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The best pet cameras of 2022: Keep an eye on your pet
Ever wonder what adventures your pets get up to while you’re away from home? Well, working from home during the pandemic may have given you a good idea. You can get a permanent glimpse into their secret world, however, with a pet camera. These smart home gadgets are great for checking in on your fluffy friends during long office days and making sure they’re alright.
Picking the right pet camera can be a daunting task. There are many models on the market — basic security units, cameras with night vision, and even ones that dispense treats. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the best pet cameras you can buy. Let’s get into it!
Why you should get a pet camera
First things first — if you’ve been considering getting a pet camera but you’re not sure how useful one could be, there are five reasons you might buy one:
- Pet cameras can put your mind at ease, especially when your cat or dog is young and you might both feel a bit of separation anxiety.
- You often need to work overtime, or you spend long days at the office and simply miss your pet.
- For interacting with your pets and keeping them engaged during the day.
- For keeping your pet safe — many pet cams offer bark and/or smart alerts.
- Last but not least: you need a pet camera for cute videos of your four-legged friends’ shenanigans.
Assuming you’re persuaded, now’s the time to go through your options. We’ll have a look at both budget selections and feature-packed interactive pet cameras.
Best pet cameras:
Editor’s note: We’ll update this list regularly as new and innovative pet cameras launch.
1. Petcube Play 2
- Price: $229
- Pros: Night vision, two-way audio, laser pointer, built-in Alexa
- Cons: Smart alerts require an additional subscription, doesn’t dispense treats, does not rotate
The original Petcube Play was one of the best pet cameras on the market, and the same goes for its successor — the Petcube Play 2. Small and discreet, this interactive Wi-Fi camera can easily be placed anywhere in your home.
It offers 1080p video and night vision, but now the camera has a much wider 180-degree view, as well as 4x digital zoom compared to the 3x of its predecessor. Two-way audio is also on board with major improvements. The Petcube Play 2 has a full-duplex sound system with a four-microphone array.
The best feature is undoubtedly its toy laser. It comes with automatic and manual modes, the latter enabling control from a companion smartphone app. All you need to do is move your finger on the screen.
With two-way audio you can talk and listen to your pets.
You can keep tabs on your pets 24/7 thanks to smart alerts. The Petcube Play 2 recognizes meowing and barking, so you won’t receive notifications if your neighbors are being loud. However, to have access to smart alerts as well as video history storage, you’ll need to purchase an annual or monthly Petcube Care Plan. The annual option will set you back a little under $50.
A recent addition to the Petcube is Amazon Alexa. The pet camera pretty much doubles as a smart speaker. You can ask the Petcube Play 2 to read stories to your dog, say, or play soothing music for your cat. There are probably more practical uses.
The only real downside to the Petcube Play 2 is that it doesn’t dispense treats. Otherwise, it’s pretty solid.
2. Petcube Bites 2
- Price: $249
- Pros: Dispenses treats, 1080p video, night vision, Alexa built-in, wall-mountable
- Cons: One-way audio, does not rotate, expensive
While the Petcube Play 2 is a great pet camera, it does lack one key feature: the ability to dispense treats. Enter the Petcube Bites 2, which takes away the laser pointer but adds in a treat dispenser.
Just like the Play 2, you can use Alexa or the Petcube smartphone app to control the Bites 2. In this case you can use it to “throw” treats to your pet whenever you like, or simply check on them with 1080p video. You’ll need to pay the subscription fee to save recordings to the cloud and such.
The Petcube Bites 2 exchanges a laser pointer for the ability to toss treats.
If you’re concerned about your pet getting excessively large (or small) treats, Petcube has you covered: the Bites 2 comes with various attachments that work with different treat sizes. You’ll need to experiment a bit to find the one that works best.
Unfortunately, the Petcube Bites 2 isn’t cheap. However, if you’re looking for the best all-around pet camera for your dog or cat, this is probably it.
3. Furbo Dog Camera
- Price: $169
- Pros: Night vision, two-way audio, barking alerts
- Cons: Not great for cats, pricey, cloud recording and smart alerts require a subscription, does not rotate
Similarly to the Bites 2, the Furbo Dog Camera offers 1080p video with a 160-degree wide-angle view and 4x digital zoom. Night vision and two-way audio are onboard, as is treat tossing. There’s even both Alexa support and a companion app, including support for tossing routines that feed your pet treats every hour.
Related: The best dog apps for Android
Of course, as the name of the Furbo implies, it’s not the best choice for cats. They might get startled by flying treats, and if you leave the Furbo on a table or shelf, it might not stay there for long.
The dog-focused features are great, however! One is bark alerts, which will send a push notification to your phone when your dog is noisy. Smart Alerts and Doggie Diary features, as well as cloud recording, require a subscription to Furbo’s Dog Nanny service, which costs $7 per month. There is a 30-day free trial, but this can be a major downside for some owners since the Dog Camera is already on the pricier end. Nevertheless, the extra cost could be worth the peace of mind.
4. WOpet Smart Pet Camera
- Price: $159.99
- Pros: Wireless treat feeding, remote voice control, and recording
- Cons: Small treats dispense slowly and sometimes not accurately
The WOpet Smart Pet Camera offers 1080p streaming with a 123-degree lens, 4x digital zoom, and two-way audio. Like the Petcube Bites 2, it’s a treat dispenser for both cats and dogs. If your cat’s gymnastics are very impressive, you’ll be happy to know that you can capture photos and videos directly from the live stream.
For those worried that their pet might get startled or confused when a voice suddenly comes through the camera, you can set up a special ringtone, and train your pet to recognize it and pay attention before you’re about to call. The WOpet camera will play the same tone when it dispenses a treat.
5. Yi Dome
- Price: $39.99
- Pros: Includes microSD slot, rotates and pans, night vision, two-way audio, cheap
- Cons: No special pet features such as dispensing treats
Although not designed specifically as a pet cam, the Yi Dome offers some features that will help you keep both your home and your pets safe.
This camera has a 112-degree lens that captures 1080p videos, including night vision. But unlike most pet cams, it has full 360-degree coverage, thanks to its 345-degree horizontal and 115-degree vertical rotation. It also has a microSD slot for storing videos locally.
You don't need to spend a fortune for a good pet camera.
The Yi Dome is incredibly easy to set up. It can be controlled via a dedicated app that gives you plenty of options. You can set it to auto-cruise so it scans the whole room on the regular, or you can make it record when motion is detected and even set it to follow motions.
What makes it a good replacement for a more expensive dedicated pet cam? It has two-way audio, so you can still talk to your pets and keep them calm if needed. It’s small and light and can be mounted. Thanks to its rotation, you can put it high out of the reach of even the tallest dogs and the most curious cats without losing visibility. It might not have fancy bells and whistles, but it gets the job done while being very affordable.
6. DIY pet camera
If you can’t afford to spend much but you have an old phone or tablet lying around, you can “make” your own pet camera thanks to the Dog Monitor app. Available for both iOS and Android, this app lets one device act as a camera (or pet station) and one as a monitor (or person station). All you need to do is download the app on both devices, pair them, and find a good spot for your pet station. The app is pretty self-explanatory — you just need to follow the onscreen instructions.
Like a regular pet cam, Dog Monitor allows you to watch your pet from your smartphone wherever you are, talk to them, or issue pre-recorded commands such as “Sit!”, “Quiet!”, etc. The app even offers cross-platform compatibility, but if you’re using an iPad and an Android phone, for example, you will need to purchase it on both platforms. The good news is that there are no subscription fees — just a one-time payment of $5.99 ($4.99 on iOS). It’s a great budget option, especially for dog owners.
Keep in mind that your pet station device will need to stay on most of the time, so make sure to turn down its brightness to prevent screen burn-in, and make sure it’s plugged in.
These are our picks for the best pet cameras. We’ll add more options to the list once they launch.
Read next: The best pet apps for Android