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Hey guys, it’s Ash. I have a bit of a confession to make. I am a blogger who, up until a few months ago, did not own a smartphone. I know that sounds like I must be lying but it’s true – despite being on the Internet and social media pretty regularly for this website, I wasn’t very dialed in to the latest technology. But I finally caved just a little while ago and got my first ever smartphone – and boy is this thing addictive!
I mean, sure there’s music and instant access to Pinterest right there in my pocket. But did you know that there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of amazing apps for dog lovers? I fell down a rabbit hole of trying them all out, and today I’ve rounded up my favorites out of all the ones I tried. These 15 apps are some of the best tools I’ve found so far for dog lovers on my smartphone. Why not give one a try and see how it helps your doggie routine?
I have long been a proponent of clicker training on this blog, and although I prefer to have a simple clicker on me at all times to get Leroy’s attention when he sees a squirrel, I have to admit that this app is a great way to try out clicker training if you aren’t sure it’s for you or your dog. Plus, if you are someone who always has your phone with you, it’s one less thing you have to remember to carry. The clicking sound is very realistic, and worked like a charm the few times I used it. Ultimately, I decided I’m more used to my clicker, but this app could be a great backup in a pinch, so I kept it around.
Are you trying to find the dog that is right for you, but don’t know much about the breed you want? One of the things I try to do with my Breed of the Week posts (like this recent one about the Komondor) is to present a good picture of what kind of care a breed will require, what kind of energy level a breed has, and what their personality might be like. This app, Perfect Dog, does something similar by letting you rate your preference in certain areas. Want a low energy dog? Tick the one or two on the one-through-five rating system for that category. Once you’ve filled in all the categories, the app gives you some suggestions on good breeds for your preferences.
This app is pretty interesting for two reasons. Basically, it connects dog owners with local dog walkers, who will show up when called, kind of like an Uber. They’ll walk your dog for you, and you can schedule walks with your favorite walkers once you’ve found one you like. You pay them through the app and the company vets the walkers and even puts them through training so you know they can handle your dog. But the other side of Wag is that dog lovers can use it to pick up extra cash too, by becoming a dog walker. When you have some free time, you can turn on your availability and start accepting jobs around you. Pretty neat if you live in a busy, dog-friendly place, and you love meeting new dogs.
I’ve mentioned this cool selfie ball attachment for your phone a few times on the blog – it basically gets your dog’s attention so that you can get a face picture. But what if your dog isn’t really motivated by a ball? BarkCam is an app that plays a specific sound that is designed to get your dog’s attention. I’m not sure how it differs from you calling your dog and them looking at you because of your voice – but it did seem to work when I used it on Janice and Leroy! Something about that sound made them pay attention long enough to get a picture, and the app also includes some filters and stickers you can add to the picture when you’re done.
Whistle is an app that connects to a specific collar attachment sold by the company that acts like a FitBit for your dog. Not only can you monitor your dog’s exercise and heart rate, but you can also tell where they are. You can even set up GPS-based “safe zones” and get an alert if your dog goes outside the safe zone – set up a safe zone in your yard, and get an alert if your dog escapes! You can add friends and family, so it’s easy to share information with the pet sitter. There are a few similar apps to this one, and the collar attachment isn’t necessarily cheap – but it’s great if you have an escape artist dog who won’t stay home.
This is one that I’ve been really loving recently. Sure, you could map out a walking route on your standard map app. But this app looks for specific trails around you that are dog friendly, and rates them based on how long the walk will be, how far they are from your current destination, and what sorts of dog amenities you’ll find. It’s a lot easier to find places where there are dog waste bag dispensers or dog water fountains when we’re not near our trusty dog park now. It’s also helped us switch up our routine a little bit now that the cold is settling in; I’ve been able to find walks that we can do without worrying if part of the way will be blocked by ice or snow.
I’m thinking about sending a link to this app to everyone who routinely turns the dog park into a “Go Ask Ash” moment. It’s a place where you can connect with actual, licensed trainers and vets around the country, for free, any time. You can get advice on behavioral issues, ask about medical emergencies, get nutrition advice, and a lot more. You can even schedule appointments in the app if the professional you are speaking with happens to be in your area. And yes, all of this advice is totally free.
Like a dating app for your dog, this app lets you find local people around you who are looking for other dog owners to set up playdates for dogs. This is really good if you need to socialize your dog but are new to an area or don’t get out much. It also lets you “mark your territory”, which is not as gang-like as it sounds. It basically just lets others know what kinds of dogs are in an area, so that they can choose to walk another route if their dog tends to bark at other dogs, for example.
I really like this app, mostly because it acts like a second brain for all the things I have to keep up with. Janice and Leroy both have a lot of information attached to them, being registered breeding dogs. PetDiary lets you monitor things like weight and medications, but also lets you just jot down records for your dogs, like their rabies vaccination number, or the date of their last dental cleaning, or even what brand of dog food you tried that they didn’t like so you don’t forget. You can even just use it as a journal to note some memories of your dogs that you don’t want to forget. I used it to keep up with some coupons I needed to use for dog treats, and that was a big help!
This app is great for anyone who travels with their dog. It works kind of like the “Around Me” feature of your map app, letting you know about any dog-friendly places that are nearby, or that are on your pre-programmed route. You can find hotels, dog parks, dog-friendly beaches, dog-friendly restaurants, and even make reservations through the app at hotels and other places. I don’t travel too often with Janice and Leroy, but when we do go out, it’s often a pain to find places that allow big dogs. This app will let you know if there are weight restrictions or breed restrictions at the locations it lists, which was a big help to me.
11. Pet First Aid American Red Cross
This is the leading app on smartphones for pet health, and I think it’s pretty obvious why. The American Red Cross is a trusted source for good information. You can get information on how to identify certain injuries or illnesses, how you can immediately get your dog safe and stable, and even locate the nearest place for emergency pet services, all through this app. You can schedule appointments with your vet through the app, and there are even videos to show you how to do some basic first aid, like how to wrap a wound with vet gauze, or how to determine your dog’s breathing rate.
Like the name implies, this is a free app that lets you know if your dog just ate something harmful on a walk or off your floor. It’s a really good thing to have on your phone if you have a hoover dog that will not stop cruising for crumbs! You can just open up the app, type in what your dog just ate, and see if it comes up as potentially dangerous. That way you know if you should head to the vet, or just chalk it up to your dog being a dog.
Very similar to Wag, this app lets you find pet sitters nearby when you need to leave your dog behind, but don’t want to send them to a boarding facility. You can browse through profiles and the app apparently requires the pet sitter to send regular updates on your dog through the app while you are away. Full disclosure, all I did was browse through the app; I haven’t needed a pet sitter for Leroy and Janice, so I’m not sure about the details. But it was an easy app to use and the service seems just as legitimate as Wag
14. Walk For A Dog
I have to say that this one may be my favorite out of all the apps I tried. In this one, you can view dogs that are in shelters in need of sponsorship, or view animal support organizations that take charitable donations. Choose the dogs or organizations you’d like to support, and then start walking or running – with your dogs or without them. For every mile of exercise you get in, the app donates money to the organizations or dogs you chose. You don’t have to pay a dime – you just have to get healthier. That makes me feel pretty good about taking an extra long walk with Janice and Leroy.
Allright, this one is just silly. But PuppyWeather is a weather app that lets you see cute puppies in the background while you check the latest forecast. The dogs are all different depending on what the weather looks like, or what the nearest holiday may be. It’s a perfectly acceptable weather app because it’s run by Weather Underground, but I admit seeing the cute dogs on my screen made me smile.
So there are 15 apps that I have loved since getting my smart phone, all designed to make my day as a dog lover. There are many, many more out there, including plenty of dog walker finding apps, other apps to connect with local dog lovers around you, and other apps that keep track of weight, medications, and so on. You can shop around to find the ones that you like best, but all of the apps in this list were super simple to use – even for someone as behind the times as me!