Have you ever wondered what your pets are doing while you're not home? Based on the torn-up furniture of weeks past, the evidence is stockpiling against that new puppy of yours -- or should you blame the cat for the destruction?
Whether you want to keep tabs on your closest companions while you're at work, out running errands, or away on vacation, there are plenty of pet cameras you can purchase that will allow you to monitor and communicate with your animals. Heck, many models even allow you to disburse treats.
As experts on all things smart home, and as lovers of cats and dogs, we're here to help manage your household and the needs of your pet. For your consideration, here's our roundup of the best pet cameras you can buy right now.
Petcube Bites 2
Watch them eat their treat
- HD resolution
- Two-way chat
- Treat dispensing
- Treat dispensing commands are sometimes delayed
When it comes to impressive camera quality and interactive features, the Petcube Bites 2 is one of our top choices. Designed for both dogs and cats, the cam is compatible with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands and can be set up in as little as two minutes (compatible with iOS 11 and Android 7.1.2 or higher).
Once connected to Wi-Fi, the Petcube app is your go-to resource. Want to see what the dog is up to? Call him over using the cam's two-way chat function and view a live feed of the hound with the Bites' 1080p HD lens with 160 degrees of rotation. Sun setting? The Bites' automatic night vision should clear things up for you. If your pets tend to be mischievous while you're away, your Bites 2 will send you both motion and sound notifications when trouble is detected.
There's even a 1.5-pound treat dispenser for the good boys and girls of the animal kingdom. Choose between short-, medium-, or long-distance flings depending on which pet you're trying to reward. If that's not enough, onboard Alexa integration means your Bites 2 can be used as a smart speaker, letting you play music for your pets, chat live with veterinarians, and order treats on the fly.
While some have argued that treat-dispensing can be a bit delayed now and then, we can't recommend the Petcube Bites 2 enough.
YI Dome Camera Pro 2K
Get a crystal-clear vision of your pet at home
- High-res 2K cam
- Two-way audio
- Can also detect faces
- Can identify dog barking
- Not as many pet-friendly features as some other cams
Detail performance is one of the areas most people are concerned about when it comes to security cameras. With its ability to record video at 2K resolution (2304 x 1296 pixels), the YI Dome Camera Pro 2K has enough detail and clarity for pet owners to see their furry friends. It can also better distinguish your pets from people, so you receive informed alerts instead of redundant ones.
Beyond the incredible 2K resolution of the camera, it's designed to pan and tilt to offer extended coverage over other pet cameras. Instead of remaining static and focused on a single area, the YI Dome Camera Pro 2K can be articulated so that you get the best view of your pets while you're away. Its design also takes into consideration your privacy, with the ability to move its lens downward so that it's hidden and tucked away. That way, you won't have to worry about big brother when you're at home.
Considering its affordable cost, it's convenient to find support for Alexa and Google Assistant, two-way audio chat, and enhanced night vision that allows it to show color in the footage when there's some ambient light around.
Furbo Dog Camera
Get alerts about what's happening with your pet
- 4x digital zoom
- Treat launching
- Alexa commands
- Night vision
- Cloud recording requires a subscription
While many cameras on our list feature bark detection, the Furbo goes a step further by allowing you to adjust barking sensitivity. The company claims that this function has saved the lives of hundreds of dogs that are stuck at home during an emergency.
The 160-degree lens delivers 1080p footage with the option of 4x digital zoom for zeroing in on your pooch from afar. If it's dark out, night vision will kick on to ensure you can still see your pets come sunset. Two-way chatting and Alexa commands keep you connected to your animal, letting you do things like program the Furbo to shoot out a treat every two hours or on demand.
Additionally, you can enroll in a Furbo subscription for cloud recording, smart alerts that ping you when your dog is being unruly, and a feature called Dog Diary that compiles your dog's entire day into 60 seconds of footage.
The Alexa-ready Furbo Dog Camera is packed with plenty of dog-monitoring features, but you can also use it to check in on your cats, too.
Petcube Play 2
Have some fun with with the laser pointer
- Compact design
- Built-in laser pointer
- Two-way audio
- 4x digital zoom
- Notifications and cloud storage require a subscription
Like the Bites 2, Petcube's Play 2 delivers all the best performance features we expect from a solid pet cam, but with a few bonuses thrown in. The Play 2 may be our favorite design of any pet cam we've spotlighted in this roundup. Tall cameras with rounded bases for treat dispensers are a common sight when shopping for pet cams, which is why the Play 2's cubed design truly stands out amongst the competition. That being said, if you want treat dispensing, we suggest the Bites 2 instead.
In terms of visuals, you're getting full 1080p HD, both day and night, and a 160-degree lens with 4x digital zoom. The two-way chatting and motion/sound notifications of the Bites 2 are built into the Play 2 as well, along with a laser pointer that you can set for automatic or manual controls. Plus, Alexa is built-in for easier voice controls when someone is at home. And don't forget the interactive laser toy, which can shine a beam on the floor for bored cats and has an autoplay mode for long-term fun.
For those that want more out of their Petcube Play 2, you can sign up for Petcube Care, a membership that will grant you 90 days of cloud-based event storage, automatic video recording, and bark/meow notifications.
Obexx Smart Companion Robot for Pets
A pet camera on the move
- Mobile design
- Can launch treats
- Night vision
- Pets may not be fans of a moving cam
Our pets roam around the home, often losing interest in one spot after a while — so keeping track of them can be a dedicated job. That's why a camera on wheels can be so useful.
Say hello to the Obexx Smart Companion Robot for Pets, a pet camera like no other because it can be remotely controlled through a mobile app. Best of all, it can go just about anywhere because this robot has wheels that can even tackle the rigors of traversing thick carpeting. At the center of the unit is a camera with night vision, which allows pet owners to see their pets regardless of the time of day.
The Obexx Smart Companion Robot for Pets' arsenal doesn't end there, as it also features a handy laser light tool perched right on top of it that can be used to play with your pets. It's as if you're actually in the room playing with them. Finally, you can also store pet treats inside of the Obexx Smart Companion Robot for Pets, which can be launched in the mobile app to reward your fuzzy friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Always choose pet cams that guarantee data encryption and safe video storage. Pet cams aren't always safe, but good companies work to protect data and access so that owners don't need to worry. Remember, a key vulnerability is the strength of your own Wi-Fi network, not the cam itself.
With these modern pet cams, all you need to do is open the app, ensure a stable Wi-Fi connection at both ends, and watch the live feed. Some models also allow you to record video or photos.
If you should or shouldn't talk to your furry friend via a pet cam really depends on the pet. Some owners find that talking through a pet cam can help reduce separation anxiety. Some find that it makes anxiety worse. And some owners discover their pets really don't understand why the cam is making noise and don't care about it at all.
You can technically use anything with a web cam for pet cam monitoring. But it's going to be energy intensive and will lack the features and mobility of dedicated pet cams.
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