Does Your Senior Dog Really Like Watching TV?

Some dogs adore the television. For example, a now-departed cocker spaniel named Pepper adored watching “Barney and Friends” so much that his family sang the infamous “I Love You, You Love Me” song as he passed away in his human mother’s arms. Another now-departed cocker spaniel, this one named Dudley, ran to the television screen whenever the theme song from “The Sopranos” came on. But for every dog who loves television, there are many who don’t. Expert opinions vary on whether dogs, especially those in their golden years, really like watching TV. Read on for more.

Physically Watching the TV

Anecdotal and scientific evidence supports that dogs respond to sounds on the TV, but the jury is out on how canines actually see the TV. Unlike humans, dogs usually glance at the TV for an average of three seconds. When it comes to the pictures on the TV, scientific studies show that dogs have a hard time deciding what to watch.

The TV as a Tool to Calm Dogs During Fireworks

Fireworks season is a dreaded time for dog owners, especially those with senior dogs. Multiple experts support the notion of placing a dog in a room as far away from the fireworks as possible — and with a TV playing when feasible. Because dogs have a significantly greater sense of hearing than humans (as much as four times), fireworks that sound far away to you feel like they’re right next to your beloved pooch. The sound of fireworks triggers Fido’s “fight or flight” response, so it makes sense to replace that sound with something else.

Using the TV to Alleviate Separation Anxiety

Likewise, the TV is a powerful tool to help dogs suffering from separation anxiety. The noise can distract them from your absence. However, it’s important to use treats and other rewards to train your furry friends to associate the noise with pleasure.

Watching TV with Your Dog

Watching TV with your dog can be an amazing bonding experience. However, remember that dogs (especially senior ones) are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions. Watching a horror movie, war flick, or tear jerker may not be the best activity to do with your canine companion.