When the human’s away, the dog … does what, exactly? Thanks to the wonders of technology, we don’t need to guess anymore. With pet cameras and monitors, you can keep tabs on your pup from work or wherever else your day takes you.
And peace of mind isn’t all you get. As well as helping you keep your dog out of trouble, a pet cam can give you a boost of puppy love through the day and help keep them engaged through special features such as microphones and even lasers and treat dispensers. What’s more, they can also give you an insight into any behaviors you might want to get checked out, such as oversleeping.
Read on for our guide to five of the best pet cams for a variety of needs.
The Best-Selling All-Rounder Pet Cam
At the more expensive end of the market, the Furbo Dog Camera offers a lot of functionality. The camera itself is an impressive 1080p HD, with 4x zoom, night vision, and 160-degree visibility. In other words, you should get a crisp picture and a wide view of the room, with the ability to zoom in for greater clarity, and you should be able to watch day or night.
But it’s the extras that have made the Furbo a bestseller. As well as two-way audio (so you can talk to your dog and hear their response), the Furbo offers a treat tosser, which will fire treats into the air for Fido to catch. Even more adorably, the Furbo can automatically snap a still picture of your dog if and when they look into the camera, giving you a store of dog selfies. And for anxious dog owners, the Furbo can send alerts (with adjustable sensitivity) when your dog has barked or become active, as well as when a person has entered the area. You might have to pay an extra fee to access these functions.
Customers who reviewed the Furbo were especially pleased with the device’s treat tosser, bark alerts, and night vision. However, a few reviewers noted that they had problems with setup and the app’s functionality, so you may need some tech savvy. Price: $249, reduced to $199 on Amazon at the time of writing
The Best Budget-Friendly Pet Cam
Unlike the Furbo, the Netvue is marketed as a baby camera and home-security camera as well as a pet cam, so it doesn’t have any dog-specific functions like a treat dispenser or bark detector. But it does have other impressive features, notably a pan/tilt function that allows you to see 360 degrees. Like the Furbo, it records at 1080p HD, and has night vision and two-way audio. And though it doesn’t have a bark detector, it does have a motion sensor, which you can set to your required sensitivity.
Most reviewers are delighted with their Netvue camera, praising its easy installation, user-friendly app, and picture quality. Several reviewers even noted that they were so impressed with the Netvue that they had bought more cameras. A small handful of reviewers raised concerns about the privacy of data collected by the camera, but the company replied to say that the data was simply collected by Amazon’s Cloud service. Price: $50
The Best Pet Cam for Dogs and Cats
The Pawbo+ has lots of tricks for easily bored pets. Like the Furbo, it has a treat dispenser and two-way audio, so you can talk to your pet and reward them with treats while you’re gone. Add to those functions a laser pointer that you can operate from your phone or set to play automatically, and you have a pet playground in your home — one that’s also very popular among cats, according to reviews. And that’s not all: up to eight people can access the Pawbo+ and speak into it remotely at any one time. This camera also has a 4x digital zoom and 130-degree visibility, though it records at 720P HD, a slightly lower resolution than some other cameras on the market.
Pawbo+ users love the camera’s functionality, especially being able to play with their pet while they’re at work. A few reviewers had trouble getting the camera set up, so this might be another one for technologically advanced people. A couple of people also complained about the visibility, since the camera doesn’t tilt or turn. Price: $149
Best Pet Cam for Two-Way Communication
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line pet cam that will keep your pet occupied all day, the PetChatz might be the camera for you. Its biggest selling point: many pet cams have two-way audio, but PetChatz has two-way audio and video, so your dog will be able to see you while you talk to them. And if they’re feeling anxious, your dog can even call you, using PawCall, a paw-shaped button placed on the floor (sold separately).
PetChatz also offers aromatherapy, so if your dog seems anxious, you can have the device spray a calming scent. And you can program the device with games and even sync it with a DOGTV subscription, to provide a full day of stimulation while you’re gone — complete with treats dispensed from the camera. PetChatz is made in the USA, using a pet-safe design with no cords or sharp edges.
Most reviewers felt that PetChatz was worth the extra expense because it kept their dogs mentally stimulated, relaxed, and happy all day. Several customers reported that their dogs had quickly learned how to use PawCall, and that they loved being able to video call with their pet during the day. A few reviewers had some trouble with installing the device, but others found installation easy and customer support helpful, so it may come down to individual experience and the strength of your WiFi. Price $379.97, reduced to $329.99 at the time of writing
Most Visually Pleasing Pet Cam
If you have a design-conscious home, the Lovoom might be the pet cam for you. But don’t let the sleek design of this simple white box fool you: the Lovoom houses a deceptive array of features. For instance, the kibble-tossing function comes with an adjustable throw distance of 3 to 10 feet, to keep your pet active and guessing. The whole unit can also pan 180 degrees, giving you a greater range of vision and also a greater tossing range for kibble. The camera records at 720P HD, and the unit comes with two-way audio communication so you can talk to your dog and hear what they’re doing. There’s also a remote control that can be used to operate the unit without WiFi.
Lovoom owners are mostly very happy with the device, with the camera’s rotate function and the kibble-tossing option proving particularly popular. A few reviewers would like to see an option to throw bigger treats, though the device seems to work well for kibble and small treats. And a few reviewers also had trouble with the first devices they received but were quickly supplied with a new device by the reportedly helpful customer service team. Price: $199
The AKC independently selected each product featured in this article. If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale. While we do our best to update links often, please note that prices and deals are subject to change.