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Health & Wellness

Here's why you shouldn't leave the TV on for your dog while gone

The television affects every dog differently.

It’s not as comforting as you’d think

There’s nothing better than taking a little break from reality in front of the television (or a long break — cue the ultimate movie marathon). All of your favorite binge-worthy shows help you drift away, so it’s fair to assume that our pets would have the same experience. 

It’s actually not that simple, though. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough shares why leaving the television on may cause your anxious pet more stress. 

TV color and sounds

When it comes to colors, dogs only see in yellow, blue and green, so certain shows (especially colorful cartoons) could be either boring or confusing to them as they can’t differentiate shades. Pups process images much faster than humans, too, so instead of seeing the true image, television often looks like random flickering, bright movements.

Sound can also overstimulate your pet. Some dogs listen to, rather than watch the television, and if there’s a loud noise or dog barking, it could make them more anxious. 

How to introduce your pet to the TV

If your pup is nervous when you leave the house, talk to their vet to learn how to help them with their anxiety. And if you insist on seeing if the television can help your pup feel comfortable, follow these steps: 

  • Start small. Leave them in the room with the television on while you’re at home so you can see how they react. 
  • Try a couple of different channels to see which one they react the best to. 
  • Test out animal shows or calming shows like The Blue Planet (just avoid barking dogs, if possible). 
  • Remember that television is not a replacement for human interaction. 

Don’t worry if the television doesn’t calm your pet. There are other options, like a curated Spotify playlist to soothe anxiety, or an audiobook, that may work. As pet lovers, we understand that you’re never fully comfortable until your best friend is — luckily, there are several ways to make sure your pet is relaxed. 


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Photo by Greg Jenkins on Unsplash

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