Easy to use • Made of durable plastic • Bamboo lid tightly secures treats • Launching treats is fun!
Can’t pan or move the camera • Expensive for a dog accessory
Although $249 is a lot to spend on a dog toy, we think it’s fun and useful enough to justify. Everyone enjoys launching treats from this device.
We’ve all been there before: You’re about to leave for work, and the family dog follows you to the door, watching through the window as you enter your car and leave. But what if you could keep a watchful eye on your dog the entire day — even from your office?
The Furbo Dog Camera enables just that. The device is roughly the size of a small flower vase, and lets you livestream audio and video directly from your home to anywhere in the world with an internet connection (and, of course, the right password).
It’s not cheap at $249.99, but it does come with the added bonus of letting you launch dog treats to your pup remotely. So, in short, you can keep tabs on your pooch and also reward them for good behavior from anywhere in the world. Pretty neat, right?
But is it enough to justify its hefty price tag? My family and I spent the last two weeks testing the Furbo Dog Camera thoroughly to see whether it was worth it. Here’s what we found:
Everyone, meet Georgia, my family’s toy poodle that lives in New Jersey. She’s a very good dog, and she’s been getting a firsthand account of how the Furbo works along with all of her owners: me, my mom, my dad, and my brother.
We’ve been using the Furbo Dog Camera to check on Georgia throughout the day for about two weeks, and when any of us are feeling inspired, we shoot treats to her from the machine.
I’ll admit: I typically send her the most treats because, first of all, it’s really fun, and secondly, she’s a very good dog (as I mentioned) and deserves the absolute best. I’ve been sending her about four treats per day, and I’m pretty sure she has no idea it’s me behind the launcher, but she certainly seems to enjoy the snacks.
A dog-friendly design
The Furbo Dog Camera blends into almost any room. It’s about 9-inches tall and has a modern, sleek, hourglass shape — with a wide base at the bottom and a tiny pinch in the middle.
You’ll notice there’s a large bamboo lid at the top of the device, and that’s to cover up the small reservoir where the treats are stored. The plastic material that covers most of the machine is extremely durable — even if you have a skittish dog that attacks foreign objects.
When we first introduced the Furbo to our dog Georgia, she quickly began pawing at the machine and scratching it. We were immediately surprised by the durability of the machine when it fell, and by how well the bamboo cap stayed attached.
Still, we know there are lots of crafty dogs out there, so if you own a very persistent puppy who loves treats and can sniff them out easily — you might want to consider how they would react to what is essentially a robotic cookie jar. If you’re confident that your dog wouldn’t gnaw on the lid for hours, you’re probably safe.
Setup is incredibly easy
The Furbo Dog Camera couldn’t be much easier to setup. It’s practically plug-and-play. Once you plug in the device, you’ll need to use the companion app to get it connected to your WiFi.
The setup process takes about 15 minutes total. I had to restart the app a couple of times to get it connecting properly, but shortly thereafter it was working just fine. It’s comparable to any other smart home device that uses an app to function. The app will walk you through every step of the process.
Once the device is connected to the internet, the last thing you need to do is load the treat reservoir with tiny dog treats. Furbo recommends using round circular ones, and warns owners that other shapes can sometimes send out more than one. My family used Charlee Bear dog treats from Trader Joes, which worked really well. Furbo recommends using Nutro Mini Bites among others.
After the treats are loaded into the machine, and it’s connected to the internet — that’s it! You’ll see live streaming video on the app’s home screen, and you can begin launching treats at your puppy.
Some dogs may love the Furbo right away, but Georgia was not one of those dogs. She’s a little skittish at times, and was very skeptical of the Furbo when it first arrived.
I spent about an hour sitting with Georgia and getting her familiar with the device. This included launching treats from it, and getting her used to some of the small (but audible) noises it makes.
The device plays a sound every time it launches a treat, and one of the cooler things is that you can customize the sound. So, if you have a phrase that you always say to your dog, you can make the Furbo say that. Pretty cool!
Testing this product was ultimately a lot of fun, and something I really enjoyed messing around with. Most of that is because of the iOS and Android apps are so well-built. They’re extremely intuitive, and easy to use. My parents even commented on how fun it was to check on Georgia during the work day.
The companion app is super basic, and that works to the benefit of the user. When you first launch it, you’ll be asked to add details about your dog like name, birthday, breed, and gender and upload a photo. You’re not required to add any of this information, but it makes the app slightly to look at every time you launch it.
From that point on, every time you open the app, you’ll see a live video feed into your home. The viewing screen is incredibly clear and minimalistic. A camera and video button on the left-hand side allow you too easily snap a shot or quick video that saves to your phone.
There is also a microphone button on the right side of the display that lets you talk to your dog in real-time with the speaker embedded on the device. Of course, being able to launch treats is the best part of using the app, and you do that by simply moving your finger across the screen with an upwards swipe.
For more dedicated users, there is Furbo Dog Nanny or a premium subscription service the company is piloting. The service detects things like when your dog is barking, when people enter the room, or when there’s other unusual activity happening in front of the camera.
Never worry again
Listen, I know $249 is a lot on paper, but the Furbo Dog Camera is totally worth it. Throughout my two-week testing period, I’ve been able to check in on our family dog Georgia while I’m out on the town or at work. Same goes for my mom, dad, and brother. The app can handle multiple logins at once, and it’s extremely easy to use. It helps that it only has a couple of core functions.
I’ll admit, it took some time for our dog Georgia to get used to the treat launcher, and the light mechanical noises it makes as it prepares to launch a treat. And she was also a little rattled when we used the intercom feature to talk to her from the device. But over time, she’s become accustomed to the device — and seems to understand when the treat mechanism has been activated.
So even with the short learning curve taken into consideration, the Furbo Dog Camera is a great addition to any pet-owner’s home.