Security camera systems are great, but perhaps your main need from one is to check that your pets are ok – in which case, there’s a range of cameras designed to watch over your dog, cat or bird.

There are also regular security cameras. Some of these do a great job pet-wise by alerting you when a dog’s bark is heard, for example. The nest cam IQ indoor is great for this.

Specialised pet cameras go further by including a treat dispenser or a distraction element to involve your pet in activity. Two-way speakers mean you can talk to your home, though some experts feel that talking to your dog when you’re not there can be confusing or excite them.

But it might be just the thing if you want to intervene in a difference of opinion between two pets. Pet cameras offer peace of mind, though be warned – they can become quite addictive.

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Furbo: £189, Furbo

Pet: Dogs
Treat dispenser? Yes
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? Yes

Where the Furbo stands out is in its attractive design and solid build. The white body and bamboo lid are discreet enough to fit into most rooms. Halfway down the front is what Furbo calls a treat tosser, controlled from the smartphone app. The treats are projected quite high into the air, which can scare pets at first, though our dog got used to it reasonably quickly. Obviously, you need the right-size treats, and appropriate ones are listed on the website.

The Furbo has a barking sensor, so you can set it to alert you if it hears canine noises. The camera is high-quality and the app relays the video effectively, with clear images. It also has night vision, in black and white, which adds to peace of mind. Although the camera has a 160-degree field of vision, it’s still important to position it carefully. The bamboo lid fits tightly, but this doesn’t mean a determined pet can’t break into it if it’s within reach.

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Pawbo plus: £139, Amazon

Pet: Any
Treat dispenser? Yes
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? No
Audio alerts? Yes

Most pet cameras are geared primarily towards dogs, but the Pawbo plus suits cats too. That’s because it has a laser game designed to entice pets, and cats seem to respond as much as dogs. It’s important to note that not all animal experts approve of this kind of diversion. It’s small and neatly designed, with a decent 130-degree field of vision, but it doesn’t match the Furbo for build quality.

Treats dispense downwards (unlike Furbo’s, which are projected upwards), meaning that the Pawbo needs to be placed on the floor so the pet can access the treats easily. The app can be used by multiple people, up to eight at a time. Pawbo also makes other products, including ones designed to entertain the pet in your absence, but they don’t have cameras attached. There’s also a pet tracker for puppies’ collars.

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Petcube bites: £179, Zooplus

Pet: Any
Treat dispenser? Yes
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? Yes

Like the Furbo and Pawbo plus, you can reward (or maybe alarm) your pet with a treat that springs out of the Petcube’s dispenser. You can adjust the way the treat flies by how you aim on your smartphone screen, which adds a bit of fun for the human part of the equation. It’s a large unit, around 33cm tall, and has a brushed metal design. The size also means there’s room for a lot of treats inside. If you have Amazon Alexa, this gadget is compatible, so you can use your voice to release a treat.

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Skymee 8L: £149, Amazon

Pet: Any
Treat dispenser? Yes
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? Yes

Instead of treats, this camera is able to dispense a full meal. A door opens and a mechanism pushes dry food into the sizeable feeding tray on the front. If there’s a power cut, the Skymee can hold batteries to ensure your pet is fed as planned. Notifications include when movement is spotted and when food is running low.

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Petzi treat cam: £155.31, Amazon

Pet: Dog
Treat dispenser? Yes
Two-way speaker? No
Motion detection? No
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? No

Like other pet cameras, Petzi’s is controlled by smartphone app. It’s a basic but effective system which was one of the first on the market and it has now come down in price considerably. Not all treats fit – they need to be smaller than one inch. Still, that’s bigger than some treat dispensers can manage. Audio is only one way, meaning that although your dog can hear you when you talk to the app, you can’t hear your dog. Camera quality is good, but beaten by the others featured here. As with other pet cameras, snapping photos of your pet doing something irresistibly cute is possible (indeed, mandatory).

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Neos smart cam: £19.99, Neos

Pet: Any
Treat dispenser? No
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? Yes

This is a general home security camera rather than one optimised for pets, but it’s amazingly well priced so worth including. Video quality is acceptable, but no more than that. Still, it’s tiny, making it easy to fit in any room. Despite its size, it includes a motion sensor, and when it spots movement it saves 12 seconds of footage to the cloud where it is saved for 14 days at no extra cost. If you buy a microSD memory card, you can save video locally, too. It has two-way audio, so you can talk to your pet. Because it’s small, it's best to position it carefully: for many dogs this is barely a mouthful. It even includes night vision. Basic, simple and amazingly priced.

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Kamtron security camera: £35.99, Amazon

Pet: Any
Treat dispenser? No
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? Yes

What sets the Kamtron apart is that the lens can rotate vertically and horizontally, giving you great vision of what your pet is up to. There are adjustable motion sensitivity controls so you don’t get alerted every time a tail wags into shot. The performance is pretty basic but the price is good, especially since it includes night vision and two-way audio. Video is stored in the cloud and there’s a memory card slot so you can store it locally, too.

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Google Nest cam IQ indoor: £269, John Lewis & Partners

Pet: Any
Treat dispenser? No
Two-way speaker? Yes
Motion detection? Yes
Night vision? Yes
Audio alerts? Yes

This is just an ordinary home security camera, but it has features that work well for pets. The image sensor in the camera is 4K quality. Although it only streams in HD resolution, it means the camera can zoom in automatically and still have high-quality visuals. An optional Nest-aware subscription offers audio alerts, which are handy when the dog’s barking.

That subscription means you also get facial recognition included with this camera, so you can spot if a person is recognised or not. Sadly, this feature doesn’t work with dogs. You can control the alerts you receive based on what movements you want notifying of. With a little set-up you can direct this to focus on the sofa, for instance. Nest aware subscription can be taken annually or on a monthly basis.

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The verdict: Pet cameras

The Furbo is easily the best pet camera in this roundup, but the Pawbo plus is cheaper and comes close to it in some ways. If you’re opting for a general use camera, the Nest cam IQ indoor is the standout.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.