Pet cameras have gone mainstream in the last few years and where previously, the market was dominated by small independent electronics companies and kick starters, the big guns have now arrived – many of which are dominant in the home security or connected technology sectors (that’s everything from autonomous cars to your voice activated home help!).
Put simply, a pet cam a domestic aide – your eyes – and sometimes your ears – and increasingly your treat dispenser! CCTV right in your living room.
Facilitated specifically by the reduced cost of digital cameras and recording equipment, anyone who can operate a smart phone can now install a state-of-the-art digital monitoring system in their own home – and whilst intruders can work around all but the most robust of these systems, your bin-diving, postman-munching, sofa-hog is not likely to be quite so savvy.
So why the surge in popularity of home monitoring Pet-Cams?
The rise in demand for these products has largely come as we’ve spent more time away from our homes – as work life balance goes out of the window, so does 9-5 Monday to Friday – leaving pet parents feeling guilty and anxious about their pet’s welfare.
Installing ‘Big Brother’ in your home to monitor (dare we say, stalk) your best friend whilst you are away from the home has become a common method of alleviating some of that stress allowing you to be safe in the knowledge that nothing untoward is occurring to the living room sofa!
Here we’ll look at how pet cameras can be useful to you for monitoring your fur-baby when you’re out and show you three of the best on the market for every budget. First, let’s look at why a pet cam might be useful in your home.
Why pet cams are useful
Here are some of the reasons why one would consider a pet camera.
If you’re as hooked on doggy docu-series like The Vet Life and YouTube training masters, Zak George or Stonnie Dennis, you might have seen professional animal trainers and behaviourists utilising pet cameras to gain an insight into the mind of a pet with a behavioural issue – separation anxiety and destructive behaviour caught on camera can be managed far better if the trainer can see the triggers first-hand.
What happened here Fido?
Uncovering mysterious happenings in the home are a common motivation for pet owners to invest in a pet camera – particularly in houses with several animals, each of whom could be the source of scurrilous antics! Who stole to cheese/ate the cushions/peed on the carpet? All questions that can be irrefutably answered for the cost of a simple home pet camera system.
New parents install elaborate and costly baby monitoring systems into their homes that showcase many of the same features of the pet cameras we’ve been looking at. Whist these are designed to alert parents to a child in discomfort; needing changing or feeding – our pet cameras are designed for something different.
Much as we would like to, we can’t take our pets everywhere we go, so these devices are designed largely to make us feel less horrible about leaving them. Most pets will have access to water and a comfortable bed and are likely more than content to sleep whilst you go to work or to your yoga class.
However, being able to assure yourself that they are not pining and miserable (and maybe howling for your return) is almost priceless and allows pet owner to go about their ‘normal’ lives without this anxiety playing on their minds.
Just don’t let a pet camera take over your life!
You think we’re joking? Any 5 star kennel or cattery will, amongst gourmet menus and daily hydrotherapy sessions for your pampered pooch, offer a 24/7 Dog-stream or Cat-cam – A live feed from their quarters/ luxury pet-partment that you can access freely to see what Tiddles and Rover are getting up to whilst you’re on a conference call with Japan or on honeymoon in Vegas.
This is often the first exposure a pet parent has to this type of window into our pets life and it’s exciting to see what they get up to in our absence. But proceed with caution. As addictive as your smart phone is, it has nothing on pet-cam where you can lose hours watching your Pursian puss snooze whilst you’re supposed to be on holiday, admiring the engineering marvels of the Eiffel Tower.
However, there’s so much tech stuffed onside these magic boxes that you can even set notifications that will only alert you if you pet barks, takes a drink or moves more gingerly than normal… this is modern pet ownership!
So many functions!
This technology really has gone bonkers and it’s all our fault. There is no limit to the investment we will make in our pets – anything we can do to improve their quality of life (or so we think!), we will. No longer are these monitoring devises just a live video into our pets day-to-day, some of the latest innovations that feature on our pet cams are automatic treat dispensers; two-way audio so you can chat with your pet; and military specification night vision. Where they will go next, we can only imagine. Learn more about the features you ought to consider in our post below:
Your Pet Camera Options
So – now you know what is possible – let’s take a look at our three picks in the scrimp, save and splash categories.
Scrimp: Petzi Treat Cam
The wifi pet camera with treat dispenser is shaped like a soap dispenser. Use the onboard camera to check on your pets and the smart treat dispenser to interact and reward them. The built-in HD 720p video camera does not have the biggest field of vision, only 110-degree wide but is sufficient for most application. Paired with high quality audio output, you can speak to your pet remotely interact and offer them their favourite treat using the treat launcher. The camera also works at night using low light IR night vision. Use the companion Petzi app to control the pet camera and take photos to share on social media.
- built-in HD 720p video with 110 degree wide viewing angle with night vision IR camera
- built-in treat launcher to dispense treats to your dog
- high quality audio output top speak to your pet
- works with Amazon Dash Replenishment, automatically tracks the treat levels in real time and reorders when low
- wall mountable
Save: Pawbo Life Pet Camera
The Pawbo Life ups the ante somewhat with a treat dispenser. Yes, you read right. In a year this will be a standard feature on any pet camera but as yet, it’s only on the more sophisticated models. The Pawbo has all the expected bells and whistles but shines in the area of connectivity. You can control multiple cameras off the one base station and up to 8 users can log on to ‘A day in the life of Boris the wonder dog’ and… you can automatically share content from your pet’s day to their very own Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts. Perfect for the fluffy social media sensation in your family.
- 720p HD live video streaming, 130° wide-angle lens, 4x digital zoom
- Record and store videos on the mobile device
- 2-way audio with on-board speaker and microphone
- Laser game function to play and interact with your pet
- Treat dispenser to reward your pet with their favourite treat
- Social sharing of snaps via Pawbo Life app to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Up to 8 concurrent video stream to different users, app lets you view and control multiple cameras
- Buzz you pet with ringtone notifications to get your pet’s attention
- Pawbo Theme Park accessories available separately
Splash: Furbo Dog Camera
If aesthetic is important to you, Furbo is going to melt into your modern living environment without some much as a curious eye from visitors. Featuring the biggest currently available – a massive 160˚ wide-angle lens that you can position without fuss, is without doubt one of the most attractive features of this pet camera. Tizzy will find it impossible to hide from this all-seeing eye-in-the-sky and with all the expected features at this level – remote treat dispenser, day and night vision, social media connectivity – the cherry on the cake of the Furbo is that it is Alexa compatible as well.
Video resolution is higher than that on the Pawbo, as it captures video in Full HD or 1080p day and night (with night vision). It doesn’t stop there, the on board treat dispenser can toss treats manually or automatically and get this, you can use Alexa to ask Furbo to toss a treat every hour. How cool is that.
Furbo has its claim to fame when it was featured on The Ellen Show. At the time of writing, it is the best selling pet camera on Amazon.
Other features include barking alert, 2-way audio, real time notifications triggered by animal or human activity, event-based cloud recording and pet diary. The latter being a compilation of clips in a short 60 second video capturing the life of your pet showing only highlights. There is also a neat blue glow light from the base of the unit making it one of the coolest pet camera around.
- 1080p Full HD camera with night vision, 160° wide angle view and 4x digital zoom
- 2 way chat with built-in mic and speaker and barking alert with bark sensor
- Toss not just drop a treat with remotely, controlled via Furbo app for iOS or Android.
- Take photos or record video and share it on social media via Furbo app
- Sleek design with bamboo cover in natural finish
- Soft glow status indicator
Pet cameras are only going to get bigger
Once upon a time, Alexa was a novelty and most people had a dial to adjust their home heating system. Now our car seat pre-warm before we open the door, our fridge self-orders our essentials and in just a minute, our cars will drive themselves too.
With this in mind, monitoring our pets will be as normal as your activity monitor and your self-propelling vacuum cleaner.
There is no doubt that pet cameras will grow in popularity and the features will just get better and more integrated to our other devices over time. Who knows what is next for our pets – self-improvement and remotely delivered doggy yoga classes?