We often see laser pointers in dog stores and use them for our pets to offer a fun experience and keep them mentally stimulated.
But are laser pointers safe for dogs? No. Laser pointers aren’t recommended for dogs. Pointing the laser beam in the dog’s eyes can cause severe damage. Also, not getting a reward despite chasing the light will cause frustration and destructive behavior in most dogs.
Let’s get into the details of the pros and cons of laser pointers and their alternatives.
Are Laser Pointers Safe For Dogs?
Although many dogs love chasing the beam of laser light, experts say that laser pointers aren’t safe for dogs.
Just like cats, the moving beam of light will make the dog think that it’s a living thing, which will awaken its hunting instincts. The dog will try to chase it, and when there’s nothing to catch and hold, the dog will become destructive and aggressive.
Also, if the beam of light goes into the dog’s eyes even for a few seconds, it can harm them.
Pros Of Laser Pointers For Dogs
Laser pointers do have some benefits for dogs as they have for other pets.
Helps you interact with your dog
Our dogs love to play with us, and using a laser pointer can be a fun way of spending time with our beloved pet. All we have to do is point the laser point at certain objects, and the dog will chase it.
This playtime can be a good way of interacting with your dog.
Provides physical stimulation
As dogs are active and love to exercise and play around, laser pointers can be an excellent way of keeping them occupied while providing physical stimulation. When the dog chases the light, it will be a form of exercise to keep it physically active.
Cons Of Laser Pointers For Dogs
Laser pointers pose more harm than benefits in dogs.
We already know that dogs chase the light beam because it moves, making them think of it as prey. But, there’s nothing to catch in reality.
When the dog continuously chases the beam and eventually lands on it, seeing that it has nothing in hand makes it confused and frustrated. Catching the beam again and again while getting nothing will also make the dog crazy.
When it comes to laser pointers, the results are different for cats and dogs. In dogs, chasing the laser pointer light with getting nothing at the end can be harmful to their psychological well-being.
This confusion and frustration will cause a change in the dog’s behavior, which will turn into obsessive behavior.
Such dogs become curious about every light and moving thing they see. In the worst cases, dogs may also start chasing a shadow out of curiosity. On the other hand, the dog will continuously bark and show aggressiveness when you turn on a light.
Although rare, these unhealthy mental behaviors can take a lot of time in treatment, and it will cause discomfort for you as well.
A dog’s eyes are more prone to damage through laser pointers than other pets. That’s because dogs have more rods in the eyes, and shining the light beam in a dog’s eyes even for a few seconds can impact its vision and make it blind.
When playing with laser pointers, there’s a high risk of unintentionally pointing the laser beam into the dog’s eyes as it chases it.
Laser light beams not only cause frustration in dogs but can also lead to destructive behavior, especially in aggressive dogs.
Your dog will try to chase that red dot of light, and when it finally lands on it, the dot will either disappear or move away. If it disappears, the dog will get confused, and after some attempts to catch it, you’ll see your dog becoming aggressive.
It will then go back to the last thing it saw the red dot on, and start attacking it, be it the carpet, a toy, or a decoration piece. Some aggressive dogs may also begin digging and tearing things apart out of confusion.
Just like cats, chasing a laser pointer beam but not getting any result will make your dog stressed. A moving light beam ignites a dog’s hunting instincts, and it will run after it to catch it. Even in the wild, dogs eventually catch prey after a few attempts.
But, that’s not the case with laser pointers because the dogs can never catch the beam. This inability of catching prey will also make your dog stressed.
How To Use Laser Pointers Safely While Playing With Dogs?
Although it’s better to avoid using laser pointers with dogs, you can still use them safely while playing with them.
- The best way is to hide a treat in the corner of the room and use the laser pointer as a hint to help the dog reach it. The dog will follow the light beam, and when it eventually sees the treat, it will know that it has got its reward.
In this way, the dog will think of the light beam as a source of help, while the treat will be its final reward, which will satisfy its hunting instincts. You can also praise your dog at the end to make it calm.
Alternatives To Laser Pointers For Dogs
Luckily, there are several alternatives to laser pointers for dogs.
- The best are chew toys and flirt poles. They keep a dog occupied and prevent it from getting bored. You can also tie a toy at the end of a rope and tell your dog to chase it. In the end, you can reward it with a treat.
However, exercising the dog and making it run and walk is the best way to keep it mentally and physically stimulated.
Related Post: Are Laser Pointers Safe For Cats?(+Safety Tips)
Laser pointers are not safe for dogs because they can make them frustrated and confused. As dogs cannot actually catch the laser light, they might develop destructive behavior and become obsessed with chasing lights and shadows.
Although chasing laser light may seem good for a dog’s physical health, it destroys its mental health. So, it’s better to opt for alternatives and avoid laser pointers.
My name is Katie, and I have had different pets at home for as long as I can remember. While I can definitely say I love all animals in general, my heart belongs to cats and dogs. I know you are supposed to choose one or the other, but I could never really decide. I’ve also owned hamsters and fish when I was a kid, and they filled my childhood with very delightful memories.