Pet Connection by Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker

Pet Apps

Log your dog’s activities and photos, find first aid tips and pet-friendly hotels, save money and more with these 8 petcentric apps

Andrews McMeel Syndication

We don’t know about you, but one of our perpetual New Year’s resolutions is to become better organized. Another is to keep better track of our pets’ care. Both -- and more -- can be accomplished through apps aimed at dog and cat lovers. Here are eight to help you maintain pet records, know what to do during emergencies, plan pet-friendly trips and even have a little fun.

Remembering when to give medications is one of the most important chores a pet parent can have. An app called 11pets allows you to set up schedules for giving parasite preventives and other medications. Other features include the ability to track pet care tasks such as nail trims, baths, brushing teeth, and checking and cleaning ears; log weight; and record incidents that may be important to discuss at veterinary visits.

Another app, Dog Buddy, lets owners record milestones; organize photos; list medications, dosages and frequency; have veterinary contact information immediately available; monitor mealtimes; and more. Other uses include reminders for upcoming veterinary visits or training sessions and canine first aid tips.

Pet First Aid from the American Red Cross describes what’s normal for dogs and cats, the ABCs of first aid (airway, breathing, circulation), and what to do for everything from allergic reactions to wounds. The app covers how to prepare for emergencies, what to know about traveling with pets, fire safety, toxic substances and even how to know when it’s time to say goodbye. “The app is easy to navigate and contains veterinarian-approved tips and info to render aid to injured cats and dogs,” says Arden Moore, master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor and founder of Pet First Aid 4U. “The download is easy on any device, and there are updates when new info arises. I highly recommend this app to all my Pet First Aid 4U and my Pro Pet Hero students.”

A more specialized app, Cardalis, monitors respiratory rates for dogs with heart disease. An increased rate can signal onset of congestive heart failure. Tap the heart symbol to start it and tap again with each breath until the timer stops and gives a count.

Saving money on prescriptions is good for pet health and wallet health. You might be familiar with GoodRx discount coupons for your own medications, but did you know they’re also available for pet medications? Medications you may be able to find at a lower price include Rimadyl, diltiazem, Onsior, gabapentin, insulin, Clomicalm, Reconcile and parasite preventives.

Road dogs need BringFido. More than a directory of pet-friendly lodgings, it also points traveling dog lovers to restaurants, attractions and events that welcome dogs. “If there is a problem with your reservation through their app, they will put a person on the problem to fix it,” says Rebecca Barocas, who travels with her dog Anja to nose work trials.

Flying with your dog? Don’t go without Where To Go, which marks dog potty areas in U.S. airports. Airports that service more than 10,000 passengers each year must provide pet relief areas in every terminal. Since many dogs who fly are assistance or service dogs, the app also features “Working Like Dogs,” a podcast by Marcie Davis and her service dog Whistle. Topics such as dental care are of interest to all dog owners.

Not every dog or human likes dog parks or has access to good places to exercise. Whether you’re in your hometown or traveling with your dog, Sniffspot can help you find a place for your dog to play, hike or train for an hourly rental. They range from yards in private homes to indoor temperature-controlled training facilities to fenced acreages, some with lakes and trails. Only one booking is allowed at a time at each location -- unless you’re hosting a playdate with known dogs -- so it’s perfect for dogs who prefer to play on their own.

Q&A

Calico cat no-go

for breeding

Q: I’ve just adopted a rare male calico cat, and I’m thinking of breeding him. Is that a good idea?

A: I hate to burst your bubble, but although male calicos are rare, trying to breed one will be a bust.

Approximately 1 out of every 3,000 calico cats is male, according to a study at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine, but they are generally sterile. According to feline genetics expert Leslie A. Lyons, Ph.D., that’s because calico or tortoiseshell males may have abnormalities in the X and Y (sex) chromosomes that lead to fertility problems.

Calico is a color pattern, not a breed. The orange, black and white coloration is governed by genetics. Any cat, male or female, can be orange, but in males the color is nearly always expressed in the tabby, or striped, pattern.

The gene that determines how the color orange displays in cats is found on the X chromosome. Female cats have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. For a cat to be a calico, the animal must have two X chromosomes, which means a calico kitty is going to be female the vast majority of the time.

When the calico pattern exists in a male, it’s because the cat has the unusual circumstance of three sex chromosomes: two X, one Y (male). If both X chromosomes carry the calico blueprint, you’re looking at one rare cat: a male calico. These unusual XXY animals, typically the result of faulty cell division, are called Klinefelter males, after the doctor who first described the condition.

If you have a male calico and think you can make money breeding him, you’re probably going to be disappointed because of his likely sterility. Enjoy him for the rarity that he is. -- Dr. Marty Becker

Do you have a pet question? Send it to askpetconnection@gmail.com or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.

THE BUZZ

Who is that

bearded dog?

-- The next time you see an unusual curly-coated dog walking down the street, don’t assume he’s a doodle blend. He could be a barbet (bar-bay), the newest member of the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group. The name comes from the French word “barbe,” meaning beard, and the French breed -- a water dog whose job is to retrieve waterfowl -- is thought to be the ancestor of such breeds as poodles, bichons frise, Briards and others. With only an estimated 2,000 currently in North America, the barbet isn’t your typical dog next door, but he’s described as a happy, active, family-oriented dog.

-- A Bernese mountain dog named Truman who received an experimental vaccine for osteosarcoma in addition to amputation of the diseased limb remains cancer-free two years after diagnosis. He’s one of the dogs participating in a number of NIH-funded comparative oncology clinical trials. In a report from the National Cancer Institute, Amy LeBlanc, DVM, director of the Comparative Oncology Program in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, says, “Pet dogs benefit from what we do because we learn about their cancer and that can ultimately help identify better treatments for them. We see the work that we do as an opportunity to help both dogs and people.” For more information on current veterinary oncology research trials, go to vetcancersociety.org/pet-owners/clinical-trials.

-- Is it difficult to get your pet to the vet? Fuzzy aims to change that. Currently available in San Francisco and New York City, the pet health startup has veterinarians and veterinary technicians available for house calls, as well as unlimited consultations by text or phone. The membership-based service can also mail medications, perform lab services in your home and provide easy access to pet health records. You don’t have to give up your own veterinarian, but Fuzzy practitioners can serve as backup when you have questions or concerns outside office hours. -- Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton, and Mikkel Becker

ABOUT PET CONNECTION

Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet care experts headed by “The Dr. Oz Show” veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, founder of the Fear Free organization and author of many best-selling pet care books, and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. Joining them is behavior consultant and lead animal trainer for Fear Free Pets Mikkel Becker. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/KimCampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.