The best pet cameras can improve your relationship with your dog. Keeping an eye on your dog while you are away can help you identify troubling behaviors. Many indoor pet cameras have speakers that let you talk to your dog. They may also have a built-in treat tossing or smart toy feature. These can help you reward positive behaviors with toys, treats or praise.
Pet cameras are available in every price range. Though cheaper pet cameras do not have as many extra features, says Mary Beth Quirk, Shopping Editor at Consumer Reports, such as setting up recording schedules. Indoor pet cameras may also be data hogs and easy targets for hackers. Mary Beth also notes you might feel anxious watching your dogs while you are away, so make sure you are comfortable seeing them without touching them.
What to look for in the best pet camera
Here are some things you need to think about when shopping for a pet camera:
- Pick a pet monitor camera with high-definition resolution (720P), so you can clearly see your dog while recording.
- Do you want wired or wireless? Wired pet monitor cameras have to be beside an electrical outlet.
- Look for indoor pet cameras with night vision, so you never have to leave extra lights on.
- Have a skittish dog? Get a pet cam that does not make sounds when it turns on.
- Tight budget? Outdoor security cameras can double as pet monitor cameras. They are ideal for dark, damp houses.
Our picks for best pet cameras
- Furbo dog camera; furbo.com — $199. Allows you to see and talk to your dog, plus has a treat dispenser. Has a higher-end model that rotates, called the Furbo 360° Dog Camera for $210.
- Petcube Cam; petcube.com — $49.99. Allows you to see and hear your dog, plus has night vision. Also has higher-end models that dispense treats. One is called the Petcube Bites 2 Lite for $149 with two-way audio and 110-degrees lens, and the other is the Petcube Bites 2 for $249, with 160-degrees lens and voice control. There is also the Petcube Play 2 for $229 with 160-degrees lens and voice control but also has a laser toy instead of a treat dispenser.
- eufy Pet Dog Camera D605; us.eufy.com — $199. Allows you to see and hear your dog, plus it identifies and tracks your dog. Keeps recordings and dispenses treats.
- Ring for pets; ring.com — Starts $69.99. Cameras that are made for family protection and to watch your pets. There is the Ring Indoor Cam and the Stick Up Cam Plug-in with Pan –Tilt. The Pan – Tilt gives you a 360° view along with a 90° tilt for better canine viewing.
The cost of indoor pet cameras
Most pet camera companies do not charge a monthly subscription. Some offer plans to provide extended video history, smart video filters and multi-camera support. Mary Beth says most will let you cancel anytime.
Here are the camera features you can expect based on your budget:
Budget pet cameras: Inexpensive pet cameras do not have a lot of bells and whistles like treat dispensers, but they have high-definition video quality (720P) and range in price from $30 to $100.
Mid-range pet cameras: Mid-priced pet cameras cost between $100 and $250. They often feature motion sensors, night view, two-way communication and treat tossing.
High-end pet cameras: The most expensive pet cameras have full HD screens (1080P) and user-friendly smartphone apps. With built-in toys, barking alerts, loop recording and family sharing, these high-end pet cameras can cost up to $380.
How much data do pet monitor cameras use?
Budget and mid-range cameras use 8 GB of data per day. But high-end pet cameras can consume 12 GB per day. Mary Beth says some pet monitors only record when they detect motion. While most pet cameras need an in-home WiFi connection to work, you can watch videos on free public WiFi networks.
Indoor pet camera privacy
Most pet camera companies collect any content you create, upload, save or share. They also store your social media profiles and track your pet monitor camera using cell phone towers, GPS or WiFi. Mary Beth says you can opt out of data-sharing to a certain extent.
Indoor pet cameras are also magnets for hackers because they let them see inside your house. Once hackers break into your pet cam, they can access your personal computer and internet router. Hackers can even download a copy of the pet cam’s manual to learn the manufacturer’s password. Change the factory default password and regularly check for software updates.