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Pet parents might be tempted to turn on the television to keep their dogs company when they are alone, but should we really be letting our dogs watch TV? And how much should they watch?
As a new TV channel for dogs launched in the UK this week, Country Living have asked a TV vet to weigh in on the debate — and answer the question every dog owner is wanting to know.
Should dogs watch TV?
“It’s not like children — they won’t go cross-eyed or get addicted,” Dr Rory Cowlam, aka Rory the Vet, tells Country Living. “We shouldn’t be limiting TV time, but in reality only some dogs will sit and watch tv. My dog Nala does watch it, but she often gets bored and goes to do her own thing. There’s no detrimental effect, but they’ll often get bored very quickly.
“Sometimes it helps, but for some dogs it doesn’t — you will know your own dog. I think a TV channel dedicated to dogs is a lovely thing. Whether or not it’s any different to leaving on the news, time will tell, but the idea is great.”
Is there a limit on how long you should leave a dog alone for anyway?
TV is good company, not a dog sitter. If you’re out of the house for long periods of time, then you’ll need another alternative (such as doggy daycare or a family member who can take care of them).
If you’re not sure on how long to leave your dog alone for, Rory tells us: “RSCPA guidelines suggest you should not leave your dog for any more than four hours. I try to limit that to two to three hours at most. However, each dog is really different and a lot of people are struggling with things like separation anxiety so four hours may seem like a long time.”
What other ways can you keep dogs entertained when you’re out?
“I always leave my dog Nala with a chew because I know that will keep her entertained for a bit. She’ll often have a sleep for a while after that, and then by the time I’m back she’s ok and settled. I do leave music on as well, usually classical, just to keep her chilled and always leave her water. If you’re going to be more than an hour leave water in case they get thirsty.”
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