Photo: thebark.com

A dog chasing a laser pointer. I am sure that, you have come across videos of owners playing games with their dogs using laser pointers. It looks fun and stimulating for the dog and it is absolutely fun to watch! You many even be using one right now. However, the reality is that laser pointers are one of the worst toys for your dog, or any pet for that matter.

Bad For Your Dog’s Well-being

Most dogs love to chase. Chasing activities are extremely stimulating and good exercise for your dog. Chasing is also a healthy way to boost your dog’s confidence because they are extremely proud when they have caught the ball – even more so if they have retrieved it. The main difference with using a laser pointer as a chase toy, is that your dog will never reach its goal of catching it and finding ‘closure’.  This can lead to unhealthy obsessions and behavioural issues. Some dogs can become so fixated with the red pointer that they start chasing anything that moves – shadows, reflections or any lights or glare from the pond or a laptop screen.

 

May Hurt Your Dog’s Eyes

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 disorientate them. Your dog also can move quickly when playing, so the risk of accidentally shining the laser into its eyes is increased. Also keep in mind that it is quite easy to make your dog so excited that it might knock over tables, chairs, glasses, TV or anything the laser light touches.  This could be a dangerous game to play in your home as your dog can seriously injure itself, a child or someone elderly.

 

In closing, there are so many different alternatives to use for chasing games with your dog. Soft toys, balls, a frisbee or even a stick will do the trick just fine. If you insist on using a laser pointer to play with your dog, there is a way to minimise the risk of developing behavioural problems. The laser light can be used as a decoy that allows your dog to find treats or a new toy. Though your dog never succeeds in ‘catching’ the light, there is the success of discovering other items. Still, it doesn’t eliminate the dangers entirely.

(This blog post applies to cats too)

Photo: Winsor, Getty Images