A couple of months ago we discovered something which has fast become one of K9 Magazine's review dog's favourite thing in the whole world. Without it, she'd be devastated. The dog was 10 1/2 year old Rottweiler, Mia and the object was the Petzi treat cam.
It was our first time reviewing something in this field and only afterwards did we discover there were others out there with new and different features and functions which might be just what your dog is looking for, and so to get a new perspective we brought in reinforcements to help us review two alternative pet treat cams - the Pawbo+ and the Furbo.
Meet the Reviewers
Meet Christopher and Danny:
Christopher is a two year old Rottweiler and his pal, Danny is a little over four years old and a Rottweiler cross. Together, due to their rough and tumble nature they're affectionately dubbed 'the hardy boys'.
Pictured L-R, Mia, Christopher, Danny
Both know about the Petzi because they live with Mia, but as she's perfected her 'bucket mouth' to block treats from getting past her to them, they rarely get a look in. And so our hardy boys are reviewing the Furbo (from RRP £199) this month.
Expect a cameo from Mia - we would have been stupid to think anything treat based could enter the home and not pique her interest.
Oreo is just over two years old and he lives in the West Midlands with the Hunter family, Craig, Clare and 10 year old, Lucia. He also loves to play and he's reviewing the Pawbo+ (RRP $199) which is designed specifically for small dogs and cats.
Pawbo+ vs Furbo: Features & Functions Comparison
- Treat dispensing camera designed for small dogs and cats
- Has 720P HD live video and 130° Wide-Angle Lens
- Allows up to 8 users to chat with your pet through Pawbo at one time
- Has a laser pointer game function for cats to engage
- Two-way speaker so your pet can hear you & you can hear them
- App allows you to control multiple Pawbo devices (there is an original Pawbo treat cam as well as the Pawbo+) & operate multiple Pawbo accessories
- App allows you to share photos/videos taken with social media
- Price: $199 (at the time of writing there is a 15% limited time offer on the Pawbo site - suitable for both US and UK dog owners to use)
- Treat dispensing camera designed for all dogs and suitable for cats
- With 720P HD video streaming, a 120° wide-angle view and night vision cam
- Allows up to two users to use the app/device at any time
- Two-way speaker so your pet can hear you & you can hear them
- App allows you to swipe to create multiple pet profiles & tells you how many times you've dispensed treats that day
- App allows you to share photos/videos taken
- App allows you to personalise the jingle (from squeaky sound default) to your own voice which sounds before treats are dispensed
- App pushes alerts to tell you if your dog is barking
- Price: From £199 (as of 16th Dec there is a £50 discount on Amazon taking the price to £199)
Pawbo+ vs Furbo: Summaries
Here's Clare to explain how Oreo's taken to the Pawbo+ and how she found setting it up and operating.
Let me introduce you to our Border Terrier, Oreo. He lives with me, my husband and our ten year old daughter and is very much the baby of our family with a very sunny and loving nature. His tail is always wagging, his eyes are always alert and he cocks his head to one side when he’s paying attention to something. He absolutely loves cuddles and tickles. Because he has the sweetest face and the most loving eyes it’s not hard for him to get plenty of these from everyone he meets. But what he loves even more than fuss and attention is food and treats. We only have to open the cupboard where are treats are kept and he is sitting down and holding out his paw to give you to shake, it that doesn’t work he will lie down, roll over and do it all again until he gets a treat.
So as you can imagine a machine that lets him hear our voices and gives him treats while we are out is his favourite thing in the world. When the Pawbo+ first arrived he didn’t know what to make of it. We set it up in the kitchen, where we leave him when we are out, with a view of his basket.
After we had set it up and found the best sized treats to use (we opted for some smaller Pet Munchies treats), we downloaded the app to our mobiles and connected to the Pawbo Cam to use for the first time while were all in the house so that we could see how it worked.
Here's a screen shot of the app
We put Oreo in the kitchen and we went into the other room. I think he was a bit confused that he was in the kitchen while we were still at home, but as soon as the treats came out he was eating them up and getting very excited. We did it a few times so that we knew he had the hang of it. It was interesting and very sweet to see how he would just lie in front of the Pawbo+, staring at it and willing more treats to come.
We were also interested to see he never tried to mess with his Pawbo+ or knock it over. Being small we thought he might think it was a toy and try to have a good chew and play with it, but that has still never happened. It’s as if he knows that it won’t work if he tries to destroy it.
Knowing it worked fine, we had the apps and knew Oreo understood what it was, we were ready and eager to try using it when we were out so we could check in on him and reward him by giving him treats. Our daughter was beside herself with excitement and we all love that we can see Oreo from wherever we go and make sure he is okay. We always wondered what he did when we were out and know we know – he chills out in his basket and does very little else.
After using it a few times we got into a bit of routine of using the birdie whistling on the Pawbo+ to alert him and then we all say hello to him, as soon as he hears the whistling he knows what is coming and he is up, having a big stretch and sauntering over to wait in front of the machine with us watching the whole time. The treats are gone in seconds but he will then wait around for a while in case there are more treats to come and we can take photographs while he's in front of the treat cam to save or share.
We work from home so Oreo is never left alone for long periods and the most we have left him is about four hours, but this can be very restrictive when there are things to do and what the Pawbo+ allows us is so much more freedom, without the worry, because we can now check in and make sure that Oreo is doing okay. This gives us great peace of mind. But what it also gives is endless hours of fun. My daughter has recently had a mobile phone so if she is at a friend’s house she can check in and see Oreo and when we are out and about we all love to see him and give him treats.
I would definitely recommend a Pawbo+ for anyone with a dog. It does have functions for cats but we didn't use these for Oreo, such as the laser beam game (pictured above with a screenshot from the app). It is very simple to set up, easy to use and gives real peace of mind and lots of fun. We absolutely love our Pawbo+ and it is definitely by far our favourite dog toy.
Here's Kim to explain how Christopher and Danny have taken to the Furbo.
A few months ago we discovered all about pet treat cams and although we had no problem with the Petzi and friends and family alike have logged in to use and share treats, really, well all know that it's Mia's. She's claimed it, it's hers and the boys get a little look in, but not a lot.
The Petzi we realised although a hit didn't have functions others have - such as the two-way mic which allows you to hear any sounds your dog may make - and so as we decided to review some more pet treat cams (lucky job you say!) we were keen to test out new functions and what really makes the pet treat cam work for you and your dog.
The Furbo arrived and when we took it out we first noticed it's quite stylish design with its USB plug which slots into the back in keeping with the modern, sleek feel.
With a white plastic exterior and wooden top with rubber edging to keep in place (and the treats safe) we decided for this pet treat cam we'd place out of reach. Mia's Petzi is on a shelf and in line with her height, so after initially placing there I thought to give this one a fighting chance (her face above tells you how she would react to this news) to get treats to the boys it would be best placed up high, but the design does make me think it would be okay on the floor if your dog is more of a gentle personality and wouldn't look out of place in the most modern looking home.
After unpacking all elements and plugging in we downloaded the app from the Apple store (also available for android devices) and set up our account. You can set up multiple pet profiles but you have to swipe left after creating your first. I had to ask about this so I'm including this as I'm not sure it's entirely intuitive (or perhaps I just missed it).
After some wi-fi connection issues resolved by logging out, logging in and re-selecting the wi-fi, we were ready to go. The volume was automatically set via the app to 'high' so I left it and set about testing the features.
The camera I noticed is a decent quality, as is the video. The sound which trills when you select to treat is a mixture of a machine whirring and a squeaky toy by default.
Mia's initial reaction to the noise was 'err, did you hear that Danny?' and although Christopher loves squeaky toys he wasn't mad keen on the sound so I was pleased to see you could set your own tone and recorded a message asking 'who wants biscuits' which now plays every time biscuits are dispensed. Original, I know. I caved under pressure to think of something funny.
I first tested with the treats which came with our package for review but discovered they were too big and only one or two were dispersed each time we set it to dispense, sometimes with none coming out the second time if I pressed it to dispense again straight away.
So we replaced with some smaller treats and this solved the issue. It really is worth testing to get this part right with whatever pet treat cam you might favour, ultimately it's the biggest and best feature of all and if you were out and were checking in and the treats were stuck you'd kick yourself. Your dog might not be too happy either.
One thing the app does which I really do like is that it will push a notification on your phone to let you know if your dog is barking, this is one of the biggest benefits of having the two-way mic and I'd not experienced before with the other pet treat cam being one-way only.
Danny is a bit of a worrier and as such if they're ever left, which is rare, for any length of time of an hour or so upwards, we split the boys up. He and Chris have a real bond but they do egg each other on and they'd just be too much together for our cat and Mia to handle running around if they heard a noise, so Mia takes charge of Chris and the cat and Danny's left to settle in the conservatory where the pet treat cams are currently set up.
Given we don't know Danny's background as we rescued him after he was found straying, we've always put certain quirks down to his unknown background. He hates being left out in the garden on his own, even if you're standing in the doorway watching him, for example, so we've never known how he is when left alone.
On a car journey recently the app and my phone alerted me to my dog barking. I logged in and there I saw him, lying on the sofa, face in the air doing a combination of a bark and a howl. We had a chat, I gave him some treats. He felt better and I didn't get another notification.
For me, this is the biggest benefit of the device. There are things I might change - for example, other apps allow you to see galleries of other pets using the pet treat cam creating a bit of a community feel, but ultimately this might be something which is nice to see but you don't specifically use, and the app's connection can be quite unstable which isn't, this time, the fault of the wi-fi connection based on other devices working without problems. Overall I finished off the Petzi review thinking the two-way mic function might be good but I didn't need it, to now realising the value of that function and that's thanks to the Furbo.
Find Out More
Thanks to Pawbo+ and Furbo for sending our reviewers both pet treat cams for review.
If we've inspired you to treat your own dog (did you see what we did there?!), then here's the links to follow to read and see more:
For the Pawbo+: Visit their website direct (suitable for both UK and US visitors) - www.pawbo.com/uk