Facts about the animal kingdom

Can Dogs watch TV?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Can Dogs watch TV?

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Did you know that in Germany there is a television channel for dogs? Not about dogs, for dogs. It's called DogTV and the television network estimated that about seven million dogs were likely to see the programme they had designed on launch day.

According to Nicholas Dodman, a professor of veterinary medicine at Tufts University (USA), the objective of the network was to alleviate the boredom that pets can feel when home alone.

Reading this, you might be wondering whether dogs can even see what's on the screen. Can dogs watch TV? Stay with us at AnimalWised and learn the answer, together with more fun facts about dogs and their vision.

Image from mysmelly.com

You may also be interested in: The 10 Best Famous Cats from TV & Film
  1. Can dogs watch TV?
  2. What would an ideal television for dogs be like?
  3. Myths about the vision of dogs

Can dogs watch TV?

There isn't a yes or no answer: Dogs and cats have different eyes from ours. Dogs' eyes are more accurate and sharper, and they capture movement better than the human eye. This means that dogs see what happens on a screen differently from us.

Television works by displaying images one after another at very high speed. The speed tricks our vision and makes it seem like we see movement. For humans to perceive this movement the images must be at a rate of 40hz (frames per second). On the other hand, dogs need the speed to be at least 75hz.

A normal modern television reaches about 300hz (some can reach 1000hz), but older antenna TVs were at 50hz. Can you imagine how boring it would be for your dog to watch TV and see a slow succession of images? Of course they didn't pay it attention!

Another factor that influences whether dogs can watch television is the height at which it is placed. Screens are always placed so that they are as high up as our eyes as we humans are sitting down. It would be terribly inconvenient for your pet to have to look up all day. Have you ever sat in the first row at the cinema? If the answer is yes, then you know what we are talking about.

Dogs are not interested because the programming is not designed for them. With just people on TV, their attention is not caught at all. However, many owners say their pets react when they see a dog on screen, but they pay no mind to static images or cartoon dogs. They are able to understand the difference.

Now, imagine your dog saying "There's nothing on TV today!

Image from nbcnewyork.com

Can Dogs watch TV? - Can dogs watch TV?

What would an ideal television for dogs be like?

A television that dogs can watch should have the following characteristics:

  • A speed of at least 75hz
  • Be placed at the height of the dog's eyes
  • Broadcast programmes where dogs can see other moving animals like cats, birds, sheep, and especially other dogs.

According to DogTV network officials, dogs are not only entertained by watching TV; it can benefit them. They offer three types of programmes:

  • Relaxing: The channel keeps a dog's separation anxiety at a minimum as it finds the contents relaxing.
  • Stimulating: They encourage and develop their mind.
  • Behavior enhancers: DogTV creators explain it with an example - a dog that sees another dog on television running after a ball will be able to improve its understanding of ball games.

Image from maniacmagazine.com

Can Dogs watch TV? - What would an ideal television for dogs be like?

Myths about the vision of dogs

  • Dogs see in black and white: False. Dogs do see colors, but not as many tones as humans. In fact, they are able to recognize blue, yellow and variants of gray. Green, red and orange, on the other hand, are perceived as shades of yellow. Learn more in our article "Can dogs see color?"
  • Dogs see in the dark: True. Not only can they dilate their pupils to absorb more light, but they have a layer of special cells to improve their vision at night. This layer is placed at the back of the retina, and is also why dogs' eyes glow in the dark when illuminated.
  • To finish, here's one last fun fact. Dogs' field of vision is different. Objects less than 30 centimeters from their face look blurry. Therefore, they need to sniff everything. However, their peripheral vision is much better.
Can Dogs watch TV? - Myths about the vision of dogs

If you want to read similar articles to Can Dogs watch TV?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Can Dogs watch TV?