Is Laser Play Dangerous for Your Pet?

15 February, 2019
Using lasers as a toy for your pet

Currently, laser play is a popular thing to do with pets. It seems like a fun exercise for our animal friends. When dogs or cats see the little light scooting across the floor, they can’t resist chasing after it.

However, it’s obvious that they’re never going to catch it because it’s merely a reflection that can’t be caught. What causes your pet to do this? Is a laser a harmless toy which can help your pet to move? Or is it actually dangerous?

Is laser play dangerous for our pets?

A beagle looking off to the side.

In spite of the popularity of laser games among pet owners, animal health experts assert that lasers can be harmful to animal’s health.

Due to the innate hunter instinct of animals, they chase the little laser light non stop. Not all are the same of course, nor do all have the hunter instinct.

At the same time, there are pets that quickly figure out that they can’t catch something like a laser. So, they don’t even try. There are others that are more persistent and never stop trying to catch the elusive beam.

For the latter type of animal that doesn’t give up, a laser can be potentially dangerous. Consequently, an animal can go insane every time it sees something like this on the floor, the ceiling or the walls, since it’s impossible to catch. Chasing the laser could even cause an accident.

Therefore, laser play can actually turn into an obsession that provokes a change in behavior. Animals may start to think that there are laser beams everywhere, even when they’re not there. There’s no doubt that this will cause constant stress and jeopardize the physical and mental health of the pet.

According to the canine educator, Sam Basso, there are many animals that are harmed by laser play. One of the results is compulsive behavior. This occurs especially in those that run and jump around the house seeking lights and shadows that don’t even exist. Consequently, this creates constant anxiety that doesn’t leave them alone.

When is laser play dangerous?

As we have seen, and the experts ascertain, laser play can be dangerous to your pet’s health. However, used correctly, it can be an ideal exercise to keep your four-legged friend in shape.

So, how can we use laser play correctly so that it doesn’t harm our pet?

A puppy being fed a treat.

  • Positive reinforcement: Even though we aren’t trying to teach anything with this game, there still can be rewards. When your pet finally reaches the light, reward him with praise, a treat or any other thing he likes. This will motivate him to run after the light and exercise, which is good for health.
  • Don’t move the light everywhere: We know that seeing a light moving all over the place is fun, but stressful for your pet. Keep the light on the floor, possibly a long surface, and have your pet run after it. Avoid making the laser run across the ceiling or the walls, which are places that your pet can’t reach. As a result, it will cause anxiety.
  • Let him win: Your pet should see some type of prize for the effort. This way he’ll experience success. When he’s exercised enough, turn off the laser light and let him think that he has caught it. Even better, that he destroyed it. Then, he’ll be calm.
  • Hide Treasures: You can use the laser to guide your pet toward treats that you have hidden toward a new toy. This way, he’ll get exercise and a reward and won’t be stressed. What a great idea!