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If you leave your pets alone for extended periods of time, you've no doubt wondered what they get into when you're not there. A camera to watch pets can put your mind at ease — but this technology has evolved even further.
A pet camera treat dispenser lets you keep tabs on your dog or cat from afar and provide them with a comforting snack. This gadget can be especially handy with nervous pets, letting you console them from anywhere. But is this gadget worth the investment?
What Is a Pet Camera Treat Dispenser?
These devices aren't just a camera to watch pets; they connect to an app on your smartphone, making it possible to interact with your pet while you're away.
In addition to letting you speak and video chat with your dog or cat, you can dispense treats with the push of a button. Some models even incorporate a laser beam, letting you play games with your homebound pet while you're stuck at the office or grocery store.
Consider these pros and cons of a pet camera treat dispenser to decide whether it would work well for your family.
Pros of a Pet Camera Treat Dispenser
With this device, you can check on your dog or cat throughout the day, easing any worries about their safety and well-being. Some even offer added home security features that allow you to monitor more than just your pet: night vision, motion sensors, sound activation that can tell you when your dog is barking, and the ability to connect with your security, fire alarm and gas or carbon monoxide detectors.
These gadgets can help you keep your entire family safe as well as feel a little better about leaving your furry friend on their own. A pet camera treat dispenser can also be used to:
- Monitor habits: If you suspect your pooch is sneaking illicit naps on the sofa while you're away, wonder no more. With this tool, you'll be able to spy on your pet and discover how well — or how poorly — they behave when they think nobody's watching. You can also use it to discover if your pet is showing signs of separation anxiety.
- Discourage unwanted behavior: Whether you've got a pup who barks incessantly and disturbs the neighbors or a kitty who likes to use your favorite chair as a scratching post, a built-in speaker gives you the ability to call them and correct their behavior.
- Reward good behavior: Correcting poor behavior is only half of it. With a treat dispenser, it's possible to reward pets for good behavior, helping to reinforce good habits.
- Alleviate boredom and stress: Often, undesirable behavior from pets stems from boredom. Being able to interact and play with them throughout the day can provide mental stimulation that may help reduce their anxiety, hyperactivity and destructive behavior, says The Labrador Site. Of course, being able to play with your pet can make your workday feel less stressful and boring, too.
Cons of a Pet Camera Treat Dispenser
For starters, they can be pricey. With the most basic models starting around $50, the more feature-heavy options tend to cost considerably more. With features and quality tending to increase along with the price, this device is one where you tend to get what you pay for.
Some other drawbacks of a pet camera dispenser are:
- Quality can vary: Some cameras have a narrow field of vision, low-resolution images and poor connectivity, and not all offer two-way communication with your pet. Keep in mind, too, that even the best devices are only as good as your internet connection. A slow connection can result in buffered videos and poor streaming video quality. This can be true of the app on your smartphone, too. A poor-quality app can make interactions frustrating if it often freezes or crashes.
- Could lead to overtreating: Dispensing a treat every time you check in on your pet might make you both feel better at the moment, but it can be an unhealthy ritual for your pet. Be sure to keep track of how many treats your pup or kitty gets throughout the day and factor them into their daily calories. And be careful not to give them so many treats that they end up too full to eat their nutritionally balanced pet food. Remember, no more than ten percent of a pet's daily caloric intake should come from treats. Also, keep in mind the type of treat that is best suited for these devices. Not all treats can be dispensed, so it is important to determine the best type of treat that you and your veterinarian can agree on that is still compatible with the pet camera treat dispenser you purchase.
If you're leaning toward getting this gadget, consider your needs and which features are most important as you start to shop around. Additionally, reading online reviews is a great way to determine which of these devices will be the best fit for your pet family — and your budget.
Jean Marie Bauhaus
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.