If you’re a pet owner that suffers from guilt every time that you leave the house, the Petcube Play can help. It makes pet owning easier and even more fun.
Getting a pet is a double-edged sword. On one hand, they’re loyal friends that add laughs, love and companionship to your life. They’re there when we need them and can quickly become much loved members of our families.
But there is a downside. If you’re like most people, you have a job that keeps you out of the house all day. Your pet is left alone in your home while you go to work. When you leave home, your pet has to be left alone for hours and really, anything can happen.
Our pets generally sleep off solitary days and eventually get used to it but there can be trouble. Bored pets can create accidents on our flooring. Things can get chewed. Separation anxiety. The devil makes work for idle paws…
For most people, the biggest issue of leaving pets at home is the guilt that the forced loneliness creates. We’re empathic creatures and know that we wouldn’t want to be locked up for eight hours in a row. So we feel terrible for our pets. Also separation anxiety can be a big deal for some dogs.
Can technology solve this problem?
An Interactive Nanny Cam for Your Kitties and Puppies?
A company called Petcube set out to solve the lonely pet problem with the Petcube Play.
This second generation device allows you to log into an app while you’re away from home to play with your pets! By placing a small wifi-connected device, a three inch cube, in your home that has an embedded camera, speaker and laser pointer, you can check in on your pets.
By simply logging into the free Petcube app, you can talk to your pets through the speaker. You can move a laser all around the room (what pet doesn’t love chasing a laser) while watching them through the camera. Don’t worry the laser is safe for humans and animals. This all can happen while you’re pounding out that spreadsheet at your office (or making gourmet doughnuts or whatever it is you do for money).
The Petcube Play also has a feature called night vision. There is an onboard light sensor. When that sensor detects poor lighting conditions, it switches to Night Vision Mode.
In Night Vision Mode, you get a full black and white video stream. We were a bit skeptical that it would work in the dark, but it works well. Check out Instagram user @massquantitiesofpaws playing with their cats and dog using the laser in night vision mode.
The Petcube Camera let’s you talk to your pet. It let’s you entertain your pet. Check in what they’re doing. Is Petcube Camera the device to relieve pet guilt?
Here are the specs:
- 138° wide angle view
- 1080p HD video
- 3R class laser built-in laser toy
- 2-way audio
- Night vision
- 3x digital zoom
- Sound and motion alerts
History of Petcube and the Petcube Play
In September of 2013, Petcube used Kickstarter to launch their grand idea for a first generation version of the Petcube Play called the Petcube Camera. They managed to quickly generate enough interest to bring the Petcube Camera to market, ultimately convincing 1,758 pet lovers to pledge a total of $251,225.
After over a year of design iteration coupled with feedback from its Kickstarter backers, the Petcube Camera shipped in late 2015. And people loved it.
In August of 2016, Petcube went back to the Crowdfunding well and launched another Kickstarter to do a few things.
First they wanted to upgrade the Petcube Camera. They made it smaller (shrinking it from a four inch cube to a three and a half inch cube), upgraded the video from 720p to full 1080HD, added night vision and made the setup process more user friendly. They also added motion and sound sensors so that your pet can “get in touch with you”!
Secondly, they created a product called Petcube Bites which is an interactive treat dispenser. This fun gadget is basically a Petcube Camera with a container full of treats. You can talk to, and dispense treats to, your pet throughout the day, while you’re away using a mobile fun. It’s pretty neat – expect a full review of it on Crowdwonder soon.
Does the Petcube Play work?
This thing gets great ratings. People love it.
There are a few cases online where people have had problems connecting it to their Wifi network but they seem to be few and far between. Plus, routers are fairly cheap, so you could always swap yours out if it didn’t work, or just return the camera. The documentation lists the Wifi specs as “Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz”. Chances are if you’re router isn’t working, it’s old and won’t work with a lot of things like this.
It’s a good idea to make sure that you have a strong wifi where you want to keep the Petcube Play. This thing streams video to your mobile phone, so it needs a strong signal. Also note that video streamed to a phone will use data, so make sure that you’re on Wifi at work.
Why Buy a Petcube
Do you ever wonder what your cat does all day? Ever think that your puppy might invite a few friends over to trash the place while you’re out working hard to keep the lights on?
The Petcube Play is a great product is you want to keep an eye on your pet while you’re out of the house for long periods of time. You can see what your pet is up to, talk to your pet and even entertain or distract your pet with the laser.
There is also a feature that you can share control of the camera with friends and family. One user mentioned that their niece loved to check in on her dog, talk to it and play with it.
You may even get your whole office involved in entertaining your pets, once they hear you talking to your felines over the lunch hour.
Ultimately, the Play could be useful in less than ideal circumstances. You could check in on a scared pup during a thunderstorm or make sure that a healing kitty was still wearing his cone. It might be a good way to make sure that your new cat and old dog (or vice versa) are getting along on their first days alone together.
The big question is, does it relieve guilt? For most people, the ability to check in on their pets and see how happy they are (or more likely how much sleep they get) while their out will make them feel more comfortable the next time that they need to get out of the house and leave the pets at home.
The Furbo Dog Camera is a bit more expensive than the Petcube Play. However it does a few extra things. While the very modern design may not fit every decor, it’s a solid unit.
In addition to the things that the Play does, it also dispenses treat for your pup and has a barking alert (the app will notify you when the unit hears your dog barking).
It’s well rated and also has Night Vision. It’s probably best for dogs. It’s more comparable to Petcube’s Bites product (see below), but we listed here anyway.
The Petcube Bites is essentially a Petcube Play with a treat dispenser built-in. Like the Furbo, you can use the app to spit out a treat throughout the day for your dog. You can even program it to give them out at certain times during the day.
A great feature is that you can wire up the Petcube Bites with Amazon’s Dash program, so that you will be notified when your treats are running low and to order more from Amazon.
Petzi Treat Cam Camera Dispenser
The Petzi is also a Treat Cam Dispenser that, like the Petcube, was crowdfunded. $130,210 was raised
by 735 backers on Indiegogo.
It allows you to see, speak to, take picture of and give treats to your pet. They also allow you share photos on the Petzi social network with other pet owners using the Petzi app.
The Petzi seems like a cheaper way to check in on your pets and feed them treats. The only bad thing that anyone could really claim is that it kind of looks like a soap dispenser. Also, the audio is only one way. Otherwise, it’s a good product.
PetChatz HD Pet Camera Two-Way Video
The idea of the PetChatz is straight up, rad. It’s a look like the Petcube in terms of features, with one major exception–this badboy has a screen for your pup to see you. That’s correct – it’s Facetime for your dog. Google Hangouts for your cat.
While it’s a great idea, there are a lot of complaints about the quality of this unit and it’s twice the price. If you really want this, you might want to wait a little while until the quality issues are fixed.
Motorola Scout1 Wifi Pet Monitor
This product will get you a one way camera and microphone into your Pup’s world. For $125 you get 90% of the features of the Petcube.
If you don’t need a laser toy, this unit is less stylish but has a remote pan, tilt and digital zoom.