WIth more and more pets struggling with obesity, toys that stimulate our dogs and cats to exercise are gaining in popularity. I like toys that encourage interaction between people and their pets because it builds their relationship while providing exercise. The exception to this rule is pen lasers. Although many dogs and cats love to chase the red dot as it scampers across the floor, I worry about using lasers for two reasons. First, looking directly into a laser might cause permanent vision problems. Great care must be taken to keep the laser pointed at the floor, away from your pet’s eyes. Second, laser chase may lead to obsessive/compulsive behavior problems in some dogs and cats. The pet chases the dot but cannot physically catch it. Without the ultimate reinforcement of “catching” the dot, animals become frustrated and chase it with more gusto. Eventually, these animals develop a repetitive disorder characterized by overresponsiveness that requires medical intervention to control. Therefore, I’m afraid I can not recommend laser tag for pets.
Published by kristennelsondvm
Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog. View more posts