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iPhone pet info apps: Pet CV and Pet Dossier

Let’s start with Pet CV, since I’ve owned it longer. It’s an iPhone application that allows you to input certain health information about your pets, and tracks upcoming vaccinations, flea treatments, etc. It also allows you to e-mail some of that information to someone else. I bought the app because I like the idea of having an overview of Chloe’s medical history close at hand. Although it isn’t a substitute for a health certificate or a shot record on your vet’s letterhead, it would potentially be helpful in a medical emergency, or when communicating with a kennel or petsitter.

Pet CV’s scope is too limited to be really useful, but what it does, it does pretty well. Here’s what I like: It works. You can enter your vet’s or breeder’s name, and the app imports all of the information you have about those names in your contacts list (and now you can dial your vet from Pet CV directly, without exiting and going into your contacts). Once you figure out the app’s trickinesses (see below), you can enter all of your pet’s treatments, and the app will keep track of when the next treatment is due. Here’s what I don’t like: To add a non-standard treatment to the existing list, you need to click on the “Edit” button in the upper right corner (which is, it turns out, not intuitive). A previous version of the app did not back up to your computer, so I have now entered Chloe’s medical history twice. And the app, as a whole, captures only a small part of what I would want to e-mail to a petsitter or kennel.

Pet Dossier’s scope is broader, which I like. You can collect in one place the medical history info that Pet CV focuses on, plus current medications, dietary supplements, allergies, injury history, and exercise preferences. Separate categories collect info about your dog’s food and treat preferences, habits, and toys. There is some flexibility built in (you can add miscellaneous information to “notes,” for example, and you can add a new field to the health section), but there are places where more flexibility would be welcome (under “Food,” for example, it would be nice to be able to list your dog’s preferred flavors).

I’m having real trouble using Pet Dossier, however. When I try to enter info directly into the “Contacts” section, the app balks. When I try to “copy from iPhone Contacts,” it pulls up an odd subset of my contacts list (which don’t include any of Chloe’s service providers). One of the contacts was me, so I added myself as one of Chloe’s “parents” — and the app collected all of my phone numbers, but called them all “mobile” numbers. Arghhh!

So there are your choices: Pet CV, which works, but is limited in scope and darned expensive, or Pet Dossier, which is potentially more useful and costs less, but doesn’t actually work. There are a couple of competing products out there, including MiPets and iPet Diary and Log — at some point, I’ll take the plunge and try them, and I’ll let you know what I think.