Leaving your pets at home can be stressful no matter how long you’re away. In the back of your mind, you know they’re going to be fine, but there’s something to be said for a little extra piece of mind. Whether you’re on vacation, at work or just out running errands, you might want to check up on your dog or cat and make sure they’re not causing trouble. Gone are the days when checking on your pets meant calling a neighbor or a friend. These days, it’s all about the in-home pet camera. If you consider yourself an anxious pet parent, keep reading to see our list of today’s best pet cameras.
Best Design: Furbo
If you really want to have some fun with your pet, the Furbo dog camera offers a fantastic design with an included “treat tossing” function. Capable of holding around 30 pieces of your dog’s favorite treat, you can quickly play a game of fetch when you’re away by shooting the treat out of the Furbo and watching with amusement on the 720p video camera. It has a 120-degree wide angle view and comes with night vision.
Additionally, the two-way microphone allows communication from both parent and pet, so you can talk and listen to hear what your pet is up to and how it responds to the sound of your voice. The Furbo does require an Internet connection via WiFi and allows for “bark alerts” by sending a push notification to your smartphone when it detects a pet making noise. The treat toss itself is easy to set up and works with just about any treat of your choosing. Furbo does recommend non-crushable treats between a half-inch to one-inch in length.
FitBark is a small bone-shaped device you clip on to your pup’s collar that monitors the behaviors of your dog. It captures data that it compares with other similar dogs to help you know the norms of your dog’s age and breed. If there is a change in behavior, you will know, and can have the dog examined. This may allow for illnesses to be discovered earlier. If your dog is being watched by a pet sitter or walker, you can make sure your pooch is getting enough exercise. It’s a small investment that will encourage more exercise and could add years to your dog’s life. You can charge it without removing the FitBark from the collar, and each device is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 that syncs whenever it’s next to your smartphone. Simply input your dog’s basic info, select a lifestyle for your dog, and it will give you endless feedback and “BarkPoints” based on statistics from similar dogs.
In November 2017, FitBark released a newer FitBark 2 model. Nearly identical in shape, size and features, the biggest improvement is to the battery life, now up to 6 months and has removable color cases to switch out styles (sold separately). The original is being transitioned out but the new version works with their existing WiFi base station (optional).
Pod 3 Trackers
The Pod 3 GPS Tracker does two things. First, it helps you keep track of where your pets are and, second, it tells you if they are getting enough exercise.
First off, it is very easy to set up the Pod 3 Tracker. You just put it on your pet’s collar, screw on one of the two batteries included in the box, and it will start looking for GPS satellites. Download the mobile app and then pair the tracker with your mobile phone via Bluetooth.
The mobile app will ask you for your Wi-Fi network credentials, then it will ask you about your pet, including its age, gender, and weight. After this, you are set.
Design. The Pod 3 Tracker is quite small, measuring only 2 inches in length and 0.9 inches in diameter. It is also very lightweight at only 31 grams. This makes it very easy for you to put on your pets, or anything you want it to track.
Petcube Play Interactive
Additionally, the smartphone app allows for instant sharing of pictures and video clips to friends and family or social networks. Petcube even offers a subscription (cloud-based) service that allows for rewinding and playback of either 10 or 30 days of video history. The two-way audio allows pet parents to conveniently and, if necessary, secretly talk to their pets and let them know you’re on the way home. The secure Petcube network is encrypted and secured through 128-bit encryption and other security protocols adding to your piece of mind. While it lacks a treat dispenser, the Petcube is attractive, functional and sets the bar for pet cameras.
The onboard audio system allows for one-way communication with your pet, but, unfortunately, there’s no way to hear your pet respond to the sound of your voice. Fortunately, you can still capture all the candid videos that you want to share with friends and family or on your favorite social networks via the downloadable smartphone app. The app is straightforward: pet owners can see, speak, snap or give a treat with a single push of a button. Finally, the Petzi includes multiple mounting options for secure placement on a floor or on a wall depending on the size of your pet.
Feed and Go
With six total compartments, each capable of holding up to eight ounces of treats or food, there’s more than enough space to keep your pet satisfied and full without any feelings of guilt. Though wet food isn’t recommended for more than 24 hours of storage, locking in a feeding schedule is easily done through the downloadable smartphone app. Setting up schedules for multiple pets is just as easy with unlimited profiles available with the press of one button. The included app can even send you text messages to let you know your pet is about to eat and/or has been fed. At 7.3 pounds and measuring 20 x 16 x 3 inches, the Feed and Go takes up a fair amount of space on the floor, but the peace of mind is more than worth it.
Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi
While not a dedicated pet camera per se, the Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi video monitoring surveillance security camera bills itself among other things as a pet monitoring system. With remote live video synced through your in-home WiFi, you can check on what your pet is doing through the downloadable smartphone or tablet app, as well as on an available app for Windows and Mac computers. Offering basic services such as panning and tilting, as well as motion detection, the Vimtag includes a two-way built-in microphone for calling your pet right to the camera for a quick and easy check-in.
The system itself requires an Internet connection on both sides while in use, but with a sub five-minute set-up time, you’ll be up and running in no time. Additionally, the Vimtag includes night vision and an internal SD card slot (32GB recommended) for video recording and playback. The 320- x 120-degree coverage area allows almost total home viewing (walls notwithstanding) in HD video quality for a clear picture every time.
Not on a budget? Take a look at the PetChatz HD pet camera. Featuring a “greet and treat” experience, the PetChatz allows for a two-way video and audio experience via the included 720p camera that allows both pets and parents to see and hear each another. If you want to spoil your pet even more, you can purchase the “PawCall” button that allows your pet to call you with the single press (or paw) of a button. The pet-safe design is ideal (your pet won’t be tempted or able to chew through the corners or edges since the unit is securely attached to the wall via an included mounting kit).
As a bonus, the PetChatz takes its feature set to a totally different level with an included “calming scent” that helps release specially-formulated soothing smells that can relieve an anxious or scared animal. In addition to a treat dispenser, the PetChatz has more standard features such as recording and sharing of pet activity with friends, family or on social networks.
Since it’s both an indoor and outdoor camera, you can even add an additional waterproof camera to the system (sold separately) to monitor your yard to see if your pet is playing nicely outdoors while you’re away. With optimal placement around seven feet above floor level and an ideal range of motion detection from around five to 20 feet, there’s more than enough room to place the camera in a large area and see absolutely everything your pet is doing.
As a dedicated home security camera system, the Blink product offers an outstanding HD video experience while you’re away from home. It’s powered by two AA batteries and connected online via built-in WiFi. Once you’re online, connect to the Blink system through the downloaded iOS and Android smartphone apps or via voice control through the available Amazon Alexa “skill.” At just 3.2 x 4.5 x 9.3 inches and weighing just under one pound, the Blink system can be placed just about anywhere you want to monitor a pet including over a doorway, in front of a sofa or covering a large room.
With both motion and temperature sensors, the Blink introduces peace of mind that goes well beyond pet monitoring since it can double as a home-protective service as well. As soon as the Blink system detects your pet’s movement in front of the camera, the video starts recording and an alert is sent to any connected devices, so you can instantly discover what your pet is doing. Blink owners can quickly expand the camera system with the purchase of additional camera units (sold separately) and cover every aspect of their home as needed. Without any monthly fees, the Blink offers free cloud storage for up to two hours of video clips.