Skip to Content

Dogs Watching TV: Their Favorite Shows and Why

Dogs Watching TV: Their Favorite Shows and Why

Kicking back while watching television is a favorite pastime for many, and often your canine companion will join you for company. But do they enjoy watching TV too? Furthermore, what do dogs like to watch on TV? If you’re a pet owner, you may have caught your pup taking in a show or two. 

Keep reading to learn what dogs see when they watch TV and what piques their interest in the first place. Let’s start by confirming if dogs really do check out the screen.

Do Dogs Watch TV? 

Yes, some dogs watch TV. They can see the screen and are intrigued by it for different reasons. You may have noticed your pup perking up at the television, especially when another animal appears on the screen. It may even bark or growl at specific movements or noises.

You’ve also likely seen some hilarious online videos of dogs responding to shows by barking, jumping, growling, and more. So, let’s take a closer look at what dogs like to watch on TV. 

However, it is also very common and normal for dogs to completely ignore the TV. While similar sounds or sudden noises may still get their attention, they may consider the TV an inanimate object that doesn’t merit their acknowledgment.

What Do Dogs See When They Watch TV? 

When dogs watch TV, they see motion. But dogs’ eyes are different from humans’ eyes. Canines don’t have sharp vision. It’s approximately 20/75 rather than the 20/20 vision a human needs to see perfectly. 

Dogs also only have two types of color-processing cells in their retinas. A human has three. Dogs only see blue, green, and yellow. This means they’ll react more to scenes on the screen with colors they can process. For example, if a dog sees a yellow Labrador walking against a blue backdrop, it may pay close attention or even bark at it. 

In addition, dogs have more rods in their eyes than humans do. These are cells that increase night vision, making canines sensitive to motion. So they have higher motion perception. 

Dogs can see flickers up to 75 hertz because of the number of rods in their eyes. What does this mean exactly? Humans watch TV at approximately 60 hertz, which looks “normal” to us. But for a dog, the image on the screen will appear to flicker, especially on older televisions. With newer technology and better screen refresh rates, the image is likely more apparent for dogs now. 

Did you know? The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) unveils new pet inventions every year! Check out some of the new tech here.

Do Dogs Prefer the TV On or Silence? 

Some dogs like to watch TV, and others don’t. So, seeing if your dog pays attention to a screen when it’s on or ignores it is good. If it reacts, you can observe if it prefers movements or is responding to sounds.

Dogs that ignore the TV probably sense it’s not real. They would likely rather be out sniffing and watching animals and people in person.

dog watching computer screen
Dogs watch TV or computer screens that have motion or a sound they’re drawn to.

What Types of TV Shows Pique a Dog’s Interest? 

Dogs are drawn to TV shows that have animals and motion. Whether it’s dogs, cats, horses, or elephants, they’re the quickest to identify mammals on the screen. 

For example, one of our team members has a Schnauzer that loves watching TV. He was recently caught barking and growling at every competitor while watching the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show. And we’re pretty sure he smiled when the Schnauzer walked across the screen!

Similar to other TV-watching dogs, he also responds to sounds on shows. He’s been sound asleep when a horse neighed on the television near him. He growled in response while keeping his eyes shut. Then, he woke up, looked directly at the movie, and continued growling at the horses on screen.

The barking and growling in these situations weren’t distressed reactions. However, observing how your dog engages with the TV is good. Are they wagging their tail and having fun? Or do they seem afraid of a dog on screen? 

Pro Tip: You may enjoy watching the YouTube channel Life With Malamutes with your pets! Check out this internet sensation here.

Do Dogs Have Favorite TV Shows?

Some dogs have favorite TV shows. Like humans, it’s a personal preference. If you start watching TV with your dog, you’ll likely notice specific movements, characters, and sounds it perks up for and those it ignores. Keep track for a week or so to know which shows it likes.

But did you know there’s a channel dedicated to dogs? It’s called DogTV. Their streaming service seeks to alleviate dogs’ stress and anxiety through shows that keep your pet’s attention. However, be warned, as some dogs may react noisily to seeing other dogs on the screen.

Animal Planet is another channel that can be good for dogs who like to watch TV. There are many shows with mammals. And there’s lots of motion and sounds to pique your pup’s interest.

Is Watching TV Mentally Stimulating for Dogs?

Watching TV can provide some level of mental stimulation for dogs who engage with screens. Like the example of our team member’s Schnauzer. While barking at the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show, he was having fun, as observed by his wagging tail. It was like a party at the virtual dog park as far as he was concerned. He was barking to let everyone know he was there.

So, as long as your dog doesn’t seem distressed by the TV, it can be a source of stimulation.  

Looking for a laugh? Try watching the misadventures of Toonces the Driving Cat!

Does Leaving the TV On While You’re Gone Keep Your Dog Company?

If your dog is mentally stimulated by watching or listening to TV, it may keep it company while you’re gone. But no scientific evidence suggests watching TV will relax a dog.

However, there’s also no harm in leaving the TV on for your dog while you’re away. The sound of it may provide some stimulation to keep it occupied until you return. It’s recommended to keep the volume low so your dog can get away from it if bothered by it for any reason when no one is home.

If you notice that sounds calm your dog, you might also consider leaving a radio on at low volume while out of the house. 

dog watching television
It’s time for family movie night!

Watching TV With Your Dog Can Bring You Both Joy

Now that you know what dogs like to watch on TV, grab popcorn and doggie treats and stream some of your favorite shows! A family movie night may be in order. 

Try watching a film with animals in it and see how your pup reacts. Watching your pet focus on the screen or even bark or growl can be amusing. 

What TV show or movie are you going to watch with your dog? 

Stay Informed – Join the Petrics Community!

If you’re like us, your pets are like family. Stay up to date on the latest news, info, tips, and gear to help your pet live its best life!

About Caitlin Morton, Petrics Co-Founder

Cait has had animals her whole life, from family cats and dogs as a child, to caring for the class reptiles over breaks, to getting her first horse at the age of 12. She swears she never would have gotten through her Business Management degree without the help of her late soul dog, Mocha. She's worked in animal shelters in roles from kennel staff, management, and as a board member for over a decade, and has a serious case of the animal welfare bug.
At house parties, she's that weird friend that makes friends with the host's dog or cat instead of with other people. Currently, Cait travels full-time by RV with her husband Tom and their rescue dog, Luna.
She started Petrics to share her passion for the wonderful world of pets with others.

About Us