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Can Cats and Dogs Safely Chase Lasers and Laser Pointers?

Even the laziest and hardest to please cat or dog will go crazy playing with lasers and can get hours of fun and exercise chasing the laser beam. Lasers are especially useful for exercising indoor cats and dogs. To make sure playing with lasers is safe for your animal friends, there are two very important points to be aware of.

The first point is some lasers are safe for cats and dogs to chase and some are not. To understand which lasers are safe, you need to know that lasers come in different powers and what different power levels are capable off.

The power of lasers is measured in milliwatts or mW for short. A 55mW laser can put holes in plastic, a 75mW laser can cut black tape and burst balloons, a 95mW laser can light matches and a 150mW laser can light cigarettes. Obviously any laser with enough power to burn things can cause serious and permanent eye damage and cannot be chased safely but cats or dogs.

The US Food and Drug Administration states that 5mW the maximum safe power level that will not cause eye injuries in people. 5mW is conservative and the generally accepted safe power level for lasers is 5 to 10mW. There is not a big difference human and Canine/feline eyes in sensitivity to lasers so the safe limit of 10mW can also be used with cats and dogs. So lasers with 10mW or less of power are safe to use cats and dogs. As an added precaution, NEVER point the laser at your cat's/dog's eyes.

The second point of lasers is your cat/dog will be frustrated. It is the hunting instinct in cats and dogs that makes cats and dogs go wild and enjoy playing with lasers so much. The hunting instinct compels cats and dogs to stalk, catch and kill their prey. Chasing a laser beam fulfills their desire to stalk but not catch or kill. If you use the laser by itself, your cat/dog will be well exercised but it will be frustrated by its failure to catch or kill the laser beam. The simple solution to this problem is to finish a session of playing with the laser, let your cat/dog catch and kill a normal toy.

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