Should you get a doggy cam? Well, it depends...
We see you, helicopter pet parents. Because we’re HPPs, too. And that’s okay.
We’re not here to judge; actually, we’re here to enable your hovering technique. Hands up if you’re thinking of gifting yourself a doggy cam so you can see what your dogs are up to, every second of every day. *raises hand slowly*
Sure, 24/7 surveillance might sound kind of creepy, but lucky for us, dogs don’t know or care that they’re on camera. So what’s stopping us from running out and getting the highest-resolution doggy cam with night vision and a built-in treat launcher?
Well, if you’re like us, you still like to weigh the pros and cons before you commit to anything. So here are the things you might want to think about before getting a pet cam for dogs.
Doggy Cam Pros
1. Peace of mind
Remember that time you went on a few errands and spent 80% of the time worrying about worst-case scenarios that your pup could get into while you were gone? And the time before that, and the time before that?
What if they jumped off the couch and landed wrong and broke their leg? Or did you leave the trash can lid off, and maybe by now, they’ve scavenged their way to a case of pancreatitis?
A doggy cam might be a little pricey, but peace of mind is priceless. You can check in to make sure your dog is okay and then go about your day without spending mental energy worrying.
2. Fun distraction
Doggy cams are also good for your mental health. A 2017 study showed that distracting yourself with positive things can be good for you. And there’s nothing more calming and uplifting for your mood than seeing your best furry friend on camera.
Watching your pets on a doggy cam isn’t just a great distraction for you, but also for your friends, family, and even coworkers. Yes, they all definitely want either a livestream link or pics or video clips taken with your camera. You could even set up a message thread dedicated to sharing pics of everyone’s pets.
3. Reassuring your pup
Of course, the doggy cam isn’t all about you–it can be a nice distraction for your dog, too. If you get one with the two-way speakers, you can talk to your pup in that special voice so they know just how good they are. And if you get the fancy cameras with the treat dispensers, that will really break up their long day with an exciting break.
Let’s not forget that a doggy cam can also double as a security camera. Most pet cams for dogs work pretty much the same as your standard security camera. Depending on the features you want in a doggy cam, you could even consider getting a camera that’s marketed as a security camera to use as a doggy cam.
5. Uncovering separation anxiety
You may suspect it, but if you really want to confirm that your dog has separation anxiety, using a doggy cam is a great way to find out. Some of the signs of separation anxiety that you could catch on camera include barking, howling, shaking, pacing, trying to escape the house, peeing or pooping in the house, or destroying things.
The key to knowing if it’s specifically separation anxiety is that these behaviors will usually happen right after you’ve left the house, or soon after, not while you’re home. Your dog may also act anxious or depressed when they know you’re getting ready to leave. And then when you come home, they’ll greet you as if they thought you were gone forever.
6. Checking on dog walkers
Let’s be clear–we’re only talking about times when you’ve hired a dog walker to pop in and take your pup for a walk while you’re at work or away from your house for the day. If you have a doggy cam set up, you can use it to make sure the dog walker actually did walk your dog, and that they came at the time they were supposed to.
Hopefully, you’ll have an amazing dog walker that you trust, and they will already send you pics or share their walking route with you to follow. But if not, or you have a new dog walker, you can do a little checking in on them without invading their privacy.
Doggy Cam Cons
1. Becoming obsessed
If you’re not careful, a fun distraction could easily become an obsession. Your seemingly non-threatening pet cam will have you spending way too much time checking it.
The 2017 study on distraction and cognitive behavior therapy found that distractions can become counterproductive when you find yourself becoming addicted to them. If you know that you have a tendency to overindulge in procrastination behaviors, you may also find yourself checking a pet cam about 1,000 times a day instead of doing important things like, say, work or errands. You could also get really stressed out by the tiniest things you’ve seen on camera, like if your dog simply “looks sad.”
2. Being hacked
Having a pet camera in your home opens you up to the possibility of being hacked. Your videos, geolocation, and other data may become vulnerable.
If you feel that the benefits outweigh the risk, though, Furbo has posted some universal tips on their site on how to keep a pet cam secure.
3. It might actually stress your pup out
There’s nothing spookier than being sound asleep and hearing a loud voice yelling something at you when you know you’re the only one home. Sure, your dog loves your voice, but they know that you haven’t come through the door and they can’t smell you in the house.
So it may drive them crazy trying to figure out why they can hear you when you’re not there. A dog’s vision is also different from ours, so they may not connect seeing you on a screen with it really being you, especially since they can’t smell you.
Of course, you may have a dog that loves hearing you through the camera and is soothed by your voice or seeing you on a screen. And if it’s a treat-dispensing camera, they may not care where the treats are coming from!