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My dog Ketchup loves snuggles. One of my favorite things to do at the end of a long day is to plop on the couch with him and watch a show together. But I know West Wing reruns do very little for Ketchup—he wants to see other pets on the screen and he loves to hear dogs bark. Thankfully there are a bunch of documentaries that are interesting for me and provide some friendly faces for Ketchup.
Here’s a roundup of my favorite pet documentaries you can stream right now…with your pup curled up by your side, of course.
Before we get too far into this, I have to level with you: I’m a crier. A big crier. Especially when it comes to the special bond between people and their pets. Those ads around the holidays where a family gets their first pet? Pass the tissues, please. The YouTubes of dogs being reunited with service members? I can’t. That’s enough to get me crying for hours.
So in addition to the suggestions, below, I’m going to suggest how many boxes of tissues you should have on-hand. Spoiler alert: there’s about to be a global shortage of tissues.
This charming and fact-based film features Daisy, a sweet Jack Russel Terrier, and her daily routine. It dives into some of the questions we have about what our dogs really think. You’ll be charmed and you’ll learn a lot.
Tissues needed: not many! One of those little travel packs should suffice.
This two-season series is a delightful romp into the lives of dogs who do more than lounge around the house all day (no offense, Ketchup). Police dogs, show dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs are all featured, and you’ll be blown away by what they can accomplish.
Tissues needed: none! Not even a sniffle from me!
This series follows some cat lovers across the pond as they work with vets and other pet professionals to care for kittens in need. The accents of the rescuers alone make this a must-watch.
Tissues needed: there were some tear-jerking moments in this series, I won’t lie. Keep a box handy, just in case.
Woof. This movie is not for the faint of heart as it chronicles the dogs who were used in Michael Vick’s infamous dog fighting circuit. You’ll follow along as these dogs are rescued, rehabilitated, and ultimately rehomed. The pay off on this movie is huge—you’ll witness the capacity a dog has to heal and love. It’s a beautiful film and will make you snuggle your dog a little closer while you watch.
Tissues needed: before settling in to watch this, you’re going to want to go to all of your local grocery stores and buy every single box of tissues they have. Consider buying all of the tissues in your state, honestly.
Watching this made me miss my beloved former cat Puck, as he shared so many traits of the cats profiled in this film. I wish I’d seen this when Puck was still alive as it really investigates what’s going on within a cat’s mind.
Tissues needed: I needed a box because it made me miss the sound of Puck’s purr, but if you have your cat by your side, you may only need a few.
It’s no secret that pit bulls have a bad reputation. So much so that some cities across the world have banned the dog and landlords all over won’t allow pit bulls in their buildings. This film breaks down the myths around pit bulls and profiles them as they really are: loving and loyal companions.
Tissues needed: it really hurts to see pits so unfairly characterized (Ketchup is part pit!), so you’re going to want to have some tissues ready. Especially when you see how much some of these pits love their families.
Produced by the ASPCA, this documentary follows the journey of six dogs who’ve been neglected or abused as they work through their issues to find their forever homes.
Tissues needed: the entire global supply of tissues. Actually, I’m sorry, I’ve used them all.
This is a charming, often hilarious, look at the inner world of the cat show circuit. You’ll follow along as some very passionate cat owners battle it out to see who will be crowned Canada’s top cat.
Tissues needed: a box, to wipe away some tears of joy.
From a pup who alerts people when his young charge suffers from a seizure; to a woman committed to bringing homeless dogs from the south to shelters in New York; to a man who risks all to bring his beloved dog out of war-torn Syria, Dogs will tug at your heartstrings and make you snuggle your pup a little closer.
(Note: this is six hours long. You may want to consider booking a dog walker to come in and check on your pup if you’re planning to binge this all in one sitting).
Tissues needed: … 1.5 boxes per episode, maybe more. Some of these stories, especially the one featuring Zeus, really tug at your heartstrings.