Dogs process televisions differently than we do. Even though they recognize what they see and hear, they don’t understand what’s being said or shown.
Should I leave the TV on for my puppy at night?
It depends on whether the TV is working to soothe your dog’s fear of the dark or separation anxiety.
Find out how dogs see the television and whether you should leave the TV on for them or not.
You can also discover how dogs hear the television and how to know if your dog likes the TV.
Check out when televisions can help your dog, whether music is a better option to help them, and how to safely leave your puppy alone at night.
Should I Leave the TV on for My Puppy at Night?
There are opposite and contradicting answers to this question.
What we know is that leaving the television on for your puppy at night is unnecessary.
If you are doing this in hopes of resolving a behavioral issue, such as vision problems in the dark or fear of being alone, then it’s more effective to solve the root cause.
For instance, if your dog hates being alone, turning the TV on for them is just a band-aid solution. Instead, train them or desensitize them to the object that they fear.
Another reason not to leave the TV on for your puppy is that they may dislike the noise. While there is evidence that the sound of the radio is therapeutic to dogs, it is not conclusive.
This evidence is seen in psycho-acoustic expert Joshua Leeds’ book, Through a Dog’s Ear: Using a Sound to Improve the Health & Behavior of Your Canine Companion.
More conclusive studies are needed to support their idea that sound can help dogs with separation anxiety, over-excitement, and other behavioral issues.
That’s because some dogs only get more stressed out when the television is on, especially if your dog is an introvert who prefers peace and silence!
Leaving the TV on for puppies may reduce our guilt of leaving them behind, but dogs are not like us. The sound of TVs won’t reduce their boredom.
They don’t even understand what’s being said, so it’s not going to entertain them for long.
TVs and Dog Separation Anxiety
Dogs may not understand or be entertained by televisions, but what about those with separation anxiety?
Some think the sound of people talking on the television will help them feel less alone. But again, there are not enough studies to know whether this really works.
If you think your dog acts more calmly when the television is on, then it’s probably an effective short-term solution.
But in some cases, dogs remain destructive and afraid even with the TV on.
Dogs are unique individuals of different breeds, sizes, and temperaments. It’s not easy to generalize their preferences and coping mechanisms for separation anxiety.
Find out how to treat dog separation anxiety for good so that you don’t have to worry about leaving the TV on for them.
How Do I Know If My Dog Likes the TV?
Your dog won’t sit in front of the television for hours binge-watching their favorite show.
They may enjoy the images or sounds, but they don’t understand and enjoy them the way we do.
While the television is not going to cure your dog’s fear or separation anxiety, you can still turn it on if they like it.
A good way to find out is by setting up a camera system or a pet camera like Petcube. Petcube offers 1080p HD video and a 30-feet night vision to let you see your dog more clearly.
You can check on your pet from time to time wherever you are. It also features instant sound and motion alerts every time it detects motion or something unusual at home.
Watch how your dog behaves with the television on and off. Comparing their behaviors during two different situations will let you decide whether to keep it on or not.
Some signs that your dog reacts very well to the television include calm behavior, staying still, watching the television, or even sleeping while it is on.
When Televisions Help Your Dog
There are a few good instances when dogs benefit from the television being turned on. These instances are also the foundation for DOGTV.
DOGTV was launched as the first cable network that offers 24-hour programming for dogs. The shows feature three to six-minute segments featuring views and sounds that dogs love.
Here are some of the situations where your dog may benefit from televisions, specifically DOGTV.
Distraction from Other Noises
Instead of hearing loud fireworks, thunder, or construction, your dog may be distracted by the noise on the television.
There will be a reduced risk of an anxiety attack because they can’t hear the noise.
However, it’s unlikely that turning on the television will forever take away your dog’s fear of loud noises. Proper training and professional help will still be needed.
They Think You are Home
While some dogs don’t enjoy the sound of televisions, they tolerate it because they know someone is watching the television. Therefore, they are not alone.
Turning the television on may give the impression that you are at home with them even if you’re not.
This will calm their anxiety and can even help to deter thieves and intruders from breaking into your home.
How Dogs See the Television
Dogs interpret the world with their eyes differently than we do.
First, their sense of sight is not their main sense. A dog’s sense of smell is more powerful and is what they use primarily to navigate their surroundings.
Second, dogs do not differentiate between the different colors as humans do. This is because they only have two types of cones, whereas we have three.
Cones are photoreceptor cells in the eyes that let you see color. Because dogs only have two, they are called dichromatic.
Dogs only see the colors blue and yellow.
But dogs see well in low light conditions better than we do. Their lack of cones is compensated by the millions of rods in their eyes.
Rods are light-sensitive cells that oversee movement and low light. So even if you turn the television off, they are still able to see if there is at least a small source of light.
In terms of visual acuity, dogs vary. They have different shapes and numbers of receptors in the visual streak, and this has a major role to play in how they perceive televisions.
Humans cannot see the television flickers with fast speed. However, since dogs are more sensitive to motion, they can see the flicker of televisions even at a rate of 75 Hz.
So, they don’t enjoy the fluid motion of shows because they are merely seeing flickering images. These flickers are not appealing to them, which is why they don’t usually watch TV.
But if your TV offers high-resolution pictures such as HD/4K TVs, then your dog can view the images more smoothly.
You also want to place the TV at their eye level so they can pay attention.
How Dogs Hear the Television
Visuals are not the only aspect to consider when dogs watch television. Their sense of hearing is more acute than their vision.
Sounds have an essential impact on how dogs view television.
If you have a newborn puppy, then they won’t be able to hear anything from you or the television until they are around three weeks of age.
All they will do is rely on their sense of smell to look for their mother and try to navigate the world.
But once their sense of hearing is working, their frequency can range from 60 to 60,000 Hertz. It’s so strong that they will clearly hear what’s on the television.
Puppies also have 18 muscles in their ears that let them control this body part’s position.
However, they can’t hear in low frequencies the way we do. Our ears can pick up sounds as low as 20Hz.
Is Music Better than TV for Dogs
Aside from the television, there are plenty of playlists, applications, videos, and sites for soothing your dog’s fear of the night.
Some think classical music on the radio can help instead of the television. Dogs also seem to enjoy reggae and soft rock genres.
This YouTube video offers 15 hours of relaxing music for your puppy to have a deep sleep!
Some experts suggest that it is much better to use the television as a safety cue instead of as a trick to make them think that they are not alone.
Instead of leaving it on for them to feel that they have company, turn the TV on as a cue which your dog will associate with rewards and other positive things.
Make them think that something positive will happen right after you turn the television on by giving them a treat or two. You may also give them verbal praises.
Soon enough, they will feel excited every time you turn on the television.
This will make departures from home less stressful and sad for them.
Make sure your DOGTV is on. If not, find a channel or show that isn’t too loud. Talk shows are a great idea since there are no thunder sounds, fireworks, screaming, and other types of loud noise.
There is little evidence, either way, to know which is the better option. The best option would be to try a few different things to see what your pup likes.
How to Safely Leave Your Puppy Alone at Night
If you are hesitant about leaving the TV on for your puppy at night, here are some more effective techniques for you.
Always Prepare for Bedtime
Make sure your puppy’s bed is comfortable enough. But before that, you want to tire them out a little and let them go to the toilet.
A tired dog is a good dog because they will be able to sleep through the night without distraction.
Letting them poop and pee also reduces the chance of accidents and waking you up to go out.
Establish a Routine
Bedtime should feel like bedtime to your dog. This means the house must feel comfortable and cozy.
This is where you can experiment on whether turning on the television helps or not. You can also dim the lights and put them in their comfortable bed to snuggle in.
Try Active Pets Plush Dog Bed. The size is perfect for your little pup, and it has a shaggy faux fur lining that dogs love to lay on.
The lightweight dog bed is ergonomically designed to provide joint and spinal support with its PP cotton filling.
Use Calming Products
Dog-Appeasing Pheromones, or DAP, may come in collars or diffusers to calm your dog’s anxiety at night.
By releasing pheromones, your dog feels more relaxed since it is a synthetic version of the hormone released by a nursing mom dog.
We recommend CPFK Calming Collar. It works for 60 days to deliver pheromones even if you splash it with water.
It’s safe and effective with its natural ingredients that are activated by your dog’s body heat.
You can also use toys that emit a heartbeat, such as SmartPetLove’s Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy. It’s the most well-known anxiety-soothing toy for dogs.
This toy is proven to reduce behaviors like chewing, whining, barking, and digging, helping both of you to sleep better at night.
Don’t Acknowledge Barking and Whining
If your puppy grows up knowing you’ll always approach them every time they start barking at night, then they will only keep doing it.
This will not give you a good sleep and they will never learn to sleep alone.
Ignore the whining and barking. Your puppy should stop once they know you will not respond.
If it becomes a persistent problem then you will need to address it with training.
FAQ Puppies’ Sleeping Routine
Do Puppies Like to Sleep in the Dark?
Some puppies enjoy sleeping in the dark.
Especially if they are already old enough, puppies have a low-light vision that lets them see even when some lights are off.
However, if you have a 4-week-old puppy or younger, you might have to turn on the lights for them as their vision is not yet fully developed at this age.
Test to see if your dog enjoys sleeping in the dark so you can adjust the lighting and environment for them.
Can I Let My Puppy Sleep in Bed with Me?
You can let them sleep in bed with you if your dog is house-trained and has no behavioral issues.
If your dog barks, pees, and gets aggressive in bed, then it’s better to give them a separate space for sleeping.
This is also recommended if you are a light sleeper who gets disturbed easily.
Find out the pros and cons of letting your dog sleep on you.
At What Age Can My Puppy Sleep Outside?
This depends on several factors including their vaccination status, health, training, and breed.
There is no exact age that is appropriate for your dog to start sleeping outside. In fact, we suggest letting them stay inside so they won’t get too hot or cold.
Make sure your puppy has received enough training and socialization before sleeping outside. You also want them to be completely vaccinated so that they can avoid catching a disease.
Prepare your puppy to sleep outside first so as not to cause health and behavioral issues in the future.
The Television is Not for All Dogs
While some dogs enjoy the flickers and sounds of the television, others don’t. It also doesn’t help with their fear of the dark or separation anxiety.
And besides, TV time for dogs does not equate to quality time.
It’s not a substitute for playtime with your dog as it won’t exercise their muscles nor provide adequate mental stimulation.
Find out how to mentally stimulate your dog so they sleep better during the night.