A happy pooch bathes in the sun during Dog Days...

A happy pooch bathes in the sun during Dog Days at the Gardens in Old Westbury Gardens. (Oct. 23, 2011) Credit: Daryl Thomen

Beyond being a very expensive chew toy for your dog, smartphones are also a nice treat for pet owners. Whether you are looking for new and exciting activities, need to locate a nearby vet or like to send pictures of your pup to friends and family, there are great mobile apps that will have you wagging your tail.

Dog Park Finder Plus
(iPhone, iPod Touch $1.99)

You might know all about your local dog parks. But what if you are traveling? Dog Park Finder Plus has a database of more than 6,000 parks across the country. The app locates nearby parks based on your location and lets you know the hours and various amenities. Even better, the app tracks more than 12,000 dog-friendly restaurants. This official app of dog goes.com uses Google Maps to track your location and show where you can find new parks and dog-friendly facilities. Have some feedback about a park you visited? Write a review and share recommendations with friends.

MapMyDOGWALK
(iPhone, iPod Touch, Android; free)

If you like to multitask and incorporate a bit of a workout into your dog walks, then download this free app that tracks your distance and calories burned. Powered by MapMyFitness, which has similar apps for runners and bikers, MapMyDOGWALK can get straight to work once you enter your height and weight. You have the option to share all of your activity on Facebook and Twitter as well. And there are also benefits for your dog. When you find a new trail that your dog loves, the app will track past routes and store for later use. This is probably the healthiest app option on this list.

Dog Translator
(iPhone, iPod Touch; free)

This entertaining novelty app purports to translate what your dog is barking into English or whatever language you designate. The technology is far from scientifically verified, and doesn't exactly match the level of sophistication of Siri or a music discovery service such as Shazam. Dog Translator works more or less like a Magic 8 Ball. Hold your phone next to a barking dog, and 10 seconds later a tongue-in-cheek response will appear.

TextaPet
(iPhone, iPod Touch; free)

While many people consider Facebook's recent IPO to be a dog, this app actually is a social network for dogs, cats and all sorts of domesticated animals. Of course it's up to you to create a profile, which will run you 99 cents. From there, you can share pictures of your pet with other friends who own the app, as well as through the popular social networks.

MyPetED
(iPhone, iPod Touch; $1.99)

This app provides an all-in-one resource for your pet's medical and nutritional needs. This includes training, diet and first-aid tips, a database of potential health problems, and links and numbers to vets near you. There is also a lost-and-found feature to report a missing pet (also includes a database to review if you see a stray). Own an Android? The 99-cent Pet Manager app provides a similar function.

Reports from Appolicious.com and  Tribune Media Services were used in this review.

Tech bytes

Wi-Fi nodes from Underground

The London Underground is rolling out Wi-Fi to about 80 subway stations by the end of July, in time for the Olympics and summer tourist season. The service, accessible in ticket halls, corridors and on platforms, is free for the summer. After that, there will be charges for some services. London expects to have Wi-Fi in 120 tube stations by the end of the year.

Separation anxiety

That smartphone you take everywhere may be taking over your life. Nearly half of adults surveyed by market research firm Intersperience said they could not live without their smartphones and would be "agitated" and "panic-stricken" if they lost them. As for teenagers, 60 percent said they would be sad, helpless and lonely without their smartphones even for one day.

Hacked password checker

Earlier this month, LinkedIn said 6.4 million of its users' passwords were posted on the Internet by hackers, although the business social networking site said no accounts were breached. If you want to see if your password was one of those leaked, password management company LastPass has a secure form where you can check. Go to lastpass.com/linkedin. -- Peter King

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