So for a bit of fun we thought we would share with you our best pet camera reviews. Before we do just a quick comment on the subject of pets in general as we know there are some people who, rightly or wrongly, are against pet ownership in general feeling it propagates a whole unethical industry from puppy farms through to the food that we feed our pets which tends to be very low grade.
Pet food is also estimated to be responsible for up to 25% of the environmental impact that meat production causes in terms of the use of land and water use, greenhouse gas emissions as well as phosphates and pesticides. These are issues for separate discussion and we advocate responsible pet ownership.
That is making sure you absolutely have enough time for your pet and understand what a commitment that he or she is and most importantly that you rescue rather than buy as this is the only way that we can eradicate the often very unethical rearing of animals for pets.
Why do we need a pet camera?
Ok, so on to our best pet camera reviews, why you may ask are we reviewing pet cameras? well for that I should hand you over to Nelo our 13 year old Labrador who just loves to eat everything that he finds. Unfortunately Nelo can’t talk so I guess we had better explain.
He had gone through a period of intermittently having a bad stomach, nothing had shown up at the vets and we are very careful when we walk him, however since our house move, for the first time in his life he is often alone for 2 or 3 hours at a time so we thought it would be a great idea to set a camera up to see what he got up to and maybe shed some light on his dodgy tummy.
As he is now older the results were of him mainly sleeping but there were a few interesting stories as well and we found out why he was having a bad tummy, but you’ll have to read our best pet camera reviews below to find out what.
There are of course more reasons than just the one that made us look at pet cameras. The RSPCA the largest pet charity in the UK recommends that dogs are ideally left for no longer than four hours alone. Of course a camera should not be used to replace human contact, but by watching them we can at least see how they settle and treat any separation issues they may have.
The RSPCA says it supports the use of cameras when owners have to be away from their pets for a short time. They say that “Knowing how our dogs behave when we’re not there can be really helpful, and if discover any issues we can take steps to resolve them.
Ok so being a bit geeky we read as many reviews as we could and narrowed down our search to no more than 6 or 7 cameras. We then went and annoyed shopkeepers for hours to test and find out the pros and cons of each. This was important to us as well as we wanted to physically see and feel each product. Ok, so we reviewed the cameras based on how easy there were to set up (important for us) combined with which gave the best level of communication and features
The Pawbo does everything that we were looking for in a pet camera and more. It streams video, supports audio and dispenses treats, The Pawbos good functionality combined with ease of set up, use and competitive pricing meant it was exactly what we were looking for.
With the Pawbo you can watch and record real-time 720-pixel HD video from your phone. The Pawbos two-way talk feature lets you communicate with your pet and there is even a built in customisable ringtone to grab your pets attention. The Pawbo also gives you the additional features of a built in laser and treat dispenser.
The laser can be controlled remotely or put on automatic and the treat dispenser of course allows you to give treats even when you’re not home, although we recommend you do check how and where they land once dispensed as ours came out rather quickly. Last but not least the Pawbo can support up to eight users at any one time so if you have a large family anyone of them can check to see what’s going on throughout the day.
Pros: East set up and use, very versatile, great features
Cons: Doesn’t have night vison capabilities which may be an issue for some
Small and stylish, the Furbo is designed specifically with dogs in mind. It has a 1080p camera with an impressive 160 degree field of view, although there’s only one forward-facing lens, so ideally it needs placing against a wall. The Furbo of course has a treat dispenser and can hold up to approx 100 treats depending on size,
A great feature on the Furbo is its night vision so you can still keep tabs on your pets after dark (watch them from your bed with the lights out!). It of course also has the standard and two-way audio as well for communication with your dog. Furbo also listens for barking and will alert you to any barking by your dog via a push notification, which is a cool feature.
Only two users can use the app which of course is sufficient for most and the video and picture quality is excellent. The Furbo also has a “Nanny Service”, which gives you even more features. It will give you activity and selfie alerts, which basically means it will let you know when your dog is looking at the camera and might want a treat. There’s also people alerts, so for example if you have friends that come to walk your dog you will know when they have arrived.
Pros: Stylish easy to use and had night vision
Cons; Only two users and one forward facing lens
The Petcube Bites was the largest camera that we tested, although it looks fairly neutral and modern with its brushed metal body. The camera is 1080p, and the quality of the feed is very excellent. Placement could be a bit of an issue because of the size and shape with the lens at the bottom of the unit so ideally we think it should wall-mounted, or you could well end up having a problem with objects obstructing the lens.
Audio quality was good and the two-way audio worked well. It makes short videos when sound or movement or are detected and even with the free version of the app you can get up to four hours of clips. A great feature is that you can also schedule times to give treats and also vary the distance the treat is dispensed. We really liked this unit but decided against it due to a combination of size and price
Pros: Easy to use full of features excellent quality
Cons: Big unit, ideally wall mounted, price
We looked at Clever Dog for one reason, its bargain price, and to see if you get what you pay for is really true! Well for sure clever dog immediately got a plus from us as it is compatible with Windows phones. You can chat to your pet through the two-way audio and it has night vision with a pretty good camera to take photos of them while you’re away.
It does look have the look and feel of a cheaper unit than the others I reviewed but not significantly so when considering the large price difference. Like its competitors it also sends alerts to your phone of any movement or noise and it also has the additional feature of night vision.
I thought this was very impressive for a unit at this price. It of course does not have the special features such as a treat dispenser but for someone who just wants the assurance of knowing what their dog is doing while they are out and the ability to communicate with them this unit is great value for money.
Pros: Cheap but does the basics well and more!
Cons; Not as pretty and doesn’t have the top end specialist features
Petzi Treat Cam
Next on our best pet camera reviews list is the Petzi Treat Cam. We were actually considering buying this cam and not the Pawbo as it was very simple to use and set up but decided not to as it doesn’t have a built in microphone meaning that while you can view live video and talk to your pet you can’t actually hear what is happening at home.
Also, the Petzi doesn’t have an option to record the video only take photos, so it’s not the best for monitoring your pet when you can’t watch the live stream. As per its name the Petzi of course does have a treat dispenser which in our test worked really well. It also features a wide-angle camera with night vision, and up to 720p video.
It comes with multiple mounting options that allow you to place it on the floor or secure it to a wall but again our preference would be wall mounted for security. A really good all-rounder just missing one or two top end features
Pros: Ease of set up and use and best treat dispenser we tested
Cons: Only one way audio and cannot record video
Pet Chatz HD
Ok so I will be honest and say that we weren’t able to physically test the Pet Chatz as one wasn’t available locally but I included on the list as it was recommended to us by a friend who has one and loves it. Having also read other independent reviews I believe it to be really great product so thought we should include it on the list.
Pet Chatz has a modern and exceedingly durable design that has been produced to be specifically pet safe. It is also a really neat little unit that ideally is meant to be mounted to the wall. Apart from the standard features that you would expect from a top of the range unit such as two-way audio, treat dispenser, video recording and night vision it also has two-way video, (the only unit to have this option) as well as several other unique features.
It has its own scent dispenser enabling you to release scents to pacify and soothe anxious or nervous dogs. It also has the option to add “PawCall”, which is a little unit that your dog can use to initiate a call with you. Yes that right “doggie calling” it’s a separate little unit that can be placed on the floor that you can teach your dog to press to call you – cool eh! So a top of the range unit that lets you communicate in many ways with your pet when you’re not at home
Pros; High spec with unique features
So that’s our list of best pet camera reviews. We managed to review six in total although as stated we couldn’t physically test the Pet Chatz but our friends rave about theirs. Of the others we would happily recommend any of them and it will really be your choice depending on what features you value most and your budget.
We opted for the Pawbo and it does exactly what we wanted and yes, we did find out why Nelo kept having a bad tummy but it’s not the nicest story. After seeing him mainly sleep and potter around without anything incriminating we noticed he would pop out to the terrace quite regularly so a reposition of the camera enabled us to follow him.
He had access to 6 plant pots which of course shouldn’t be a problem, that is until you see that the neighbour’s cat likes to use then as a litter tray. We will leave the rest to your imagination!!