera? This could be the solution. BarkCam is a simple app that plays various sounds in order to get your dogs attention and snap the perfect pic. Sounds include things like a cat’s meow, a dog howl, a siren, and, if your dog has a human sense of humor, a fart. Note that your results may vary, depending upon how reactive your dog is to sound. The Apple owner’s dog perked right up at the sounds, while our Android user’s dog couldn’t have cared less.
- Dog/Puppy Clicker Training
Sure, you could get a dog clicker for about a buck, but what do you do if you forget your clicker when you go out for training? With this app, it’s always on your phone. While the app is pretty basic, it also includes a how-to guide on obedience and clicker training, as well as a dog whistle. None of the humans in the office could hear the latter, but the dogs definitely did.
- Dog Walk
Have you ever wondered how far you’ve walked your dog? There’s an app for that and this is it. Just hit the start button, and it will map your route in real time as well as tell you how long you’ve been walking. You can create entries for each of your dogs as well as take pictures in-app on the walk (although apparently only in an Instagram-friendly square aspect ratio), and tag spots where your dog has done his business. Note, though, that in both versions of the app, we weren’t able to log in using Facebook and had to create a separate account. Also, a survey feature in the sidebar on the Android version crashed the app a few times after the second question. Otherwise, though, it’s just what it says on the tin.
- Pet First Aid American Red Cross
The Red Cross has been teaching human first aid for over a century and, of course, they have an app covering the subject — but they also have an app that compiles first aid instructions for dogs and cats all in one place. The information itself is divided into sections including “Learn,” “Prepare,” and “Emergency,” and it includes a section to enter your pets’ info. There’s also an integrated pet hotel finder in the prepare section, and the emergency section includes a place to put your vet’s phone number, a pet hospital locator, a list of warning signs, and quick access to the most common first aid emergencies. Once you’ve gone through the learning section, you can also quiz yourself. All-in-all, this is an incredibly useful resource for any dog or cat owner.
If you’re looking for a dog walker or sitter or a place to board your dog, then this is the app for you. Think of it as like an Air BnB or Uber/Lyft for canines with a network of professionals registered with the app, which also handles payments. And if you’re a dog walker, sitter, or boarder, you can use this app to manage your clients and business. On the consumer side, the available information includes distance, rates, and photos, and the more detailed information pages list special skills, reviews, and services offered. Sitters can update their clients with photos, videos, and updates via the app, and walkers can send their route and a report card on the dog’s behavior. You can also arrange a 30 minute drop-in visit just in case your dog needs a little company while you’re out.
And, just for fun…
- Dog Simulator
Whether you have a dog or not, this game is your chance to be one as you control the worst puppy in the world, on a mission to destroy everything in the house. Yes, it’s just silly, stupid fun — but it does give you a chance to be a really bad dog with none of the headaches of the real thing.
What are your favorite dog-related apps? Let us know in the comments!