Dogs and apps both tend to make life better. Even better is when they combine to make everything easier, because face it your dog is probably the cutest thing alive but also a hot mess.
That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to every app you’ll ever need as a dog lover. Read on for help with choosing a dog, training, first aid and vet visits, walks, dog sitters, GPS trackers, dog selfies, finding other dog lovers and even a solution for when you can’t have a real-live dog.
For to-be or current puppy owners
The apps offer more detailed tutorials, but the idea is that the app will play special sounds like toy squeaks or door bells to reinforce certain kinds of behaviors. Though like any kind of training, this takes practice and discipline.
Regardless of what you actually feed your dog, Purina’s P5 app is great for learning tricks, basic obedience and getting your dog in shape.
Choose from an array of guides and tutorials, and track your progress along the way. Even better, the latest version doesn’t even require an internet connection.
With nearly 340 different registered dog breeds recognized by the World Canine Organization (not to mention mixed breeds), it can be difficult to know which will be best for you and your living situation.
Maybe you want a dog that doesn’t shed so much; maybe you need a running buddy; maybe you want to know what health problems to look out for in a breed these apps are here for you. There are also plenty of books out there if you want more detailed information, but the free apps are a great place to start.
For keeping them healthy
Just like you’d bone up on First Aid techniques for yourself or friends, your pets are different. It’s important to have a first line of defense for illness and injury. You can check symptoms and watch videos to respond to common emergency situations.
You can learn about early warning signs, learn first aid steps, and take quizzes on pet health and safety. In a more serious situation, the app will also locate the nearest emergency animal hospital or allow you to set up a vet appointment.
PetCoach allows you to talk to real, licensed vets and trainers for free, 24/7. You can consult in an emergency, ask about symptoms, or even find nutrition advice. If you find a particularly great connection, the app also lets you schedule appointments with that professional.
If you’ve heard of the MapMyRun app, this MapMyDogWalk is very similar. Users outline the best dog walking routes around you, and once you pick one (or add one), the app tracks your progress as you go. Their maps also show highly rated dog parks, waste-bag dispensers, dog-friendly locales and water fountains.
Walk for a cause! Walk For A Dog tracks the distance you run and donates a certain amount to the shelter or animal organization of your choosing. They have over 6,000 to pick from.
Your dog needs walks even when it gets dark. But if safety is an issue, try Companion. The app lets you add contacts who will virtually walk you home, alerting them (or the police) if you’re feeling unsafe. If your headphones are yanked out or your phone drops, the app will ask you if you’re okay, and if you don’t respond, your contacts will also be notified.
For dog sitters and walkers
According to the app’s description, over 50,000 background-checked pet sitters and dog walkers are listed on the Rover app, from which you can chat with nearby caretakers, pay securely, and get photo updates. You can find in-home dog boarding, dog walkers, house sitters, and drop-in visiting services. Customize your search based on availability, your type of dog and more. For the walkers themselves, it’s easy to manage your clients, get paid, and respond quickly from wherever you are.
Because these apps use GPS, you might notice some battery drain on longer walks.
A sort of Airbnb for dogs, DogVacay is a great alternative to the kennel-averse when you’re out of town. If you want, sitters can take the dog to their house or yours, or even take take your dog to the vet (Uber for dogs?). As with Rover, insurance and daily photo updates are available through the app.
For when your building doesn’t allow dogs
Ugh, the cruel cruel world we live in where puppy boxes are not a reality in all apartments.
Until we can all reach that bright future, Dog Simulator allows you to become a puppy, and you get to choose from different breeds, interact with other people and animals, crash into stuff, and level up for completing challenges. If accessories are your thing, choose from an assortment of hats, collars, and funny glasses. It’s great for when you’ve exhausted Dogs Of Instagram.
For GPS tracking and managing their schedule
Whistle allows you to track your pet’s location and heart rate anywhere, anytime with its wearable collar devices (available on their website or Amazon full disclosure, they’re not cheap; you can also use them with Tagg devices). The app can notify you if your dog walks away, and the heart rate monitor allows you to create custom activity goals based on your pet’s breed, weight and age. You can also add friends, family, or a sitter to the account to coordinate along multiple caretakers.
Note, these apps use GPS so that might run down your battery on longer walks.
15. Paw Tracks (iTunes only)
A less glamorous but very necessary part of pet care is tracking meals, bathroom runs, and walks, which can be hard when there’s more than one pet or caretaker, and when illness throws your dog’s schedule off. PetTracks makes it easy, allowing you to log and keep track of it all from one app.
16. Dog Buddy Free (iTunes only)
Dog Buddy Free is essential for keeping up with a dog’s weight, medications, allergies, vaccinations, and vet visits. It’ll make vet visits a breeze, and you can also access first aid instructions from the app.
For making furrends!
Yelp: it’s not just for finding PokStops anymore. Find the best dog parks, daycare centers, pet stores, and dog-friendly places around you. Not to mention, it shares its name from the sound dogs make.
Are you tired of your friends rolling their eyes at the 300 dog selfies stored in your phone? New to town and want to find walking buddies? Now there’s Twindog, yes, Tinder for dogs, which lets you swipe and send messages just like your most/least favorite dating app.
While they’re all beautiful, not all dogs are natural models, and it can be hard to snap a pic every time your dog is lookin’ adorbs. BarkCam plays a sound to get your dog’s attention long enough to snap the Insta-worthiest shot, and even has filters to help you edit it after.
You’ve had that day: You wake up, you check the weather, and the first thing you see is the forecast for heavy rain. PuppyWeather gets you, and softens the blow by showing you adorable puppies. The dogs change according to the conditions, but you can customize them with options like Halloween dogs, Yoga dogs, Pug Life, and Detroit Dog Rescue dogs. It’s powered by Weather Underground, so it’s also just a good weather app.