Economic growth and technological advancements contribute to people’s wellbeing and their ability to meet their needs. As we become more and more able to care for ourselves, society starts looking outward towards the care of all living creatures, big and small. One such example is our booming love for pets. Many people see their pets as an integral part of their families, like their own children, and try to give them the best lives possible. In a digital world, pet care becomes much easier when using pet care apps.
Pets in Numbers
The estimated number of pets in the US in 2017 and 2018 was close to 400 million. That includes the 89.7 million dogs and 94.2 million cats estimated to live in U.S. households as pets. More than a half of all households in the United States (namely, 68 percent) owned pets in 2017 and 2018.
According to American Pet Products Association data, the US pet industry expenditures amounted to $69.51 billion in 2017, and in 2018 estimated sales within US market were $72.13 billion. A recent survey cited by the Business Insider showed that American pet owners spend an average of $126.19 every month on their pets.
Millennials show even more responsibility for their pets and tend to treat them like people. They pay more for food, medical care, toys, gifts, and treats, and even make social media pages for their pets. One survey found that, on average, millennial dog owners spend $1,285 a year on their pet, while cat owners spend $915 a year. The Millennial Pet Owner study by Wakefield Research revealed that 69% of millennials are likely to use technology to keep track of their pet.
How Does Tech Improve Pet Care?
Smartphones are certainly today’s universal tool for scheduling daily routines, so of course people use them to stay in touch with their pets. Pet tech includes not only robotized litter boxes, automatic food dispensers, and remote control toys to play with your pets, but also apps that connect you with the people who help you take care of your pets (vets, pet rescues, dog walkers or sitters).
A growing number of startups in the pet care app development market offer various pet care apps both for iPhone and Android users – from playing and dog walking to health checkups and video chats – making pet care easier and more enjoyable.
Responsible pet owners are most concerned with issues such as the physical fitness of their honorary family members, the food they eat, and appropriate living conditions. Taking into account the fast pace of modern life, it is often difficult to keep an eye on every aspect of a pet’s life. Thus pet owners eagerly use gadgets and apps to monitor the life of their pets. Many veterinary institutions and owners of grooming salons and pet hotels try to build a pet care app of their own to make their services more competitive and to make the life of pet owners easier.
What Can You Find on the Pet Care Apps Market?
What are the most popular apps and features? Let’s look at the options available for cat and dog owners.
Pet App Types
Pet apps can be divided into several groups based on their aims:
- Pet entertainment
- Pet care
- First aid
- Veterinary recommendations
Every pet owner wants his cats or dogs to be healthy, fit, and happy. Apps can help pets exercise both physically and mentally. An example of an entertainment app is PupPod, developed by Archer Software. It is the interactive, high-tech, multi-level game that gives your dog the challenges he craves. The app allows interactive playing with your pet, tracking his or her progress, rewarding the pet with an optional Bluetooth treat dispenser, monitoring the number of calories he’s consumed, and sharing his success with family and friends.
This category includes many types of apps to help you take care of your pet – from various reminders to tracking pet location to finding a dog walker or sitter. Here are a few examples:
- Wag is an iOS app for hiring a dog walker. This app features options such as booking a walk, leaving a key for dog walker, following the walk in real time on a map, and paying for the walk through the app.
- Another example is an app useful for those who travel often and have to board their dogs. DogVacay allows you to board your dog at a person’s home rather than a traditional boarding service. It is billed similar to Airbnb services. The app allows searching accommodation for dogs based on host price, location and dates of availability.
- One more useful app for dog and cat owners is Whistle (Android, iOS). Whistle is a tracker for monitoring your pet’s location using GPS (WiFi and cellular signal options are also available) installed on your pet’s collar. Users can set geofenced safe areas, with notifications if your pet leaves the set area. This app can be a useful tool for people using the services of dog walkers or sitters who want to check if they are actually doing their jobs. It displays the pet’s location on a map and shows the amount of time a pet is physically active.
This category of apps helps pet owners deal with a pet in trouble. For example, Pet First Aid by Red Cross (Android, iOS) has detailed instructions on how to give the right emergency care and first aid to your dog until you can take it to a vet. The app contains guides on administering medication, preventative care tools, and allows you to call your vet quickly.
APCC app by ASPCA (Android, iOS) is one of the essential apps focused on dogs, cats, horses, and birds. It provides a database of plants, hazards, foods, medications, and other materials that are toxic to your animals. The app also includes a calculator where you can calculate the estimated severity of the poisoning based on how big your dog is and by how much of the material he or she ate.
This group of apps connects pet owners with veterinary professionals. These apps are used to consult with a doctor via smartphone. The cost of consultation usually will be lower than the cost of a regular visit to a vet clinic. Such apps allow sending a doctor all materials necessary for diagnosis such as tests, x-rays, and videos of pets showing symptoms.
For example, PetCoach is an app that helps you find free veterinary advice. This app allows searching for symptoms or behaviors to see if it’s symptomatic of anything potentially serious. You can also ask questions and get answers from vets, dog trainers, pet nutritionists, and other experts. Of course, such an app cannot substitute for a real visit to the vet in case of a serious problem, but it can be good for some advice on smaller issues.
MVP Features Your App Should Have
Pet owners love their pets and want to be consistent in their care. That opens the potential for startups and established businesses to grasp a share in this market. If you create a pet care app that can fill a niche in the pet care market and provide pet owners with sustainable value, you can get loyal users ready to stay with your app as long as it benefits them and their pets.
So what should you take into account when planning a pet care app design? What are the elements of a good pet-tech app?
Depending on the app purpose, your pet care app can include the following features:
Pet Profile (or Personal Account)
This feature includes the information about the pet: pet type, name, breed, color, age, weight, sterilization data, health information (chronic conditions, allergies, food preferences, food/water rations, activity goal, etc.). The fields should be easy to customize and it must have an option to create several profiles as very often people have more than one pet. The following options should be available for unique tracking for each pet profile.
Pet State Real Time Dashboard
As a rule, a dashboard should be displayed on the main page of the app. Depending on the app specialization and devices related to it, the dashboard can reveal such data as pet’s temperature, pulse, activity level, scheduled vet visits or medication, and time till next feeding or walk.
This option allows controlling each pet’s food and water consumption so the owner can adjust the pet’s diet or quickly recognize the first signs of health issues. The feature can include a table of calories and list of allowed products.
Exercise and Walking
This option is associated with a GPS tracker which can be found in any smartphone. It allows for planning walks and physical activity, and monitoring distance, time and speed of walking.
If your app is associated with a wearable item, this feature can display a pet’s location at all times. It can include a geofencing option to trigger alerts as soon as the pet leaves a permitted area or enters a forbidden one. Apps can also can help the user send notifications if the pet is lost.
History and Trends
This feature can display health and activity logs (by day, week, month, etc.), as well as feeding and sleeping patterns.
This feature can include official medical documents on each pet’s chronic conditions, allergies, vaccinations and so on.
This feature can remind pet owners about predefined events, such as planned vet visits, vaccinations, feeding and walking times, reduction of sleep or activity, or tracking the location of a pet.
If your app is meant for pet entertainment, this feature can connect to an IoT device and be controlled remotely, allowing interaction with the pet, play, or giving treats.
This feature can be used to search for veterinarians, groomers, dog parks, or emergency centers nearby to the user’s location or in selected regions.
Chat With Veterinarian
This feature allows for communication with vets and sending medical documentation. A video streaming option can also be helpful if you need to show the vet pet’s symptoms or behavior.
This feature can include first aid recommendations with media files (like tables, pictures and short videos) that show how to make a bandage, stop bleeding etc.
Of course your app must include only the features necessary for your target audience and it should not be overwhelmed with features that won’t benefit your niche. Your first step is to define what the application area is for your future app, and then start planning features and developing user interface.
You can develop a pet care app of your own combining several functions mentioned above, which will include all aspects and options of pet care and be able to call for help in case of emergency. Take your chance to create a pet care app while competition heats up in this budding market, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn about the cost of making a pet care app.