As much as they’d like to, most pet owners aren’t able to spend each and every waking hour with their beloved pets. Many people work during the day, and for most, finding a pet-sitter is not always possible, leaving your pet alone at home. Other people find themselves missing their pets while they are way on trips, without a good way to let their pets know they miss them.
Thankfully, technology has come a long way in recent years, and there is a new way in which pet owners can wirelessly spend time with their pets: interactive Wi-Fi Pet Cameras. Interactive WiFi pet cameras are great for those who travel often, or work during the day, and want to keep an eye on their dog, cat or other critter while they are away. But these cameras are more than just modified baby monitors.
Yes, these cameras allow you and your pet to see and hear each other, but they also let you actually play with your pet. These cameras often have laser pointers or treat-dispensing capabilities allowing you to reward your pet for good behavior even when you’re not there. They’re also a great tool for owners with pets who suffer from separation anxiety, allowing owners to comfort their pets remotely. The truth is, these pet cameras are great, but there is a lot of selection available. So which one is the Best WiFi Interactive Pet Camera for 2017? Keep reading and let’s try find the right one for you.
The Petcube Play is the first on our list, an award-winning pet camera. The Petcube Play came into being from a successful Kick-Starter funding campaign. The company believes their camera is a way to deepen the relationship between you and your pet. They want owners to improve the connection with their pets, producing beautiful moments and lasting memories. The Petcube is (you guessed it) cube-shaped, each side measuring 3.2 inches. We reviewed the black model, although it is also available in pink and white and is purely cosmetic.
Setup and Installation
Setting up the Petcube Play is quick and easy. The first thing you want to do is plug the device in. Then, whether you use an iPhone or an Android, you simply need to download the appropriate mobile app. You then can connect the cube to your wireless internet. When finding a space to plug in the Petcube, you ideally want it on a flat surface, one that is higher up, like a counter (more about that later). You can also mount it on a tripod. The connections are protected by 128-bit encryption and other security features so you can provide secure access to whomever you like: friends, family or the pet sitter.
Petcube Care Cloud
Petcube’s Care Cloud feature is an optional paid service, that allows you to record, review and rewind either 10 or 30 days of video history. You can also change the settings of the Petcube to send notification alerts to your phone from either sound or motion signals received by the cube. You get a 30 day free trail of Care Cloud when you buy the device, so you can try it out and see if you like the extra features.
Video and Audio
The camera mounted in the Petcube Play is surprisingly impressive. It produces 1080p HD video, with a wide 138-degree view. It also has a night vision feature, allowing you to keep an eye on your pet even when the house is dark. Additionally, there’s a 3x zoom, although the image quality does lessen as you zoom in closer. The camera provides great peace of mind whether you’re out and about or just in another room. There’s also a mic and speaker mounted inside the cube, which allows for two-way audio so you can hear, and speak to your pet through it.
Not only can you speak with your pet using the Petcube Play, but you can play with your pet as well! The Laser pointer is the primary reason you want to mount your cube in a higher location like a counter, cabinet or tripod, so the laser pointer can reach a great area. All the features of the Petcube Play are controlled through your app, including the laser pointer. This allows you to move the laser pointer around and play with your pet even when you’re away.
Petzi Treat Cam
Similar to the Petcube Play, the Petzi Treat Cam was the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign, through Indiegogo rather than KickStarter however. The Petzi Treat Cam is not only an interactive pet camera, both built-in video and audio, but also a treat dispenser. The co-founders of Petzi describe the Treat Cam as a ray of sunshine in your pocket, and we’d have to agree. The Petzi Treat Cam is a little bit larger, at 13 x 7 x 4 inches, and 2.2 pounds.
Setup and Installation
The Petzi app connects to your wireless network through the Petzi app. There’s an app available for both iPhone and Android. Once plugged in, the treat cam can be mounted straight to the wall with a screw, or up on a cabinet. It can be strapped to really any type of furniture, then plugged into any standard outlet. Petzi’s Social Network can also be accessed through the app, allowing you to share photos and stories of your pet with other like-minded pet owners. If you have an overly playful or jumping pet, you may want to mount it a bit higher than usual.
See, Speak, Snap, Treat
Once accessed on your smartphone or tablet, the Petzi app has four major functions: see, speak, snap and treat. The blue see icon takes you to the camera view, allowing you to see your pet. The orange speak icon engages the microphone and speaker, so you can speak to your pet, and hear them respond. The green snap icon captures a snapshot of whatever pose your pet has taken, to be shared on Petzi’s Social Network or any other social media accounts. Pressing the pink treat icon will dispense whatever treat you have loaded into the Petzi for your pet to enjoy. Ideally upon the successful completion of your given command.
Video and Audio Quality
The video quality of the Petzi Treat Cam is decent but not quite as crisp as the Petcube Play’s 1080p camera. The camera has a wide angle allowing you to see a large view of your pet’s play area, or wherever the camera is mounted. Despite the lesser video quality, the audio quality is great. The two-way audio also lets you talk to your pet, and hear them talk back to you. This allows you to speak commands to your pet, then reward them with a treat upon successful completion of the command (sit, stay, etc.).
Furbo Dog Camera
Last on our list we have the Furbo Dog Camera. Similar to the Petzi, the Furbo was also funded from the public through Indiegogo. In our opinion, the Furbo has the best exterior design of the three cameras we’ve reviewed. It is sleek white with an hourglass shape, and a bamboo wood removable top. The Furbo will definitely not stick out in your home and will look great with any decor.
Set-up and Installation
Because of the shape and size of the Furbo, it isn’t ideally mounted on a wall. Instead, the Furbo sits comfortable on any side table, counter or other flat surface. The included 7ft USB cable and power adaptor allows you to mount the Furbo nearly anywhere nearby a power outlet. The Furbo app can be downloaded to either iPhone or Android, and is a very user-friendly platform.
Audio and Video Quality
The Furbo has a high quality camera built-in to the device, providing 720p playback video. The camera has a 120 degree field of view allowing you to see the entire room your pet is playing in. The camera also has a night vision mode, so you can rest easy at night knowing you can keep an eye on your pet even with the lights out.
The camera also has 4x zoom capabilities, although the video does become a little fuzzy as you zoom in. The audio quality is actually pretty good, and is a two-way system, so you can hear your pet, and they can hear you. The built-in microphone also will detect loud noises like barks, and send a notification straight to your phone. From there you can log onto the app and look through the camera to see what’s going on. Then you can speak through the Furbo to console or quiet your pet.
Similar to the Petzi Pet Camera, the Furbo actually dispenses treats to your pet, allowing you to play with your pet and reward him or her for good behaviour. To dispense a treat, you simply need to swipe the screen of your phone in the treat mode which launches the treat out onto the floor or into your pet’s mouth. The treat actually gets tossed a fair distance, making it fun for your pet. The amount of treats you can load within the device depends on the size of the treat.
You can fill up to about 30 pieces of an average sized dog treat within the Furbo. If you have a smaller pet, and their favourite snack is smaller as a result, the device may dispense more than one at a time – so keep that in mind if your furry loved one is on a diet. Furbo suggests using round, not easily crushable treats that are about half an inch to one inch in size.
Which Interactive WiFi Pet Camera Is Right for Me?
As you’ve probably seen, there are several pet cameras available, and here we’ve compiled only the three Best WiFi Interactive Pet Cameras you can buy for 2017.
If your pet is easily motivated by play from lights like a laser pointer, then perhaps the Petcube Play is the best camera for you. We recommend this camera primarily for cat owners, as cats more easily motivated by play using laser pointers than dogs are. The Petcube Play also has the best video quality of the three cameras we’ve reviewed.
Alternately, if you have a treat-motivated pet (like most dogs) than perhaps either the Petzi or Furbo are the best options for you. They both have very similar features, although the Furbo has a slightly better camera, better design, but is also larger and heavier. The Petzi Treat Cam is easily mounted almost anywhere, and has an awesome social media platform that you can post your favorite screenshots of your pets with other Petzi owners.
Regardless of what model you choose, interactive pet cams are a great way to visit with, or monitor your pets while you’re out of the house. They give you that comfort and peace of mind that assures your little furry babies are happy, healthy and full of love.