Tips&TricksHow canine love for the silver screen becomes a tool for assessing their vision

How canine love for the silver screen becomes a tool for assessing their vision

Your dog will love the television.
Your dog will love the television.
Images source: © Getty Images

10:02 AM EST, January 21, 2024

It's often considered unusual for a dog to show interest in a TV screen, as these four-legged creatures perceive the world differently. The pace of the images on the screen can be too slow for them, leading to a general lack of interest. However, pioneering research conducted by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA, demonstrates that dogs can indeed enjoy watching television.

What are dogs interested in on TV?

The researchers aimed to identify what dogs find most engaging on television. They aimed to understand a dog's vision more deeply and needed a focal point that would centralize it. This study is critical in the field of veterinary science as it can assist in determining whether a dog's vision deteriorates over time. Almost 1,600 dog owners globally contributed to this research.

The cornerstone of these studies was a questionnaire covering different aspects including the dog's breed, age, gender, and residence. Using this information, the team of researchers provided these dog owners with four distinct films to provoke distinct reactions from their dogs.

Surprisingly, nearly 90 percent of the dogs analyzed showed considerable interest in moving images on the screen, with 78 percent barking, yelping, or exuberantly running around while watching the films. Dogs were most engaged by clips featuring other dogs, while just one in ten dogs reacted to animated cartoons. The average age of the dogs in the study was four years old, and 56 percent were purebred. The study, including the questionnaire analysis, lasted for a full year.

How does a dog's vision work?

Contrary to popular belief, dogs only perceive two colors – blue and yellow, and everything else appears grey to them. This is due to the two photoreceptors in dogs' eyes that send specific color wavelengths to their brain. Humans have three photoreceptors, but we only register the vibrational waves of TV screens at 55 Hz. By contrast, dogs are far more receptive and need modern screens to have a frequency as high as 75 Hz to match their vision.

With this new understanding, Dog TV has been serving our four-legged pals since 2021. It offers films broadcast in shades of blue and yellow, the two colors dogs can perceive. The platform is accessible in the USA, UK, France, Brazil, and Australia. Many pet owners appreciate the concept and frequently utilize the service for their dogs' amusement.

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