A while ago I wrote about an iPhone application called Off Leash that helps you locate nearby off-leash dog parks. Since then, I’ve added a couple more dog-related apps to my iPhone, including PetMD Finder. Despite the name, the app is not just focused on veterinarians. It also provides lists of daycare centers, dog parks, dog sitters, dog walkers, groomers, and pet-friendly hotels. It searches for relevant results using either your current location or a zip code you type in.
On the bright side, it’s free. On the other hand, it’s not giving me much useful information. The zip code function is broken, so the only results I can get are for my current location. They are incomplete, which I could live with, but they’re also presented alphabetically, so the first dog park on my list is a park 17.7 miles away. The second one is closer, but on an island in the middle of Puget Sound. And so on.
The app’s solution is a “Map” button, which does allow you to figure out which park is closest to you — but the map is balky and slow to navigate. It’s even trickier to navigate when you look for a nearby veterinarian — there are so many vets in Seattle that you have to expand the map repeatedly to separate the hits from one another sufficiently to see them and click on them individually.
The app does have some nice features: Once you select an entry, the app offers you a phone number to call or a map with your driving route marked on it (no written directions, though). It also provides you with user reviews of the park or hotel or vet — there weren’t any for the entries I tried, but I like it that the option is there.
It’s early days for this application yet (this is only Version 1.0.2), and some of these gripes will be sorted out in upcoming revisions (the results when you click on “current location” will soon be listed by distance, for example). It’s not that helpful at the moment, but additional revs will likely smooth out the rough spots, and user input will add helpful details.