Loads of phone apps for pet lovers

LOS ANGELES Pets have become big business for handheld devices and smart phones. We found all kinds of new applications designed with pets in mind, some of them practical, some of them just plain fun.

Lydia Best has a dog-walking and pet-sitting service. She says new phone applications now make her job a cinch.

"There's an application called DogiDuty and that application lets me e-mail my clients directly after I've been to their house," said Best.

Beth Blecherman is a tech expert and runs the site TechMama. She says there are applications for all kinds of "pet projects."

"You can track where they peed or pooed, and if they've been walked or not, and also you can find an off-leash park to walk your dog," said Blecherman.

Pet Phone and Pet Notebook help with tracking your pet's care and store veterinary data between visits. Petcentric lets you search for pet services and rate them.

If there's an emergency? "Pet first-aid is a mobile first-aid application that has illustrations and videos and all the information you need for pet first-aid, so this is really good to carry with you," said Blecherman.

If you need to dial up discipline, there's Dog Clicker.

"It helps with training your dog," said Blecherman. "It has a clicking noise and that's actually known for dog training."

You can even get new pals for your four-legged friends on social networking sites like Dogbook or Catbook, sites that are spinoffs of Facebook.

"What that does is allow people to meet other people with pets, interact with them," said Best. "They can talk to people from their cat or their dog's perspective. They can also arrange meet-ups, share information."

Don't have a pet yet? Petfinder can fix that, spelling out what animals are in shelters or available for adoption. Lydia Best loves Kibble Catch that helps feed animals in shelters.

"It's a gaming app and what it does is kibbles are raining down from the sky and there's a little dog bowl and you move the dog bowl around to catch the kibble and once you catch a certain amount of kibble the company actually donates that amount of food to shelter dogs," said Best.

Best says if you're a techie who loves your pet, you have nothing to lose.

"It doesn't cost anything to give it a free trial run and you'll be quite surprised what's out there," said Best.

Many of the apps are free, while others cost about $4 or less. Most smartphones have options. But apps are often limited to specific types of phones. So search your phone to see what's available.

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