Veterinarian warns against sharing “entertaining” dog and cat videos.
Dog and cat videos are often popular on social media, and while many of the videos show pets in harmless and funny situations, there is a growing trend for animals to be subjected to unusual and even uncomfortable experiences.
This has prompted one of Denmark’s largest groups of animal hospitals, AniCura, to speak out and warn against recording, liking, and sharing these videos.
“We see a lot of videos intended for entertainment where dogs and cats are subjected to small pranks or various social media trends. For us humans, it may seem harmless, but in many cases, the pets are actually in stressful and insecure situations, which can lead to a loss of trust in the owner, or in the worst case, develop anxiety”– Pernille Hansen – veterinarian at AniCura Animal Hospital in Skovlunde in Denmark
“There has been a trend on social media, for example, where people make watermelon masks and place them on their dog’s head, or where they put dogs and cats in front of each other to see if they become aggressive. Currently, there are also many videos circulating where people deliberately try to scare their dogs or cats. In these cases, the animals become frightened, and unnecessary stress is provoked.”– Pernille Hansen – veterinarian at AniCura Animal Hospital in Skovlunde in Denmark
According to Pernille Hansen, who has been treating dogs and cats with behavioral problems for almost 20 years, one of the biggest challenges is that many people are not attentive enough to their pet’s signals.
“Dogs and cats cannot understand irony and humor in the same way as humans, and therefore they do not receive an explanation of what they are being subjected to. For example, if the pet stiffens, chatters their teeth, or begins to bark or hiss loudly, it is a clear sign that the animal is scared and uncomfortable. As an owner, one must read their pet’s signals and understand that these episodes have a negative impact on the animals.”– Pernille Hansen – veterinarian at AniCura Animal Hospital in Skovlunde in Denmark
AniCura encourages people to carefully consider the situations they put their pets in before making a recording, and as a social media user, one also carries a responsibility. The videos often circulate on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, so one should think twice when encountering dog and cat videos.
When you like or share videos where dogs or cats are placed in unnatural and uncomfortable situations, you contribute to the spread of such content. The best thing you can do is simply to refrain from liking or sharing these videos, says Pernille Hansen, who nevertheless emphasizes that it is certainly not all videos that one should avoid.
She finishes by saying:
There are fortunately many funny and cute videos of dogs and cats that are well and happy in natural situations, such as playing in the garden, eating food, or sleeping. As an owner, it is perfectly fine to film one’s pet and share it on social media. The important thing is just to keep an eye on the pet’s signals and consider carefully what one is exposing their dog or cat to.”– Pernille Hansen – veterinarian at AniCura Animal Hospital in Skovlunde in Denmark
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