A pet camera lets you keep tabs on your fur babies 24/7, from wherever you are—some even let you give them treats! We’ve gathered the best pet cameras we’ve tested for monitoring and interacting with your cats and dogs from afar, as well as some traditional security cameras if you don’t need pet-specific features.
Ever miss your pet when you’re at work? Can’t leave the house without wondering what your fur babies are up to and whether they’re safe? You might want to consider investing in a pet camera.
Fortunately, there are plenty of cameras on the market that let you monitor the inside of your home—and any pets within view—from your phone. We’ve rounded up the best dedicated pet cameras we’ve tested, as well as some traditional security cameras that do double duty as pet monitors. We also have a few pointers to keep in mind while shopping for the perfect camera for you and your furry friend.
Pet Cameras vs. Home Security Cameras
If you want a camera primarily to keep tabs on your pet, a general-purpose indoor home security camera might serve you just fine—and save you some money. We’ve included a few on this list, all of which offer intelligent alerts that differentiate between animals and people.
All of the cameras we’ve selected also offer night vision, so you can see your pet in the dark, and two-way audio, so you can listen for barks, howls, or meows, and respond.
Pet-specific cameras take things a step further, letting you not just see, hear, and talk to your animals, but remotely play with them and/or toss them treats. And beyond just alerting you when your cat or dog is moving around, pet-specific cameras can tell you when they’re meowing or barking. The Furbo will even alert you when your dog is looking directly at the camera (which it calls a selfie), has been barking for over one minute, crying, or howling. It also alerts you when a person is detected, or your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off, so on top of being a dog nanny, it functions as a home security camera as well.
One of the hallmark features of the Furbo and Petcube Bites 2 is their ability to toss treats on command. When setting up the Furbo, for instance, its companion app walks you through the process of properly introducing the device to your dog to foster a positive association. My dog isn’t very treat motivated, but he still got the hang of it right away and eats all the treats I toss out using the camera.
To get your pet’s attention, the Furbo makes a barking sound when it’s about to dispense a treat. Furbo recommends using this feature as a distraction when your dog is anxious, pacing, licking, or barking. You can also use it as a reward when it stop any of those behaviors.
Some pet-specific cameras feature interactive toys so you can play with your feline or pooch from your phone. The Petcube Play and Play 2 feature a built-in laser pointer that’s perfect for cats.
The cameras let you tap and drag your finger over the video feed to shine a laser on nearly anything in frame. It lags a moment or two behind the video, so you can’t be particularly precise, but it’s still a welcome diversion for bored pets (and owners).
Virtual Vet Visits
As pet parents, we often worry about our furry friends, but not every issue requires a trip to the vet. The Petcube Cam offers a televet feature that can help you determine if an in-person visit is necessary. If you capture any concerning activity on camera, you can chat live with a licensed veterinarian via its companion app, and share photos and videos of your pet. You get one free consultation with the camera, after which you’ll need a $4.99 monthly subscription for unlimited televet visits.
How Much Should You Spend on a Pet Camera?
As you can see from our picks, many of the top-rated pet-specific and general-purpose indoor home security cameras are in the $200 range, but prices vary. If you have a large home, you may want to spring for a system with multiple cameras, like the Arlo Pro 3, which starts at $499.99.
Also keep in mind that some devices in this category require an additional fee to store recorded video in the cloud. We break down any extra fees in our reviews, so it’s worth taking a look at each one to find out which camera best fits your budget.
The good news is that prices are coming down, and if you’re not looking to make a big investment, you can get a quality general-purpose home security camera like the WyzeCam V2 for around $20, or a pet-specific one like the Petcube Cam for $50.
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