The best pet cameras are connected cameras let you check in with your pets while you’re away from home, talk to them, and even throw them a treat to keep them happy.
By now, you are probably familiar with smart home wifi cameras from the likes of Nest, Arlo and Wyze. But what if you want to keep an eye on your beloved pet instead of watching out for burglars?
Of course, security cameras can do both of these things - but they can’t throw treats at your dog on command, can they? This is where the pet camera comes into its own. As well as hurling delicious biscuits at your pooch, they can be used to remotely play games with your dog while you’re at work, tilt and pan for a better look, and even strap to your cat’s collar.
While home security cameras offer a wide range of features and have varying specifications to be aware of, the world of pet cameras is somewhat simpler. Along with the headline features (because who doesn’t want to throw treats at the dog whilst you are at work?), all you really need to consider is video quality, whether or not the camera can move, and what the audio situation is.
We suggest that Full HD 1080p is what you really want from video quality - but then again, this is a camera for seeing your dog, not grabbing a super-sharp screenshot of an intrudere, so if your budget is tight then lower quality isn’t the end of the world.
Movement is helpful, as this is where the camera can be remotely panned and tilted, which is handy is your pet has a habit of sleeping all over the kitchen while you’re away. Finally, some cameras have a microphone and speaker for two-way audio. That way, you can calm your dog by talking to them (although the jury is out on what they actually make of that), and some cameras use a microphone to alert you with a phone notification when they start barking.
1. Furbo Dog Camera
This do-it-all dog cam chucks treats, zooms and alerts you to barking
Size: 15 x 12 x 22.5cm | Weight: 948g | Resolution: 1080p Full HD | Lens: 160-degrees with 4x digital zoom and night vision | Features: Treat dispenser, bark notifications, Alexa control
Arguably the most popular pet camera on the market, the Furbo has earned its reputation for being packed full of features. It has a 1080p Full HD camera with night vision and two-way audio (so you and your pet and both hear each other), plus a system which alerts you via your smartphone when it hears barking.
You can also use the smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) to throw treats at your pet, and the Furbo has space to store up to 100, so long as they approximately one square centimetre in size.
The camera doesn't move, but is positioned facing down slightly to get a good view of your pet as they walk around the room, and you can snap photos or record video of them remotely whenever you like. The Furbo is larger than some alternatives, but is nicely designed and has an attractive bamboo top to help it blend into the decor of your home.
2. Petchatz HD
Wall-mounted camera for chatting with your pet from the office
Size: 37 x 14.7 x 24 cm | Weight: 2.2kg | Resolution: 1080p Full HD | Lens: unknown | Features: Two-way audio, HD video, motion and sound detection, treat dispenser
Another fully-featured pet camera with a price tag to match, the PetChatz HD is designed to be wall-mounted at the perfect height to clearly see your pet. There is both two-way audio and video, so you and your pet can both see and her each other - although the jury is out on whether your cat or dog can actually recognise you on the small display.
There’s a smartphone app-controlled treat dispenser which is used by a selection of training games, and what its makers claim to be a calming aromatherapy feature to help combat separation anxiety. There is also an optional ‘PawCall’ button, which your dog can press to start a voice chat with you. Yes, really.
More useful features include motion detection, and a sturdy mounting system with chew-proof cable. Our only concerns are the high price and how the camera is only designed to work with treats sold by PetChatz itself, which could be limiting for some owners. PetChatz offers a subscription service, which costs from $13.98 a month and for that you get two pouches of dog treats for the camera to dispense.
3. Petcube Bites
A large treat dispenser with a 1080p camera and cloud video recording
Size: 7.8 x 18.3 x 32.7 cm | Weight: 2.8kg | Resolution: 1080p Full HD | Lens: 138-degree wide angle with 3x digital zoom | Features: Alexa control, night vision, free cloud storage, treat dispenser, automated treat ordering | Two-way audio: Yes
This aluminum pet camera by Petcube is one of the largest on sale, but itg big size means it can store a lot of treats - up to 0.9kg worth, in fact. Once installed, the treats can be thrown a range of distances using the smartphone app, and there’s a system for playing games with your pet and training them too. The app can also be set to alert you when it detects sound or motion.
The camera has a 1080p Full HD resolution, a wide 138-degree lens, and there is night vision too, so you can still see your pet once it gets dark.
Wall-mounted or sat on a low table, the Petcube Bites records video to the cloud, can be controlled by speaking to Alexa, and there is a scheduling feature to throw treats at set times during the day. Finally, the camera uses the Amazon Dash Replenishment service, so treats are automatically ordered when they run low.
4. Pawbo Life
There’s a laser game for cats and treats for dogs
Size: 11 x 11 x 20cm | Weight: 454g | Resolution: 720p HD | Lens: 130-degree with 4x digital zoom | Features: Built-in treat dispenser, manual and automated laser games, video recording | Two-way audio: Yes
A little more compact than some of its rivals, the Pawbo Life is a pet camera and treat dispenser with a wide-angle HD camera, two-way audio, a laser to play with your pet, and a smartphone app for iOS and Android to control everything. Up to eight people can be logged into the app at once.
You can also snap photos and save video recordings, but with a resolution of just 720p, image quality isn’t going to be as good as some of the Pawbo’s rivals, or your smartphone. In the Pawbo’s favor is a range of accessories sold under the company’s Theme Park brand, to help your pet learn and play.
The Pawbo is smaller than many other pet cameras with treat dispensers, but unlike the PetChatz shown above it is able to hold any small pellet-sized treats, not just ones sold by the company itself.
While the 130-degree lens is nice and wide, it doesn’t point down, so you’ll need to position the Pawbo so that it is either on the floor (where a pet might knock it over and chew at it), or on a very low shelf/table.
5. PetKit Mate Pro
Attractive, compact and with a rotating camera to view your pet from any angle
Size: 12 x 12 x 27.5cm | Weight: 599g | Resolution: 720p HD | Lens: 110-degree with 340 degrees of rotation | Features: Rotating camera, built in laser for playing, night vision, 1,000 photo storage | Two-way audio: Yes
Reminding us of the Netatmo Welcome home security camera, the Petkit Mate Pro is an attractive product that is fairly compact and should look at home on most shelves, tables or window sills.
What makes this camera stand out from the crowd is how it can rotate 340 degrees, for a full view of the room. That way, it’s easy to pan the camera around to keep a closer eye on your pet. There’s also night vision and the lens is 110 degrees, however the image sensor has a fairly low resolution of 720p; ideally, we’d like to have seen this increased to 1080p. There’s also no treat dispenser.
In better news, there is a microphone and speaker for two-way audio through the companion smartphone app, and the camera has a built-in laser for playing with your pet.
6. Neos SmartCam
Bargain security camera can double as a pet cam
Size: 5 x 5 x 5.6cm | Weight: 100g | Resolution: 1080p HD | Lens: 110-degree with 8x digital zoom | Features: Very compact design, Alexa control, IR night vision | Two-way audio: Yes
Now for something a little bit different. Instead of spending over £100 on a dedicated pet camera with treat dispenser and laser games, you can spend much less on a simple home security camera. This Neos comes from the same factory as the popular Wyze cameras (see below), and costs just £25.
Despite the low price, the Neos has a 1080p Full HD image sensor with 110-degree lens, night vision, two-way audio, and it works with Amazon Alexa. Videos can be recorded continuously and are stored online for free for 14 days, so you can log on and see that your pet has been up to in the past, or watch a live video feed on your phone.
The base is magnetic and the camera also comes with adhesive pads, so it can be fixed to any wall and at any height. It can’t dispense treats or play with your pet, but the Neos has a very low price and offers much of the same functionality as purpose-built pet cameras.
7. Wyze Cam Pan
Low-priced security camera has Alexa and panning function
Size: 6.1 x 6.1 x 12.7cm | Weight: 249g | Resolution: 1080p HD | Lens: 120 degree with 360 degree rotation | Features: Alexa and Google Assistant, can rotate 360 degrees, continuous video recording | Two-way audio: Yes
Finally, and similar to the Neos above, the Wyze Cam Pan is a low-priced home security wifi camera that you could use to keep an eye on your pet. The camera records in 1080p Full HD, can be controlled by speaking to Alexa or Google Assistant, and the camera can be panned, tilted and zoomed using the smartphone app.
The camera can spin through a full 360 degrees, so you should be able to see your pet no matter where they have gone, and there’s also night vision for watching them after dark, and two-way audio for interacting with them too. The camera pans quickly, spinning through a full 360 degrees in just under three seconds, and the lens captures 93 degrees of vertical range, too. Six infrared LEDs provide a clear image at night from up to 30 feet away.
As well as being controlled manually, the camera can be set to follow movement, so it’ll pan from one side to the other to keep your pet in frame as they walk past.
A person detection system (powered by on-camera artificial intelligence) alerts you via the phone app and records video for 12 seconds, which is then stored to an SD card in the camera (up to 32GB). Video is also stored online, where it can be accessed for free for up to 14 days.
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