There’s an app for everything these days, and we do mean everything. From food delivery apps to a social media app that’s not remotely social, you can download just about anything to your phone. With so many apps on the market, it’s no surprise that pet-centric apps have been popping up across all operating systems. Some apps, like Chewy, make ordering your pet’s favorite food effortless, while others, such as Puppr, provide obedience training through lessons designed by professional trainers.
However, not all pet apps are as useful. Some are bogged down by sketchy privacy issues that could lead to spyware, and others flat out don’t seem to work for most people.
Ditch these pet apps
Wondering which pet apps you should delete ASAP? We’ve got you covered.
Whether you struggle to remember when you gave Miss Mittens her medicine, or you like to keep track of veterinary and grooming appointments, a scheduling app is essential when you have pets. MyPet Reminders claims to be the solution to your problems, but it’s not going on our list of the best apps for dogs. Users report that the reminder feature often doesn’t remind them of anything, and it’s missing several dog breeds, a downer for multibreed households.
Not to be confused with our website, Pawtrack is one of the few exclusive apps for cats on the market. (Most apps are dog-centric or meant to work for cats or dogs.) Meant to be used with a WiFi–integrated collar worn by your cat, Pawtrack claims to show your cat’s precise location. Alas, the 1.7 out of 5 rating indicates serious problems. The app is also designed to be used with an iPad, so it’s pretty device restrictive, too. Bummer. We wanted to love this one.
In theory, Pet Assistant sounds like a lot of fun. You’re supposed to record your voice and let the app translate your speech into cat and dog sounds. However, the app has only 2.6 out of five stars, with numerous users claiming it’s almost impossible to cancel your service after the free trial expires. Even worse, the app costs several hundred dollars per year. Yikes!
PetCam App is supposed to enable you to monitor your fur babies when you’re not at home. Boasting great features like a noise alert, 8x video zoom, and the means to speak to your pet, it sounds like a must-have for pet parents. But with only a 2.3 out of five stars, this app doesn’t merit our recommendation. One user has not-so-affectionately dubbed the app “Pet Scam” after being told they need to upgrade despite having purchased the app.
Pet Diabetes Tracker
If your fur baby has diabetes, staying on top of her insulin schedule and tracking her glucose levels are essential to your pet’s health. The app purports to have the ability to share information directly with your vet via email. In reality, many users can’t get the email feature to work. Other issues include language settings getting stuck in a foreign language and a lack of transparency with privacy data. This one currently has 2.4 out of five stars.
If you work with a company that uses PetSitClick, you may want to rethink your options. The app allows you to schedule services like pet sitting and dog walking from the comfort of your living room. However, the app has only a 3.7/5 rating on Apple’s App Store and a measly 2.6 out of five stars on the Google Play store. The pricing is fairly high — it starts at $27.99 a month — but what worries us is the lack of information on the app’s privacy practices.
What to look for in an app
Most of us never leave the house without our smartphone and with good reason. From banking apps to social media apps, our phones connect us with our friends, family, and employers. All that connectivity can be a great thing, but if you’ve downloaded an app with shady privacy practices, it can also lead to spyware, phishing, and even identity theft.
If you plan on downloading a pet app to schedule walks, monitor your pets, or keep track of medication, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Trust the ratings. If you can’t find any on the app store, the app owner probably deleted them. A quick Google search will tell you how users really feel about the app.
- Make sure they’re a reputable company. While some startups create fantastic, ethical apps, keep an eye out for warning signs like poorly written app descriptions, missing website links, and lack of transparency when it comes to privacy.
- Check the terms and services. If you have to enter your credit card information for a free trial, make sure it’s actually free. You could shell out big bucks if you don’t.
Most app manufacturers mean well. But when you’re entering your full name, home address, and potentially your pet’s medical information and exact location into an app, a little due diligence is a necessary thing. Read the reviews, don’t be afraid to research a company, and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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