Have your phone help keep your pooch or kitty healthy and entertained

You might spend quite a bit of time glued to your iPhone, but what about your dog or cat? Surely, they too can benefit from your love of Apple kit?

That’s what this article’s all about — apps and games to help you entertain and look after your furry friend, while your iPhone remains firmly in your mitts.

Fun stuff

Quick apps for having a laugh with your pet — or, quite possibly, that’ll make your pet think you’re a bit weird.

Human to Cat Translator

Talk to your pet through Cat And Dog Translators (from free). Well — ish. What you get are soundboards where you prod buttons to have your iPhone bark or meow, thereby confusing/invigorating your four-legged companion. Note these apps have recurring monthly IAP in their paid tiers, but there are one-off ‘deluxe’ versions available for $3/£3 each.

Chill-out your pet with RelaxMyCat and RelaxMyDog (from free). The thinking here is to reduce stress and anxiety by way of soothing playlists. These apps also build in firework and thunderstorm training, which you can play over time, gradually ramping up the volume until your pet barely bats an eyelid during celebratory events.

Take the perfect pooch selfie with DogCam (from free). The aim is to stop your pooch’s attention from wandering when you’re snapping a perfect pic of their fuzzy face. This is achieved by you pressing buttons to play squeaky toy and bark noises. Naturally, this assumes your dog will merely react by looking at your iPhone rather than going ballistic on hearing such sounds…

Swap faces with your pet with Faceover ($5/£5) or its freebie lite version. It’s simple stuff: load a photo of your pet, outline the face, load a snap of your own glorious visage on which you overlay your pet’s face, and then gaze upon the horror that you’ve created. Well done: you’re now halfway to B-movie superstardom.

Training and advice

Serious stuff, to ensure you keep your cat or dog in the best shape possible — whether or not you’re in the house at the time.

FitBark

Get pet advice from PetCoach. The app provides a huge library of information about various issues relating to pet behavior, nutrition, and conditions. It’s also possible to chat with vets and experts for when you aren’t in a position to consult with your regular veterinarian.

Train up your pup with Puppr (from free). This one gives you a range of tools to help your dog become the next Lassie. You get a selection of lessons (with video instructions), live chat for when things aren’t quite going to plan, and a handy built-in clicker to help with positive reinforcement.

Help your dog socialize with BarkHappy (free + IAP). Alas, this one’s only available in the US; but if you’re resident there, BarkHappy is effectively a social network for dogs. There are events, lost and found alerts, and even the option to see who’s nearby, for impromptu play sessions.

Ensure your dog keeps fit with FitBark 2 ($80/£65). You may well use a fitness tracker yourself, but this adorable bone-shaped one fixes to your dog’s collar, and lets you keep an eye on their daily activity — whether you’re concerned about them not bounding about quite enough, or wondering whether they’re getting enough sleep.

Tracking your pets

Cunning ways to track everything to do with your pet, from scheduling to making sure you’re spending quality time together.

SureFlap

Keep track of schedules using 11pets: Pet Care (free). A pet cat or dog requires its own schedule — for food, grooming, worming, vaccinations, baths, and more — and so they may as well have their own app. With 11pets, you can get all of this stuff out of your calendar and into your pet’s own one instead.

Control your cat flap by installing a SureFlap (from $225/£125). The base system scans your cat’s microchip to allow access, which is handy for scheduling pet curfews — and stopping neighboring cats getting in. There’s tracking for keeping tabs on behavior. Add a hub and you can connect the unit to your iPhone — wherever you happen to be in the world.

Watch pets from afar via Petcube Play 2 ($179/£149). Looking like a prop from a sci-fi movie, this dinky device offers a 160° wide-angle view of the room — even at night. The speaker system lets you remotely chat to your pet, and there’s a built-in laser toy to send your kitty darting around the room in a frenzy of fun.

Track one-on-one time using Streaks ($5/£5). We’ve mentioned Streaks before, since it’s an ideal way to infuse positive habits. If you think you’re not spending enough time with your pet, schedule to-dos for dog-walking or play sessions in Streaks, and have it track your progress.

Smart toys

When it’s playtime, technology enables you to go a lot further than dangling something squeaky in front of your furry friend’s face.

PlayDate

Give your cat something to whack in the form of Mouse for Cats (from free). This app has a range of mini-games for your moggie, which are typically digital takes on whack-a-mole. It works particularly well on the larger display of an iPad — just make sure the screen’s well protected first!

Give a dog a (smart) bone in the form of Wickedbone ($80/£90). What looks like a bone dog toy (albeit with glowing eyes) is in fact a zippy robot you can scoot about the place using your iPhone — or just let move around on its own for up to four hours in its automated interactive mode.

Play with your pet from anywhere with PlayDate (from $149), which combines a ball and a camera. The spherical ’bot can trundle about on its own, but it’s also possible to control from anywhere on the planet with an iPhone — a great way to interact with your pet when you’re far away from home and missing their company.