Do you worry about your dog's behaviour or health when you're not at home? If so, a dog camera could provide extra peace of mind. In this article, Richard Cross reviews five of the best pet cameras to keep your pet safe and secure.
The Bottom Line...
PetCube Bites 2
Our top recommendation for a pet camera is the PetCube Bites 2. With its stylish design, 2-way audio and treat dispenser, it's a great choice for dogs.
It also has 1080p HD video quality and night vision, so you'll always be able to check on your pup.
If you've ever wondered what your pooch gets up to when you're not at home, a dog camera could be an eye-opening experience!
These cameras allow you to remotely view your pet - and in some cases even interact with them.
As you can imagine, it's often entertaining to watch your pet's behaviour throughout the day. A wireless camera can also allow you to pick-up on issues such as excessive barking (which is often a sign of separation anxiety) without relying on the neighbours.
While watching your dog can be fun, the biggest advantage of a pet monitor is that you can use it to check your pet is safe. To do this, many owners use a dog gate to keep their pup in one room, while using the camera to keep an eye on them.
Pet cameras aren't just for over-worried dog owners though. By watching your dog's activity when you're not at home, you can remove potential dangers to keep your pet safe. If your dog has a health condition, it's reassuring to see him on the camera and check that he's fine.
Setting up a pet cam in your home can also reduce destructive behaviour. If your dog often tears up cushions or scratches the wall, an interactive pet camera may help you to prevent this behaviour.
With a wide range of dog cameras on the market, it can be difficult to know which to choose. That's why I've put together a list of five of my favourite models and reviewed them below.
Why Buy a Dog Cam?
The main function of a dog camera is to provide peace of mind. If you're worried about your dog's behaviour, health or mental well-being while you're out, it can be reassuring to see what's going on at home. In particular, a pet monitor offers the following benefits:
- Early Identification of Health Issues. It's not always easy to know when your dog is suffering from a health problem or pain. Dogs are good at hiding mild symptoms, so a change in their habits is often the only way to know something is wrong. Noticing changes, such as sleeping more in the day, is hard if you're at work though. Watching your dog on camera throughout the day is a great way to identify health issues earlier. It also allows you to check for signs of anxiety.
- Remote Interaction. Some pet cameras allow you to remotely interact with your pet. This can't replace true interaction, but a 2 way audio allows you to provide your pet with some entertainment throughout the day.
- Check Existing Health Conditions. If your dog is suffering with a health condition, you might be worried about how he's coping when you're not at home. Even if you can't go home immediately, a dog camera can at least let you check your pet is fine.
- Peace of Mind. Even if your pet doesn't have a health condition, we all worry about our pets when they are left alone. It can be reassuring to check they are OK. It's also a bonus to see they aren't trying to rip up the sofa or their chew-proof bed!
- Identify Potential Hazards. Dogs get bored when they are left on their own. This can lead to them find entertainment in ways they might not attempt when you are around. By watching their behaviour remotely, it's much easier to see potential hazards and remove them to keep your pet safe. Some of the most important hazards to remove are electric cables (especially if your dog chews), potentially poisonous plants and other dangerous chemicals for dogs.
- Check Your Dog's Mental Well-Being. Dogs are social animals, but we can't be at home all the time. Even so, if your dog is being left alone for too long, this is likely to be reflected in his behaviour when you're out. Signs of stress can include pacing, chewing, excessive barking and panting. A pet monitoring system allows you to see these symptoms and adjust your schedule if required.
Many dog owners can benefit from buying a dog cam, but they are particularly useful if you have a puppy. Puppies can get up to all sorts of mischief - and they often haven't learned how to keep themselves safe!
How to Choose the Best Pet Monitoring Camera
As pet cameras have grown in popularity, more models have hit the market. Extra choice is always good news for us, but it can also make it difficult to choose. This is especially true of dog cameras, as they have a wide range of features and prices.
With that in mind, here are some tips for choosing the right camera for your home and pet.
Ease of Viewing. Most modern cameras allow you to watch your dog via an app on your tablet, smartphone or computer. This makes it easy to access the stream wherever you are. The quality and design of the apps varies depending on the manufacturer though.
Quality of Streaming. There's no point buying a pet monitor if the image is too blurry or grainy to see clearly. For this reason, look for a camera that provides a high-quality stream. Cameras with 720p HD are often a great choice, as they are clear enough to see exactly what your pet is doing.
Connection Method. Dog cameras come with a number of different connection methods. Wi-Fi pet cameras are often the most convenient, as they don't require additional wires. Others connect via Ethernet cable. Remember to check the length of the power cable, as this determines where the camera can be placed.
Wide Angle Lens. The wider the camera angle, the more you'll be able to view. Some of the worst pet cameras have such a narrow angle that they are only useful for viewing specific areas, while the best allow you to capture entire rooms.
Zoom and Camera Control. Some modern cameras allow you to remotely adjust the direction and zoom of a camera. This can make up for a narrow field of view, although the ideal camera has a wide viewing angle and adjustment options.
Two-Way Audio. If you want to be able to talk to your dog, two way audio is an essential feature. This can be useful for giving commands, doing remote training or just providing your pup with some entertainment throughout the day. Not all models have two way audio though, make sure you check before you buy.
Extra Features. Pet monitoring cameras come with a range of extra features depending on the model. Examples include night vision, treat dispensers, barking alerts, lasers for play and motion activation.
Price. The best pet cams range in price. Basic models that provide a stream without extra features can cost as little as $40. If you want features such as motion detection, two way audio and recording, the most expensive options cost $350+. A higher price isn't always an indicator of quality though, so there are some excellent mid-range options too.
5 Best Pet Cams for Home Monitoring
Listed below are five of the best pet cameras on the market at the moment. While they have a variety of features and vary in price, they are all reliable and provide great value for money. Make sure you read each pet camera review, however, to ensure you get to the right one for your dog.
Before I get to the recommendations though, what do I look for in a dog camera?
The first thing is value for money. This isn't the same as cheapness, but instead whether the product's features and reliability match its price.
I also considered the features of the camera and its reliability. Does it come with 2 way audio or even video? Does it dispense treats? Does it allow for interaction? And does it suffer from blackouts or other reliability issues? These are all questions that determine whether a pet cam is worth buying.
Note: This page is about indoor pet cameras. The models listed below are usually not suitable for outdoor use.
1. PetCube Bites 2 Pet Camera & Treat Dispenser
My top recommendation for a dog camera is the excellent Petcube Bites 2. It's a stylish camera that streams in high-quality 1080P Full HD, has a built-in treat dispenser and allows for up to 4x digital zoom. It's not cheap, but still provides great value for money.
While some dog cameras focus on gimmicks, the PetCube has been designed to do the basics well. The high-quality 1080p HD video provides a clear view of your pup, while the 160 degree viewing angle means you can view large areas of a room without needing to move the camera.
One of the best features of the PetCube is its night vision mode. This is great for viewing your pet in the evening or night. Most cameras don't include this feature, so I was impressed to see it on the PetCube.
As you would expect from a high-quality pet monitor, the Petcube allows you to monitor your dog in real-time - but it also allows for two-way audio. This is great if you want to interact with your dog, although this model doesn't include two-way video like the PetChatz HD (see below). Monitoring is via the free Android or iOS apps, which also allow you to take a photo or video from your phone.
There's also a built-in treat dispenser. This doesn't just release treats, but actually throws them across the room. The container holds up to 1.5lbs of treats, and you can use any brand as long as the treat is the right size. This is a welcome change from other camera brands which force you to use their treats (which are often overpriced and not particularly high-quality.) As with all cameras that include a dispenser, you might need to mount it to a wall if your pet is likely to try to access the container though!
An interesting feature is the treat scheduling mode. This allows you to launch treats on a set basis throughout the day. While this is a fun feature, it clearly isn't enough to substitute proper mental stimulation and interaction with your dog. You can also release treats via the app which is more conventional for a dog camera.
A bonus is the PetCube's stylish design. Unlike some cameras, which can be bulky and unappealing, it'll blend in with almost any modern home. I'm also a fan of the aluminium exterior, which gives it a classy feel. The newer Bites 2 also includes Alexa integration and can even be used as a smart speaker.
There aren't many drawbacks to the PetCube Bites 2, but the biggest is probably the price. It's an expensive pet camera, even though the combination of 1080p video and treat dispenser means it still provides great value.
I'm also not a big fan of the app. It's not the most user-friendly, as it hides the most important features behind several menu screens. I have confidence this will be fixed relatively quickly though, as the Petcube is still a new product. The camera is also easy to setup over Wi-Fi, as the app guides you through the process.
Overall, the PetCube Bites 2 is an excellent pet camera with treat dispenser. It's reliable, easy to use and provides high-quality video, which are probably the most important characteristics of the best pet cameras. The dispenser and 2-way audio are also useful for keeping your pet entertained throughout the day.
Quick Summary: The Petcube Bites is an outstanding dog camera. Your pet will love that it "flings" treats across the floor, while the camera is sharp so you can easily see what your pet is getting up to.
- Two-Way Audio?: Yes
- Other Features: Night Vision, Treat Dispenser, Alexa integration
- Video Quality: 1080p HD
- Price Range: $$$$
- Easy to setup and use
- Treat dispenser and night vision
- 1080p HD video quality
- App can be cumbersome to use
2. PetChatz HD
If you want a dog camera that does it all, then the PetChatz HD is probably the best choice. It's an expensive camera - so it probably isn't the right choice if you're on a tight budget. With two way video, a treat dispenser, calming scent release and "DogTV," there aren't many cameras that can match its feature list though.
At a basic level, the PetChatz HD is like most other modern pet cameras. It can be installed almost anywhere in the home and streams video of your pet directly to your smartphone (both iOS and Android apps are available). The video quality is decent but not amazing, while the curved design is understated so it won't cause an eye sore.
Where the PetChatz really starts to shine is what it can do other than streaming video though. The video conversation function is a good example. You can watch your dog in "silent" mode when you don't want to disturb your pet (perhaps when he's on his bed), before switching to "Chat" mode by clicking a button. This starts a 2 way video call with your pet via a colour LED display, so he can see your face and you can interact with him. If you're worried about your pet getting bored while you're out, this is a good way to provide some quick entertainment while checking he's OK.
The PetChatz also comes with a treat dispenser. This allows you to remotely give your pup a low-calorie snack. If you want to do some training while you're out of the house, this is a good way to provide mental stimulation.
Aside from these features, there's also the option to record your chat for viewing later. You can even share the call online - although I'm not sure who would be interested in viewing you and your pup's conversation!
An interesting feature of the PetChatz is that it releases a soothing scent. This is from essential oils which need to be purchased separately, but may help to keep your dog more relaxed while you're out.
There are some drawbacks to the PetChatz, which is why it's not #1 on our list. One of the biggest is that the treat dispenser only uses authorised PetChatz treats. I understand why companies do this, as it means their dispenser only has to work with treats of a specific size of shape. It's very limiting though - especially as the size of the hole seems to have been designed to make almost any other treat unusable. As there are only two treat types available, dogs with allergies may not be able to eat them too.
Another issue is the size of the screen. While I wouldn't expect a large screen considering the device is designed to be compact, the viewing area for your dog is small. I still think most dogs will be able to recognise a face in the screen (especially when combined with your voice), but a larger size would be better.
It also doesn't come with a night vision mode. If you need to check your dog is safe during the evening or at night, the PetChatz won't be any good unless you leave a light on.
Despite these drawbacks, the PetChatz HD is an excellent indoor pet camera that's a great choice if you want to interact with your dog. It's expensive, but makes it easy to keep in touch with your pet and check he's OK throughout the day.
Note: You can also buy a "PawCall" button to allow your dog to ring you. This is a cute idea, but once your dog works it out it might become a nuisance! You can set specific times your pet can call you though, and a light will blink when you're available.
Quick Summary: With its wide range of features, including 2 way video and treat dispenser, the PetChatz HD is a great camera for interacting with your dog. It's not cheap though - and I wish the treat dispenser was suitable for treats other than those made by PetChatz.
- Two-Way Audio?: Yes
- Other Features: Treat Dispenser, Scent Release, Recording, Dog TV
- Video Quality: HD
- Price Range: $$$$$
- Decent quality 2 way video and audio
- Wide range of features including treat dispenser
- Unobtrusive design
- Only suitable for PetChatz treats
- Very expensive
3. Furbo Dog Camera
The Furbo Dog Camera is a high-quality pet camera with 1080p video streaming, a wide view and night vision. It's also capable of tossing treats rather than just dispensing them. If you want a great camera but don't need two way video (it has two way audio), then the Furbo is a great choice.
What makes it stand out from other cameras though? The first thing is the video quality. It livestreams at 1080p and with a wide angle of 160 degrees. This allows you to see a larger section of your room and with excellent clarity. There's also a 4x zoom, which is more than most pet cameras for dogs, and night vision.
Like most pet monitoring cameras, the Furbo has two way audio so you can speak to your dog. It also has a barking sensor. If it detects your dog is barking, it sends you a notification via your phone. The idea is that you can then log on to the audio and calm your pet down (although you need to be careful not to reinforce barking). There's the option to turn off the bark sensor or make it less sensitive too.
Treats are tossed from the front of the device, which makes it a fun game for your dog. The Furbo is also fairly good at dispensing one treat at a time - which can't be said for most monitors! A free pack of treats is included, but you can use any treats that fit the dispensing hole. I wish the container held a few more treats though.
One downside to the Furbo is that it isn't as stylish as other dog cameras. It's not ugly, but it's likely to stand out more than the sleek PetCube.
While the video quality is excellent, the same can't be said for the audio. You can still hear your pup (and he can hear you), but sound is muffled and not as clear as I would like.
If you're looking for the best pet camera for dogs, the Furbo is an option to consider. It has all the features you expect from a pet camera, with the addition of a barking sensor that might be useful for alerting you when your pup needs soothing.
Quick Summary: The Furbo is an excellent dog camera. With clear video and a wide angle, it's easy to check in with your pup. The poor-quality audio is a drawback though.
- Two-Way Audio?: Yes
- Other Features: Treat Dispenser, Barking Sensor
- Video Quality: 1080p HD
- Price Range: $$$$
- Barking sensor and alert
- Excellent video quality
- Can use any treats that fit the dispenser
- Poor audio quality
- Not as stylish as other cameras
4. Vimtag VT-361 Super HD
The Vimtag VT-361 is the only camera on this list that isn't specifically designed for pets. It doesn't include a food dispenser or other pet-specific features, nor is it likely to withstand heavy chewing. For keeping an eye on your pet without spending a fortune, however, it's an excellent choice.
What exactly is the Vimtag though? It's a straightforward indoor surveillance camera that streams live video to apps on your PC, tablet or smartphone. Unlike many dog cameras, you can pan and tilt the camera, so you can watch your pet even when he goes out of view. There's also a motion detection function (although this may be too sensitive for dog owners) and a three-times zoom, which is great when you want to get a closer look at what your dog is doing.
Despite not being made for pets, the Vimtag has 2-way audio which is great for saying hello to your pet throughout the day. It also streams in 720p at 25fps, which is clear enough for watching your pet.
A useful feature of the Vimtag is the night vision function. The camera comes with 12 infra-red LEDs, which allow you to see what's going on in a dark room at a distance of up to 10 metres. It can also record in black and white when the IR lights are activated. If you need to see your dog when it's dark, night vision is an essential feature.
Another thing I like about the Vimtag is that it can stream to multiple devices. If you and your partner both want to check on your pet, for example, the Vimtag lets you watch from PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It's also relatively easy to setup, although you might need to play with the various settings to really understand how to make the most of it.
There are some downsides to the Vimtag though. The lack of a treat dispenser means it's not as interactive as other pet cams. While the lag isn't as long as other cameras, it's still noticeable - especially with poor internet connections. The motion sensing system is also too sensitive for use with pets, even on its lowest setting.
Another issue is that it can be cumbersome to search through recorded videos. This isn't so much of an issue if you just want a live stream of your pet, but could be a problem if you're using it for security or if you want to quickly check what your pet did throughout the day.
Even with these issues, the Vimtag is an option to consider if you want the best pet camera without a treat dispenser. The picture quality is great and the night mode is particularly useful for pet owners. The two-way audio is also useful for interacting with your pet.
Note: The Vimtag uses an SD card to save videos. You'll need to purchase this separately if you don't already own one.
Quick Summary: If you don't need a treat dispenser, the Vimtag VT-361 is an excellent dog camera. With a wide range (due to the tilt and pan functions) and 2-way audio, it's a great way to keep an eye on your pet. It can also record video, although you'll need to purchase an SD card separately.
- Two-Way Audio?: Yes
- Other Features: Pan Tilt, Night Vision
- Video Quality: 720p HD
- Price Range: $$
- Wide viewing range
- Relatively inexpensive
- Great picture quality
- Cumbersome to search through recorded video
- Motion sensitivity is too sensitive
5. Petzi Treat Cam
If you're looking for a treat dispensing pet camera for a reasonable price, the Petzi Treat Cam is a great choice. It's a relatively straightforward camera, yet has a fun treat launcher to keep your pet entertained during the day. Don't expect 1080p HD video or the advanced features found on the PetChatz, but for checking on your pup, talking to him and giving treats it provides great value.
Let's start with the basics. The Petzi is a straightforward dog camera that connects to your Wi-Fi network. Once connected, you can use the dedicated Android or iOS apps to watch your pet and check that he's fine while you're out.
There's also the option of launching treats. You can use any hard treats of the right dimensions, so you aren't limited to those produced by Petzi. Treats need to be relatively small and round though, so be careful about which ones you buy.
Unlike more expensive pet video cameras, the Petzi doesn't have two way audio - at least on the original version. This means you can talk to your pet, but you won't be able to hear him back. There are some reports that newer models include a microphone, but until this has been confirmed I'm going to list it as not having two-way audio.
Do you really need two-way audio though? Not being able to hear your pet isn't an issue most of the time, as you'll still be able to identify excessive barking by your dog's body language. It does limit interaction a bit though, which is why many people prefer a camera with 2-way audio.
Aside from the dispenser, there are a few extra features included with the Petzi. The camera has a still image mode, so you can take pictures of your pet. There's also a built-in social network for pet lovers. I'm not a big fan of these networks, as they are often little more than gimmicks, but some people might enjoy sharing pics and videos of their pets with other dog owners.
One issue I have with the Petzi is that it doesn't list the video quality. This is often an indicator that the quality isn't great. In this case, the Petzi's video quality isn't terrible, but I don't think it matches some of the other best pet cameras on this list. There is also sometimes a slight lag in the video.
Another drawback is there's no option to view the video through a computer browser - you can only use an app. While most people have a smartphone, it's sometimes easier to leave a browser window open than to open an app on your PC.
While the Petzi Treat Cam isn't perfect, it's still a great product if you want to be able give treats while watching your pet remotely. I like that Petzi doesn't force you to use their treats, and with a few small improvements it could be even further up this list. Even in its current form, it's one of the best pet cameras for interacting with your pet.
Quick Summary: The Petzi is an excellent camera for giving treats. The video isn't as high-quality as other models, but it's cheaper than many other treat dispensing dog cameras. It doesn't have two-way audio though and there is a noticeable delay in the video.
- Two-Way Audio?: No
- Other Features: Treat Dispenser
- Video Quality: Not Listed
- Price Range: $$$
- Useful food dispenser
- Not limited to Petzi treats
- Easy to use
- Video is noticeably delayed
- No recording function
Summary & Top Interactive Dog Camera
A pet camera can provide extra peace of mind when your pup is home alone. You can check in on him throughout the day, speak to him and even give him a treat.
It's vital to get a high-quality pet camera though. The best dog cameras provide a stable and reliable livestream, with sharp video and clear audio. Unfortunately, there are many models that are almost unusable, due to poor-quality video, excessive delays and other issues.
My top recommendation for a pet camera is the excellent PetCube Bites 2. It's a sleek and stylish camera with excellent video quality, a treat dispenser and two way audio. If you want your dog to be able to see you too, check out the more expensive PetChatz HD with two way video.
I hope this page has helped you to find the best pet camera for your dog. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below!