What’s Your Dog’s Favorite TV Show?

The answer could help researchers assess canine vision.

Illustration of dog watching a concert on TV

Videos could hold dogs’ attention long enough to assess critical information about visual function. Danielle Lamberson Philipp

Television and YouTube programming to keep dogs entertained is becoming more common. But it’s not clear how the canines engage with the shows and what kind most appeal to them.

Now, a new survey is asking dog owners to help shed some light on these questions. The results could lay the groundwork for developing better ways to assess vision in dogs.

According to Freya Mowat, an assistant professor at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine and Public Health’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, previous efforts to develop an eye test for dogs have failed.

But Mowat believes videos could hold a dog’s attention long enough to assess critical information about visual function. To better understand what dogs might be most attracted to on-screen, Mowat is conducting a “Dog TV” survey that asks people to provide information on their dogs’ screen-viewing habits.

Ultimately, the study could help pups to age more gracefully by providing understanding of declining vision. Because dogs are subjected to the same environmental and lifestyle factors as their owners, learning what influences their visual decline could help researchers to optimize human eye health as well.

Published in the Fall 2022 issue

Tags: Health and medicine, pets, Research

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