Britain is a nation of pet lovers, proved more than ever during the pandemic when UK households welcomed 3.2m furry friends through their front door.
With more hours at home and a schedule wiped clean of any social commitments, we had more time to dedicate, train and get to know a cute new arrival. Four-legged critters have also been invaluable to our mental health when cooped up indoors, especially for those who endured a solo lockdown.
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) says it’s mostly young people becoming pet owners, with more than half in the 16 - 34 age category. This is the age group most likely to be venturing back into the real world as things start up again.
With covid restrictions all but dropped and days in the office back on the weekly agenda (not to mention all those long-awaited post-work drinks afterwards), you could be left feeling guilty about leaving your fur baby on their tod for hours - especially when they’ve become so accustomed to presence over the last 18 months.
Animal Behaviourist and Canine Specialist at Natural Instinct Kirsten Dillon believes that 77 per cent of dog owners are worried that their pets will feel lonely and experience separation anxiety as they make a return to ‘normal life’ . She says while there is no replacement for your real-life company, tuckering your dog out with ‘rigorous’ exercise will leave them more calm in the day when you’re not around (and less likely to maul your new sofa). Slowing building up your pup’s confidence by introducing small periods of isolation can also help them cope when you’re absent.
While cats are famously more independent than dogs, it’s still nice to be able to check in on your pet - if only to see what they get up to when you’re not around. The secret life of your pet: a private show more riveting than the new series of Succession, but with an audience of just one - you.
Video cameras designed for animals offer an open window into your pet’s antics. Working in tandem with an app, most allow you to tune in from anywhere and watch through your device, whether you’re at work, an overnight stay or a weekend away.
What’s more, features such as two-way sound allows you to talk to them or reprimand them if you catch them chewing on your favourite slippers. Some models even allow you to dispense treats, helping you keep up the training process even when you’re not physically present.
We’ve rounded up the best models below - shop now
Furbo Dog Camera
One of the best remote monitoring systems around, this camera offers a host of great features to keep you and your precious pooch connected.
Given the green paw of approval from the Paul O’Grady - For the Love of Dogs show, the Furbo Dog Cam comes with a night vision filter as well as a notification that sends alerts to your phone if it senses your dog barking - helpful for detecting possible intruders. Reward your pup with treats from Furbo’s dispenser; simply fill with 100 of their favourites and dole them out through a corresponding app on your phone.
The device offers Full HD, 160º wide-angle, 4x zoom so you’ll always be able to see what they’re doing. The cherry on top? It pairs with Amazon Alexa, allowing you to connect more devices together for a fuller remote monitoring experience.
Buy now £189.00, Amazon
WOPET Pet Dog Treat Dispenser Camera
Spending time away from your pet feels a little easier knowing this clever gadget is watching over them. Offering crystal clear vision night or day, you can livestream your furry friend’s activities over the full HD WiFi-operated camera which also operates in infrared LED night vision.
You can give out treats when they’re being good or play a remote game of catch when you spot they need a bit of attention. There’s also a built-in two-way speaker, which lets you speak to them as well as scare off any unwanted visitors or issue commands in line with your training programme.
Buy now £194.99, Amazon
Skymee dog camera
This model is slightly bulkier than the others on our list, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing - especially if you have an excitable dog back at home.
The camera can be placed out of Rover’s reach, yet still keep an eye on the entire room thanks to the rotating base that can move through 180 degrees. Skymee is also fitted with an app and a manually-operated treat dispenser which will shoot out at an adjustable angle. There are two treat feed trays that allow you to add different sized options - good for owners who want to change their pet’s rewards.
One unexpected but helpful addition? Skymee can also charge gadgets wirelessly with tech that has this feature.
Buy now £139.99, Amazon
EZVIZ C6CN Tilt Smart Indoor Pet Camera
Technically a home security camera, this device comes with a pan and tilt option, which makes it ideal for tracking pets at home. Not only can you see what they’re up to, but you can speak to them too thanks to the two-way talk feature. The EZVIZ app will also record footage to your phone and its Amazon Alexa & Google Home Compatible so you can use it with existing smart tech for an even more seamless experience.
Buy now £59.99, Pets at Home
PETKIT Pet Remote Monitor Mate Pro, Rose Gold
Ideal for cats as well as dogs, this sleek device in rose gold is perfect for remote monitoring as well as interaction. Not only will you be able to keep an eye on all your fur baby's antics when they think you're not watching, but you can join in with playtime too.
A laser helps to encourage exercise - your kitty will love pouncing around the carpet trying to catch the elusive red dot - while night vision allows you to see their secret life, even after lights out. A mic and speakers allows for two-way communication and the rotating ability is the best we've seen at 340 degrees.
Buy now £145.00, Amazon