Ask any pet-parent about the hardest thing they do everyday, and they’ll probably mention leaving their fur-baby home alone. Because dogs can be mischievous and get themselves into trouble when unsupervised, many pet parents look to technology for solutions. Enter dog monitor cameras. If you’ve looked into these products, you’ve probably discovered options galore. From surveillance monitors to motion detectors, activity monitors, automatic feeders, pet collar cameras, and even smartphone-controlled toys, there’s no shortage of options for keeping tabs on your pup (and keeping him entertained) while you’re away from home.
We looked at dozens of dog monitor cameras to find the best of the best, considering cost, ease of use, features and functionality, Amazon reviews, and extras such as treat dispensers and other fun features that can keep your pup engaged when you can’t be by his side. We narrowed our search to 5 of the best dog monitor cameras pet parents can buy.
We’ve identified the Nest Security Cam as the best of the best. A moderately priced cam that can serve a variety of roles, the Nest Security Cam can be configured to be the absolutely best option for your pooch monitoring. The Nest technology brand has earned a reputation for its reliability, so pet parents can buy this dog monitor camera with confidence knowing that the glitches and kinks have been ironed out. Performing well above its peers, the Nest is a good buy for most dog parents.
The 5 Top-Rated Dog Monitor Cameras
|Best Overall||Nest Cam Security Camera||4.4|
|Runner Up||Whistle Activity Monitor||4.2|
|Best Budget Buy||TENVIS Dog Camera||4.2|
|Best Dog Camera with Treat Dispenser||PetChatz HD Two-Way Audio/Video System||4.1|
|Best Dog Camera Ball||Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi Camera
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Nest Cam Security Camera
Nest is a big name in home security, but did you know it also offers one of the best dog camera options? The Nest Cam Security Camera has a quality camera with great streaming, but what sets it apart are the extras. Once you download an app to your phone, you’ll get alerts based on motion detection so you’ll know when your pup is getting into something. The motion sensor can even differentiate between types of movement. So if your pup is just rolling over, that classifies as an activity alert, but if someone’s entering the room, that’s a person alert and you can set your notification to only notify you for the bigger movements.
The night vision clarity is superior to several of its peers and the talk and listen functionality allows you to peek in on your pup and interact with him. You can program different activity zones, each with different settings, so you know what’s happening and where. It will also sync into your smart home seamlessly; connecting to other Nest devices and with your Amazon Echo so you can control it with your voice, too. And you can expect to pay about on par with other Nest devices, at roughly $160.
You can mount this to the wall with the included wall-mounting plate or place it on a flat surface; it has a magnetic base so placing it on a metal surface will keep it even more secure. With the app feature ‘Nest Aware’ you can see a fast forward of the day within seconds allowing you to pick out key moments to go back to look at. And Sightline will give you still shots to review of the last 3 hours of activity, as well.
Nest Cam Security Camera Key Features:
- Set up phone notifications, and know the moment your sound or motion sensors are activated
- With this camera, night vision is done right: you can see an entire room, not just a limited spotlight view
- Quick & easy setup requires no hub; just download the app and you’re ready to go
- Syncs with your Amazon Echo for voice controls
Our Runner Up Pick: Whistle GPS Tracker and Activity Monitor
Although this isn’t a camera, sometimes when you’re monitoring your dog, the camera just doesn’t tell you what you really need to know. If your pup is one who is pleasingly plump and needs to shed a few pounds, you can download an app and make sure he’s getting enough activity. You’ll love receiving automatic updates as to your dog’s activities, which you can use to help set custom activity goals for your pup, based on his breed, age and weight.
More than just a dog activity monitor, the Whistle Activity Monitor is a system that implements a central communication hub to communicate with anyone who’s caring for your furry friends – family, dog walkers, neighbors and friends, alike. You’ll be able to look at reports of his activity and locations from your phone whenever you want. The battery of the tracker will last up to 7 days, with only a 2 hour to full charge time, that alone make it worth the $80 price tag.
The GPS locator on this monitor may come in especially handy if your pup is a runner. You will need to pay a monthly subscription fee (starting at $6.95) and you’ll have access to him no matter where in the U.S. he goes. You’ll even have real time notifications sent to you as soon as he leaves his designated safe zone, which you outline.
Whistle GPS Tracker and Activity Monitor Key Features:
- Encourage healthy habits: Coordinate with dog walkers and other care-givers to ensure optimal activity levels, based on your dog’s individual needs
- GPS tracking will locate your dog should he get lost
- Automatic updates mean you’ll never again worry about how your pup’s day is going
- Works with iOS and Android smartphones enabled with Bluetooth 4.0
Best Budget Pick: TENVIS Dog Camera
The TENVIS Dog Camera is great for monitoring your pet, day or night. The 1080P full high definition camera offers night vision with a 32 feet range, and you can connect it to any of your mobile devices to keep an eye on your pet throughout the day. With its “Smart Eyes” technology, the night vision provides a very clear images.
Another feature you can look forward to is a motion detector that minimizes redundant recording. As you can see, this budget buy certainly packs a punch! It even features two-way audio so that you can say hi to your pooch even when you’re at school and work.
You can also purchase and add an SD card to record the live feed to browse later. Those puppy eyes won’t be able to fool you anymore; you’ll know exactly who did what after a review. And considering it’s only $35, we’d say you get more than your money’s worth!
TENVIS Dog Camera Key Features:
- 1080P FHD resolution
- Night vision
- 2-way audio
- One-click installation
Best Dog Camera with Treat Dispenser: PetChatz HD Two-Way Audio/Video System
Stay connected with your pup while you’re away, thanks to PetChatz HD Two-Way Audio/Video System capabilities. You can make sure your pup sees and hears you with a 2 way camera with microphone so you can interact with him even while you’re gone. This is a wonderful feature for the dog (or owner) who suffers separation anxiety. You can still entertain him from wherever you are, allowing him to be stimulated even while alone.
This kind of camera is also a great idea for your deviant doggie; especially if he needs verbal and visual cues to reinforce good behavior. You’ll be able to give him the verbal commands along with your hand commands so this is incredibly useful if your pup is still learning. It is a pricey monitor, at $420, but all the bells and whistles may make it worth it to you.
To further your interaction, you can also control a treat dispenser which will help any positive reinforcement training you have established and then some. You will simply download an app onto your phone and giving him rewards becomes possible from anywhere. With a push of a button, you can make sure your pup gets his treat and his encouragement so your break at work won’t be as boring and his training won’t go interrupted.
PetChatz HD Two-Way Audio/Video System Key Features:
- Two-way video means you can see and hear your pup, and he can see and hear you!
- Smartphone-connected treat dispenser that you can access from anywhere
- If you sense your pets are stressing, dispense calming scents
- With paid subscription, monitor will stream DOGTV for your pooch
Best Dog Camera Ball: Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi Camera
If your pups are always on your mind, you’ll appreciate the Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi Camera, which blends 1280 x 720p HD recording, H.265 video compression, 320-degree x 120-degree pan and tilt functions, and 12 infrared LEDs (for night vision). So not only will you get to see your pup, you’ll get to see him clearly no matter what time of day it is and for a mid-low range price tag, at $80.
It has a 32GB SD card capacity for recording your favorite moments, but you will need to purchase the SD card separately. The 3 dbi antenna provides an extremely reliable WiFi connection, and the built-in microphone and speaker allow you to communicate with your pup remotely. You can access the camera from multiple devices; Apple or PC, android or iPhone.
Set up is a breeze with the plug-and-play feature, taking just 5 minutes from start to finish. It also has a heavy rubber base for strength and stability, and you can link up to 8 cameras onto one account. The motion sensors can be customized to take a picture when set off and immediately alert you when it detects motion.
Vimtag VT-361 Super HD WiFi Camera Key Features:
- Record your pets, no matter where they are, with live video streaming, motion detection, and remote pan and tilt
- Two-way voice recording with built-in mic and speaker, allows you to listen in on your pooches, as well as to communicate commands or comfort anxious pets
- Your choice of easy setup, either via QR code, plug-and-play, or WPS button (takes under 5 minutes, no matter your setup)
- Video features a 4x digital zoom
Who Should Buy a Dog Monitor Camera
If you plan on leaving your dog at home while you go to work on a regular basis, a dog monitor will help your family adjust to the time apart. You may even want to consider a two-way monitor so that your dog can hear your voice. Not only will that help soothe him, it will also provide you the opportunity to tell him to stop chewing on the couch.
Special needs dogs may also be excellent candidates for monitors. Whether you just need the extra comfort that seeing your pup will bring you or if you need to monitor his activity and location, you’ll be able to find the right product to ease your mind. If he tends to get into trouble by running away, you can use a GPS tracking monitor to make finding him easier.
A dog camera is also a great option if you just have an undying curiosity about your dog. You may find yourself checking in on him simply to get to know him better. You’ll see what actually interests him while you’re away and you’ll better be able to provide entertainment, even while you.
Important Features to Consider
A dog monitor camera needs to do a few things exceptionally well. Here’s what to look for when searching for the best dog monitor camera:
- 2-way cameras. This feature is a huge bonus if you plan on interacting with your dog. If your pooch has separation anxiety, this could go a long way towards making him feel more comfortable. And finding a monitor that pulls double duty for both comfort and correction is a huge bonus. So if your pup responds well to your voice commands, this is a great training tool, as well. Because you just don’t get paid leave for getting a new puppy.
- Indoor/outdoor. If you want to monitor your dog’s outdoor behavior, then setting a monitor up outside is a great idea. This way, you can take a peek at your house-training puppy to make sure they do their business while still making dinner. This will save a lot of staring out a window! And if your dog is a digger, you can make sure to monitor his bad habit even when you’re laid back on the couch.
- Remote access. If you haven’t looked into dog cameras before, we’ll go ahead and spoil it: You’re very likely going to want this feature. If you can download an app to your phone and use WiFi or your data to monitor your dog while you’re gone, all the better. In fact, having remote access will allow you to use your dog camera from anywhere. So if you’re at work or on vacation, you can always peek in to see what Fido is getting into. And if for no other reason, this is a great tool for satisfying your curiosity.
- Night vision. This convenient feature may come in more than you plan. If you’re gone longer than you mean to be, and it gets dark before you get home, you won’t have to worry about not being able to check on your pet to make sure he’s okay and everything is going as it should. When you’re on vacation and have hired a pet sitter to come walk him a few times a day, you’ll still be able to check on him before you head to bed; even when all the lights are off. And if you work third shift, regularly leaving your pooch at night, this is a must-have feature. This can even work wonders for a burnt light bulb or cloudy days. It’s a good “just in case” feature for everyone and a necessary one for other pups.
- Motion detection. If you’re not worried about all the fuss of constantly checking in on your dog, then this may be the kind of feature you choose. A motion detection camera can be set up to send you alerts when there is movement within it’s range. You can use this to determine when your furry friend is getting into something he shouldn’t be or as a security feature for break-ins. You could even use this jointly to alert you when your teenager is sneaking home past curfew.
- Field of vision. If your dog has limited access in your house then you likely know just where your camera is going and pointing it in the right direction will allow you access to your dog’s entire area. But if your dog can move around a bit, you may want to consider a camera that can move with him. And that allows you to control its movements. If you have an open floor plan, choose an ideal location that will let you scan from one side of your house to the other and pre-program the angles so you can scan through quickly to find your dog when you check in on him.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where’s the best place to buy a dog monitor camera?
Without a doubt Amazon will have the widest variety of dog monitors and cameras. Unfortunately, there are no physical stores, so you won’t be able to go and physically pick one up. If you find yourself in need of a physical store, either because you can’t wait for shipping or you want to actually see and touch the product before you buy it, then you are stuck looking at several stores to get the same variety.
You can try your luck at your local pet store but typically they’ll have only one or two models at best. If you go to an electronics store, you may have a bit better selection, so you should try stores like Best Buy.
How much should I spend for a quality camera to watch my dog?
There’s such a wide price range on pet cameras that you can spend anywhere from $30 to well over $300. Most people don’t want the cameras on either extreme, either because the quality or the price are undesirable. The adage is true for most things and certainly of dog monitors: You get what you pay for. The more money, the more features.
It’s also true, however that the longer camera tech has been out, the cheaper it becomes. So you can get a high quality camera with a long list of features for right around $100.
Where in my house should I set up my dog camera?
You may find you’ll need to change your dog camera location based on what your dog really does while you’re gone. If his movements are limited, you’ll have a better chance of getting placement right the first time. But if he has free reign of the house or even multiple rooms, you may want to hold off on a permanent mount until you can determine where he spends most his time. You may be surprised to find out what he gets up to while you’re away.
No matter what room you place the camera in, you should hang it high on the wall and aim it down, allowing you maximum visual access. That way you can see anything he sees and you’ll know what he’s responding to and interacting with.
Can I use the camera outdoors?
Most cameras are designed to be either outdoor cameras or indoor; but some are capable of being both. Each model is different, though and you’ll need to check on your specific model. It is important to note: If it does not clearly specify if it is indoor and/or outdoor, you must assume it’s an indoor only camera. Base models are very rarely designed hearty enough to withstand outdoor weather.