Cats love playing with laser pointers, and some dogs do, too. While that activity can be a fun source of exercise and entertainment for certain dogs, for others, it’s surprisingly dangerous. In fact, playing with a laser pointer can actually do more harm than good for dogs with obsessive tendencies or herding and hunting instincts. We’ve rounded up a few reasons why, as well as some productive games to play with your pet instead.
You’ve been told not to aim laser pointers at other people for fear of eye damage, and that rule applies to your furry friend, too. A laser beam is highly concentrated and could potentially harm your pet’s vision, as well as disorient them. Your dog also can move quickly when playing, so the risk of accidentally shining the laser into their eyes is increased.
Frustration and Obsession with Lights
Dogs with hunting, tracking, or herding tendencies are especially susceptible to light obsession. Playing with the laser pointer stimulates those natural traits that come from years of breeding.
Lasers stimulate your dog’s innate prey drive, just like playing with a ball or a squeaky toy does. However, unlike a ball, your dog can never catch the beam of light, so they never receive a reward. This can lead to unhealthy behaviors. Some pet owners have reported their dogs obsessing over and reacting to other light sources, such as shadows or reflections. If your dog is frustrated by their inability to catch the dot of light, it can lead to bigger problems with obsessive compulsive behavior, which can severely impact their quality of life—and yours.
If your dog becomes too frustrated by the light, they may start attacking the last place they saw it. Walls, furniture, and floors may all become victims of your dog’s determination to capture that little red dot. Your possessions may not be the only victim either; dogs can even harm themselves in their desire to attack their “prey.”
Laser Pointer Alternatives
Instead of playing with a laser pointer, there are plenty of other constructive ways you can entertain and tire out your dog indoors. Puzzle toys stimulate your pet’s mind and body, games of fetch fulfill their prey drive, and learning new tricks can wear them out. Working with your pet builds your relationship and keeps them from developing bad habits or conditions.
The Bottom Line
It may seem like harmless fun to entertain your dog with a laser pointer, but you could be doing damage. To protect your pet and your household items, find other sources of activity. Between long walks, treat puzzles, and engaging training sessions, you can keep everybody healthy and happy.