Whether you’re a seasoned dog whisperer or you’ve just taken your first step into the wonderful world of puppy parenting, there are loads of apps for dog owners that can make taking care of and having fun with your faithful companion even easier. There are apps for finding a home for a dog in need, making sure your dog is always safe at home, and even apps designed to get your pup’s attention long enough to snap the perfect portrait. Best of all, each of the apps in this list is available from both Google Play and the App Store for free — so no matter what device you own, you and your best friend won’t miss out.
With Rover, you can connect with thousands of dog walkers and sitters around the country. User reviews, background checks, and comprehensive search filters make it easier to find one you can trust. Better yet, you can communicate with them directly within the app, and Rover handles payments, too. If you want to list services yourself, Rover also makes it easy to manage your business on the go, and keep your clients informed with text, photo, and video messages. It even features handy push notifications. According to Rover’s website, the service accepts less than 20 percent of potential sitters, and is available in more than 10,000 cities — which should give dog lovers a little peace of mind while they’re out and about.
Think of BarkCam as the app your dog would likely use if they ever wanted to take a selfie. With the app, you can play a sound, like a door bell, to pique your pup’s interest right as you take the photo. With any luck, you’ll nab a stunning portrait, which you can then dress up with Instagram-esque filters and adorable stickers. BarkCam allows you to edit photos you’ve already taken as well. If you’re particularly smitten with your work of art, BarkCam also features a shop where you can purchase prints, smartphone cases, and other accessories emblazoned with your pup’s mug. The app is made by Bark & Co., a company you may know from Bark Box, which is a subscription service that packs doggy treats and toys into a monthly package.
Every dog owner has questions, and PetCoach allows you get answers directly from those who know best. Whether it’s about diet and nutrition, training, or anything else that comes to mind, PetCoach’s roster of verified veterinarians and experts are on hand to hear your concerns. You can ask questions privately, of course, but public answers also show what like-minded dog owners have asked in the past, which could help in a pinch. The fact that PetCoach offers all these resources for free just sweetens the deal.
The next app isn’t an app in the strictest sense, but it might be the most important entry on our list. Cloud communications firm Twilio launched ShelterPal in response to National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, which was April 30. ShelterPal takes the form of an SMS bot that matches you with a shelter dog or cat through the use of artificial intelligence and image recognition. Simply text “Shelter Me” to (980) 477-3728, and answer a series of questions. ShelterPal will ask you about the kind of pet you’re seeking and request your ZIP code, as well as a picture of your living space. It’ll analyze everything and return with a photo and details of a pet it thinks will be a good match, along with the shelter’s contact info. Next step: Get out there and make a pup’s dream come true!
One of the most worrisome thoughts in a dog owner’s life is the possibility of their pet getting out of the house and roaming around somewhere unsafe. Fortunately, location tracking and GPS technology have made major strides in the last decade or so, and companies now produce relatively inexpensive smart devices that can easily sync up with your phone to give you an up-to-the-second reading on your pup’s location, as well as their activity and sleep patterns. Whistle is one of the most popular solutions out there, and although the app is free, the tracker runs $80. Still, the company will let you and your pooch try one for 90 days, and you can send it back for a full refund if you’re not satisfied.