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You may not be home with your pet all day, every day, but a pet camera can help you to keep up with your furry friend even when you're gone. Unlike home security cameras or webcams, pet cameras include features that make them a fun, interactive way to check in on your dog or cat.
When shopping for a pet camera, you'll quickly learn that the features and functions go beyond giving you a quick video feed of your dog sleeping or playing. You can choose a pet camera based on features such as treat dispensing, one-way or two-way audio, motion notifications and video recording, or the option to remotely play a game with a pet-safe laser. If you're a fan of technical equipment, then more advanced options exist to give you the ideal pet camera configuration. But users interested in more basic set-ups will appreciate the many models that require minimal set-up after plugging the device in and connecting it to your home's Wi-Fi network. There are budget-friendly camera options or more spendy versions that will give you even greater flexibility on how to interact with your pet.
Here, the best pet cameras to keep an eye on your four-legged friend while you're away.
Best Overall: Pawbo Life Pet Camera: WiFi HD Video with 2-Way Audio, Treat Dispenser and Laser Game
The Pawbo Life Wi-Fi Pet Camera does it all: streams video, supports audio, dispenses treats, plays laser tag and even controls other Pawbo accessories. This pet camera’s diverse functionality and reasonable price make it one of the best products on the market today.
First and foremost, the Pawbo Life Camera lets you watch real-time 720-pixel HD video from your phone, zooming in as much as 4x. You can also record videos and take pictures that will be stored on your phone. The camera’s two-way talk feature lets you cheer up a lonely pet, and it even plays a ringtone to get your dog or cat’s attention.
When it comes to playtime, the Pawbo Life gives you options. You can control a built-in laser from the camera’s app, or put it on automatic to keep your pets entertained. Plus, the Pawbo Life has a treat dispenser—a popular pet camera feature—letting you reward or comfort your animals even when you’re not home.
Finally, the Pawbo Life can support up to eight users, so your whole family can check in on their furry friends throughout the day. This pet camera has an impressive array of features, all for a decent price, making it a great investment for concerned pet parents.
Best Splurge: Petcube Bites 2 Wi-Fi Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser
For all the best features pet cameras have to offer, you need the Petcube Bites 2. This high-definition camera offers both live and recorded video, as well as two-way audio and a treat tosser. It’s basically like having a dog sitter—but it doesn’t come cheap.
The Petcube Bites 2 records 1080-pixel video with its 160-degree wide-angle camera. You can view a live video feed through its app, or you can opt into a subscription that lets you record footage 24/7. Additionally, this camera works at night, so you can check on your sleeping critters without disturbing them.
The Petcube Bites 2 doesn’t just dispense treats, either—it flings them! The device can hold up to 100 small, round treats, and on command, it will toss the treats to your pet, up to six feet in the air. It’s great for getting lazy animals up off the couch, and you can even give family members access to the camera so they can play, too.
Finally, this camera boasts an easy setup process, two-way audio and sound-detection alerts. The Petcube Bites is everything you need to check in on your pets, making it a great pet camera if your budget is flexible.
Best Design: PetCube Play 2
The Petcube Play 2’s diverse functionality, sleek design and night vision make it one of most popular pet cameras available. In addition to capturing high-definition video, this compact modern cube includes two-way audio, sound detection alerts and even a pet-safe toy laser.
Even if you’re not necessarily tech-savvy, the Petcube Play 2 is easy to set up. All you have to do is plug in the camera and connect it to your Wi-Fi, then you’re ready to go. The Petcube captures 1080-pixel video, even at night, and boasts a wide-angle view that will let you see more of the room. You can also use the camera’s 4x zoom to take a closer look at what your pet is doing. While most pet parents typically use the Petcube to watch real-time video of their animals, you can also subscribe to the manufacturer’s cloud storage option, which lets you record and review up to 30 days of footage.
If your dog or cat likes to chase laser points, you can use the Petcube to play a game of tag. Simply swipe your finger across the screen of the Petcube app to control its built-in laser, and watch as your four-legged friend darts after the red dot. It’s a fun break for both of you when you’re stuck at work.
Runner Up, Best Overall: Petzi Treat Cam
If you’re looking for a pet camera that lets you talk to your pets and even give them a treat, the Petzi Treat Cam may be the right product for you. This moderately priced camera supports real-time video streaming, and it can also be used to take pictures. Plus, the Petzi Cam can be loaded up with small treats, letting you give your fur babies a midday snack with the touch of an app.
The Petzi Treat Cam is designed to be mounted on the wall so you can get a good view of your pet. While you can view live video and talk to your pet through one-way audio, this camera doesn’t have a recording option, so it’s not the best for monitoring mischievous pets.
One of this product’s best features is the treat dispenser—it’s sure to be a hit with just about any animal! It’s important to use the right size treats in the device, however, or the snacks may get stuck. Overall, the Petzi Treat Cam is a solid investment if you simply want to greet and treat your pets when you’re out of the house.
Best Budget: Zmodo EZCam
The Mood EZCam is the perfect inexpensive, no-frills security camera to monitor your pet. It gives you access to 24/7 live video, including motion detection alerts, so you’ll never have to wonder what your furry friends are up to.
In addition to 720-pixel real-time video, the Mood EZCam records clips triggered by motion alerts. This footage is stored on the Zmodo Cloud for 36 hours for free, but you can also purchase an additional subscription to enable continuous recording. The camera even has infrared night vision, allowing it to see up to 26 feet at night.
In addition to its video capabilities, the Mood EZCam has two-way audio, so you can call your pet over or hear them barking. Plus, the speaker is designed to filter out background noise, so you’ll be able to communicate clearly with your animals. These features make the EZCam a solid option if you want a budget camera to keep an eye on your pet.
Best for 360-Degree Monitoring: YI Dome Camera
Many pet cameras have wide-angle lenses, but if you want true 360-degree views, you need the YI Dome Camera. In addition to a wide-angle lens, this camera lets you see what’s going on in the whole room—there’s nowhere for naughty pets to hide!
The YI Dome Camera streams 1080-pixel video, even at night, and you can record footage on a Micro SD Card (not included). You can use its app to set up “favorite” positions and then return to them with the tap of a button, making it easy to check different parts of the room. The YI Dome Camera can also send you activity alerts, capturing 10-second clips of the event.
Additionally, the YI Dome Camera has two-way audio capabilities, so you can scold or praise your pets, no matter where you are. Bottom line? If you want to keep an eye on your whole home, this is the camera for you.
Best Two-Way Video: PetChatz 2-Way Audio & Video Pet Treat Camera
If you’ve ever wanted to video chat with your pets, this is the camera for you. The PetChatz HDX Pet Camera enables two-way video, letting you and your fur baby see each other, no matter how far apart you are. However, since this camera is one-of-a-kind and packed with high-tech functionality, it’s also one of the most expensive options.
The PetChatz Camera mounts to your wall with no wires, so it’s completely safe for your animals. When you want to see your furry friend’s face, just initiate a video call from your phone or web browser—you can even dispense a treat if you need to get their attention. You can record particularly cute exchanges to share on social media, and the PetChatz Camera can even release a calming scent if your pet seems anxious or upset.
This pet camera is an expensive option for monitoring animals, but it could be a solid investment if your pet has separation anxiety and is comforted by seeing your face.
The Pawbo Life Wi-Fi Pet Camera is our top recommendation for a pet camera. It offers pet parents a wide range of ways to check on their pets, including video streaming and audio support. Plus, you can give your pet treats on-demand or play a quick game of laser tag. It's affordable and easy to use, too. But if you're on a tight budget, a good option is the ZModo EZCam (view at Amazon). You can view real-time video footage of your pet or see up to 36 hours of footage in the cloud. This is a camera-only option that doesn't dispense treats or play games, but it does support two-way audio so you can speak to and hear your pet.
We bought two top-rated pet cameras and had our reviewer test them daily for a week. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these pet cameras, from their features to their price. We've outlined the major points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Features If your main objective is just to peek at your pet occasionally when you’re away, then a no-frills camera may be fine for your needs. If, however, you want to interact with your pet and capture videos and pictures of them for sentimental keepsakes, then there are more sophisticated models to consider. Some even have features to let you play with your pets virtually when you’re away.
Ease of use Some pet cameras can get mighty technical, which is great if you’re tech savvy. If you’re not, that’s okay. There are plenty of plug-and-play models that will still let you keep an eye on your pets without much work on your part.
Price Just how much of an investment do you want to make in monitoring your pet? Pet cameras vary widely in price. Your budget and personal preferences will determine how much you should spend.
Do pet cameras help with separation anxiety?
It's unlikely that a pet camera will help to remedy separation anxiety, but it can help you to more accurately understand your pet's habits and behaviors when you are not home. With the ability to see and hear your dog (or cat), you'll have more information to determine if it is exhibiting the symptoms of separation anxiety. Then, you can develop a training plan to help your dog overcome it. The camera can even help you to monitor your pet during training sessions for the condition.
How do you train your pet to react to a pet camera?
Your pet will need to get used to the look, sound, and functions of the pet camera in order to react positively to it. Start by putting the camera in your pet's surroundings so that they can become familiar with the sight of it. Next, you can plug it in and explore its features with your pet. For example, for treat-dispensing pet cameras, have your pet sit with you and dispense a treat. Encourage your pet to go and get the treat and offer praise. Once your pet associates the camera with good things, it will be much more comfortable with its functions.
If you can speak to your pet through the camera, help your pet learn to associate the camera with your voice by speaking through the device while you are in the same room. Dispense a treat if your pet gives the camera its attention while you are speaking. Next, move to another room in the house and repeat the exercise.