Dear Tabby,

My husband insists on leaving the TV on for the dog. Sometimes we catch the dog watching it, but mostly, it’s just background noise. Can dogs actually enjoy TV? Are there any particular shows that they enjoy more than others?

TV Lovers in Timbergrove

Dear TV Lovers,

You know how much I love hearing about pet owners who do little extra things because they know that their pets enjoy it, so naturally, I was delighted to get your question! And, it turns out, your husband might be onto something because research indicates that upwards of 35 percent of pet owners leave a TV or radio on for their pets when they are gone.

What do dogs like to watch?

You might have noticed that your dog is interested when he sees other animals on TV. Many dogs perk up when they see or hear another dog on TV. Cats often show interest when they see birds or squirrels on the screen. A study done in 2013 found that dogs preferred watching other dogs on their TV screens, so finding a TV program that features dogs (preferably happy dogs and not dogs at a vet clinic) would be ideal to leave on when you’re away from home.

A channel just for dogs

Did you know there is a whole TV channel dedicated to making shows just for dogs? It’s called DOGTV and the channel has a variety of different shows all catered to pets. There are channels that encourage relaxation for dogs -- perfect for when you’re away from home -- and other channels that will visually stimulate your dog. They also feature a channel just for providing short exposures to stimuli that dogs often react to, such as doorbells and car sounds. These exposure programs can help your dog to become less agitated when he encounters these sounds in real life.

How much TV is too much?

Most dogs only watch TV for short bursts of time. Something might grab their attention for a few minutes, but honestly, dogs are way better than humans at knowing when they’ve had enough TV. So, if leaving the TV on when you leave the house is soothing for both your husband and for your dog, then by all means, leave it on! The noises will help your dog to feel as though he’s not alone and will help your husband to feel like he’s doing everything he can to ensure the happiness of your pet.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby

Pet of the Week


Meet Lulu. Lulu is a 6-year-old mixed breed who has been looking for her perfect family for quite some time. She takes a little time to warm up, but once she does, she is super affectionate and smart ... SUPER smart! Lulu knows all of her house manners and is easy peasy to live with. What Lulu does not enjoy, however, are other dogs or children. So, she would need to find a family where she can be the center of their world, just as she deserves. To learn more, go to


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