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If you’re looking for a pet camera that flings treats, you’re probably looking at two main options: the recently updated Petcube Bites 2 and the Furbo.
Both of these products are made with the same goals in mind:
The Petcube Bites 2 and the Furbo also can both be used to assist in treating separation anxiety in dogs and teaching dogs to behave politely and stay quiet when home alone.
If you’d like to learn more about treating separation anxiety (especially using a remote camera to do so), check out my Journey Dog Training course on the topic. Using the code CANINEWEEKLY at signup gets you 10% off your signup costs!
Let’s look at the high-level differences and similarities between these two dog cameras.
|Furbo||Petcube Bites 2 (Updated 2019 version)|
|Field of Vision||160*||160*|
|Free cloud video recording||No||Up to 4 hours|
|Treat Tossing Ability||Yes||Yes, varying distances|
|Treat Capacity||Over 100 treats||Up to 1.5 pounds, any brand.|
|Treat Scheduling Mode||No||Yes|
|Bark Alert||Yes||Yes, the subscription version adds smart alerts.|
|Smart Dog Alerts||Paid version only. Has activity alerts, selfie alerts, and person alerts||Paid version only – person alerts. The free version of the app records activity but doesn’t alert you in real time.|
|Sound||Two-way||Two-way audio with 4-microphone array|
|Amazon Alexa Compatible||Yes, but not built in||Yes, Alexa built-in|
|Dimensions||5.91 x 4.72 x 8.86 inches
(15 x 12 x 22.5cm)
|5.7 x 3 x 10.6 inches
(14.5 x 7.8 x 26.9 cm)
|Weight||2.1 pounds||3.5 pounds|
|Monthly Fees||Optional. Furbo Dog Nanny has extra features and costs $6.99/month or $69/year.||Optional. PetCube Care Plans come in two tiers, ranging in price from $3.99/month to $8.25/month (based on annual).|
Based on specs alone upon my purchase, my assessment is that the Furbo has a better camera than the original PetCube Bites and premium Smart Dog Alerts. However, the PetCube Bites and PetCube Bites 2 has the Furbo beat in one key area: scheduled treat delivery.
Most people seem to want a treat-tossing camera for social interaction with their dog. If you want that, that’s great. Go for it.
But I think it’s important to remember that these treat-tossing cameras were created by and for humans. If you think that talking to your pup through a robotic box is going to brighten up your pup’s day, I’m not sure you’re correct.
At best, your voice emanating from a piece of furniture could be interesting to your pup. You might be able to cue a few cute tricks and then reward your pup. My dog Barley doesn’t respond to my robo-voice coming from the Furbo at all. It’s just a distraction from the treats.
But at worst, say your dog does understand that it’s your voice. That might be upsetting to her! She might wonder where you are or why you sound so weird. My dad’s Labrador used to get upset when she heard him on the phone, frantically searching for him. We thought it was cute until we realized how stressed out she was. Not funny!
If your dog seems to like hearing your voice on the phone, great. You might get the same benefit here. But many, many dogs don’t “get it” or even like hearing your voice from afar.
If your main criteria for getting a treat-tossing dog camera is to soothe your dog while you’re away, focus on the treat tossing ability, not the video and audio specs. Better yet, get a dog walker.
I think the main draw of these gadgets is for their training opportunities, not interaction. But other users disagree – they love the ability to chat with their pets. That’s fine, too!
The Furbo is a sleek white column that can be put on the floor or up on a table. A stylish wooden cap can be removed to fill the container with treats. The website swears it’s dog-proof, but I’m sure a determined Rottweiler might be able to break it apart.
The Furbo can be paired with Amazon Alexa or an app on your smartphone. It’s relatively easy to use and has the option for two-way audio. The Furbo app will notify you if your dog barks. Optional smart alerts come at an extra cost, as does cloud recording.
The app on your phone lets you see your dog, talk to him, and toss him treats. It’s pretty easy to use but can be slow if your internet connection isn’t great.
The Furbo is best used with small, round, hard or semi-hard treats.
The PetCube Bites is a square, black-and-white container that can sit on a flat surface or be mounted to the wall. It’s sleek and innocuous, though the updated 2019 Petcube Bites is bit taller than the Furbo.
Like the Furbo, the PetCube Bites can be paired with Amazon Alexa or your smartphone (version 2 now comes with Alexa built-in) to talk to your dog or deliver treats.
Unlike the Furbo, this camera lets you vary the distance that you toss treats. It can also schedule treat times, which can be extremely useful for separation anxiety training.
The high-capacity treat container of the PetCube Bites can hold 1.5 pounds of treats and is dishwasher safe. Treats must be crunchy.
The cameras on these two treat-tossing dog cameras are essentially the same, though the Furbo does have a slightly wider frame of view than the original Petcube Bites. However, this has now been matched with the higher-priced PetCubes 2.
Unless you’re carrying your camera around, the difference in weight shouldn’t matter much (though the PetCube Bites is nearly twice as heavy as the Furbo).
Here are the key differences between the Furbo and the PetCube Bites:
Read on to the next section to see how these differences balance out, in my opinion!
Confession time: I purchased a Furbo for Cyber Monday in 2018. Overall, I’m really happy with it. But realizing that there was a similarly-priced option out there (PetCube Bites original) that offers the ability to schedule treats has me second-guessing!
To be honest, my WiFi or phone connection often means I don’t get the full benefit of the amazing Furbo camera. But being able to schedule treats would be a huge perk. Many other reviews dismiss the treat scheduling as useless. I strongly disagree.
I personally wish that I could use my Furbo to drop treats without even viewing the video, as the video really slows things down if I’m using phone data. The PetCube Bites treat-scheduling feature would fix that problem.
If you’re looking for a dog treat camera that can help crate train your dog or soothe separation anxiety, treat scheduling is an incredibly useful feature. The PetCube has this feature. Furbo doesn’t.
Both the Furbo and the PetCube Bites come with apps that are fairly easy to set up. Both apps are a bit clunky to use, but they’re both improving all the time.
My only other complaint directed at PetCube is related to another product, the PetCube Play. This device lets you play with your dog using lasers. The dangers of this are well-documented and can be devastating – you can read about them from the AKC, Rover, or Paws4U. I’m disappointed enough in this product that I’d hesitate to purchase a PetCube Bites and support the company.
The two original cameras are similarly-priced, so are my main findings on the Furbo versus PetCube Bites debate:
I already own a Furbo. I’m not likely to purchase a PetCube Bites unless my Furbo kicks the bucket. But if my Furbo expires, I might jump ship to the other option!
Which treat-tossing dog camera do you think is the best? Why do you love it?
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