We love spending every moment with our pets but there are times when we have to be apart
I’m lucky as I work from home so it’s rare I need to leave Patch for more than a few hours but knowing he’s content and not fretting is important.
Thanks to technology we can monitor our pets and this week we’ve been testing the Furbo pet camera.
If you’ve seen the film The Secret Life of Pets then this is pretty much the insight you get when you use the Furbo.
It’s a camera with a built in treat dispenser and a two way microphone. Furbo connects to your wifi and works with an app that you download on your Smartphone.
The app is simple to use and set up takes less than five minutes.
Switch on the Bluetooth on your phone, plug Furbo in and wait for the green light, connect to your wi-fi and put in the password and that’s it.
How Furbo footage appears in the Smartphone app
How does Furbo work?
You can leave the camera on 24 hours a day. It doesn’t record all the time, but you can make short videos and take photos through the Furbo app.
Set it up in the room where your dog spends most of their time - ours is in the living room - and put it in a place where it can see most of the room.
So if you’re out and about and want to check on them, you simply click on the app on your smartphone and it will transport you in real time to where your dog is.
The picture quality is good. You can choose from 1080 pixels which is full HD video quality, 720p or 360p which is better if you don’t have a great signal.
It has a 160° wide angle lens and you can zoom in 4x on your pet.
Patch getting used to the Furbo
What else can Furbo do?
It has some great features including taking photos and videos, tossing treats and a two way microphone so you can call your dog.
The treat dispensing facility lets you reward them. With Patch, I used it while I was with him to get him used to random treats pinging across the room!
There’s a ‘Snacks call’ option, where it makes a noise when you’re about to throw a snack, but I turned this off and just recorded a silent tone.
Use small, solid treats that are about a cm wide and nothing that might go off or smell! I use Guru Venison and Sliced Apple sausages which were the ideal size.
Another facility is the ‘Barking alert’ so you get a notification if your dog is woofing. This means you can check they’re ok, and what’s causing them to bark.
Usually, it’s just the postman or the window cleaner but in theory it acts as a mini security camera too - so if anything untoward was going on at home, your dog would be able to tell you.
You can ring up on the two way microphone and talk to them - again, like with the treats I did this while my boyfriend Tommy was at home to see how Patch reacted at first.
Press the microphone button once so it turns yellow, speak, then press it again to turn off the microphone.
We made sure Patch associated Furbo with his fave thing - sausages!
Can Furbo help our pets?
Yes, because it gives us an insight into how they behave when we're not with them.
Separation anxiety is something we hear a lot about and we all worry that our pets are settled and happy when they’re at home on their own.
Furbo enables you to check on them, giving owners peace of mind. I would stress that pets should be left no longer than four hours according to RSPCA guidelines.
Technology can’t replace the one to one time we have with our pets, but seeing how they behave can help identify and treat any separation issues they might have.
Lisa Richards, chief scientific officer at the RSPCA, says it supports the use of cameras when we’re away from pets for a short time.
She says: “Knowing how our dogs behave when we’re not there can be really helpful, and if they’re not coping alone we can take steps to help them feel more relaxed.”
Yum, time for treats!
What kind of people would find Furbo useful?
Any crazy dog person who can’t bear to be apart from their pet.
If you work in an office, you have your dog sitter or walker visit so you know they’re being cared for but having Furbo means you can see them whenever you like.
So it works for owners with separation anxiety too! Furbo can be used for cats although the barking alert may not pick up mewing.
One thing I found really helpful was the night vision which I think is ideal for people with puppies, senior dogs, or ones who might be recovering from illness or surgery.
The day after our camera arrived Patch was neutered so being able to see he was settled at night was helpful.
I know you’re not supposed to use Smartphones in bed but with a poorly dog, it’s allowed and he ended up cuddled up with me anyway!
Finally, if you’re a social media addict or have an Instafamous pet, you can use stills and video from Furbo in your feed and stories.
Patch sleeping - a Furbo night vision photo
While nothing can replace the time we share with our pets, Furbo comes a pretty close second and has some excellent, well thought out features.
It’s very well designed and doesn’t look like a camera, and comes in neutral colours so will fit in with most colour schemes.
Ultimately I think the main benefit of Furbo is it helps us feel connected with our pets when we can’t physically be with them.
It lets us know they’re safe and content and the bark alert facility means they can reach us if they need to - and that peace of mind is really valuable.
Furbo is Amazon’s No 1 selling camera and is usually £249 but is priced at £199 for a limited time - to buy or find out more, visit shopuk.furbo.com
Thank you to Karkalis Communications for asking us to review Furbo and for gifting the camera to us. All reviews are completely independent and honest and we only recommend products we enjoy using ourselves.
If you like reading about innovative dog products, you might enjoy We test our trousers for dogs or Dog friendly products we tried and tested in August.