There are many anecdotes about "laser pointer syndrome" claiming that dogs suffer from something like OCD as a result of playing with laser pointers. Some vet clinics that propagate this claim: E.g. the Kerrville Veterinary Clinic

Laser pointers offer a fun way of interacting with our pets; however, take note: they are NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DOGS! Having dogs chase the light from laser pointers or flashlights can cause them to become obsessed with lights or shadows. There are extreme cases where dogs will bark consistently at overhead lights in a room until the lights are shut off. Some dogs are impossible to take on a walk, because of their obsession with moving shadows. While these cases are rare, it is certainly not worth the risk.

Another example from the Harlingen Veterinary Clinic.

A Live Science articles point to professor Nicholas Dodman (Tufts University) and Karen B. London (formerly of University of Wisconsin-Madison) as sources for the claim.

However, while these may constitute "expert opinions", I have not yet seen any peer-reviewed evidence to support the claim, or any skeptics treatment of this question: Are laser pointers bad for dogs?

  • Note the Kerrville web-site has some cookie issues. If it doesn't display, try Incognito/private mode on your browser.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 5, 2020 at 4:59
  • Just saying, there is a huge difference between making your dog chase a laser pointer and making your dog chase the "light circle" from your flashlight. The symptoms described look to be caused by the latter, not the former.
    – T. Sar
    Oct 5, 2020 at 18:26
  • 1
    Dogs owned by people who play with laser pointers get neuroses. Oct 5, 2020 at 21:37
  • This would appear to be a "scientifically debated issue". This site cannot answer questions such as "what is dark matter?". There is a wealth of articles/opinion on all sides by any number of scientists.
    – Fattie
    Oct 9, 2020 at 21:09


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