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You put a lot of work into preparing for your first dog. A comfy dog bed waits in your bedroom. A sturdy leash hangs by the door. You even researched the healthiest dog food and stocked up on it. You know that you’re ready.
Yet when it comes to pets, one needs to expect the unexpected. There is always more to learn about their health, care and training. What’s more, you want your dog to enjoy a top-notch quality of life, not just survive. And with a few handy pet-owner apps, and you’ll be ready for anything.
Old socks, dirt, the neighbor’s irises—you name it, and there’s a dog out there who wants to chew on it.
Your pup can’t always tell what’s poisonous, and even things that are harmless to humans can be toxic for dogs. (Hills Science Diet points out chocolate is one well-known example.) If you’re not sure whether that thing your dog just swallowed is puppy-safe, check out PupTox, a crowd-sourced list of substances toxic to pooches. PupTox’s database is accessible both on the web and through apps for iPhone and Android, making it an invaluable on-the-go reference.
One thing to keep in mind: the dog owners contributing to PupTox aren’t veterinary or medical professionals. If you suspect your pooch ingested something truly dangerous, contact your vet or call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
Once your furry new friend gets home, you may find some training is in order. The iTrainer Dog Whistle and Clicker app makes dog training a snap. (Or is that a click?) This easy-to-use mobile app includes a choice of five clicker sounds, a whistle with customizable frequencies, and dozens of dog, cat, and bird sound effects. There are even a few squeaky toy noises thrown in for good measure.
Not up on clicker training? Preventive Vet suggests reviewing clicker basics to help you get started.
Are you and your pooch strolling the sidewalks on a routine basis? Tractive Dog Walk records how far and fast your dog—and you—go on your neighborhood walks. This dog-walking app also stores details about your route, shows statistics from past walks, and lets you share your walks with other dog-loving friends.
Looking for a welcoming spot to take a break after those walks? Get a dog’s-eye view of your neighborhood with ScritchSpot. This app provides maps of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, and hotels. Need a pet sitter on short notice? Scritch can help you find someone to take care of your pup. Hoping to meet other dog owners? Scritch has you covered there, too. There are even stickers and filters to add a bit of pizazz to your dog pics, complete with easy ways to share them.
Scritch also provides a convenient place to save your vet and other pet care records, and it includes guides to pet behavior, product reviews, and more. If you’re only going to download one pet app to your phone, Scritch might well be the one.
If you intend to use these and other fun apps when you’re out and about with your dog, don’t forget to pack a portable charger. A car charger, for instance, will allow you to charge up your smartphone in-between destinations, ensuring that you never run out of power during your activities. Some chargers even feature something called “fast charge,” which gives your battery a speedy boost when you’re short on time. The last thing you want to do is not have any juice left when it’s time to take a selfie with your best friend!
Getting your first dog is an exciting journey, but there is a lot to learn. Make sure you have the information you need to go with all the great equipment you selected for a happy, healthy life together. With handy apps in place, you can be well-prepared for whatever life throws your—or your pup’s—way.