More and more often these days owners are utilizing technology to keep an eye on their pets. Just a quick look on YouTube reveals surprised doggy owners coming back to a complete mess in their house only to review the footage from their home pet camera and discover the culprit was in fact their furry best friend.
With the popularity and simplicity of these indoor surveillance cameras increasing, sales are shooting through the roof and subsequently bringing the prices down. Most are manufactured in China these days, licensed by numerous companies and sold to the Western market. Many are identical but just labelled differently.
A quick look on Amazon when searching for these Pet Cameras reveals hundreds of products. There are simply too many to choose from and when I was originally looking, I became absolutely lost. I can now say I have honestly performed extensive research and have actually bought four of these in recent years, only to send three back, for numerous reasons. There was one that I just couldn’t connect to, another that came with no instructions and I couldn’t work out some features and the other had such a bad app it was unusable, which was a shame as the camera was quite good.
So, I’m going to keep things simple here – you don’t need to spend a lot of money when buying one of these and I’m only going to recommend the one I have (I’ll tell you which one that was later) and a couple of others that I know are also very good from speaking to other owners. You really can’t go wrong with any of these. So, sit back and let me do the hard work for you!
Furbo Dog Camera
There are a lot of reasons why I am recommending the Furbo but one of them is that it’s designed specifically for dogs! There are three very good cameras here but this is the only one that had just one purpose, to allow you to keep an eye on your best friend. Well, actually, this isn’t quite true as it certainly doesn’t have just one purpose!
The Furbo Dog Camera isn’t just a camera, you see. It also enables you to remotely activate a treat-tossing function! Yes, so imagine this – you pull your phone out, go onto the app and see that your Husky looks a bit down, what do you do? Well, press a button and it will fling out a little treat for them – I mean, really – how awesome is that?
But what if you can’t see them on the app? Well, you activate the built-in microphone and listen in to see if your neighbor’s reports of them howling whilst you go out are actually justified. Or, maybe you want to calm them down by talking to them. This is also possible as the Furbo has a speaker so it lets you basically have a conversation with your dog, remotely. Also, you can configure the product to send you notifications when they make a sound so you can possibly calm them down by talking to them softly or sending them a treat before they really annoy your neighbors!
The camera is excellent (full HD) and has in-built night-vision so it really doesn’t present a problem if it’s night-time or if the room is just a bit dark. One thing to remember if you’re using a camera inside with IR illumination (for night vision) is that if it is facing a window you will see a lot of reflection.
If you’d like to check out the latest price of this rather special bit of kit, click the link here (opens in a new tab).
Kamtron PTZ Pet Camera
The Kamtron pet camera is different to the Furbo as not all of us will want something that distributes treats. One of the few disadvantages of that camera was that it was very much fixed in position. The Kamtron however, is not. It is a PTZ, which means ‘Pan, Tilt, and Zoom’. This enables you to remotely control where the camera is pointing and you have much more flexibility over where you can leave it. For instance, you can put it somewhere in the middle of the room and then just remotely pan around, when required so you see the whole room. This particular model allows 350° horizontal motion and 100° vertical, so there aren’t going to be many areas in that room where your naughty little Husky can hide!
The features don’t end there though. Full 1080p HD video capability with an excellent night vision capability means that this is an incredibly full-featured device.
Motion detection comes as standard and you can configure the camera to notify you when it detects motion. Want to hear what’s going on in your house? Not a problem, the Kamtron has full two-way audio so you can listen to your Husky howl when you’re out (well, hopefully not) and talk to her (or him) if you need to.
You also have some nice options with what to do with that recorded video once it captures something. You can upload it to a cloud service or direct to an SD card of up to a meaty 128Gb in size.
This camera also respects your privacy and meets the encryption standard so the data traveling between the device and the server can not be read by anyone other than who you want to read it. Your video is also encrypted prior to being uploaded to the cloud for added security.
The app that you can use with the Kamtron is good and just works very well and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get the thing initially configured!
Overall then, this is a very capable camera with few (if any) downsides. If you’re thinking this thing will cost you several hundred dollars, you’re going to get a nice surprise when you find out how much it actually costs.
Elotech PTZ Pet Cam
The Elotech pet camera gives you another option and is another extremely capable camera. It doesn’t look too dissimilar to the Kamtron but does have a few differences that might tempt you in this direction.
Firstly, this is another PTZ and offers the full 360° Pan and 110° Tilt rotation that will detect literally anything in the room. The app that comes with this camera makes it very easy to do this. You simply swipe your finger on the screen in the direction you want it to pan (or tilt) and away it goes. The app is responsive and smooth.
It won’t let you down on image quality either. Full 1080P HD allows for an exceptionally clear video and the night vision will illuminate objects up to 30 feet away in total darkness. These infrared lights will come on automatically when the light drops below a certain level so you don’t have to worry about switching manually.
Like the other two cameras, the Elotech comes with two way audio so when you want to tell your Husky you’re on your way home, you can! Or, if you spot them doing something naughty (likely) then you can remotely reprimand them and watch with frustration as they choose to totally ignore you. As usual.
The initial set-up is easy and if you’re not up and running in five minutes then you’ve done something wrong. The app that you use is compatible with both the iPhone and Android devices.
Storage is via internal SD (of up to 64Gb) so doesn’t have the cloud upload option that you see with some cameras but that may not be a problem.
This is a great camera and the cheapest one I’m recommending. If you’d like to take a look at the price, please check it out here (opens in a new tab).
My Recommendation – The Elotech PTZ Pet Cam!
The recommendation I’m making is for you to buy the Elotech PTZ Pet Cam. I bought this camera (and kept it) so I can personally vouch for it. It also happens to be the cheapest out of the three at the time of this article. I really liked that it was not only easy to use but the app (which is a big part of the product in my opinion) just works really well. The quality of the video is good,
It doesn’t have all the options of the Kamtron with regard to storage space (64Gb vs 128Gb) but it would take some time to fill that up and I personally wasn’t bothered about cloud storage for this particular camera. The two-way audio is great, however, it does (perhaps predictably) perform better on local wifi rather than on external cellular data.
Don’t get me wrong though, the other two are great cameras, which is why they are here. The Furbo is pretty unique and I love the way that you can remotely give your Husky a treat, if required. The Kamtron is also an awesome camera but what did it for me in the end was really just the price. Do check them out for yourself though, whichever camera you go for – you won’t be disappointed!
Features to look for in a Quality WebCam
There is a lot to choose from these days but when you’re looking for a camera to keep tabs of your pets at home, what you need to typically look for is the below:
- Does the camera use wifi as well as Ethernet? If not, you’re going to need to plug it straight into your router and you’ll be restricted where to keep it.
- Does it utilize PTZ? This stands for Point/Tilt and Zoom and will allow you to remotely control the direction where the camera is pointing. This is really a good option to have but can increase the price.
- What’s the resolution of the camera? Some will have 1080p compared with 720p on others cameras. This might not be a problem if you’re going to be viewing the video on a phone. Also, do remember that the higher the resolution the camera is recording at, then the more bandwidth it will use. So with 1080p, you will get a far better picture but you may have fewer frames per second. This depends on the speed of your internal network.
- Does it have night vision? If it doesn’t, when it gets dark at night you’ll lose your video stream and it won’t be much good to you when you go to bed or in a very dark room!
About Dog Cams
Dog Cams enable you to see what’s going on in your house (or some other area) remotely. The camera will need to be connected to your home internet for it to be able to send you the video remotely. The faster your internet connection is at home, the better the experience will typically be.
On many cameras, you are usually able to set-up Motion Detection. This will enable you to select areas where the camera is looking at (perhaps where your Husky usually sleeps) and configure the camera to send you an alert whenever it detects movement in that area. You are also sometimes able to configure it to start recording a video automatically of any movement at that time and optionally send you a photo of what’s going on (usually via email).
You are typically able to save the recordings and images to several locations. These could be:
- Internal memory card (SD card).
- NAS (this is Network Attached Storage).
- FTP to some server you have access to.
- To a cloud service, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Usually, with these cameras, the manufacturer will have a specific phone application that they will mandate you use to access the video and control the camera.
It has been noticed (and mentioned above) that the price of these pet cameras has been dropping for a while now and you can get some excellent hardware for not much money at all. The downside of this is that there is so many to choose from, where do you start?
Well, I hope this article has helped you. If (or rather, when) I find a better one to recommend, I shall update this document accordingly!