To paraphrase the 1967 Arlo Guthrie song, you can get anything you want, on apps on your smart phone…well just about. This adage is no less valid for the awesome wornderfully cute app world of animals in general, and pets in particular. In fact, this small device in your pocket is a pet-lover’s bonanza.
Whether you’re looking for practical options that help you keep track of your pet’s medical information or fun games, even a toddler can enjoy, you should have no trouble finding just the right app. One great all-around resource for both dog and cat owners is Pet First Aid by The American Red Cross. This app includes tons of great information that tells you how to recognize a problem with your pet, when to head to the vet, and how to transport your pet in a variety of situations. There is a huge list of topics arranged in alphabetical order, including things like allergic reactions, poisoning, seizures, trauma, bleeding, and many more. Separate tabs for dogs and cats make it easier to find relevant information quickly, and there is also a section where you can add your pet’s medical records so it’s easy to locate everything in an emergency.
PetCentral is another useful tool along these same lines that lets you enter your pet’s medical information and keep track of medications and appointments. You can set reminders for upcoming appointments and get directions to the nearest vet, whether you’re close to home or on the road. In addition to medical resources for your pet, you can also find information in this app about other local pet services such as groomers, pet sitters, dog walkers, and more.
But mobile apps are good for more than tracking medical records and providing guidance in emergencies. Another class of apps offers tools to help you train your dog without signing up for a class or even leaving your house. Dog Training by Matthew Melville includes a good introduction to basic dog training using video and audio to show you exactly how to begin training your dog. The first 10 lessons are free, and you may watch them over and over until you and your dog both have the commands down. If you’d like to take your training further, there are additional videos that you can buy via in-app purchase for a dollar or two.
If you’re interested in whistle or clicker-training your dog, you’ll find apps to help you as well. Dog Clicker Training is one good option, and it provides tips on training as well as a virtual clicker, right on your device. Dog Whistler – Your Free Dog Whistle offers a ton of options too if you prefer that method for training. With many different tones and patterns to choose from, you can customize this tool to match your own training regimen.
There are also plenty of options that are a little more light-hearted and fun. For instance, the popular site Cheezburger has a mobile app that you can use to browse endlessly through their collection of animal-based internet memes. And when you find your favorites, you can share them with your friends right from the app via Facebook or Twitter. Another fun choice with a built-in social element is Rate My Puppy. Through this app, you can upload photos of your dog and view photos other users have added. You can also comment on photos, like them, and vote for your favorites to help them claim the title of cutest dog of the week, month, or even all time.
Pet-focused entertainment often includes imitating animal sounds, and there are plenty of apps that do that as well. Angry Cat Simulator generates a wide range of angry cat sounds that you can use to entertain or startle your friends. And Cat Piano Concerto lets you use the keyboard interface to create your own masterpiece made up of cat howls and shrieks. Even toddlers can enjoy all kinds of animal sounds through ZOOLA Animals, which features photos of both wild and domestic animals, along with recordings of the noises they make.
Kids will also enjoy some of the many apps that let you adopt and care for a virtual pet, many of which are based on Tamagotchi – the original virtual pet. Smart Pet Dog lets you raise and care for your pet from the time it’s a puppy. You can watch it grow into a great companion as long as you take the time to interact with it, feed it, and clean it on a regular basis. There is also a series of games featuring Talking Tom, a tomcat that you can poke and prod to get a reaction. Tom will repeat everything you say, and you can purchase various accessories for him through the game.
Or if you’re interested in something a little more involved, you may want to try out Dogs Playing Poker. This game is exactly what it sounds like, and it lets you combine the fun of endless rounds of Texas Hold ‘em with your love of dogs. In addition to playing your hand, you can pet your dog and poke other dogs to see how they’ll react. And as an added bonus, you can play unlimited hands of poker without having to invest any real money.
If you’re old-school on the Internet, you can always directly open a video site such as youtube.com, which also has an app, and watch the most viral (most watched) cat video, which will be near the top of the list.
This is just a sampling of the kinds of apps out there for animal lovers of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for something practical or silly, or a little bit of both, you won’t be disappointed in what the world of mobile apps has to offer. And fortunately, many of these animal-centric offerings are available at little to no cost, so you can try them out without worry. With the right collection of apps, you can quickly turn your mobile device into a one-stop-resource for all of your pet-related needs.
Dr. Paul has a strong interest in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery, as well as small animal internal medicine and surgery.
He has provided services for numerous breeders, kennels, aviaries, and mini zoos.