The best pet cameras allow you to have a private feed of pet antics on tap whenever you need a break at the office, and even control the action through voice commands, treat catapults, and play features. While these clever devices aren’t going to unearth the secrets of a clandestine outdoor adventure with the hand-held art-cinema style of Bill Morrison’s A Trip to the Beach, they make checking in with your favorite furry pal a breeze no matter where you are.
Smart consumers may note that the recent proliferation of these trendy cameras begs the question of whether a simple home security camera would do to check on an older pet’s mobility issues, make sure the pet sitter filled the bowls and changed the box, and confirm that Bruno really does lick your socks. The answer depends on your needs. We’ll walk you through the hype to help you choose the best pet camera for your furry friend that balances fun features and practical uses for a healthier and happier pet.
How We Picked the Best Pet Cameras
To select the best pet cameras for a variety of situations, we started by expanding our definition of pet cameras to include other types of cameras for home monitoring. These are the key criteria we focused on in order to ensure quality choices for cat and dog owners across a range of features.
Brand: To avoid cheap copycat models from brands capitalizing on trends, we only included pet cameras from companies that primarily manufacture cameras and other smart devices for the home, or have a brand centered on pet tech. We prioritized brands that could be found both through general online retailers and pet-supply retailers.
Special Features: All of our picks include night vision and Wi-Fi connectivity. We considered other features like built-in toys and treat dispensers as awesome to have for some pet parents, but not must-haves for everyone. This allowed us to include home-security cameras that work great as pet cameras but aren’t strictly marketed as such.
Compatibility: One of the most frustrating experiences of purchasing tech is a constantly shifting landscape. We made sure to highlight Wi-Fi connectivity in each product description, so there are no surprises.
The Best Pet Cameras: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Pet Camera Overall: Petcube Bites 2
Why It Made The Cut: The feature-packed Petcube Bites 2 is already a standout, but it noses ahead of the pack because it supports the fast data transmission speeds of 5Ghz Wi-Fi networks.
-Dimensions: 5.7 inches L x 3 inches W x 10.6 inches H
-Recording Method: Cloud, with limits according to subscription plan
-Voice Control: With Alexa
-Wide 160-degree viewing angle
-Alexa home assistant built in
-Full HD resolution (1080p)
-Access to a vet via chat 24/7 through the Petcube app
-Pricey for pet parents who want multiple cameras
-Camera does not rotate
Petcube’s company vision includes collecting pet data and analyzing it based on algorithms with the goal of creating customized products. For pet parents who geek out on tech, their four signature cameras are an excellent choice from a brand dedicated solely to monitoring pet’s health and wellbeing.
Petcube Bites 2 is the best pet camera with treat dispenser that we can recommend. It’s got the capacity for 1.5 pounds of dog treats and controls when and how far treats are ejected for your eagerly waiting pet. Another camera from the brand, Petcube Bites 2 Lite, offers many of the same key features, such as alerts when your pet is barking or meowing, night vision, and the ability to distinguish two-legged humans from four-legged creatures. However, it’s only compatible with 2.4Ghz WiFi, is made from plastic (vs. plastic and aluminum), has just one microphone instead of four, and doesn’t come with Alexa built in.
One important caveat with Petcube and other pet cameras is that if you want to do more than check in and speak to your pet, you’ll usually need to pay a few extra dollars a month for a monthly subscription that covers notifications and storage. Because alerts can pick up potential issues and remind you to check in, they’re a great option for people with frenetic workdays and schedules. With Petcube Care subscription plans, the premium tier maxes out at about $10/month no matter how many cameras you have, so if you have multiple pets and want to install three or more cameras you can save some money.
Best Pet Camera for Dogs: Furbo Dog Camera
Why It Made The Cut: We chose the Furbo Dog Camera because of its unique carafe-shaped design, bamboo wood cover, treat distribution capability, and attractive price point.
-Dimensions: 5.91 inches L x 4.72 inches W x 8.86 inches H
-Recording Method: Cloud, via subscription only
-Voice Control: With a screen Alexa device (not built-in)
-Tosses round-shaped treats using app
-Real-time barking alerts so you can soothe and redirect
-Doggie diary daily recap
-Selfie alert so you can snap cute canine candids
-Compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only
-Furbo website UX is not great
Furbo is a 2 way pet camera from pet tech company Tomofun, which was founded in 2014. If you don’t want to splash out for a Petcube Bites 2 and you prefer a camera with a warmer aesthetic than most boxy and rectangular smart home devices, the Furbo pet camera, designed especially for dogs, is our choice for pet camera for dogs. Powered by mini-USB, this device uses Bluetooth Low Energy to pair with Alexa devices and is compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only.
It’s important to note that despite a lower upfront cost, the Furbo subscription that unlocks key features only has one tier, and it’s more expensive than Petcube’s Optimal Plan. If you are content to view, talk to, and toss treats to your pet through the free Furbo app, there’s no obligation to subscribe. However, you’ll probably want to have access to alerts when your dog is barking and a person is detected in your home, as well as the dog-diary feature — which independently captures a toy pounce here and a tail wag there for a snapshot of their day.
While we think the Petcube Bites 2 Lite is a better overall choice of a treat-dispensing camera at a similar price point, we wanted to acknowledge that for many people, design aesthetics take precedence.
Best Pet Camera for Cats: Petcube Play 2
Why It Made The Cut: In a dog-centered world, the Petcube Play 2 offers a mode of entertainment cats may deign to enjoy, along with other high-quality monitoring features.
-Dimensions: 3.6 inches L x 3.2 inches W x 3.6 inches H
-Recording Method: Cloud with subscription
-Voice Control: Built-in Alexa
-3R-class laser for safer exposure to human and pet eyes
-Compact and unobtrusive design
-Smart speaker can be used to play music for your pet via Alexa
-Sturdy hard plastic and aluminum cube
-No guarantee your cat will engage
-No treat dispenser
What cat wouldn’t appreciate a central command station that caters to (almost) every whim? Through the comprehensive array of choices in the Petcube Play 2, parents of curious kitties can try their luck at calling their pet to the cube, distract them with a laser light show if you catch them clawing your duvet cover, and be alerted to meowing and human intruders. A speaker bar elevates the two-way audio system into a smart speaker you can use with the built-in Alexa to play music (YouTube is replete with songs specifically for felines), and order an endless supply of treats, comfy beds, and their accompanying packaging.
This pet camera is much smaller than the Petcube Bites 2, but still features full HD-resolution (1080p) video, a wide 160-degree camera view angle, and access to the Petcube Care subscription service, including the option to talk to a vet via chat. If you have a cat that loves knocking things off shelves, you can mount the device to a wall for protection.
We find it amusing that there is no Lite version of this model as there is with the Bites 2, but perhaps the cat focus group was really adamant you need the faster speeds of 5Ghz Wi-Fi to make your cat the next meme-able sensation. Due to the elusive nature of cats generally, you might consider purchasing a few cameras to monitor key hangout spots if your pet has health issues you want to check in on.
Best Value Pet Camera: Eufy Pet Dog Camera D605
Why It Made The Cut: We like the Eufy Pet Dog Camera D605 because the non-subscription model and built-in video storage addresses privacy and price concerns about pet monitoring devices.
-Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.7 x 12.44 inches
-Recording Method: Directly to device
-Voice Control: Not currently
-270-degree camera rotation
-No subscriptions required to get alerts
-Wide 170-degree viewing angle
-Dispenser designed to prevent treats from clogging
-Max 16G of storage
-Compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only
Your dog may be suspicious of any product from a company that also designs robot vacuums. However, we think smart appliance and home security maker Eufy has a winner with the unique D605 pet camera.
Your upfront investment is the only investment you’ll be making in this device — which uses motion tracking to keep your dog in frame and two-way audio to alert you to barking. With the free eufy Pet app, you can enjoy 1080p HD video with night vision, launch treats at three different distances, get alerts, and give your pet commands and reassurances that you’ll be home soon. The treat receptacle is also easy to remove and wash by hand or in the dishwasher.
Some pet parents may find they prefer subscription services that offer additional perks like pet-product discounts, a way to chat with a vet, and cloud storage in case the camera is damaged or stolen. Other pet parents will love that video of pet antics and home life is not stored on a remote server, and find this excellent camera and treat dispenser is more than adequate to help them monitor and bond with their dog from afar.
Best Security Camera for Households with Pets: Wyze Cam Pan v2
Why It Made The Cut: We chose the Wyze Cam Pan v2 as an affordable solution for people who want to balance home security with pet monitoring in a multi-camera household.
-Dimensions: 2.36 inches L x 2.36 inches W x 5.02 inches H
-Recording Method: 14-day Cloud storage and microSD card local storage
-Voice Control: Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
-360-degree horizontal panning, 93-degree vertical view
-Starlight sensor captures color in low light
-Customize room scans using waypoints
-Infrared camera light invisible to dogs, cats, and humans
-Siren option can terrify pets if activated unintentionally
-Compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only
Wyze is a big player in the home-security market, and the newly released Wyze Cam Pan v2 is our pick for the best security camera for households with pets because it doubles as a pet monitor and two-way communication device. We selected it over the similarly priced Wyze v2 pet cam because of its superior coverage of your home to catch more of your pet’s activity.
While the camera’s viewing angle is 120 degrees — less than the other pet cameras we recommend — it more than makes up for it with the incredible ability to pan 360 degrees horizontally, and up or down at a 93-degree angle. There’s no treat dispenser or laser pointer to lure your pet to the camera to say hi, but the panning function and option to program custom waypoints into regular room sweeps makes it easier to capture your pet on camera. You can detect your cat on top of the kitchen cabinets, spot the telltale crumbs from a pup who ate kibble in your bed, and at the same time keep an eye on your wall safe.
With this update from the first iteration of the Wyze Cam Pan, you can view your pet in a dimly lit room at night in enhanced color, through infrared light they (and you) can’t see. Basic notifications without a subscription include motion and sound (including if your smoke or carbon monoxide detector is going off), but you’ll probably want to upgrade to the Wyze Cam Plus subscription to activate pet detection and other helpful alerts.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Pet Cameras
A little advance knowledge of the market and taking stock of your unique situation goes a long way toward a sound investment.
If you’re primarily buying a pet camera to observe and record your dog or cat when you’re away from home, a home-security camera or Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor might be sufficient. For example, if your older dog has some pain issues and you want to see if medication or physical therapy is giving them more mobility, a camera near their bed might just do the trick. Check with your vet for recommendations on what kinds of behavior to monitor, and to see if they think your pet can benefit from extra features that allow real-time interactions during periods of separation.
When choosing an interactive camera, assess your pet’s personality first. Robotic pet cameras can be maneuvered remotely for playtime but can terrorize a skittish cat. Some pets just don’t respond to human voices and faces through a screen (unless you’re presenting online to your colleagues). Cameras with built-in treat dispensers are an excellent way to lure shy pets from hiding so you can say hello, but aren’t a good choice for conniving canines who go into destructo-mode to get their treats ahead of schedule.
Pet cameras observe more than just your photogenic pup or kitty. Keep in mind that everything in the camera’s field of vision is being recorded, and two-way audio can capture a wide range of sound. Check company privacy policies against your comfort level with potential access of employees to footage. And, don’t be a jerk and forget to disclose cameras to guests and home professionals, lest you end up with this naked dog-sitter conundrum.
Laser pointers should never be aimed at your pet’s eyes, so you’ll want to ensure you can carefully control this feature if it comes with the model you select. Another question worth asking your vet is whether treat-dispensing cameras could pose a choking hazard to over-eager or aging pets.
Q: How much does a pet camera cost?
Pet cameras cost anywhere from around $50 (like the Conico pet camera, Tooge pet camera, and the Petcube Cam) to nearly $400 (like the PetChatz pet treat camera). On the low end of this price scale, you may get cheaper materials, a smaller field of view, and less features. Keep in mind that this is the price for an individual camera. If you want to monitor multiple places within your home (or multiple pets), be sure to consider the cost of additional cameras in your overall budget.
Q: Are pet cameras worth it?
Pet cameras are worth it for some pet parents. For a relatively small cost, you can have the peace of mind of observing your pet in real time, as long as they are within the field of view or respond to voice commands to come say hello. For other pet parents with extra-shy feline or canine friends, questions of privacy, security, and cost may outweigh their pets’ occasional appearance on screen.
Q: What does a pet camera do?
Pet cameras do a number of different things, depending on the model. Their number one purpose is to provide a way for pet parents to remotely observe pet behavior in real time over an internet connection. Beyond this basic function, pet cameras can feature built-in toys, treat dispensers, and two-way audio systems so that you can interact directly with your pet.
Q: Can people hack pet cameras?
People can hack pet cameras just like other home security cameras connected to the internet. Purchasing from a reputable company can help ensure you’ll be notified if a company data breach leaves your username and password vulnerable, and following best online security practices like creating strong passwords and changing them frequently can help protect you. Try not to forget that the camera is there, because if the camera is recording, you’re being recorded whether you remember or not.
Q: Should I talk to my cat through the camera?
Whether or not you should talk to your cat through a pet camera depends on if the camera has two-way audio, and on your cat’s personality. Ambivalence, disdain, and existential terror are all possible outcomes when Walter hears your mellifluous tones through the device’s speaker. So is purring and camera head-butting, if you’re lucky. You can always try. Or get a dog.
Final Thoughts on the Best Pet Cameras
The relatively high price of the Petcube Bites 2 coupled with an ongoing monthly subscription charge to access all the features would seem to indicate it should be our pick for best splurge, but we also think it is the best overall choice for many pet parents. If you want to leverage the latest in smart surveillance technology to check in on your pet, we believe there’s nothing wrong with spending more for a specialized product — especially a product built with the understanding that sometimes checking on our pet is just an excuse to take a moment for ourselves to delight in a unique bond with an animal who loves us unconditionally (more or less, if a cat). No camera should ever be used as a replacement for in-person interaction and care. But a camera can ease you through the long minutes until you reunite.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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