Before I got started on any cameras, I spoke to an animal expert first to review the potential benefits – or negatives – of using one of these devices. Many in her field are concerned about dogs suffering from separation anxiety, especially when owners begin to venture back into offices and other places outside the home, says Melissa Payne, professor of medicine and epidemiology with a focus in veterinary behavior and care at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
She explains that some signs of anxiety are more recognizable than others, such as howling, whining, urinating or defecating, and defecation. “Other signs could be pacing, drooling, lack of appetite, or just laying around and staring in the door for hours,” says Payne.
Having a camera can help pet owners know if their pet is anxious in the first place, or perhaps another reason they are eating wood and barking all day.
“Sometimes they’re surprised that it’s not separation anxiety but more boredom, or they’re chewing on the door frame because the mail company is coming to the door,” says Payne. “Or they bark, and maybe someone complained about the dog’s barking, but the dog barked at the squirrels.”
Pine adds that cats are smarter about their anxiety – they don’t do things that would make neighbors call the police – so they can walk or camouflage but owners won’t know about it until they see it on video.
Having a pet camera can help owners identify problems, and Bain says they can also help alleviate separation anxiety, especially if the device can offer a reward as a reward for good behavior.
To this end, while it may be tempting to reprimand your puppy for doing bathroom chores on the rug, Bain recommends using two-way audio communication only to reinforce good behavior and not punish bad behaviour, as this could cause your dog to become injured. To develop an aversion to the camera and leave the owner.
If you see signs of anxiety in your pet, Bain recommends letting your vet know, so the underlying issues can be addressed.