Best Apps for Pet Lovers
There's an app for everything, even for your four-footed friends. And why not? There are nearly 144 million dogs and cats in this country. They deserve to have as much fun as the rest of us. However, you might find the array of possibilities daunting. Whether you're looking for a tablet game for your cat, apps for logging your dog walks or first aid apps for your pet, there's going to be something here for you and your furry friends.
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Dog Walk (Android, iOS: Free)
Tractiv's Dog Walk app (Android, iOS) is a free exercise tracker for your dog walks, using your phone's GPS sensors to record your dog walking route and display it on a map, complete with distance and time. Users can also take and save pictures from within the app, and they can log where their dog heeds nature's call along the way. Users can view a record of their dog walk routes, share them with friends and family, or use them to record activities — that last option being particularly appealing for dog walkers.
ASPCA Pet Safety (Android, iOS: Free)
The ASPCA has a good line of mobile apps aimed at helping out tech-savvy pet owners. The ASPCA Pet Safety app (Android, iOS) can help pet owners plan for pet safety during emergencies, natural disasters and extreme weather. The app presents safety and preparedness hints, suggestions on how to search for lost pets right after emergencies and tools for storing pet information or creating a lost pet kit.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (Android, iOS: Free)
The ASPCA's other mobile app is the Animal Poison Control Center app (Android, iOS), a handy guide to common household items, drugs, hazards and plants that can be toxic or dangerous for dogs, cats, birds or horses. Users can search for a particular substance or plant or filter by species. They can also get a color coded risk assesment, a list of expected symptoms and suggested actions, poison calculators for things like chocolate or rat poison and —most importantly — a one-touch dial to the ASPCA's poison control hotline.
Pet First Aid by American Red Cross (Android, iOS: Free)
Pet First Aid by American Red Cross (Android, iOS) is a nicely designed first aid guide and knowledge base for owners of dogs and cats. The app provides users with simple first aid lessons, step by step guides and how-to videos. The multiple configurable pet profiles come in handy, as do the section where you can save your vet's contact details.
Dog Buddy (iOS: Free)
Keeping on top of all your dog's health needs is no mean feat. Dog Buddy is a to-do and health log app that helps you keep a journal of your dog's medical needs, treatments, vaccination schedules, and other info you might need to make sure that your four-footed friend stays healthy and happy. Users can track their dog's weight, create journal entries and milestones, store photos, and save your dog's bio data, vet contact details, medication schedules, and more, all for free.
11Pets (Android, iOS: Free)
Similar to Dog Buddy, 11Pets (Android, iOS) is a pet needs and health journal app that helps you stay on top of your pet's vaccinations, medicines and scheduled vet visits. You can store your vet's contact details, your pet's medical history, photos, and medication needs, and track your pet supply needs. Previously an Android exclusive, 11Pets has since released an iOS version.
Whistle 3 (Android, iOS) ($79.95 Device + $9.95/mo subscription)
Whistle is a combination GPS and health tracking device worn on your pet's collar that helps owners keep track of their pets through the connected Whistle (Android, iOS) app. The device uses three different methods to track your pet (GPS, WiFi, cellular signal) for redundancy, and users can set geofenced safe areas, with notifications if your pet leaves the region. In addition to the pet locator function, the Whistle app can also record your pet's activity and rest, complete with custom goals, and graphs that you can show to your vet.
Walk For A Dog (Android, iOS: Free)
Walk your dog and help out animal shelters with Walk For A Dog (Android, iOS), an exercise tracking app that records your dog walks and sends a donation to a participating animal shelter of your choice as an additional incentive (as if you needed more reasons to take a walk out with your furry companions). Users create a profile for their dog, select a shelter or organization to support, and then you can log your dog walks with the app, with your smartphone's GPS sensors recording how far you've walked. The farther you walk, the more Walk For A Dog pays out to your chosen shelter or organization at the end of each donation period.
DogVacay (Android, iOS: Free)
Sometimes, we can't take our dogs along with us on long trips, vacations or even just afternoons away from home. DogVacay (Android, iOS) lets you book a local dog sitter to take good care of the four-legged members of your family when you're away or even if you just need someone to take your dog for a walk while you're away at work. Reservations come with premium pet insurance and daily updates. You can arrange for the dog sitter to take care of your pet at their home or yours, arrange for vet visits and more. You can look up details about your dog sitter and easily arrange a meet-and-greet so you can get to know the sitter before you commit.
Rover (Android, iOS: Free)
Another app that takes the "Uber for dog sitters" approach is Rover (Android, iOS), an app by The Dog People that allows dog owners to get in touch with and book dog sitters so that man's best friend won't get lonely. The Dog People network does the hard work of vetting prospective sitters, and the service is covered by insurance. Owners can book sitters for dog boarding, house sitting, doggy day care and visits, and sitters can use the app to provide photo updates and notifications to their clients.
Dog Park Finder Plus (iOS: $1.99)
Dog Park Finder Plus (iOS) is another standout app for those looking for dog-friendly parks, trails, beaches and rest stops, thanks to a massive data set of more than 6,000 locations, complete with photos, operating hours, contact information, pet rules and other details. Users can filter by proximity, browse by state, city or zip code, view detailed information and share locations to friends and contacts.
BarkHappy (Android, iOS: Free)
An up-and-coming social media app for dog lovers, BarkHappy (Android, iOS) helps you discover and meet up with other nearby dog enthusiasts, as well as find dog friendly establishments near you. Barkhappy uses your location to show you the profiles of nearby dogs that it thinks might be compatible with you and your pet, so you can meet up for a play date or dog walk. In addition, the app helps you find dog friendly parks, shops, hotels and other establishments, complete with pet policies and amenities.
Pet Coach (Android, iOS: Free)
Pet Coach (Android, iOS) is a useful source of pet health advice and tips from qualified veterinarians and experts. Users who sign up for Pet Coach can easily post questions about pet health, nutrition, training and behavior to veterinarians, trainers and other verified pet care experts. Users can peruse the forums and post general questions for free; for more specific advice, users can arrange for a paid consultation. Whether you own a dog or cat of any breed or more exotic pets like a horse or reptile, Pet Coach can help you find out what you need.
BarkBuddy (Android, iOS: Free)
Looking for the right puppy to fill that dog-shaped hole in your life? BarkBuddy (Android, iOS) takes the swipe-dating formula and applies it to dog adoptions. Users like or swipe their way through pictures of nearby dogs and pups who are up for adoption, complete with more detailed profiles for animals that they've liked. If you're serious about adopting, you can go one step further by creating a "BarkApproved" adopter's profile to help speed up paperwork with rescue organizations. Even if all you're doing is just looking at cute puppy pictures, you can still help out by sharing puppy profiles to friends over social media.
Heads And Tails (iOS: Free)
Heads And Tails is a neat photo sharing app by Petco that gives you a chance to win Petco gift certificates as well as a donation to the Petco Foundation just by sharing your best photos with you and your favorite furry, feathered or scaly friends. The procedure's simple enough: Upload a selfie with your pet through the Heads And Tails app and share it with your friends to rack up likes; if you can score 100 likes by the end of the month, then you win a $25 Petco gift card and $25 is donated to the Petco Foundation.
P5 Dog Training (Android, iOS: Free)
Purina's P5 Dog Training App (Android, iOS) is a free dog training resource that provides users with a wealth of tutorials, videos, and tracking tools to help with everything from obedience training to show dog tricks such as dock diving and disk tosses. In addition to the tutorials, the app comes with an activity log where you can manually log in your exercises and dog's statistics. The update removes a previously irksome online connectivity requirement, so you can use this training tool even without a mobile or Wi-Fi connection.
Cat Training (Android: Free)
The idea of cat training my seem like an oxymoron, but the free Cat Training app (Android) gives it a good shot, providing users with a wealth of helpful articles and resources, covering everything from toilet training kittens, to introducing a cat flap, to helping manage the 3AM zoomies. It's simple, low frills, and ad-supported, so expect to see the occasional full-screen ad in between article views.
Relax My Cat (Android, iOS: Free/$1.99)
Cats can alternate between absolute restful sleep to crazy fast zoomies in the blink of an eye. Relax My Cat (Android, iOS) is designed to help cat owners with music that the developers claim can help calm down cats. The app comes with tunes for a number of situations, such as music to help a cat sleep, calm down frightened kittens, or help a cat suffering from separation anxiety, and users can leave it playing on loop, or set a sleep timer.
Friskies Cat Fishing & Jitterbug (Android, iOS: Free)
Friskies' Cat Fishing (Android, iOS) and JitterBug (Android, iOS) are both representative of most cat games on the market, with bright graphics and rapid movements to get your kitty's attention. In the case of Cat Fishing, it's a virtual pond stocked with fish, while JitterBug shows a variety of bugs and critters that furry paws can reach out and squash.
Game for Cats (Android, iOS: Free)
Little Hiccup's Game for Cats is an old hand in the cat apps field, with simple gameplay that has your furry friend chasing a simulated laser pointer, a mouse, or a moth. While the iPad version has been out a while, the app has just launched on Android devices, allowing users to play with their cats regardless of mobile OS. Game for Cats offers the laser pointer mode for free, while the mouse and moth modes are available with an in-app purchase.