10 best apps for pet owners

Colin Lalley 1600


Colin Lalley

Colin Lalley

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley is the Associate Director of SEO Content at Policygenius in New York City. His writing on insurance and personal finance has appeared on Betterment, Inc, Credit Sesame, and the Council for Disability Awareness.

Published August 22, 2017|9 min read

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If you’re like the average pet owner, you get the best of everything for your pets: The best beds, the best foods, the best toys.

What about the best apps?

Sure, your smartphone may be for you (unless you have one of these animals) but a good pet app can help both you and your furry/feathered/scaled friend. So the next time you want to make your life a little easier, consider one of these ten apps.

Note: Like with pet insurance, “pet apps” usually means “apps for a cat or dog.” There just aren’t a lot of options out there for, like, iguana owners. A few apps are relevant to a multitude of pets, but if you have an app that you like best for dealing with your naked mole rate or teacup pig, share it in the comments!

##Pet safety Worried about your pet's health and safety? These apps can put you at ease before you head to the vet.

###Red Cross Pet First Aid When you think Red Cross, you probably think of an organization that helps people during disasters. And that’s true! But they also help your pet stay happy and healthy. Who knew?

The Pet First Aid app gives you everything you need to know about your pet’s health ... as long as your pet is a cat or dog. But that still probably covers about 90% of pet owners, so cool! The app lets you program your vet’s contact information so you can call them straight from the app. It also has articles and videos about common pet ailments, plus interactive quizzes to see if you’ve actually read or watched said articles and videos. It also allows you to find nearby vets and pet-friendly hotels for when you’re traveling.

Bottom line: the Red Cross Pet First Aid app is the perfect companion to your pet insurance policy, so once you’re done buying that, download the app.

###11pets The Pet First Aid app gives you good, standard information about pets. 11pets turns that information up to 11 by allowing you to personalize all of the information you put in rather than relying on you interpreting stock info. That means features like:

  • Tracking medication and vaccinations

  • Monitoring deworming and medical conditions

  • Making sure flea and tick care is up to date

There’s also an “Adopt” section that lets you browse adoptable dogs and cats.

The 11pets app pairs well with the Pet First Aid app. The latter teaches you the basics of pet care, while the former allows you to put that knowledge to good use by applying it to your particular pet.

###APCC APCC stands for Animal Poison Control Center. We know we can’t keep track of our pets all the time, and this app from the ASPCA can help you remain calm if your dog, cat, bird, or horse (that’s right – something other than cats and dogs!) eats something they shouldn’t have.

The app includes a “searchable database of hundreds of plants, household hazards, medications, warm weather toxins and cold weather toxins commonly found in or around homes.” The app has a color-coded danger system so you know how potentially lethal a substance is based on your pet’s weight and the amount consumed, and one-touch dialing of the APCC itself.

For a primer on what pets shouldn’t eat, check out this list of plants, along with foods that cats and dogs shouldn’t eat.

###ASPCA Pet Safety Wow, two ASPCA apps on one list? It’s like Christmas (but very specifically for pet owners).

If you’re afraid the ASPCA Pet Safety app is too similar to other safety apps we’ve talked about, put your mind at ease. While you can store your pet’s medical records in the app, like with 11pet, the Pet Safety app really focuses on what to do with your pet in the event of a natural disaster. It’s probably not something you think about often, and if the time arises when you do have to think about it, you’ll be glad you have this app.

What do you do with your pet during a big storm? What steps should you take if they get lost? How do you let your social networks know that your pet has gone missing? The Pet Safety app helps with all of that, giving you a prep plan and letting you create social posts to help you quickly find your furry friend in case the worst happens.

##Keeping track of your pet Whether they’re on a walk, outside a store, or waiting for you at home, these apps (along with physical tech) makes sure you can keep an eye on your furry friend.

###Dog Parker Seeing a dog tied up outside of a store while its owner runs in isn’t an unusual sight. What’s becoming an equally common site in Brooklyn are Dog Parkers.

Dog Parker is essentially a dog house that’s set up outside of a store so owners don’t have to leave their dog in the heat or cold, or risk some nefarious passerby from untying their dog. Dog Parkers are thermo-controlled so your pup always stays at the perfect temperature. There is a fee for using a Dog Parker – a $25 annual membership, plus $0.20 a minute or $12 an hour to actually use the dog house – but for Brooklynites who often find themselves skipping a bodega or bar because they aren’t sure what to do with their dog, the cost could be worth it.

Dog Parker also positions itself as good for business owners; It offers a free trial for businesses to put a Dog Parker outside their shop to see if it helps bring in more foot traffic.

OK, so where does the app come in? The Dog Parker app allows dog owners to find, reserve, and unlock Dog Parkers straight from their phone (owners can use a physical card to unlock Dog Parkers, too). The app also has training tips. There honestly isn’t a lot too it, though — it’s really just a means to the Dog Parker itself.

Dog Parker is currently only available in Brooklyn (with a single location in Manhattan) but with the convenience it offers dog owners, it won’t be long until it spreads to other walkable urban areas and beyond.

###Wag! In the market for a dog walker, but don’t super-trust Craigslist? Try Wag! (Exclamation point required.)

Wag! lets you find a dog walker, see a route of the walk, and get an activity report so you know your dog did its business outside and won’t leave a smelly surprise on your carpet. Wag! screens walkers so there’s no fear of leaving your dog with a complete rando and offers insurance policies in case of a mishap during a walk. You pay through the app, and Wag! even provides a lock box so you can leave your keys and a walker can take your dog when you’re not home.

In short, Wag! makes it as easy as possible for you to set up a dog walker. Who doesn’t want one less thing to worry about?

###Whistle Let’s say your pet does go missing, and the best efforts of the Pet Safety app aren’t enough. Next step? Track them with Whistle.

Whistle is a GPS tracker that hooks onto your pet’s collar. It’s shock-resistant and waterproof, which means that no matter where your pet is, you can find him or her by pulling out your phone. And Whistle is really banking on that selling point: It touts being able to track exactly where your pet is, thanks to a combination of GPS and cell technology.

The company also notes that while microchipping your pet is a must, it’s also reactive: Someone has to find your pet first. Whistle lets you track your pet’s activity right away, so you don’t have to wait to find them.

While the Whistle app is technically free, the actual tracker costs $64.95, plus you still need to pay for a subscription plan (since the tracker uses cell technology, powered by AT&T). You can pay $9.95 a month, but signing up for a two-year plan knocks the price down to $6.95 a month – which may be worth the peace of mind.

###Canary The Canary app/camera combo was also on our list of best apps for renters. Why does it show up in two places? Because having a camera in your home is really useful.

You might not want a camera for security purposes, but having one to check in on your pet can be just as nice. Canary’s motion detection means you can tell when a pet has gotten out of a cage or pen; you can monitor the air quality and temperature to make sure your pets are comfortable; or you can just check in to see how they’re doing (or what they’ve peed on).

If you suffer from home-alone-pet-induced anxiety, being able to see what’s going on in your home from your phone can be a lifesaver.

##For eccentric pet owners Looking for something that’s a little more out there? Something that will build relationships with pets both digital and real-life? Check these apps out.

###Neko Atsume Are you a cat owner who is just kind of over being constantly neglected by your cats? Or do you like the idea of owning a cat, until you think of the part where you’re literally shoveling their poo out of sand? Well, then this digital cat-owning game is for you.

Neko Atsume means “cat collecting” in Japanese, and if you’re reading this sentence then you pretty much get the point of this game. You put out virtual food and virtual toys in your virtual backyard, and virtual cats flock to it. That’s it.

It’s simultaneously relaxing – there’s no goal, no end-game, no winning scenario – and addicting, as you try to collect more and rarer cats. It’s such a great game that we’ve written not one but two articles about it. It’s such a great game that they’re making a movie out of it.

So before you watch the movie, and before you buy a real cat and have to make a decision on cat claw caps after it destroys your furniture, download Neko Atsume. You won’t regret it.

###Twindog Twindog is Tinder for dogs (the name made much more sense when it was Tindog, but ¯\(ツ)/¯ ). I mean that in the most literal way possible: You see pictures of dogs, swipe left or right to reject or match with them, and then message to meet up.

“Hey, my dog just plays with other dogs at the dog park no matter what,” you say. “I don’t see the point of a dog matchmaking app.”

Yeah, of course not, because that’s ridiculous. But discerning pet owners will realize that they can include a picture of themselves in their dog’s photo, and then Twindog is just Tinder but exclusively for dog owners. And if you’re single, that’s great.

You already know the person you’re matching with loves dogs, you know they’re tech-savvy, and you know they’re willing to use a dog matchmaking app to meet other people. You’ve cut through all of the hard-to-gauge aspects of starting a relationship, so you can focus on really getting to know the other person. In a dog park.

Got the best apps for your pet? Finish lining up their protection by buying a pet insurance policy today.

Image: ballero