What I Want in a Dog-Lover App:
There’s gotta be an app for dog lovers to share pictures of their babies with other obsessed, antisocial crazy pet owners, right? As someone in dire need of this service, I set out to discover what apps are out there for not just myself, but for my little friend with glorious eyebrows.
- Location-based info about nearest dog parks, pet stores and garbage cans
- Who’s nearby and wants to play? Foursquare for pet owners, with breed, sex and age info (of the dogs, too).
- Ability to share photos and video with Betsy’s fans and followers, not my own
- No cat pictures whatsoever
Apps for Finding Dog-Friendly Places
Yessss! Look at all those green dots! There are plenty of dog parks in Manhattan, and a bunch out on Long Island I didn’t know about. You can also see if the parks are fenced in or not, and if they have separate sections for small dogs only. Plus it’s free!
This is the head honcho of New Yorker dog owner sites. Stores, travel, park hours, accommodations, etc. for all US and Canadian cities. It’s not location-based, so it doesn’t automatically detect where you are to show what’s nearby, but what it lacks in usability it more than makes up for in providing practical information. Find off-leash hours at Central Park (9am – 9pm), MTA and LIRR rules and a list of restaurants with outdoor seating.
A variation on a theme. Almost same exact name as DogFriendly Mobile, but more user-friendly and with less content. It is location-based, unlike DogFriendly Mobile which forces you to manually scroll…….so such a thing does exists, but there aren’t enough users adding dog-friendly locations.
Apps for Socializing and Photo Sharing
Sadly, it appears that Dogster (Facebook for dogs) used to have an app called Dog Park that let you meet up and socialize with dog owners nearby…but such a thing apparently no longer exists.
Rate My Puppy
I can see this app being popular for girls who are going through difficult break-ups. Immerse yourself in a sea full of adorable up-close shots of doe-eyed puppies looking all forlorn and in need of more votes for Cutest Puppy.
I didn’t end up using it because you need to register, and it’s not clear if they want your name, age and sex or your dog’s. In my moment of pondering, I lost interest. Then I berated myself for my short attention span, and attempted to register again, but they didn’t let me use a proxy email address I set up for purposes like this one.
Apps for Pet Health
This one lets you check what “human foods” are safe to feed your dog. I’m a huge sucker and always give my dog leftovers and stuff I know I shouldn’t, just in terms of discipline and getting her to like her dog food. But it’s not that hard to remember the handful of foods that are really bad for dogs: onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, chocolate and nuts. I don’t think you need an entire app for that list, but I guess there are apps out there for a lot less useful things. Also, watercress? Really?
Pet First Aid
This one seemed to be the most useful and legitimate app I found for pet owners. It’s $3.99 to download, a smart price point for marketing to the pet-obsessed. I’m not a monster. I’ll pay $3.99 to have instant emergency health info.
There are plenty of stupid apps for taking pictures of your dog, games involving dogs (one app lets you adopt a virtual puppy), translate your dogs barks into words, and so on. DogiDuty is a cool way for dog owners to communicate with their dog walkers, for poop updates and feeding times.
But there isn’t one go-to app that feels freshly updated and popular enough to include useful user-generated content. It’s the catch-22 of apps. If you build one, they will come…but unless they stick around and are active users, the app fails.
So for now, the winners are Dog Park and DogFriendly.com Mobile.