A smartphone is your dog’s best friend

by Brad Spirrison

Beyond being a very expensive chewing toy for your dog, smartphones are also a nice treat for pet owners. Whether you are looking for new and exciting locations to bring your dog, need to locate a nearby vet, or like to send pictures of your pup to friends and family, there are great mobile apps that will have you wagging your tail.

Here are four great apps for dog owners.

Dog Park Finder Plus (iPhone: $1.99)

You might know all about the dog parks near where you live. But what if you are traveling or visiting another neighborhood? Dog Park Finder has a database of more than 6,000 parks across the country. The app locates parks near you based on your location, and lets you know the hours and various amenities you might encounter before visiting. Even better, the app tracks more than 12,000 dog-friendly restaurants, so it’s great to have if you’re taking Fido on a long walk this summer and want to rest for some grub or a cool beverage. Dog Park Finder, the official app of doggoes.com, uses Google Maps to track your location, and illustrate where you can find new parks and dog-friendly facilities to visit. Have some feedback about a park you visited? Write a review in the app and share recommendations with friends.

MapMyDOGWALK (iPhone, iPod Touch: Free)

If you like to multitask and incorporate a bit of a workout into your dog walks, then download this free app that tracks the distance you are walking and calories that you are burning. Powered by MapMyFitness, which has similar apps for runners and bikers, MapMyDOGWALK can get to work once you enter your weight and height. You have the options to post and share all of your activity on Facebook and Twitter as well. And there are also benefits for your dog: when you find a new trail that your dog loves (or where she feels more comfortable doing her business), the app will track past routes and store for later use. This is probably the healthiest options of all apps discussed.

MyPetEd (iPhone, iPod Touch: $1.99)

This app provides an all-in-one resource for your pet’s medical and nutritional needs. This includes training, diet and first-aid tips, a database of potential health problems, and links and numbers to vets near you. There is also a lost and found feature to report a missing pet. This also includes a database to review if you see a stray pet in your area. Own an Android? The 99-cent Pet Services app provides a similar function.

Dog Translator (iPhone, iPod Touch: Free)

This entertaining novelty app purports to translate what your dog is barking into English or whatever language you designate. The technology is far from scientifically verified, and not exactly matching the level of sophistication of the Siri Office Assistant or a music discovery service like Shazam. Dog Translator works more or less like a Magic 8-Ball toy. Hold your phone next to a barking dog, and 10 seconds later a tongue-in-cheek response will appear.

Download the Appolicious Android app