There’s no doubt about it: we love our pets, and many of us would do anything to look after our companions, whether you have a tabby, a golden retriever, a goldfish, or a boa constrictor.
Pet cameras, though a relatively recent addition to the smart security camera market, are a great way to do this when we’re away from home, helping us to keep a watchful eye over our furry friends from the office, the gym, or on vacation.
Not only do the best pet cameras let you watch your pet in real time on your smartphone or tablet, but many also feature nifty extras, like treat dispensers, remote toys, and two-way audio – so you can interact with your pet away from home.
Choosing the right pet camera for your home, budget, and your pet can be tricky – that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to the best pet cameras you can buy in 2019.
Black Friday 2019: what you need to know
If you're looking to buy a pet camera in the near future, don't forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up soon – and that means some of the models on this list could get some hefty discounts. Even if these particular models aren't discounted, we're expecting previous generations (like the original Petcube Bites, for example), to be given some fantastic deals by the likes of Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and more.
Best pet cameras 2019 at a glance
- Petcube Bites 2
- Petcube Play 2
- Furbo Dog Camera
- Hive View
- Nest Cam IQ
1. Petcube Bites 2
The best pet camera you can buy
Resolution: Up to 1080p HD | Footage recording: Cloud recordings with subscription | Audio: Two-way | Mains/battery: Mains | Extra features: Treat dispenser, Amazon Alexa
The Petcube Bites 2 is the ultimate pet camera for anyone who wants to interact with their furry friend, as well as keep an eye on them. It’s undoubtedly pricey, but its impressive spec list and smooth operation makes it an attractive proposition for any animal lover.
With a sleek, modern design, the Petcube Bites 2 lets you watch your pet live in 1080p HD video, which you can be zoomed in on up to four times via the PetCube app. The built-in camera gives you a 160-degree view of your room.
You can either save videos and photos to your phone for free, or sign up to Petcube Care for the ability to watch up to 90 days of video history, all saved securely on the Cloud. Subscriptions start at $3.99 (around £3 / AU$5.80).
Built-in sensors mean that you get alerts any time the Petcube detects movement or noise, so you’ll be the first to know if your dog is barking at an intruder or your cat is meowing for her dinner.
Two-way audio is available via the app, so your pet can hear your voice via the PetCube’s built-in speaker, while a four-microphone array lets you hear everything your pup gets up to.
Perhaps most exciting, is the addition of a treat dispenser that allows you to fling treats to your pet by swiping your finger in the app – you can control the amount of treats as well as the distance, making feeding a fun game for your pet (as well as yourself). If you want to stick to a regular feeding schedule, you can also set the PetCube Bites 2 to Autoplay mode.
For smart home enthusiasts, there’s Alexa built-in, which means you can ask the camera to fling treats and even reorder more supplies, without the need for a separate Amazon Echo speaker.
2. Petcube Play 2
The best pet camera for cats
Resolution: Up to 1080p HD | Footage recording: Cloud recordings with subscription | Audio: Two-way | Mains/battery: Mains | Extra features: Laser toy, Amazon Alexa
The Petcube Play 2 is a great solution for cat owners, as it comes with a built-in laser toy that you can control through the Petcube app – all you have to do is swipe your finger to control where the laser points, letting you play with your cat while you’re away from home.
Worried you’ll forget to play with your kitty? You can set the laser to autoplay, while motion and sound sensors will alert you anytime your cat needs attention.
While it’s smaller than the PetCube Bites 2, the PetCube Play 2 has all the same smart features, including 1080p HD video, a 160-degree view, two-way audio, and Alexa built-in.
3. Furbo Dog Camera
The most stylish pet camera you can buy
Resolution: Up to 1080p HD | Footage recording: Cloud recordings with subscription | Audio: Two-way | Mains/battery: Mains | Extra features: Treat dispenser, night vision, works with Amazon Alexa
It may be called the Furbo Dog Camera, but this smart pet cam could be used for your cats too.
It’s the most stylish camera on the list, with a sleek white body and wooden lid, with built-in LEDs that indicate its connectivity status.
Like the Petcube models, the Furbo Dog Camera boasts HD video and gives you a 160-degree view of your room; the camera feed does have a slight lag, but it’s only a matter of seconds behind real-time. It also has night-vision, allowing you to see your pet in the dark – handy if you’re leaving your pet at home for a night out.
The treat dispenser works in a similar way to the Petcube Bites 2, allowing you to fling treats towards your pet by swiping your finger in the Furbo app.
Two-way audio lets you speak to your pets while out and about, while real-time barking alerts send notification to your smartphone or tablet any time the camera detects the sound of barking.
There’s no smart home integration here, and you won’t find built-in support for voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, but this is still a feature-packed pet camera that should suit any dog owner looking for a stylish solution.
4. Hive View
A cam that moves around your house with you
Resolution: Up to 1080p HD | Footage recording: 24 hours, 30 days with subscription | Audio: Two-way | Mains/battery: Mains | Extra features: Treat dispenser, night vision, works with Amazon Alexa
The Hive View is the latest camera from the smart home manufacturer behind the well-regarded range of heating control kits – and while it’s not exclusively marketed as a pet camera, it’s flexible design makes it ideal for keeping an eye on your best friend.
Made in collaboration with designer Yves Béhar, the Hive View is one of the few security cameras we’ve ever seen that actually looks stylish, coming as it does in a choice of ‘champagne gold’ or black and ‘brushed copper’ finishes.
Thankfully, as much effort has gone into the substance as the style, and the Hive View comes with some really cool features. Most notable is its detachable head, which allows you to temporarily move the camera – with its HD 180-degree field of vision – to anywhere you’d like in the house for as long as the on-board battery lasts, which is about an hour.
The Hive View works as a standalone unit and with the wider Hive ecosystem, so if you’ve already got the Hive thermostat and sensors everything will work seamlessly together in the same app.
Read our full review: Hive View
5. Nest Cam IQ
A very smart security camera
Resolution: Up to 1080p HD | Footage recording: Up to 30 days Cloud storage with subscription | Audio: Two-way | Mains/battery: Mains | Extra features: N/A
It may not be purely designed for watching your pets, but the intelligently-designed Nest Cam IQ’s ability to differentiate between humans and animals means it can double up as both a pet cam and an indoor security camera.
Not only can it notify you if there’s movement in your home, but it can even identify if unfamiliar people should you ever have an intruder.
The Nest Cam IQ also has the best image quality of any of the cameras we’ve tested, shooting in 4K and HDR (high dynamic range).
The main drawback with the Nest Cam IQ is its price. Not only is it fairly expensive to start with, to use its full range of functions you’ll have to purchase a subscription to Nest Aware. But if you want the best quality, and are prepared to shell out for it, the Nest Cam IQ is probably the camera for you.
Read our full Nest Cam IQ review