FROM THE DEPT. OF THINGS TO BUY

Best Pet Cameras to Keep Tabs on Your Four-Legged Pals

Make sure they're staying out of trouble and toss them some treats.

12. 10. 21 by S.J. Manning

The best pet cameras allow you to have a private feed of pet antics on tap whenever you need a break at the office, and even control the action through voice commands, treat catapults, and play features. While these clever devices aren’t going to unearth the secrets of a clandestine outdoor adventure with the hand-held art-cinema style of Bill Morrison’s A Trip to the Beach, they make checking in with your favorite furry pal a breeze no matter where you are. 

Smart consumers may note that the recent proliferation of these trendy cameras begs the question of whether a simple home security camera would do to check on an older pet’s mobility issues, make sure the pet sitter filled the bowls and changed the box, and confirm that Bruno really does lick your socks. The answer depends on your needs. We’ll walk you through the hype to help you choose the best pet camera for your furry friend that balances fun features and practical uses for a healthier and happier pet.

Best Overall: Petcube Bites 2
Best for Dogs: Furbo Dog Camera
Best for Cats: Petcube Play 2
Best Value: Eufy Pet Dog Camera D605
Best Security Camera: Google Nest Cam Indoor
Best With Feeder: WOPET SmartFeeder
Best With Treat Dispenser: SKYMEE Owl Robot
Best For Pet POV: GoPro Fetch Dog Harness
Best Splurge: Blink Indoor 5 Camera Kit

Best Pet Camera Deals

It’s a great time to get some spectacular savings on the best pet cameras. The Furbo Dog Camera is currently 30 percent off. And you can get $30 off the PetCube Play 2. It can be yours for $199.

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Related: Embrace the future with one the best tech gifts.

How We Picked the Best Pet Cameras

Methodology

To select the best pet cameras for a variety of situations, we started by expanding our definition of pet cameras to include other types of cameras for home monitoring. These are the key criteria we focused on in order to ensure quality choices for cat and dog owners across a range of features.  

Brand: To avoid cheap copycat models from brands capitalizing on trends, we only included pet cameras from companies that primarily manufacture cameras and other smart devices for the home, or have a brand centered on pet tech. We prioritized brands that could be found both through general online retailers and pet-supply retailers.

Special Features: All of our picks include night vision and Wi-Fi connectivity. We considered other features like built-in toys and treat dispensers as awesome to have for some pet parents, but not must-haves for everyone. This allowed us to include home-security cameras that work great as pet cameras but aren’t strictly marketed as such.

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Compatibility: One of the most frustrating experiences of purchasing tech is a constantly shifting landscape. We made sure to highlight Wi-Fi connectivity in each product description, so there are no surprises. 

The Best Pet Cameras: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Pet Camera Overall: Petcube Bites 2

Tech and Treats, PetCubes

Why It Made The Cut: The feature-packed Petcube Bites 2 is already a standout, but it noses ahead of the pack because it supports the fast data transmission speeds of 5Ghz Wi-Fi networks.

Specs:
— Dimensions: 5.7 inches L x 3 inches W x 10.6 inches H
— Recording Method: Cloud, with limits according to subscription plan
— Voice Control: With Alexa

Pros:
— Wide 160-degree viewing angle
— Alexa home assistant built in
— Full HD resolution (1080p)
— Access to a vet via chat 24/7 through the Petcube app

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Cons: 
— Pricey for pet parents who want multiple cameras
— Camera does not rotate

Petcube’s company vision includes collecting pet data and analyzing it based on algorithms with the goal of creating customized products. For pet parents who geek out on tech, their four signature cameras are an excellent choice from a brand dedicated solely to monitoring pet’s health and wellbeing. 

Petcube Bites 2 is the best pet camera with treat dispenser that we can recommend. It’s got the capacity for 1.5 pounds of dog treats and controls when and how far treats are ejected for your eagerly waiting pet. Another camera from the brand, Petcube Bites 2 Lite, offers many of the same key features, such as alerts when your pet is barking or meowing, night vision, and the ability to distinguish two-legged humans from four-legged creatures. However, it’s only compatible with 2.4Ghz WiFi, is made from plastic (vs. plastic and aluminum), has just one microphone instead of four, and doesn’t come with Alexa built in. 

One important caveat with Petcube and other pet cameras is that if you want to do more than check in and speak to your pet, you’ll usually need to pay a few extra dollars a month for a monthly subscription that covers notifications and storage. Because alerts can pick up potential issues and remind you to check in, they’re a great option for people with frenetic workdays and schedules. With Petcube Care subscription plans, the premium tier maxes out at about $10/month no matter how many cameras you have, so if you have multiple pets and want to install three or more cameras you can save some money.  

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Best Pet Camera for Dogs: Furbo Dog Camera

Stylish Design, Furbo

Why It Made The Cut: We chose the Furbo Dog Camera because of its unique carafe-shaped design, bamboo wood cover, treat distribution capability, and attractive price point.

Specs:
— Dimensions: 5.91 inches L x 4.72 inches W x 8.86 inches H
— Recording Method: Cloud, via subscription only
— Voice Control: With a screen Alexa device (not built-in)

Pros:
— Tosses round-shaped treats using app
— Real-time barking alerts so you can soothe and redirect
— Doggie diary daily recap
— Selfie alert so you can snap cute canine candids

Cons:
— Compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only
— Furbo website UX is not great

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Furbo is a 2 way pet camera from pet tech company Tomofun, which was founded in 2014. If you don’t want to splash out for a Petcube Bites 2 and you prefer a camera with a warmer aesthetic than most boxy and rectangular smart home devices, the  Furbo pet camera, designed especially for dogs, is our choice for pet camera for dogs. Powered by mini-USB, this device uses Bluetooth Low Energy to pair with Alexa devices and is compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only. 

It’s important to note that despite a lower upfront cost, the Furbo subscription that unlocks key features only has one tier, and it’s more expensive than Petcube’s Optimal Plan. If you are content to view, talk to, and toss treats to your pet through the free Furbo app, there’s no obligation to subscribe. However, you’ll probably want to have access to alerts when your dog is barking and a person is detected in your home, as well as the dog-diary feature — which independently captures a toy pounce here and a tail wag there for a snapshot of their day. 

While we think the Petcube Bites 2 Lite is a better overall choice of a treat-dispensing camera at a similar price point, we wanted to acknowledge that for many people, design aesthetics take precedence.

Best Pet Camera for Cats: Petcube Play 2

Feline-Friendly, PetCube

Why It Made The Cut: In a dog-centered world, the Petcube Play 2 offers a mode of entertainment cats may deign to enjoy, along with other high-quality monitoring features.

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Specs:
— Dimensions: 3.6 inches L x 3.2 inches W x 3.6 inches H
— Recording Method: Cloud with subscription
— Voice Control: Built-in Alexa

Pros:
— 3R-class laser for safer exposure to human and pet eyes
— Compact and unobtrusive design
— Smart speaker can be used to play music for your pet via Alexa
— Sturdy hard plastic and aluminum cube

Cons:
— No guarantee your cat will engage
— No treat dispenser

What cat wouldn’t appreciate a central command station that caters to (almost) every whim? Through the comprehensive array of choices in the Petcube Play 2, parents of curious kitties can try their luck at calling their pet to the cube, distract them with a laser light show if you catch them clawing your duvet cover, and be alerted to meowing and human intruders. A speaker bar elevates the two-way audio system into a smart speaker you can use with the built-in Alexa to play music (YouTube is replete with songs specifically for felines), and order an endless supply of treats, comfy beds, and their accompanying packaging.

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This pet camera is much smaller than the Petcube Bites 2, but still features full HD-resolution (1080p) video, a wide 160-degree camera view angle, and access to the Petcube Care subscription service, including the option to talk to a vet via chat. If you have a cat that loves knocking things off shelves, you can mount the device to a wall for protection.

We find it amusing that there is no Lite version of this model as there is with the Bites 2, but perhaps the cat focus group was really adamant you need the faster speeds of 5Ghz Wi-Fi to make your cat the next meme-able sensation. Due to the elusive nature of cats generally, you might consider purchasing a few cameras to monitor key hangout spots if your pet has health issues you want to check in on.

Best Value Pet Camera: Eufy Pet Dog Camera D605

Rotate Your View, eufy

Why It Made The Cut: We like the Eufy Pet Dog Camera D605 because the non-subscription model and built-in video storage addresses privacy and price concerns about pet monitoring devices.

Specs:
— Dimensions: ‎5.7 x 5.7 x 12.44 inches
— Recording Method: Directly to device
— Voice Control: Not currently

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Pros:
— 270-degree camera rotation
— No subscriptions required to get alerts
— Wide 170-degree viewing angle
— Dispenser designed to prevent treats from clogging

Cons:
— Max 16G of storage
— Compatible with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi only

Your dog may be suspicious of any product from a company that also designs robot vacuums. However, we think smart appliance and home security maker Eufy has a winner with the unique D605 pet camera. 

Your upfront investment is the only investment you’ll be making in this device — which uses motion tracking to keep your dog in frame and two-way audio to alert you to barking. With the free eufy Pet app, you can enjoy 1080p HD video with night vision, launch treats at three different distances, get alerts, and give your pet commands and reassurances that you’ll be home soon. The treat receptacle is also easy to remove and wash by hand or in the dishwasher.

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Some pet parents may find they prefer subscription services that offer additional perks like pet-product discounts, a way to chat with a vet, and cloud storage in case the camera is damaged or stolen. Other pet parents will love that video of pet antics and home life is not stored on a remote server, and find this excellent camera and treat dispenser is more than adequate to help them monitor and bond with their dog from afar.

Best Security Camera: Google Nest Cam Indoor

Comprehensive Coverage. Google

Why It Made The Cut: The Google Nest Cam Indoor is a high-tech solution to balance home security with pet monitoring in a multi-camera household. 

Specs:
— Dimensions: 2.8 inches L x 2.8 inches W x 4.5 inches H
— Recording Method: 30-60 days Cloud event storage with up to 10 days of 24/7 livestream recording (depending on subscription)
— Voice Control: Compatible with Alexa and Nest App

Pros:
— Always recording
— Auto updates whenever it spots movement and 3-hour snapshot history
— Can be set to turn off when you’re home by monitoring cell phone proximity
— Network can function with an outdoor cam as well

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Cons: 
— Subscription package will cost you extra in the long run

With a host of high-tech features, Google Nest walks home security into 2021. It qualifies as the best home security camera that doubles as one of the best pet cameras we’ve seen. It doesn’t have the kibble catapult, but when it comes to 2 way voice and whole home monitoring, the Nest does all the rest right.

Google Nest delivers a 24/7 live stream of HD video that’s accessible from your phone at any hour of the day or night. Its night vision is impressive, using eight LEDs to deliver capable high-power infrared light. If the Nest picks up any action it will notify you immediately. It also provides 3 hours of snapshot history, in case you notice an event you may have missed previously.

The subscription plan for the Nest isn’t the cheapest. The limited plan comes in at just over $5 a month, while the improved plan doubles that price to over $10. For the extended plan it’s important to remember that that monthly price tag will increase the total price of this device to over $500 with just a few years of use. However, the subscription does come with some impressive features, like a whole ten days of 24/7 HD footage stored in the cloud. Finally, the subscription plan doesn’t increase in price for extra cameras. That means you can monitor your pets in the living room, and make sure they’re okay when they’ve gone out the dog door — without having to pay extra. 

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Best With Feeder: WOPET SmartFeeder

Feeding Frenzy. WOPET

Why It Made The Cut: The WOPET SmartFeeder combines a camera and automatic feeder, so that you can interact with your pet and control when it gets dinner — all from your phone.

Specs:
— Dimensions: 9.8 inches L x 13.7 inches W x 15.3 inches H
— Recording Method: No native recording
— Voice Control: N/A

Pros:
— Good camera
— Easy app connection that gives notice every time it feeds
— Programmable voice alert so pets hear your voice when they eat

Cons: 
— No motion control
— No recording
— Video feed may not be fully secure
— No 2 way chat

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With so many pet-focused smart devices, why not just combine them? If you’re looking for a minimal camera that lets you check in on your fuzzball friend every time they eat, then the WOPET SmartFeeder could be an excellent addition to your home.

This smart feeder from WOPET connects an app-controlled programmable feeder with a streamable camera. It doesn’t have the recording capabilities and 2 way chat you’ll find in some other pet cameras on this list, but it does offer a simple camera feeder combo that works well. The app notifies you when your pet is being fed, so that you can unobtrusively check in and make sure everything’s all right, or maybe snap a photo. The device does have recordable vocals, so that you can create a message that plays for your pet every time the feeder triggers. It also features a backup battery system, so that you’ll know your pet is still getting fed even if the power goes offline.

This device doesn’t have all the features of more expensive models, but if a simple check in is all you need, then the WOPET Smart Feeder has you covered.

Best With Treat Dispenser: SKYMEE Owl Robot

Mobile Camera Bot. SKYMEE

Why It Made The Cut: The SKYMEE Owl Robot is not only a pet camera, it’s a mobile treat lab with two-way talk that you can control from your smartphone.

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Specs:
— Dimensions: 6.7 inches L x 6.7 inches W x 4.9 inches H
— Recording Method: HD video records to TF card (not included)
— Voice Control: N/A

Pros:
— Rolls around as directed by you
— Treat dispenser and 2 way voice allow you to interact with your pet in novel ways while out of the house
— Automatically reacts to touch

Cons:
— Requires 2.4G Wi-Fi / will not work on 5G Wi-Fi
— 6-8 hours battery life

The best pet camera with a treat dispenser is also the most fun. With the SKYMEE Owl Robot, you can use your smartphone to operate a robotic owl that will cruise around your home playing with your pet, dispensing treats while along the way.

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What’s more, the robot features an excellent HD camera as well as a 2 way talk feature that allows you to talk to your pet as it zooms around. 

This innovative camera does have some quirks. The device only works on 2.4G W-iFi, so if you’ve updated your Wi-Fi recently, it’s not the best option. Some people also complain that the device occasionally starts up and begins recording without their input, which is a bit spooky. However, there’s no evidence that anything nefarious is actually taking place to merit those security fears.But if you want to feed your pets with a robot you control with your smartphone, then there really isn’t any competition. The SKYMEE Owl Robot is in a class of its own.

Best For Pet POV: GoPro Fetch Dog Harness

Dog’s Eye View. GoPro

Why It Made The Cut: The Fetch Dog Harness allows you to send a GoPro camera pet camera with your dog, wherever it wanders.  

Specs:
— Dimensions: 8.2 inches L x 3.5 inches W x 7.1 inches H
— Recording Method: GoPro attaches (sold separately)
— Voice Control: N/A

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Pros:
— Attach your GoPro+ to one of two mounts so that you can record your dogs perspective
— Adjustable for small and large dogs
— Washable and rugged

Cons: 
— The straps might not hold firm on all dogs

How would you like to see the world through your dog’s eyes? The GoPro Fetch Dog Harness allows you to mount a GoPro camera onto your dog’s back or chest, so that you can get a pup’s eye view of the action. The harness has a rugged construction that will stand up to water and baths in the creek, while fitting comfortably and snugly on your dog. It’s one size fits all and claims to fit dogs from 15 to 120 pounds. However, some folks with more extreme sized dogs complain that the straps don’t fit snugly. 

Recording capabilities depend on what your model of GoPro can do. With the GoPro+, which is capable of streaming over Wi-Fi, the more tech-savvy among us can rig their pup with a walking livestream. While a GoPro saddled to your dog’s back won’t replace a dedicated pet camera designed to interact with them, it does open up some interesting possibilities for monitoring your pet’s activities, and potentially could make Bill Morrisons out of us all.

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Best Splurge: Blink Indoor 5 Camera Kit

Pet Network. Blink

Why It Made The Cut: Blink offers a reliable home camera network with a decently priced subscription plan and all the features you need, like pet detection, 2 way audio, app control, night vision, and excellent battery life.

Specs:
— Dimensions: 1.2 inches L x 2.8 inches W x 2.8 inches H
— Recording Method: 60 day unlimited video history with subscription
— Voice Control: Alexa compatible

Pros:
— Watch and talk to your pets in any room of the house from your devices
— Customizable smart alerts
— Motion activated notifications and live stream viewing without subscription
— Affordable subscription plan

Cons: 
— No treats, lasers, or pet-specific features

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If you want to keep an eye on your canine throughout the house, the Blink Indoor 5 Camera Kit is a whole-home security camera suite that will keep you in contact with your fuzzy friends no matter what room they’re in. The Blink network can also include outdoor cameras, so you can watch your pets if they head out into the garden. 

These motion-activated cameras will update you when they see pet activity and allow you to watch, even without a subscription. However, it’s with the reasonably priced subscription (a little less than the Google Nest Cam’s) that this fleet of cameras really stands out. The subscription ensures you’ve got 60 days of unlimited video history, as well as motion-detection recording, live recording, and an extended warranty. So you can talk to your pets in any room, record them as they chase squirrels in the backyard, and protect your home while you’re at it.

If you’re ready to rig all parts of your home with cameras, then Blink is a great ecosystem to choose. An Amazon company, Blink is fully compatible with Alexa. So you can use it in tandem with a smart pet feeder like the PetSafe Smart Feed, to give your pet a treat when you see that they need one.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Pet Cameras

A little advance knowledge of the market and taking stock of your unique situation goes a long way toward a sound investment.

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Purpose

If you’re primarily buying a pet camera to observe and record your dog or cat when you’re away from home, a home-security camera or Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor might be sufficient. For example, if your older dog has some pain issues and you want to see if medication or physical therapy is giving them more mobility, a camera near their bed might just do the trick. Check with your vet for recommendations on what kinds of behavior to monitor, and to see if they think your pet can benefit from extra features that allow real-time interactions during periods of separation.

Pet Personality

When choosing an interactive camera, assess your pet’s personality first. Robotic pet cameras can be maneuvered remotely for playtime but can terrorize a skittish cat. Some pets just don’t respond to human voices and faces through a screen (unless you’re presenting online to your colleagues). Cameras with built-in treat dispensers are an excellent way to lure shy pets from hiding so you can say hello, but aren’t a good choice for conniving canines who go into destructo-mode to get their treats ahead of schedule.

Security

Pet cameras observe more than just your photogenic pup or kitty. Keep in mind that everything in the camera’s field of vision is being recorded, and two-way audio can capture a wide range of sound. Check company privacy policies against your comfort level with potential access of employees to footage. And, don’t be a jerk and forget to disclose cameras to guests and home professionals, lest you end up with this naked dog-sitter conundrum.

Safety

Laser pointers should never be aimed at your pet’s eyes, so you’ll want to ensure you can carefully control this feature if it comes with the model you select. Another question worth asking your vet is whether treat-dispensing cameras could pose a choking hazard to over-eager or aging pets.

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FAQs

Q: How much does a pet camera cost?
Pet cameras cost anywhere from around $50 (like the Conico pet camera, Tooge pet camera, and the Petcube Cam) to nearly $400 (like the PetChatz pet treat camera). On the low end of this price scale, you may get cheaper materials, a smaller field of view, and less features. Keep in mind that this is the price for an individual camera. If you want to monitor multiple places within your home (or multiple pets), be sure to consider the cost of additional cameras in your overall budget.

Q: Are pet cameras worth it?
Pet cameras are worth it for some pet parents. For a relatively small cost, you can have the peace of mind of observing your pet in real time, as long as they are within the field of view or respond to voice commands to come say hello. For other pet parents with extra-shy feline or canine friends, questions of privacy, security, and cost may outweigh their pets’ occasional appearance on screen.

Q: What does a pet camera do?
Pet cameras do a number of different things, depending on the model. Their number one purpose is to provide a way for pet parents to remotely observe pet behavior in real time over an internet connection. Beyond this basic function, pet cameras can feature built-in toys, treat dispensers, and two-way audio systems so that you can interact directly with your pet.

Q: Can people hack pet cameras?
People can hack pet cameras just like other home security cameras connected to the internet. Purchasing from a reputable company can help ensure you’ll be notified if a company data breach leaves your username and password vulnerable, and following best online security practices like creating strong passwords and changing them frequently can help protect you. Try not to forget that the camera is there, because if the camera is recording, you’re being recorded whether you remember or not.

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Q: Should I talk to my cat through the camera?
Whether or not you should talk to your cat through a pet camera depends on if the camera has two-way audio, and on your cat’s personality. Ambivalence, disdain, and existential terror are all possible outcomes when Walter hears your mellifluous tones through the device’s speaker. So is purring and camera head-butting, if you’re lucky. You can always try. Or get a dog.

Final Thoughts on the Best Pet Cameras

The relatively high price of the Petcube Bites 2 coupled with an ongoing monthly subscription charge to access all the features would seem to indicate it should be our pick for best splurge, but we also think it is the best overall choice for many pet parents. If you want to leverage the latest in smart surveillance technology to check in on your pet, we believe there’s nothing wrong with spending more for a specialized product — especially a product built with the understanding that sometimes checking on our pet is just an excuse to take a moment for ourselves to delight in a unique bond with an animal who loves us unconditionally (more or less, if a cat). No camera should ever be used as a replacement for in-person interaction and care. But a camera can ease you through the long minutes until you reunite.

Related: Win big with the best gifts for gamers.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post. 

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