Anyone who uses social media knows that the popularity of "pet parenting" has exploded in the U.S. The ASPCA estimates that approximately 70 million dogs and 74 million cats live in U.S. households — and that's on the conservative side. Every week, developers and inventors are creating new apps and devices to help pet lovers find, care for, board and entertain their furry friends. Here's a roundup of some of the latest innovations for the pet of the future.
Find a Pet to Adopt
Promising to help you "find fluffy singles near you," BarkBuddy is an app that bills itself as "Tinder for dogs." The app lets you view adoptable rescue pups in your area and swipe to choose potential matches.
Keep Your Pet Healthy Without the Hassle
Bringing pets to the vet can be a huge source of stress for pet owners, so services like VetPronto are popping up to help alleviate the inconvenience with veterinary house calls you can book from an app. Currently available in the San Francisco area, VetPronto's house calls cost $150 and include a comprehensive exam and prescriptions, and, at just $50 for additional pets, can offer big savings if you have multiple four-legged pals. They're also available evenings and weekends, making life easier for working pet parents. BarkCare, which is currently in private beta, aims to offer a similar service in New York City.
Monitor Your Pet's Whereabouts and Activity
Whistle bills itself as the world's most popular GPS pet tracker. Just attach the Whistle device to your pet's collar, set a "safe zone" around your home in which you're comfortable with your pet roaming, and you can track its movements and get alerts if it wanders out of the safe zone. Whistle also works as an activity tracker, and monitors temperature to alert you to extreme weather conditions.
Find a Good Pet Sitter
DogVacay is like AirBnb, but for pet sitting. Just enter your zip code and a few parameters such as whether you want to board your pet in your home or in the sitter's place, and DogVacay promises to show you trusted pet sitters in your area. Holidog offers a similar service, and includes walking and pet check-in visits in addition to full boarding, while DoggyBnB works by using your social networks to help you find a trusted friend to cat or dog sit.
Keep Your Pet Entertained
The Wag app promises background-checked dog walkers in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City areas. It also allows you to track your dog's walk in real time on a map on your phone, providing entertainment for you as well as your pet. Worthee offers a similar service in the Chicagoland area.
If your pets tend to get lonely while you're at work or out and about, you can check in on them and interact with PetCube. The streamlined $199 device lets you stream live video of your pet through an app on your phone, and a two-way audio feed lets you "converse" with your pet as well.