Pet cameras promise to make it easier to look after your pet even when you aren’t around, so that you never miss a moment and can always keep an eye on them. By linking your pet camera to your mobile device, you can respond to any emergencies as promptly as possible, make sure they have enough food and water, and catch them in the act should they be prone to misbehavior.
But what makes a ‘pet camera’ different from any other, and are they just an unnecessary gimmick? Find out everything you need to know about pet cameras.
What Is A Pet Camera
According to a recent survey by Comcast, about two thirds of pet owners now use a camera to check in on their animal. Evidently, the 21st century has met pet owning face to face!
‘Pet cameras’ are simply small IP cameras that market themselves for animals. Whether or not there’s any difference between them and regular security cameras depends on the camera in question, but as a general rule of thumb, any camera with smartphone functionality (including AlfredCamera) can perform essentially the same functions.
Of course, the idea behind pet cameras is a useful one: with our work and social lives taking up more of our day than ever before, we’re spending increasingly more time away from our pets.
While it’s not at all advisable to leave animals for extended periods (especially dogs), a camera monitoring pets left at home is a great way to check in and make sure they are safe and content during the day.
Why Pet Owners Want A Camera
Sure, dogs, cats, and other animals have been domesticated and raised by humans for hundreds of thousands of years just fine without a camera—but there’s no denying the benefits you can enjoy with one.
Where you once might have had to leave your pet in a kennel for short periods, you now can leave them at home knowing you have an eye (and an ear) on them.
Cameras featuring motion detection can easily notify you via your phone if something’s up, and those featuring two-way talk will even allow you to talk to your pet, meaning you can calm them down should they be upset, or help them get to sleep.
A pet camera means you can grant your pet extra attention even when, technically, you can’t.
Doggy Nanny Cam! My 2 year old Great Dane, Archer, is too big for a cage or kennel. So with the help of Alfred, I can safely give Archer his own bedroom. I have 2 old cell phones set up as Alfred cameras to watch over my baby when I am not home. It has been a lifesaver! Literally! About a year ago, I was able to rush home the moment I found the dog trying to eat a dryer sheet that must have been stuck to his bedding. I used the speaker feature to tell him to stop chewing on it and got home before he could swallow anything dangerous! Although.... It does look a little strange when I am sitting in a restaurant yelling at my phone "BAD DOG....PUT THAT DOWN!" LOL!
I just LOVE AlfredCamera because it reassures me my babies are safe! I have 6 dogs & they are my big babies. Problem is they don't get along anymore so they keep their own space. I have gates & locks in place to keep them from getting in a situation where they want to hurt each other but sometimes stuff happens so when I'm not at home..I worry. AlfredCamera helps me relax by letting me check in on them visually & with audio so I know if there's barking, howling, whimpering. Plus, I can talk to them & get them to calm down with the speaker function (still freaks some out when they hear me but can't find me, lol!) Also, I have it positioned in a small peephole pane of glass in the front door so when the camera is flipped to the rear, I can check who comes to my front door! Like a smart doorbell & pet monitor in one!
Did you know you can actually turn your old phone into a pet monitor? Read on to see how it works or follow this guide to start.
Our Pick For Best Pet Cams
You’d struggle to find a good recent not to install a pet camera: they’re convenient and useful. But it can be hard to sift through unnecessary marketing and find a camera that will actually serve its purpose as a pet monitor. Thankfully, we’ve done it for you.
Check out our five favorite picks for pet cameras (and cameras that function perfectly fine as a pet monitor) below.
wansview Wireless Security Camera
Available on Amazon. From $31.99.
This is indeed called a ‘security camera’. But it’s also an inexpensive, Alexa-compatible IP camera that works brilliantly as a pet camera!
Capturing up to 1080p HD, this simple wifi-enabled camera boasts two-way audio, night vision, and 360 degree coverage; in other words, all the things that make for a fabulous pet surveiller. Real time motion detection alerts will be sent to your phone, so you’ll never miss a moment with your beloved pet. Using your phone, you can easily control where the camera aims thanks to its rotational range of motion and 4x zoom control, allowing you to keep tabs on particularly agile pets.
Google Nest (Wired)
Available on Google Store. From $99.99.
As featured in our rundown of the best motion-detection cameras on the market, Google Nest naturally happens to make a great pet monitor. In many ways similar to the wansview IP camera, Google’s home security camera entry is a little more robust and tech savvy. Available in wire-free battery powered and wired versions, the latter is significantly more affordable and suitable for indoor use.
Here are our picks for best battery-operated security cameras, in case you’re looking for one.
Combining AI, facial recognition, and other complex technologies, the Nest cam goes a step beyond regular motion detection, with the intention being to integrate seamlessly into a fully-automated home. Sooth your pet when Nest alerts you to loud and unusual noises, set up no-go zones that will notify you when your pet hangs around it, and record cute candids.
Petcube Bites 2 & Petcube Bites 2 Lite
Available on Petcube. Bites 2 from $249, Bites 2 Lite from $99.95.
If you have a little extra cash to spare, this treat dispensing camera (yes, you read that right) is the perfect pet camera to keep both you and your furry friend happy. Equal parts bizarre and brilliant, the Bites 2 comes in two versions: the original, and a less expensive ‘Lite’ downgrade, which features one microphone rather than four.
Both are rife with features: a 160-degree camera capable of capturing up to 1080p HD video, night vision, two-way audio, and, of course, a treat dispenser. Using your phone, the machine spits out treats at your pet as and when you decide. The original model happens to feature built-in Alexa, so this ‘pet camera’ can actually also order your groceries, play your Spotify playlists, and tell you the weather. Hence, it might be fairer to describe it as a smart speaker that happens to have pet-friendly features.
Available on PetChatz. From $349.99
As it’s rather endearing name suggests, PetChatz emphasizes communicating with your pet. As such, it claims to be the only pet camera on the market with an LCD screen on it, so that your pet can see you as you ‘chat’ with it via your smart device (so much for spying on them!). That’s correct: you can now conference call with animals.
Aside from that, it also features an aromatherapy function which aims to ease separation anxiety, as well as a treat dispenser. The company claims the latter is for PetChatz treats, though it will also fit many other generic brands of pet treats.
Available on the App Store and Google Play Store. Free, with the option for premium.
If you don’t feel like blowing hundreds of dollars on a ‘pet monitor’, AlfredCamera is an excellent choice. By turning your unused phone into a fully functioning security camera, the app allows for all the features you’d want of a pet cam: motion detection, low light mode, two-way audio, and more.
Though primarily a ‘security’ device, the app naturally became a hit with pet owners looking for easy and useful ways to monitor their pets and babies alike. Did we mention it’s free?
I used alfred as a set of eyes when I’m not home. It has great motion detection and signals me anytime something comes into the cameras view. I’ve caught my dog eating the trash!
When I’m at work I can see who’s at my house and I can talk to my babies ( my two dogs ) I can see if someone walks out with something
I USE business card holders (metal ones) to stabilize and hold old phones used as cameras. I use Alfred to monitor what my active mischievous dog is doing and make sure my dog walker comes and goes as reported.
Admittedly, ‘pet cameras’ as a product may be something of a gimmick. But there’s no denying that using a camera to monitor your pets through your smart device is useful, convenient, and, ultimately, a whole lot of fun. For the most part, regular home security cameras function as pet monitors just fine, but there is always the option to upgrade to a more pet-friendly solution, with features like treat dispensers.
Should you not be so hot on spending a couple hundred dollars on a children’s candy dispenser for dogs, there are many affordable options—the most expensive of which is AlfredCamera, which allows you to create a powerful pet monitor from your old phone for free.