24 Sep 2017
Use a pet cam to record spontaneous animal videos

Use a pet cam to record spontaneous animal videos

Some of the BEST videos I've recorded of Tia and Spartacus are those that I wasn't even expecting. Consider the one in which Tia out-smarted the baby gate. Or the cute one in which Spart couldn't decide whether he wanted to be under the sheets or on top of them (sounds famliar?). Pet videos are some of my most valuable tools for getting through pet loss - and the spontaneous ones are often my favs. Want to know how to capture unexpected videos of your own lovable dog or curious cat? Read on.

I know how hard it is to confront the end of your pet’s life. I’ve lost quite a few cats and dogs over the years, and thankfully they all lived long and happy lives. That doesn’t take away the pain of losing a great companion, but it’s nice to know I have videos records of many of their lives.

Finding ways to memorialize our pets so that we can recall how great it was to have them as companions is important as we get ready for them to leave us. Having pet videos that help us relive our favourite moments with our furry friends is one of the best solutions for being able to visualize every little quirk and trick.

We humans do love our amazing, goofy, and funny pet videos - they clog our social media feeds and take up space on our hard drives. There’s a good reason these videos are so popular; they remind us all of how wonderful pets are and how happy they make us.

Of course, I highly recommend having your smartphone at the ready to capture every little habit and trick your pet does as often as possible. But they sometimes do the darndest things when we're not around... The solution? Setting up web cams around the house! These live-streaming devices may serve the purpose of providing security for your property or monitoring your kids before you get home from work, but they also can be great sources of great pet videos. When paired with a recording device or online monitoring service, your digital-video-service-turned-pet-cam can be a great way to capture those memories you wouldn't get otherwise.

Check out, for instance, the video below. We couldn't figure out how Tia was getting past the baby gate that separated her from her brother while we were gone - until we watched this scene unfold. Watch her little mind work as she figures it out - and then revel in her elation as she gets away and looks back and the gate with disdain. Warms my heart every time. She was SO smart!

Anyway, I want to help you make the right pet cam choice if you’re interested in buying one (or more) for your pet memory purposes.


How to Play it Safe When Capturing Pet Videos

Using indoor cameras to record cute pet videos is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to memorialize your best friends. However, installing a nanny cam can be dangerous if it’s ever hacked. Here are a few things you can do to stay safe and prevent your camera or cameras from being compromised:

  • Tighten Your Password Game: This is good advice for any aspect of your digital life, but it’s especially important with regard to Wi-Fi. Don’t create a password using any information a hacker might be able to find online, such as family birthdays or the names of your pets. Instead, check out a random generator that will create an ironclad password. If you wnat to make up your own, be sure it has at least 15 characters of all types. Whatever way you come up with a secure password, make sure you write it down as soon as you devise it.
  • Use Encryption: Wi-Fi is susceptible to hackers, so make sure your system is equipped with tamper-proof firmware. If your device is protected through encryption, you can record your pet play videos with peace of mind.
  • Register: Taking time to register your device with its manufacturer is a great first step toward safe use. Any time the company discovers a security flaw, you’ll know right away. It’s also a good idea to join a mailing list if available, because you’ll receive notifications whenever something might endanger your privacy.
  • Create Alerts: Setting up a Google Alert for your interior camera so that you receive a notification any time there's news about your particular pet cam. Anytime it’s mentioned online, you’ll find out right away. If there are updates or security issues that arise, you don’t want to be left out of the loop.

These simple tips will help you create cute pet videos without having to worry about your privacy or safety.

Yet online security shouldn't be your only concern. You also need to consider any local laws that apply to recording videos. While it is legal in all 50 states for you to use secret/hidden or out-in-the-open cameras to record video within your own home - even without the permission of visitors - some states have laws preventing the recording of audio without someone's consent. To avoid any legal trouble down the road with a pet sitter or child care provider, be sure to notify people of your web cams before they enter your home. These are the states that have such consent requirements:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

Consent is required for recording audio in these states regardless of whether the camera is exposed or hidden. Some even recommend having a verbal conversation with someone in front of the camera to record their permission in case evidence is ever required. This may seem extreme, especially when talking about family and friends, but something to consider to be on the safe side.

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Best Pet Cam Options for Capturing Great Videos

Alright, enough background information. Let's get into the details of which pet cam will be a good fit for your purposes.  Below is a breakdown of some of the most popular pet cam - and conventional web cam - options to give you a few from which to choose. 


Widely regarded as the best pet camera on the market today.

Size. Small, with an attractive and sleek design

Smartphone App. Yes, and it allows for instant sharing of pictures and video clips

Audio. Yes, including two-way communication with your pet

Storage. Four hours of cloud video storage after 30-day trial

Wireless. No

High Definition. 720p with 138-degree wide-angle HD

Price. $185

WiFi. Yes

Motion Activated. Yes, with wide camera angle providing extra security

Wide Angle. Yes, 138-degree

Night Vision. Yes, clear black and white in pitch dark conditions

Security. 128-bit encryption and other security protocols built in

Service Fees. Expanded video history for monthly fee

Outdoor Use. No

Standout Feature. Solid across the board, but most unique feature is its built-in laser pointer toy for interactive play



Although not necessarily pet-focused, this is a fine option for many reasons.

Size. The size of a small webcam

Smartphone App. Yes, with plenty of alerts and options

Audio. Yes, two-way with sound alerts based on Activity Zones (such as couches)

Storage. Yes, cloud storage of video, with 10 days of history for $10 per month

Wireless. No

High Definition. 1080p HD

Price. $166 (without subscription to Nest Aware)

WiFi. Yes

Motion Activated. Yes, including person alerts with Nest Aware subscription

Wide Angle. Yes, 130-degree

Night Vision. Yes, whole room vision at night

Security. Customized sound and motion alerts

Service Fees. Nest Aware costs $10 per month, with $5 per month for each additional camera

Outdoor Use. No

Standout Feature. Probably the best night vision of any affordable indoor camera


Petzi Treat Cam

Crowdfunded camera connects to Wi-Fi and remotely dispenses treats for your pets.

Size. Slightly larger due to dispenser; can be somewhat difficult to mount

Smartphone App. Yes, and it allows you to take and share pictures of your pet enjoying a treat

Audio. Yes, but only one-way

Storage. No

Wireless. No

High Definition. 720p

Price. $150-$170

WiFi. Yes

Motion Activated. No

Wide Angle. Yes

Night Vision. Yes, although not high-quality

Security. Controlled through secure app

Service Fees. No

Outdoor Use. No

Standout Feature. The treat dispenser helps this camera stand out from the crowd


Vimtag VT-361 (replaced by Vimtag P1)

Perhaps the best option for pet lovers on a budget, with all the features you’d expect.

Size. Comparable to most webcam models

Smartphone App. Yes, with remote live video

Audio. Yes, built-in microphone with two-way communication

Storage. Internal SD card slot, 32GB recommended

Wireless. No

High Definition. 720p

Price. $70

WiFi. Yes, with simple and quick setup

Motion Activated. Yes, as it is designed mostly for surveillance

Wide Angle. Yes, 320- x 120-degree coverage area

Night Vision. Yes, very clear night vision

Security. Manufacturer claims to use bank-level encryption

Service Fees. No

Outdoor Use. No

Standout Feature. The cheapest full-featured indoor camera you’ll find 



This well-equipped camera tosses treats to your pet for added fun.

Size. On the large side due to treat tosser

Smartphone App. Yes, designed to monitor pets and toss treats to them

Audio. Yes, two-way communication and alerts for when your dog is barking

Storage. No

Wireless. No

High Definition. 720p

Price. $230

WiFi. Yes, for streaming video and push notifications related to barking

Motion Activated. No

Wide Angle. Yes, 120-degree

Night Vision. Yes

Security. Bank-level encryption, username and password for controlling the camera through app

Service Fees. No

Outdoor Use. No

Standout Feature. Solid all-around, but treat tosser sets Furbo apart



Two unique features justify higher price tag on this pet camera.

Size. Fairly large, but made to easily mount to wall

Smartphone App. Yes, but still in development

Audio. Yes, with two-way communication (video chat with your dog)

Storage. No

Wireless. No

High Definition. 720p

Price. $379

WiFi. Yes

Motion Activated. Yes, alerts when motion detected within 8 feet

Wide Angle. 65.5-degree

Night Vision. Yes

Security. Secure password protection, encrypted SSL connection

Service Fees. No

Outdoor Use. No

Standout Feature. The ability to release a calming scent to ease anxiety


Netgear Arlo

Indoor/outdoor security camera is great for outdoor dogs, boasts wireless setup.

Size. Very small, which makes it ideal for outdoor placement

Smartphone App. Yes, with many alerts at your fingertips

Audio. No

Storage. Yes, up to 1GB secure cloud storage included

Wireless. Yes, two lithium metal rechargeable batteries included and records only when motion is detected to save power

High Definition. 720p

Price. $149

WiFi. Yes, for real-time email and app alerts

Motion Activated. Yes, with customizable activity alerts

Wide Angle. Yes, ideal for large outdoor spaces

Night Vision. Yes, clear HD night vision

Security. 128-bit encryption, strict password requirements

Service Fees. No, extra storage available at additional cost

Outdoor Use. Yes, designed to monitor large open areas

Standout Feature. The best option for outdoor dogs due to range of detection and variety of alerts


You should now have all of the tools and ideas you need to take spontaneous videos of your pets (and don't forget to save them with your cloud storage system). Get working on this now - especially if your furry friend is nearing the end of his or her life. Don't waste another precious moment of funny and inspiring video footage by putting this task off. When you're working through your pet grief later, you won't regret the investment you make now.  I promise.

What do you do with all of the videos you've collected? Well, there are many things, but my favourite is to create a pet memorial slideshow. You can either create one yourself or invest in an easier way to get a pet memorial video for yourself - I've got the pro tools to make a more polished video that will require much less of your time. No technical expertise required. Just send me your images and videos and I'll put it together for you. 


Image: Maryruth, Dose Media

Affiliate Disclosure: There may be affiliate links on this page which help to pay for Tiny Pet Memories. If you make a purchase through a link I provide, thank you because it may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I am not paid to promote specific products. Any opinions I express are strictly my own.