7 Life-Changing Apps for Pet Owners
Tried, tested and staff approved, we promise
Thanks to apps, grocery shopping, exercising and even ordering our coffee has become easier and faster. There are also many apps for pet owners that make life simpler. Our team tried lots of them to bring you these seven freebies we love.
The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) app helps you navigate potential consequences should your dog, cat, horse or bird eat certain foods, plants, medications or other potential household items that may be hazardous to their health. It does not offer any sort of medical advice. You’re urged to call your vet or animal hospital if your pet is having seizures, losing consciousness or having difficulty breathing.
Our editor recently used the app after her corgi mix snatched a few grapes her toddler dropped. At first, she didn’t even see grapes listed. That’s because grapes fall under the scientic name Vitis sp, but a quick search for grapes showed the fruit to fall smack dab in the center of the toxicity scale, meaning severity can be mild to severe depending on the animal, amount ingested and any underlying health issue. It also listed the possible symptoms.
Dangers are categorized by type, including warm-weather hazards such as fertilizer, herbicide and insecticides and cold-weather exposures to moth balls and more. And there’s a phone icon in the top right corner that lets you make an immediate call to the organization’s Animal Poison Control Center.
Has your routine changed? Are you working longer hours or farther from home? Wag’s on-demand dog-walking service helps make sure Fido still gets his daily exercise and potty breaks even if you can’t make it home to let him out.
The app provides you with a free lockbox and gives real-time updates when you schedule a service—when the prescreened walker is on their way, when the walk starts, when (and where) your pup does his business and when the walk ends.
Afterwards, owners get a report card (and picture of their pooch) with details about what their dog did enroute—sniffed everything, barked at a bicyclist or happily pranced down the street. Some walkers send video clips that you can view during the walk as well.
In addition to getting your dog walked, Wag helps you find vetted overnight sitters and boarders and will soon have an option for dog training available.
A 20-minute walk costs $14 for one dog, a 30-minute session is $20 and 60 minutes runs you $30, but as one of our staffers found, Wag is also constantly giving deals—upgrade from a 20-minute walk to a 30-minute outing for half the price, get two nights of pet sitting for free, or receive 20 percent off a walk because there is a Wag walker in your neighborhood already walking another dog.
San Diego is recognized as being one of the dog-friendliest cities in the country, and this app not only lets you find all the pet-friendly hotels, outdoor restaurants, parks, beaches and events in this fine city, but it also helps you pinpoint pet-friendly establishments when you travel.
Click on hotels, and at a glance, you see if they allow big dogs and charge additional fees for pets. Explore the interactive map to find off-leash places near you. And read descriptions of eateries to find out how many seats (if any) are reserved for the dog-owning crowd.
The free version of this app is ideal for first-time dog owners or those who adopt a puppy. It turns your iPhone (available for Android phones soon) into a clicker to help positively train your pup to recognize the clicker, their name, how to sit, lay and walk on a leash. The app walks you through a daily training task (which takes minutes) with step-by-step instructions, then lets you submit your first (recorded) exam so a professional dog trainer can review it and give you feedback.
If you want access to the more than 40 commands, the ability to level up and get more tricks or add another pooch, you’ll need to upgrade: It’s $15.99 for a month, $95.99 for a year or $169 for a lifetime membership.
I trained my dog Schmoozer using clicker training, and she learned tricks and many commands. This method of training is fun for you and your doggy.
Much in the same way that Care.com works to aid you in finding care for your kids, Rover helps you find the right sitter for your pet. Choose to have someone board your pet at their home, stay at your house or just drop in while you’re away.
Browse the directory of sitters in your area and filter them by location, availability, dog first-aid certifications, organization membership and services they offer such as senior dog care or grooming. Read reviews, contact potential care givers and wait for responses.
One of our editors used this app to find a sitter for her weeklong vacation. She interviewed a few and had each of them meet her pups before selecting the one she’s now rebooked several times.
Other services offered include doggy day care and dog walking.
OK, this one comes with a little disclaimer: While the app is free, the actual tracking device is not. The $99.95 waterproof contraption attaches to your dog’s or cat’s collar and uses GPS and WiFi technologies to send location information to the app. There is also a $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year fee for the SIM card, cellular data and tech support.
Our editor bought this one right before the July 4th festivities this year since she has a very anxious golden retriever. Sure enough he let himself out through a barricaded front door when the action started, but she found him quickly using the app’s interactive map.
Years ago, I took Schmoozer on a trip to Texas and let her sleep in my hotel bed with me. In the middle of the night, I heard a thud. Schmoozer had fallen and was whining and barely moving. I rushed her to an unknown vet but had luckily packed her medical information with me. Phew!
Now you don’t have to schlep paperwork with you wherever your dog or cat may go. This handy app helps you compile Fido’s medical records, along with pertinent info about dietary restrictions, feeding and walking schedules, and more.
Simply link your account to your vet, who uploads the records, x-rays, test results, etc. directly into the app. It also lets you set reminders for flea meds, shots and checkups.