Many of united state are familiar with the red or green beam of irradiate from laser pointers that may be useful during presentations to straight the attention of one audience. Perhaps even as a toy for our cats who seem come love chasing that small beam the light? periodically these laser pointers are likewise used together a toy for our dogs. There are many videos online of dog running about in one chasing the irradiate from a laser pointer and often human being are heard laughing in the background.

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But space our dogs and cats really having fun chasing a irradiate they have the right to never “catch”? much more importantly, are laser pointers also safe because that them?

According come Jennifer Coates, DVM (2017), cats can end up being obsessed, or constantly preoccupied to a troubling extent, when concentrated on chasing the beam of irradiate from the laser pointer due to the fact that it sets off the predatory sequence of stalk-pounce-kill-eat. Castle can likewise transfer this predatory actions to chasing various other sources that lights and also shadows. The problem is the predatory sequence is never complied with to completion due to the fact that there is nothing in ~ the finish of the irradiate to in reality catch. Without having a reward for the actions of chasing, cats can become frustrated and agitated by this game. If you still desire to usage a laser pointer to offer your cat a opportunity to chase something, it’s much better to usage the laser light beam to direct the cat come a toy or treats therefore they will certainly be bonus for your efforts. But remember come never straight the light beam right into their eyes.

The best choices are to usage a kitty fishing pole or act dispensing playthings so they have actually a toy that satisfies their need to “catch and eat”, the human deserve to avoid making use of a laser guideline at all, and also the cat can avoid limitless preoccupation through chasing lights.


Power, a Border Collie, displaying one anxious facial expression. Come an untrained eye this might look favor a smile. Keep in mind the large eyes and also the corners the his mouth pulled back and up, both are indicators of anxiety.

Professional dog trainer Monica Crowley says, “I trieda laser tip for play with my prey-driven rap mix, Dublin. When she loved it at first and was getting an excellent exercise about the house, the left she extremelyfrustrated once there to be nothing come “catch” when she got to the light. I tried stop the laser pointer steady and also placing a high value treat once I wantedto end the game and turn the laser tip off, yet that walk not fulfill her. After putting the laser tip away, she to be noticeably stressed and also over-stimulated and also was pacing around. It made me feeling guilty that I had caused this frustration. While ns had an excellent intent, the unattainability the laser tip play resulted in her stress, i m sorry is why ns would never use one again and stick to various other attainable gamings for a prey-driven dog prefer flirt pole use or entice coursing.” no all dogs may respond favor Dublin, yet is it precious the risk?

The action of chasing a beam of light from a laser seems favor a an excellent idea come humans, since it burns turn off excess energy, it’s mentally stimulating, and is a video game to pat inside throughout the heat of summer or top top a merganser day. As with our cats, chasing a laser pointer’s beam root cause the dog’s prey drive. And just choose our cats, follow to employee (2015), our dog not having anything to capture can bring about frustration and also OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) behaviors when the “prey” (light) unexpectedly disappears. OCD is a hereditary disorder, and also laser needle can’t cause OCD, but laser gamings may cause it. So, is it precious the risk?

In email communication with Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, a plank certified veterinary Behaviorist, on laser pointers and also OCD habits in dogs, she said,

“It’s pretty much the consensus that there is an basic genetic bias present (regarding OCD behaviors)….triggers just enable the manifestation the the disorder. That is, playing through a laser toy walk not cause OCD anymore 보다 eating peanuts reasons a peanut allergy. You have to have the genetic prejudice in order for the trigger, laser tip or peanuts, to provoke the indicators of symptoms. In the absence of a laser irradiate toy together a trigger, a patience (dog) through OCD will respond to any similar stimulus: reflections, indoor or out shadows, balls.”

She claims she has dealt with several shelters, in the past, that used laser light playthings in your cat rooms due to the fact that it “streamlined the use of volunteers’ time” without resulting in boost in stereotypical (repetitive, non-functional) behaviors. She go on to say the in nature an animal’s attempts at hunting are not 100% successful and while the is definitely frustrating, nature itself does not support the development of OCD behaviors. Dr. Juarbe-Diaz additionally emphasized the difference in between an pet that appears to it is in “focused” ~ above their task or maybe a favorite toy versus gift “obsessed”-earlier defined as being constantly preoccupied v something to a troubling extent. She states it is necessary to pay fist to the context of a behavior and also the individual animal’s an answer to a trigger, prefer a laser pointer light beam. Dr. Juarbe-Diaz ideal recommendations are to use any kind of toy in moderation, watch for habits that indicate a problem that needs to be investigated, encourage selection in happy activities, and also offer occasional rewards to keep interest.

After a laser pat session dogs may continue to look for a lightbeams to chase which might include chasing reflections from sunlight, chasing shadows, or obsessively complying with the light from a flashlight. Angelica Steinker, a Certified expert Dog actions Consultant says that she has actually had numerous clients usage laser pointers as toys, but that at times this game may have triggered unintended consequences. As a result, she recommends versus laser pointer play. Number of of her clients have reported that the laser chasing prompted light chasing the the dog did not exhibit prior to playing with the laser pointer. In one situation laser pointer play elicited the client’s dog to dismantle the household Christmas tree– as the reflect coming turn off the decorations appeared as dots top top the wall, the looked prefer the laser pointer game. When the family members returned house the tree had been coincidentally demolished by your dog, “ruining Christmas”.


Sometimes dog sustain significant physical injuries in your attempt to catch the light. recommends making use of flirt poles instead, i beg your pardon are similar to the kitty fishing poles, or the sports of tempt Coursing where they actually gain to chase and also catch something. Angelica Steinker walk on to say that together a dog sports enthusiast she worries about the ideal use of flirt poles, fishing pole kind toys designed because that chasing play. She says,

“Flipping a flirt pole through the air leading to a dog to leaving the ground through all 4 feet, is in my opinion physically dangerous. I recommend the flirt poles are offered to tease the dog to run in a circle and to prevent leaping and jumping.”

Karen London, doctor (2017), says working dogs who room trained to uncover explosives or drugs willbecome frustrated if lock don’t have a “find” at the end of their search. This specially trained dog need continuous successes to avoid frustration and their handlers carry out practice objectives where your dogs room guaranteed to uncover something in ~ the finish of their search. Your handlers and trainers know that this practice objectives will keep their dogs search and find an abilities while also preventing psychological and also behavioral problems. Without the reward at the finish of the predatory habits sequence, this dogs might transfer that sequence of habits to comparable stimuli-which is what happens as soon as a dog has actually learned the actions of chasing a laser light and also they deliver that habits to chasing other lights or shadows.

It is additionally important to recognize the hazard of permanently damaging vision as soon as laser lights room shined directly into another’s eyes. According to the American Academy that Ophthalmology, or AAO, (2018) the danger of permanent damage to a human’s vision was recorded in 2018 once a young from greek shined a laser light into his own eyes. While humans deserve to actually look away from the laser irradiate or even blink come interrupt the beam, an animal will no likely understand to carry out this to safeguard their vision. The better the energy output native the laser the much more likely permanent damage will be. The FDA regulates laser devices and their exam have discovered that 60% the laser pointers are overpowered when contrasted to what their label indicates. Many times the FDA has uncovered that complete product details are missing on the laser devices and also many laser lights room marketed as toys that room readily easily accessible to everyone-including toys for ours dogs and also cats. The typical pen sized laser reminder that requires AA or AAA batteries is most likely to exceed 5 milliwatts of power ( i m sorry is taken into consideration to it is in the for sure limit the power) and the FDA has recorded that anything over 5 milliwatts decreases the possibility for a for sure exposure to the laser light. If red and green laser lights are much more common, that is the blue and violet laser lights that pose the greatest risk to damage vision. Currently, over there is just one agency ( who sells laser lamp that needs a compliance test document on the devices, makingit harder to offer mislabeled and also over powered laser lights.


A last potential issue with any kind of toy and also laser needle is that they may create manipulation and control and at that is worst, sadism. A laser tip is extremely easy to regulate with minimal human initiative thus to some level disengaging the human being in share play and also having the dog perform all the work. This power inequity can lead come dysfunctional play and also at its excessive sadism. Kids should most certainly not play through dogs unsupervised and also this applies even more so come laser guideline play. For any type of family with children the added risk that the kid may point the laser in ~ their own or an additional persons eye, should likewise be a concern. Any dog parent analysis this post truly loves your dog yet can castle trust your roommates, pet sitters or neighbors to share their common sense and values?

There are many great options because that helping our dogs to safe expend excess power while having actually fun through their humans. Few of these options include, dog sports like agility and lure coursing, trick training, dock diving and scent detection.

Check through your regional force-free dog trainer or dog training college to check out what is obtainable in your area and also for ideas. Before teaching her dog (or cat) to follow that laser tip beam the light, think about the severe risks connected with these devices and safer options. We imply erring ~ above the side of caution and also to prevent using laser pointers together a toy for any animal.

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London, Karen B., PhD. Dog Chasing Laser Pointers: how I dislike this habit! 11/2017. The Accessible at: