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Are Dog Cameras Worth the Hype?

February 27, 2019

One of the latest trends among dog owners is the dog camera, which allows owners to check on and even interact with their pets while they are away. This new gadget pairs with a smartphone to ensure that your dog is always at your fingertips. Are these dog cameras worth the hype? Or are they just a passing trend among helicopter dog parents?

For the unfamiliar, dog cameras are webcams specifically made to check in on your dog while you’re away at work or away from home. The cameras connect to a smartphone so you can view your dog anytime. The cameras also have built-in microphones and speakers that allow you to interact with your pet. Some dog daycares and vets’ offices have implemented similar technology to allow owners to check up on their dogs. These webcams are accessible on their websites.

Dog cameras can have a variety of functions. For example, the Petcube Play camera has two-way audio and a laser toy so you can play with your dog when you’re not home. The Nest Cam is simpler, with 24/7 live streaming capabilities and a night mode function. The Furbo has two-way audio and even a treat dispenser.

With so many options to choose from, deciding whether to purchase a dog camera can be overwhelming. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of dog cameras to help you decide if this new gadget is right for your dog.

The pros of dog cameras

One of the biggest benefits of dog cameras is that they provide a sense of security for dog owners who are away from their pets for longer periods of time. These cameras are great for pet owners who work full-time and can’t go home to let their dog out or walk them during the day. Some cameras will also send an alert when dogs are barking, which can be good for owners of typically quiet dogs to know if there is a problem.

The American Kennel Club featured a story about how a dog camera saved a dog’s life from carbon monoxide poisoning. The dog’s owner had a Furbo pet cam and got a notification on her phone when her dog began barking. As her dog usually does not bark, she opened up her dog camera app and heard the carbon monoxide detector going off in the background. She was able to call 911 and rush home in time to save her dog.

The cameras have other practical uses as well. Some cameras are built with AI technology that allows them to tell the difference between your dogs and people. The Furbo camera will alert you whenever someone enters your home, whether it is a pet sitter or an intruder.

The device also recognizes dog behaviors, such as chewing and jumping on furniture. It can also detect “cute” moments such as when someone is playing with your dog or when your dog looks directly into the camera. Your device will send a notification to your phone, allowing you to check in to see if anything is amiss or if you want to take a picture.

The cons of dog cameras

One common downside with dog cameras is that they can be an expensive gadget. The cameras can cost anywhere from $150 to $250. There are some cheaper options available, but they do not come with as many features. One of the most expensive, the PetChatz HD, costs $320. It does, however, come with a variety of functions. It has a button that allows your pet to make a video call to your phone, aromatherapy, pet games, and more.

Dog cameras may agitate dogs prone to separation anxiety. Dogs are able to tell whether or not you’re in the room, so the two-way chat feature can be confusing. This may actually trigger separation anxiety as opposed to soothing it, as some dogs may look for their owners when they can’t figure out where the voice is coming from. Cameras with treat dispensers can offset this nervousness.

The bottom line

Overall, whether or not a dog camera is a good choice for you depends on your lifestyle and dog. Dog owners that work during the day may appreciate the opportunity to check in on and interact with their pets, especially if they’re left alone for longer periods of time. Cameras are also good for pet owners that want to be aware of their dogs’ behaviors.

However, owning a dog camera isn’t a necessity. Some owners with busier households may get annoyed with constant notifications or find that their dog cameras aren’t as useful as they thought. When deciding whether to buy a dog camera or not, think about your dog and lifestyle at home.

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