Clarus: The Pet Lover’s Mac app

Clarus ($24.99) by Kennettnet is a unique application that helps you keep track of your pets. It records important pet information (like birthdates, homing dates, chip id numbers, and other notes); insurance information; veterinary dates and medication; and even costs. You can also store photographs of your pet. Once you’ve recorded information about your pet, you can use the app to print out care info for a pet babysitter, information for a new vet, and even a lost pet sign. And there’s a companion iPhone app so you can keep all your pets’ information with you.

In Clarus, you create a different “document” for each pet. The application can guide you through each step with its helpful pop-up guide windows.

The first pane in Clarus is Overview. This is where you insert basic information about your pet, including his/her name, birthdate, homing date, chip ID, breed, color, etc. You can also include other information about your pet in the “bio” section. If you’ve added pictures (see below) one of them will appear in the side panel, and if you cursor over the picture, you can swipe through all the others related to your pet. Beneath the basic information is a window that shows upcoming events, appointments, and medication dosing.The Contacts pane allows you to add any contacts that are related in some way to your pet, including your veterinarian, the emergency pet hospital, your dog groomer and/or trainer, people who babysit your pet, etc. If these persons are already in your Mac address book, it’s simply a matter of choosing them and clicking “import.”

The photo pane is for importing pictures of your pet. You can do this several ways: by importing from a file folder on your computer, by importing directly from a camera and/or scanner, or by dragging and dropping.

If you have pet insurance, Clarus can record your policy information and keep track of claims. If you wish, you can even import documents (for example, a PDF of a vet visit receipt) to include in your insurance information.In the Veterinary pane you can record all your visits to the vet, including the date, the cost, and any notes about the visit. If your vet gives your pet medication at the visit (for example a rabies shot), you can enter that in the Medication pane and it will appear under the veterinary visit.

The medication pane is especially helpful as it keeps track of any medications that you must give to your pet, including dosage information, frequency, and date for the next dosage.The Expense pane is for recording all the expenses associated with your pet. Each time you buy food or pet supplies, you can identify the store, the amount, and what was purchased. Clarus will keep a total for each date and also a running total for all pet expenses.

iCal Integration. Clarus allows you to set up iCal integration via the preferences. Then, whenever you enter a veterinary visit or a medication dosing, these items will automatically appear on your iCal calendar. Pet birthdays also appear on your calendar so you won’t forget to buy your kitty a mouse, your dog a fresh bone, and your gecko a slew of crickets.

Templates. Clarus includes a number of templates that make printing records and pet information quite easy. To access the templates, choose “print” under the file tab. The templates include expenses, a fact sheet (for pet babysitters), medical history, a missing poster, photos, and upcoming dates.Clarus iPhone App: A free iPhone companion for Clarus is available in the iOS App Store. Download the app on your iPhone and make sure your Mac and your iPhone are on the same Wi-Fi network. Open Clarus for Mac and choose one of your documents, then open Clarus on your iPhone. An icon of your phone will appear in the top bar on Clarus for Mac. Click on the iPhone icon, tap “accept” on your iPhone, and the information will sync over to the iPhone. The iPhone app is read-only, so you won’t be able to edit or add any information via the phone, but at least you’ll have your pet information with you.

What’s Macgasmic: Clarus offers a beautiful interface for keeping track of your pets’ information. The developer is clearly an animal lover who knows what pet owners need to keep their pets happy and healthy. I appreciate the special touches that make Clarus more than a simple database. For example, the templates allow pet owners to print out relevant information quickly, without having to worry about formatting or digging up phone numbers and other data. That means that you can have fresh information about your pet to give to your pet’s babysitter or vet. And although no one wants to believe that they might lose a pet, I’ve been through it, and it’s traumatic. You simply can’t think straight. Being able to print up a lost pet sign quickly without having to come up with the information and formatting is really helpful. I wish I’d had Clarus when our two labradors escaped! Fortunately we found them, but not before driving through the neighborhood for hours, going door-to-door, and crying lots of tears.What’s Not: Data entry is unintuitive, often involves more clicks than necessary, and isn’t keyboard-friendly. For example, adding expenses requires you to choose the expenses tab, click on the plus sign at the bottom, put your cursor in the “store” box, type the store name, click in the date box, choose a date, click the plus button at the bottom, enter the expense, and press enter. Adding data can be very cumbersome. The developer needs to make data entry more consistent and keyboard driven. I would also prefer to have custom fields so that the user can include information specific to each pet. I hope the developer has plans to make the iPhone app editable. I would like to be able to add information (like medications) while I’m at the vet’s office. It would also be nice to use the iPhone’s camera to take pictures of receipts and add them directly into the iPhone app to be synced later with the Mac.

Summary: If you are a pet owner, Clarus is the Mac way to keep up with all your pets’ needs, from veterinary visits to medications to current photographs. Clarus’s integration with iCal means that when you enter vet visits and medication events in Clarus, reminders will show up in iCal. People who own more than one pet and/or who have a pet with numerous medical problems and multiple medications will find Clarus to be especially beneficial for organizing and tracking information.

I am a professor at a small liberal arts college in West Texas where I teach Old Testament and Hebrew. I am also a writer. I have a wonderful husband, two amazing kids, two destructive labradors named Calvin and Hobbes,… Full Bio