The best pet cameras do so much more than let you watch your pet from afar. The most sophisticated models on the market are equipped with amazing features you might not have expected, such as two-way communication that lets you chat with your pet, laser pointers that allow you to distract them, and even treat dispensers you can use to reward them for good behaviour.
You already own or have your eye on some of the best smart home security cameras from the likes of Nest, Arlo and Wyze, and may feel that these will do the job for your pet as well. But they aren't equipped with the ability to throw delicious dog biscuits, are they? And two-way communication can be hugely useful if you're in the midst of training a pet but aren't able to be at home 24/7.
So what features do you need to consider when picking up a pet camera? Well, as with a home camera (or a regular camera for that matter) video quality is certainly a factor, but it doesn't exactly need to be 4K 60p – Full HD 1080p will do well, and even 720p HD will be adequate (though we'd say try not to go below that).
You also want to consider whether or not the camera can move – as pets do like to move about the place – and what the audio situation is, i.e. whether the camera records high-quality audio, and possibly more importantly, whether it has a two-way audio function that will allow you to talk to your pet from afar. It's still far from a settled issue what a dog actually makes of hearing their owner's voice from afar; cats, you can assume, don't particularly care. Some cameras will also be able to alert you if your pet starts barking, which can be especially useful in the early days of training.
We've picked out what we reckon are the best pet cameras on the market right now. We've factored in video quality, features and price when making our list, so you can be confident that you're getting value for money when picking out the best camera to monitor your pet.
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.
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.
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.
More affordable than many of the options on this list, the Tooge WiFi Pet Camera doesn't have the ability to dispense dog treats or shoot a little laser for your cat to play with, but it does do its primary job very well and throw in a few nifty extras.
It's able to capture 720p HD video, and thanks to its Wi-Fi connection, you can also set up a livestream feed where multiple people can view your pet's activities. There's two-way communication, and even night vision thanks to some nifty infrared LEDs. The camera can swivel almost 360 degrees horizontally, and you can program it to give you motion-detection alerts, and you can purchase cloud storage plans to keep your footage for up to 30 days.
Considering the price tag, this is a pretty impressive package, and is a good choice if you're looking for something fairly simple.
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.
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.
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.
The best home security camera for home security and surveillance
The best body cameras for personal security