The Best Dog Monitor Cameras Available In Australia
Our #1 Pick
The Best Value for Money
SKYMEE 12L WiFi Automatic Dog Feeder
Do you feel a bit guilty when you leave your doggos home alone? I certainly did the first time.
When adopting my first puppy, I took time off to help her settle in (don’t judge - it’s fur-ternity leave!) When first going back to work, how could I be certain that she wouldn’t destroy the house? Even with a dog walking service, I wanted peace of mind like the helicopter parent that I am.
So, I invested in my first dog camera, and I suppose you are here because you want one too. In this dog cam-centric article, we at Gentle Dog Trainers are going to give you our best recommendations and tricks to utilising a dog camera in the best way.
Dog Cams: Do You Need To Spy On Your Dog?
So admittedly, it felt a little overboard to have a dog camera but when I started using one, it really did ease life for both me and my puppy. From my own experience and that of trusted vets, here are the main reasons you may consider getting a dog camera.
“Separation anxiety describes dogs that usually are overly attached or dependent on family members. They become extremely anxious and show distress behaviours such as vocalization, destruction, or house soiling when separated from the owners.” - Debra Horwitz, DVM & Gary Landsberg, DVM from VCA Hospitals. (1)
As dog cameras are usually very sensitive to movement such as pacing or vocalisations such as howling, it will alert you. That way you can better tell your dog’s behaviour when you are not there.
There will often be some kind of interactive element to dog cameras too which enable you to soothe your dog’s worries at the moment. Whether that is by hearing the sound of your voice or tossing them a treat every so often, the clever dog camera will give you the tools to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety at the moment, from wherever you are.
Now I’m sure that you, dear reader, won’t replace a real burglar alarm for a dog camera. So take this advice responsibly. However, dog cameras often have the capabilities to alert you of anything going awry at home. If you see a stranger in your home on a dog camera, you can act. If the dog tips over the fish tank while you’re at work, you’ll be alerted. If your dog is in any distress, you’ll be warned and be able to see them.
It’s an extra layer of protection when you are away from home.
Dog Sitter Watch
This may be my neuroticism but there was something comforting about having a dog camera, even if I had a dog sitter at the house. It’s very much like having a nanny cam. In many ways, dog cams are advertised as nannies themselves - offering you the ability to remotely offer treats and/or food to your dog if you are away for a while.
We wouldn’t recommend that for long term times away. It is always better to get a dog sitter.
“With a pet sitter, you can be sure they will spend time with your pet and keep an eye on your home and your property. Hiring a professional pet sitter who has a wealth of experience will enable you to enjoy your trip knowing your home and your pets are being well cared for while you are away.” - Rita Reimers, PetMD (2)
But even with that professional pet sitter, you may still want a connection to your dog. I am not advocating spying on your dog sitter, but it is nice to be able to see your pup remotely when you want to. A dog cam can help you do that.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Dog Camera
Dog virtual cams are meant to be used for long periods, so battery life is paramount. These free-standing machines often come without mains connections and therefore only have a charger to keep it going. You want a device that optimises its battery life and won’t die on your during your date night out, leaving your dog to their own devices.
Food or Treat Dispensing?
Most dog cameras are treat or food dispensing. This is what makes it a pet cam rather than just a webcam you can set up around the house. A dog camera specifically has some sort of interactive element that usually involves kibble at some level.
So which one to buy? Well, it depends on what you are using it for. If this is your stand-in for a dog sitter for that aforementioned date night, then you’re likely only going to be out for a couple of hours and may have already done the large feedings with your dog. If it’s a case of separation anxiety or boredom for your dog, a treat dispenser is probably fine. Chuck your dog a treat from wherever you are if the system alerts you that your pup is up to no good or pacing anxiously. Robot treat-dispensing toys are fabulous for dogs who suffer from boredom when alone.
Then automatic food dispensers are best for you if you work away from home and will miss key mealtimes with your pup. The machine will do it all for you. Simply programme the feeding times you want, fill up the storage tray with food and let it run in your absence. The camera will allow you to see if your dog is eating whilst you are away.
Another aspect to consider here is the size. Treat dispensers are easy to store and keep light on its feet, but it has a teeny tiny camera. Food dispensers are certainly more cumbersome to find a convenient corner, but the HD camera tends to be better quality, with a clearer picture.
Let’s be honest. Dog camera systems are not cheap.
You are essentially investing in a piece of tech that can provide a live feed to your home at any time. So if you’re going to make that kind of investment, you want the system to last.
Your dog likely won’t bother the machine, but accidents do happen. They may knock it over or drool on it as they wait for treats or food to be bestowed on them.
You want a machine that is...dog-proof! A hardy machine that will last you well into the future, or at least a solid manufacturer’s warranty/satisfaction guarantee. Like any piece of tech, those guarantees are a sign of quality.
Speaking of video quality, this is a key part of your purchase. You don’t want a camera system that promises you the resolution of a patchy MSN call. (Do you remember those?) That won’t give you the peace of mind that you’re looking for.
Another aspect of this is the smoothness of the live feed. Is it choppy and constantly freezing?
Does the WiFi connection stay consistent? Does the system even stay connected to the WiFi if it isn’t sitting on top of the router? That’s not going to helpful for the moving treat dispensing dog cameras.
PRO TIP: Every manufacturer is going to call their camera is the best thing since sliced bread. The highest quality with the clearest resolution and the smoothest live feed. The photos will sell a dream of Netflix-like cinematic quality when watching over your pooch. You will only get the truth from reviews and testimonials. Watch out for notes from paying customers about the quality of the camera for the most accurate accounts. If it is truly terrible, someone will shout about it!
Not all dog cams have microphones but it can be a nice feature to have. The ability to use a live microphone to soothe your dog’s anxiety is an extremely useful feature. Even the option to pre-record messages for when the system releases a treat or signals to your dog for mealtime. These messages are far more comforting to your dog than a loud beep or a sudden release of food which can be quite frightening.
Imagine being home alone and a bowl of cereal is poured out of blue automatically with no warning? I would wet myself!
As with the camera, you want the microphone to be as clear as possible. If it distorts your voice into a Dalek-like growl, it will certainly be the stuff of nightmares for your pup. Not exactly the soothing effect you wanted.
Again, rely on the accounts of paying customers to know whether the microphone is up to snuff or not. You may not care very much about the microphone. It is more of a “nice to have” than a complete necessity. But if it’s there, get a good one!
Best Dog Monitor Cameras Reviewed 2021
Below we have outlined the very best dog cameras money can buy on the Australian market. There is a mix of treat dispensers and food dispensers so you’ll surely find the right option for you!
The SKYMEE Auto dog feeder also featured in our review of robot dog feeders. We love this one for so many reasons.
It comes in two sizes: an 8L and a 12L. It is cleverly designed with a window to see how much food you have left in the airtight container. The container is perfect for keeping dry food fresh for up to one month.
Simply use the app to set the mealtimes and it’s good to go! The SKYMEE will feed your pup whenever you set it to.
You can record your voice message when the food releases or you can speak to them live at any time.
Now for the camera, the main event here. The camera is pretty high quality but it won’t blow you away. It is clear enough to see what is going on which is the most important thing. It also has night vision.
For a food-dispensing dog camera with decent capacity and reliable tech, this is the one for you!
The Furbo Dog Camera is the number one bestselling dog camera on Amazon for good reason! It is a compact, stylish treat dispenser and camera that is sure to suit your needs.
The tech here is pretty impressive. Starting with the camera quality, it boasts a 1080p resolution in live video, as well as night vision.
It also works well with Alexa, enabling you to use the microphone to trigger Alexa. With the two working in tandem, you can set commands like “Alexa, ask Furbo to toss a treat every 2 hours”. This gives that “set it and forget it” peace of mind we all want.
There is a two-way audio system so you can hear when your dog is barking and speak to them directly to calm their nerves. There are mixed reviews as to how effective the microphone is unless your dog is directly in front of the camera, so that is something to bear in mind.
As for the treat dispensing capabilities, the Furbo can hold up to 100 pieces of dry 1cm treats.
We do have one con here and that is the doggie nanny system. It’s a pretty wonderful idea - bark alerts, cloud recordings of your pup that you can access later and a daily in-app doggie diary. The problem is that this is only given to your free for a month. After that, there is a monthly subscription to access these features.
So we recommend this one with a caveat. If you have the budget to pay the monthly subscription, this product is a wonderful piece of tech. If not, the others on this list will serve you just as well.
The PupPod Rocker & Feeder is such a fun treat dispenser! Part game, part slow feeder, part camera, it is an interactive camera that will keep your pup entertained.
It comes in two parts. The rocker which your dog kicks and moves around. The feeder then releases food when your dog taps the rocker. You can set it to play automatically, or you can play with your dog via the app from wherever you happen to be!
The camera quality is decent with a 1080p resolution.
There are different settings to the game to increase difficulty or switch up the rules, leading to greater enrichment for your dog. Games like these are crucial for keeping your dog’s mind sharp well into their old age. (3)
The best part of this product is that it is extremely accessible to all dogs, big or small, young and old. Even deaf and blind dogs are accounted for. The rocker has light and sound functions respectively to cater to your dog’s disability.
Overall, the PupPod is a universal dog camera treat dispenser that will give you a reliable video stream while also entertaining your lovable canine.
What if you want a camera that moves with your puppy? A bug’s eye view of what that little miscreant is up to, while also providing entertainment for them?
The SKYMEE Owl Robot is such a cool product. The “owl” eyes are two HD cameras that give you a unique wide-angle view of your dog’s activities that you just can’t get with other stationary cameras.
The robot is remote-controlled from your app and it can leave a trail of snacks to intrigue your pup.
The battery life is great, giving you 8 hours of active spying.
There is a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, so you can talk to your pooch whenever you want.
This is a personal favourite of mine as it has all the bells and whistles you need in a compact, movable frame. Love it!
The Final Verdict: Best Puppy Cam
For the best possible dog cameras on the market, the SKYMEE models take the cake. They are well designed, reliable, intuitive and well-built.
Whether you choose the food dispenser for longer periods away or the treat dispensing owl for on the move tracking of your dog, you can rest assured that both models will do the trick.
Generally, you cannot use wet food in these kinds of machines. It doesn’t stay as fresh as dry food does. Dry food can stay fresh for up to one month in an airtight container. The same goes for dry treats. Some food dispensing cameras can hold semi-moist food but please follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Dry food and treats are always the safer bet as it is also easier to clean.
The size of the food you use is also a factor. Make sure that the food or treats you use are not too big or they will jam the mechanism. Too small and too much food will be released.
- Horwitz, D & Landsberg, G. “Separation Anxiety in Dogs”. VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved April 7, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/separation-anxiety-in-dogs
- Reimers, R. September 26, 2018. “Must-Haves for Hiring a Pet Sitter”. PetMD. Retrieved April 7, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/must-haves-hiring-pet-sitter-0
- Grzyb, K. January 19, 2016. “7 Signs of Dog Dementia”. PetMD. Retrieved April 7, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/neurological/5-signs-dog-dementia