We tried the Furbo dog camera that lets you monitor and play with your pet from afar — here's what it's like to use

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  • With the Furbo dog camera, you can keep an eye on your dog when you're away from home using your smartphone.
  • Not only is the Furbo a pet camera, but you can also toss treats to your dog and it has a clicker sound for reinforcing training.
  • I consider this dog camera a great deal and plan to continue using it well into the future.
  • What's in the box
  • Setup
  • The treat-tossing function
  • The audio and video quality
  • The barking alert function
  • The pros
  • The cons
  • The bottom line

I'm familiar with most of the pet cameras currently on the market, but the Furbo dog camera is the first one I tried for myself.

My sister and her husband recently came home to visit, and they left their French Bulldog Hemingway in the care of his sister. Both of them work demanding jobs with long hours, so they were using the Furbo dog camera to stay connected to their pup when they were away from home. Curious to see the product in action, I asked them to show me how it worked, and I played around with the app a little bit.

So, when I was presented with the opportunity to try the Furbo dog camera for myself, I pounced on it. Before testing the Furbo dog camera for myself, I knew a couple of things about it:

  • It was designed specifically with dog owners in mind, giving them the ability to check in on and interact with their pet when they are away from home.
  • It is equipped with two-way audio and 1080p HD video capability as well as infrared night vision.
  • It's compatible with Alexa, though this was not part of my testing.
  • It enables you to toss treats to your dog by pushing a button on the smartphone app.
  • It can help you reinforce your dog's obedience training with a clicker feature, and it has an indicator light that changes color to attract your dog's attention.

I'm lucky enough to work from home, so my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, Archie, spends most of the day by my side. There are times, however, when I need to leave him home alone. He is fully housetrained and does well on his own for extended periods of time, but I still feel bad leaving him alone — that's why I came to love the Furbo dog camera. I can still keep an eye on him using the Furbo smartphone app and can show him some love by tossing him a few treats.

What's in the box

When I received my Furbo dog camera, I was pleased to find that the package was very simple and produced very little waste. The device itself was packaged securely in a minimalistic box along with the power adapter, a 7-foot USB cable, and the quick-start guide.

In terms of construction, I found the Furbo to be very well-made. It seemed sturdy and had a wide enough base that it wouldn't be easily knocked over. The lid covering the treat storage compartment was secure but easy to remove and unlikely to fall out if the device tipped over. I also found the USB cable to be plenty long enough to plug the device in where I wanted it.

Setup

Overall, the Furbo dog camera was fairly easy to set up (in spite of a few hiccups), and I found the app very simple to use.

I was able to download the app quickly from the Google Play Store and logging in was a breeze. After logging in, the app automatically searched for and paired with my Furbo via Bluetooth. The device originally connected to my Wi-Fi account quickly but, when it came time for setup, the connection failed several times before it began to work. As I was reviewing the setup guide again, I received an email from Furbo with troubleshooting suggestions and was able to reset the device and complete the setup.

Before testing the camera, I completed Archie's profile in the app and adjusted some of the settings. Using a simple menu, I was able to adjust the video quality, turn the night vision on or off, set the time zone, adjust the volume, and toggle the Wi-Fi on and off. I was also able to record my own "Snack Call" for the device to play prior to shooting out treats.

The treat-tossing function

I opened the video feed and pressed the button to shoot out a treat. The Furbo dog camera played my recording then shot out four treats. Needless to say, Archie was immediately intrigued. The recording of my voice caused his ears to perk up and the mechanical noise of the treat feeder drew his attention. As soon as the treats were dispensed, he chased them down.

I originally filled the hopper with the bag of Crazy Dog Train-Me treats that came with the unit. They are made with pork liver, barley flour, and whole ground potatoes, among other ingredients. They are small enough in size to fit through the hopper and they contain just 1.5 calories each. They are also corn-free and made in the USA.

Unfortunately, Archie wasn't a fan of the flavor of these treats and I didn't like that the unit shot four treats out at one time. I ended up swapping them out for a handful of Archie's kibble.

The audio and video quality

After testing the treat-tossing feature, I played around with the app a little more to test the audio and video quality. Because I was in the same room as the Furbo at the time of testing, I noticed a slight lag in both audio and visual streaming. This lag is unlikely to affect the function of the device at all, however, since it is intended to be used from outside the home.

I found that the Furbo dog camera can record up to 60 seconds of audio/video content and snaps pictures, which you can share via smartphone text message, email, or social media. The audio quality of the device left something to be desired, but that isn't a feature I intend to use heavily anyway. The picture quality was high, and the wide-angle lens allowed me to view the entire room, depending on where the unit was placed.

The barking alert function

Another feature the Furbo has to offer is the Barking Alert function. When the unit detects your dog barking, it sends a push notification to your smartphone. I wasn't able to fully test this feature because the only time Archie barks is when one of my cats is trying to eat from his food bowl.

Based on other user reviews of the product, however, it seems that while the Barking Alert may be a useful feature it is a bit over-sensitive. If you find that to be the case, you can adjust the sensitivity of the feature or simply turn it off.

The pros

  • Specially designed for dog owners with input from thousands of dog parents, veterinarians, and professional dog trainers.
  • Quick and easy to set up, connects to the smartphone app via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and sends real-time alerts and push notifications.
  • Enables you to view video and hear audio both night and day when you are away from home to help you keep an eye on your dog.
  • Has the ability to toss treats and has a clicker sound to use in reinforcing obedience training.
  • High-quality construction and spill-proof design. Can be set up anywhere with a strong Wi-Fi connection.

The cons

  • Audio capability is fairly weak. Both the microphone and speaker could be of higher quality.
  • Bark Alert feature could be overly sensitive. You may want to disable it or turn off the push notifications if you receive them too frequently.
  • May not withstand heavy chewing if your dog knocks it onto the floor. Be careful where you place it to ensure stability.
  • The device shoots out as many as 4 or 5 treats at once. Be careful to use low-calorie treats or switch to your dog's kibble if it is small enough.

The bottom line

Overall, the Furbo dog camera was well-designed and easy to use. While some improvements could be made to the audio quality and the sensitivity of the Barking Alert and treat-tossing features, both the device and the smartphone app are perfectly usable as they are. I was not disappointed by the Furbo dog camera, and I plan to continue using it well into the future.

Whether you're seeking a way to keep an eye on your dog and ease his separation anxiety when you're away from home or simply looking for a fun way to interact with your pup, the Furbo dog camera is a great option. It may not be at the top of the list for things like audio clarity, but it is easy to set up, simple to use, and it gets the job done.

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