The Best Dog Cameras and Monitors (Review) in 2020
If you suffer from separation anxiety when forced to spend eight hours of your working day away from your beloved fur baby, then a dog video camera could be the solution. (N.B. it also helps if your dog is the one who gets anxious too!)
So, what exactly is this genius device? Well, dog cameras vary from standard home security cameras that provide you with a visual and audio feed of your dog, to specially-designed, interactive pet cameras, that allow you to see, speak to, play with and treat your dog, all remotely, from your mobile phone or computer screen.
Imagine how much more exciting your lunch break would be if you could check in on your favorite fur ball, watch him cock his little head as you tell him what a good boy he is and give him a treat? We know, you’re sold. Read on for our detailed buying guide to the best dog cameras available today, to help you make an informed decision about the best way to be there for your pup, even when you’re miles apart.
The Best Dog Cameras and Monitors
1080p camera with 160° view and night vision
2-way chat, activity and barking alerts
Treat tossing function allows you to play catch and dispense treats from your phone
Doggie Diary feature creates a 60 second highlight reel of your dog’s day
The Furbo Dog Camera is one smart dog camera; its 1080p camera with night vision and 160° view ensures you can always see your pup when you want to check on them, day or night. The barking alert feature picks up when your dog is speaking to you and sends an alert to your phone, whilst the 2-way audio means that, although your dog can’t see you, they will be able to hear your voice, allowing you to opportunity to comfort them. An easy 3-step set-up procedure involves plugging the camera in with its USB cord, downloading the app and connecting to the Wi-Fi, and you’re ready to go.
This futuristic pet camera can also hold up to 100 treats (round treats of 0.4 inches in diameter are recommended). You can then use the app to toss the treats into the air for your fur baby to catch – perfect if you just can’t wait until you get home to give your good boy a treat. With all these features for a pretty reasonable price tag, it’s no wonder this interactive pet camera was featured on The Ellen Show with Ellen DeGeneres!
720p camera with 111° view and night vision
Includes 4 cameras, for full coverage
2-way audio and up to 4x zoom
Motion detection and instant alert feature
Our next home surveillance camera includes four cameras for the price of one, so you can see what Fido is up to from every angle. You can even view the feeds from all four cameras on one screen on your computer, ensuring that there’s no chance of your beloved angel sneaking off and raiding the bin just out of sight!
The mains powered YI 4pc Home Camera uses Wi-Fi to offer you motion detection and two-way audio, so you can receive alerts when your dog is particularly active and use your voice to talk to and calm them down. The 720p camera has a 111° view with night vision and a 4x zoom, allowing you to spy on – er, we mean check on – your dog more effectively. There’s also the option to subscribe to the YI Cloud (for an additional cost), which offers unlimited storage space for your security footage, eliminating the need for Micro SD cards.
1080p camera with 138° view and night vision
2-way audio, sound and motion sensor
Fully customisable treat dispenser
Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Amazon Dash
The Petcube Bites Pet Camera is a hi-tech, interactive pet camera that allows you to dispense treats to your dog remotely. Premium dog treats are included, but it’s also compatible with a variety of brands, and you can vary the distance at which treats are thrown, offering more mental stimulation for your furry friend when you’re not home.
This Petcube pet monitor features a 1080p camera with 138° view, night vision and 3x zoom so you can keep a clear eye on your pup and give them praise – or a stern word! – via the 2-way audio. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa (you can ask Alexa to dispense and re-order treats for your dog), and it includes free cloud-based storage, to store the last four hours of video activity (more available for an additional cost).
Wide angle HD camera with night vision
2-way audio and photo snap feature
Treat dispenser, compatible with treats smaller than 1 inch
Includes mounting kit for wall mounting
Another dog camera that enables you to see, speak to and treat your pup from your phone is this Petzi Treat Cam. Compatible with dry treats of up to 1 inch, this interactive pet camera allows you to launch treats into your home using the iOS or Android compatible app.
A high-quality video feed with night vision gives you the ability to check up on your furry friend, and if they’re doing something particularly cute, the photo snap features means you can take a picture to capture the moment, or share to your social media (because who doesn’t love an adorable animal pic, right?)
1080p camera with 138° view and night vision
Remotely controlled laser toy
Compatible with Amazon Alexa
The second Petcube product on our list is this Petcube Play Interactive Wi-Fi Pet Camera. It features all the same great benefits as the Petcube Bites Pet Camera – including a high definition 1080p camera with night vision, 2-way audio, and a sound and motion sensor – but instead of a treat dispenser, this fun dog camera has a built-in laser toy! Sure to send Fido crazy, the laser can be controlled remotely from your phone, giving you and your furry friend hours of enjoyment – or set it to auto-mode so your pup can still have fun and get some exercise, even when you’re not able to tune in.
This Petcube pet monitor is compatible with Amazon Alexa, and also comes highly recommended, with lots of positive reviews and an appearance on The Ellen Show.
720p camera with 130° view
Built-in microphone, speaker, laser and treat dispenser
Connect up to 8 users simultaneously
Instant social sharing feature
Don’t want to choose between a treat dispenser and laser toy function in your dog camera? (After all, your fur baby deserves it all!) Consider the Pawbo Life Wi-Fi Pet Camera, which has both – allowing you full interaction with your pup and providing hours of fun for you both.
Seen Fido do something so adorable on camera that you just have to share it with the world? Not a problem with the Pawbo Life’s instant social share feature. Need to record a cute yawn to show your partner later? Use the record function. Want to share the enjoyment of watching your pup’s antics live with your family and friends? No problem – you can connect up to eight users, so everyone can laugh at your dog sneezing himself awake for the tenth time today. The wonders of modern technology, eh?
Best Dog Camera Buying Guide & FAQ
Still feeling overwhelmed by the amount of ways to check in with your precious pooch throughout the day? Hopefully our buying guide and FAQ will help clear up that camera confusion.
Features to Look for in a Dog Camera
- Visual specification
This first consideration is the most important – after all, the main purpose of a dog camera is to see your pup’s smiling face – so make sure you choose a high quality HD camera, possibly with the ability to zoom if the camera will be in a large room. If you’ll be using the camera to check on your pup at night (assuming you don’t want to leave all your house lights on), you’ll want a camera with decent night vision. Another important consideration is whether you want a two-way video so your dog will be able to see you too. This is a fairly advanced feature, and most of the more affordable dog cameras on the market do not yet have it, but for those able to spend the extra, it’s a lovely addition – try the PetChatz HD Digital Daycare, if you want your pup to be able to see what you’re up to too.
- Audio specification
As above, the audio specification of your dog camera is an important thing to look out for. You’ll want to make sure to choose a camera with two-way audio (most cameras have this) so you can hear when your pup is barking, and be able to soothe them with your voice. Check reviews to see how existing customers rate the sound quality of each potential camera.
- What entertainment does it offer your dog?
Consider whether the dog camera offers Fido additional mental and physical stimulation. Does it dispense dog treats / emit smells / play laser games? Can these functions be automated, so your pooch can enjoy them even when you’re not able to tune in? Bear in mind that you will only get these features with an interactive pet camera, not a home security camera.
- What other additional features are there?
There are other ways in which your dog camera can help you. For example, our top pick, the Furbo Dog Camera, has a barking alert feature that will send you a message when your pup is being noisy – this could be a lifesaver if you’re trying to build a better relationship with your neighbors! It also has a Dog Selfie and a Doggy Diary feature, which are nice extra touches for you as a proud puppy parent.
- What sort of photo taking/sharing/recording ability does it have?
It goes without saying that your dog camera will observe some pretty adorable behavior from your dog – after all, your dog is adorable even when he’s not doing anything – and you’re bound to want to record, store and share this cuteness. Consider whether your camera needs a memory card to record, or is there cloud-based storage? If so, is this cloud storage free, or is there an additional cost? Some cameras also come with the ability to take photos and share them instantly to social media, whilst others allow multiple users, meaning the whole family can tune in live to the pup show.
- Power, connectivity, and mounting
Most dog cameras need to be plugged into mains power and connected to your Wi-Fi. Many also require downloading an app to an iOS or Android operating system, and some are compatible with Amazon Alexa, so consider all this and select a dog camera that works with your current home tech. Depending on where you want to install your pet surveillance camera, you might want to choose a freestanding or wall-mounted unit.
Why You Should Use a Pet Monitor
- Reduce separation anxiety
If your furry friend gets anxious when you’re not around, checking in on them regularly throughout the day can be a great way to comfort them and reduce their distress. As well as improving your dog’s mental wellbeing, this can also be useful if your dog acts out and say, chews the furniture when he’s stressed.
- Mental and physical stimulation
Following on from the above, even if your dog isn’t particularly anxious, if you’re at work or out for hours at a time, your pup is missing out on the mental and physical stimulation of your company. Many dog cameras include games and treat dispensing features that can provide entertainment for your dog, even when you’re not able to be there.
- Know when they’re barking
Some dog video cameras have bark alerts which will let you know when your pup is using their voice and give you the opportunity to tune in and soothe them into silence – all of which can do wonders for neighbor relations!
- Check they’re ok
This one’s a bit more serious, but it’s an important consideration – if something bad happened, maybe if there was a fire, or if your dog somehow got into a cupboard and devoured a family sized bar of poisonous chocolate, you’d be able to see this on the camera and do something about it. Several reviewers of the dog cameras listed here claim that the camera in some way saved their fur baby’s life. Additionally, it may help you to diagnose an illness in your pup, as you’ll be able to see how they behave throughout the day – for example, if they’re sleeping too much or not drinking water.
- Dispense treats
A dog camera with the ability to dispense treats will make you and your dog happy, especially if you’re out for the day and breakfast was a long time ago. If possible, Fido might love you even more after this!
- Give your day a little lift
Aside from the numerous benefits to your dog of having you virtually "pop in" to check on them, pet cameras are very beneficial to you as a dog owner too. You’re a parent who loves their fur baby and hates being apart from them. Being around your pup makes you happy and offers you comfort when stressed – and now you can tap into that feeling, wherever you are.
Security Camera vs. Pet Camera
When deciding between a home security camera or a pet camera, you should consider that security cameras are perfectly fine for monitoring your dog, but lack the additional features of a specialized pet camera, such as treat dispensing, built-in laser toys and barking alerts. Security cameras are usually wall-mounted, whilst pet cameras are more often freestanding or intended to be eye-level for your dog. A security camera can often be the cheaper option, but an interactive pet camera offers a lot more opportunity for mental and physical stimulation for your pup, and usually more helpful features for you as an owner.
Our Top Pick
Our pick of the best dog cameras is the Furbo Dog Camera. It’s high-spec, with all the essential features such as 2-way audio and night vision, but also a host of additional smart features, such as barking alerts and a 60-second highlight reel of your dog’s day. Most importantly, it allows you to dispense your dog their favorite treats throughout the day, so it’s possible they’ll love you even more. And if it’s good enough for Ellen, it’s good enough for us!
Q: Where in my house should I set up my dog camera?
You should set your dog camera up in the room most frequented by your dog when you’re not home, or in the room in which they require the most supervision – such as the living room, with all those chewable soft furnishings! Depending on which dog camera you are using, it may be freestanding, or it may require mounting to a wall. Bear in mind that if your dog camera has dual vision, it will need to be in a place where your dog can see the screen. Most dog cameras will come with recommendations for positioning, and always make sure to test out the position (for visual, sound and treat dispensing features), before making any permanent changes to your home.
Q: How do I install my dog camera?
This really depends on the dog camera you’ve chosen. Many, including our top pick, the Furbo Dog Camera, are as simple to set-up as plugging it in, downloading the app and connecting it to your Wi-Fi. Others may require a little more set-up, although for most the basic principles of connecting to a power source and Wi-Fi apply. Always make sure to follow the instructions, as improper set-up can prevent your dog camera from functioning correctly – which will be very frustrating for both you and Fido when he tries to call.
Q: Do dog cameras need batteries?
Again, this does depend on the individual dog camera you have chosen, however, most dog cameras are mains powered, and do not require batteries (none of those in our top 10 require batteries). The majority of pet cameras need to be connected to Wi-Fi to work, so bear that in mind if you live off-the-grid. Depending on your model, you may need a Micro SD card to record footage of your pup, or it may come with included or additional cloud storage.
Q: Can I use the camera outdoors?
Generally speaking, dog cameras are designed to be used indoors - none of the cameras featured here are suitable for outdoor use. They also need to be plugged into the mains and connected to your Wi-Fi. If you need a dog camera outside, you should be able to find a home security camera that is designed for outdoor use – always check the manufacturer’s specification before purchasing.