When I started my first business, Out-U-Go, in 1995, we did just about everything on paper. It wasn’t all that common to even have a cell phone, back in the day. (It was a very long time ago.) Those of us who did have one of those fancy StarTAC phones tended to keep emergency numbers on a piece of paper taped to the back, because you could only store ten numbers in the speed dial list.
Now, of course, we’re spoiled for choice in the mobile phone and app department. I can’t help you choose the right hardware, but I can direct you to a few apps and bookmarks that I find particularly helpful (and not just for professional dog walkers).
Pet First Aid – The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app is my favorite; it’s pretty comprehensive and well-organized, and has sections for both cats and dogs. (Available on Google Play and iTunes.)
Hazardous Substances – The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center app is your best bet here. It has listings for dogs, cats, horses, and birds. (Available on Google Play and iTunes.)
Vet Locator – I don’t really like the vet locator apps for either iOS or Android. I do like the MyPet.com website quite a bit, and keep that one bookmarked. VetLocator.com and WebVet.com are also pretty good.
Pet-Friendly – Find the nearest pet-friendly venues with BringFido, the #1 pet travel site on the internet (app available on iTunes). Android users, bookmark the website. Don’t forget Yelp and Foursquare when searching for pet-friendly restaurants, pubs, and stores.
Lost Pets – Be prepared and set up pictures and info for all of your canine clients in your phone in advance. If the unthinkable happens and a dog does go missing, you’ll have all the information ready to deploy on Finding Rover. (Available on Google Play and iTunes.) Note: I like the facial recognition feature on Finding Rover, but depending on your location and even the age of your phone, you might get better coverage and functionality with a different lost pet app. There are a lot of options for both Android and iOS, and most are free, so try a few and see which ones work best for you.
And in the “Not Necessary But Fun to Have” category:
Dog Breeds – Because who doesn’t love a good game of “What Kind of Dog is That?” Download Petsie on Google Play and Dog Breeds A-Z on iTunes. Or skip the apps altogether and bookmark the AKC’s Breeds section.
What are your must-have pet apps?