Just because you’re looking forward to traveling this sunny season doesn’t mean you need to leave your furry friend behind.
According to a recent Hilton survey, 55% of Americans who are pet owners are likely to travel with their pet this summer.
Perhaps this is because many will consider car travel this year – despite high gas prices – says the AAA, plus many are considering vacation rentals, with millions of pet-friendly listings to choose from. Or perhaps you decided to stay at a cottage or cabin this summer as a more relaxing (and less expensive) “staycation”?
Whether you want pet essentials while away from home or need to speak to a licensed vet, smartphone apps can offer a smoother travel experience for pet lovers this summer – and many are ideal for year-round use, too.
Here are a half-dozen worth considering:
Need more cat litter at your vacation property? Want to spoil your dog with some new treats? Looking for toys to keep your pets entertained at a camping site?
One of the biggest and best, the Chewy app and website lists products from more than 2,000 brands, which can be delivered right to you (free shipping over $49). Prices are good, plus there are frequent promo codes to type in at checkout and a Daily Deals section for temporarily discounted items.
Despite its name, Chewy isn’t just for dogs and cats, so you can also order a replacement aquarium or bird cage to your cottage or cabin, too.
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When back at home, you can save even more with an “Autoship” feature that lets you schedule regular deliveries of your pet supplies, so you never run out of pet food, supplements or other essentials.
Need access to a vet while away from home?
Vetster offers 24/7 online veterinary appointments through a secure video chatting platform.
Available for iOS or Android (and a website, too), this pet-centric telehealth app lets you browse or search for a licensed vet that specializes in the kind of pet you own, see the languages they speak and read their bio and reviews from others. Vets set their own prices, but appointments typically start at $50.
“As we get into the summer months, it’s not just about getting pet care while at home or at the office, but also while you’re on the road, whether traveling in an RV across the country or perhaps you’ve rented a cabin or lake house,” says Mark Bordo, co-founder and CEO of Vetster, in a telephone interview with USA TODAY. “It’s like a vet in your pocket, in the event you need to speak to a professional, wherever you go.”
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Where allowed by state law, medications can also be shipped directly to you or the closest pharmacy.
Similar to the First Aid app to help humans, the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app offers a clean layout, with several photos and videos, for all the common ailments and accidents that could befall your best friend.
In the event of an emergency – a car hits your dog or your cat is having trouble breathing — follow instructions on what to do, plus there are integrated tools to guide you to the nearest vet hospital.
There is also a section with material on preventative care to encourage healthy habits as pet owners.
Decided not to travel with your pet but want to check in on them staying with family or friends?
The Petcube app works with one of the many Petcube cameras (from $39.99) to see, talk and keep tabs on your pet somewhere else. The entry-level Petcube Cam, for example, has a 110° wide-angle camera (Full HD 1080p resolution), 8x digital zoom and clear two-way audio. A $6/month subscription provides three days 30-second video clips, three days of video history and alerts.
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Use the app on your phone to check in at any time and even when it’s dark in the home, as Petcube Cam lets you see up to 30 feet in night vision mode.
An optional feature lets you choose to be notified in real time with audio recognition of barking and meowing.
Granted, it’s not recommended to train your pup on a vacation – not ideal for your dog or its owners! – but it would be remiss not to include a couple of highly-rated training apps for when you’ve settled back at home.
If cash is tight, try the free Puppr (iOS and Android), which features a handful of training videos, including more than 100 lessons with step-by-step instructions, from potty training to fun tricks. A paid Puppr Premium unlocks all the lessons and includes live chatting with professional dog trainers.
Also for iOS and Android, the more comprehensive GoodPup offers a personalized training plan ($29/week), which includes weekly private 30-minute sessions with a trainer, guided daily training tips and a 24/7 chat feature with trainers. And yes, there is a free 7-day trial, too.