October 4, 2018 Photos by: Chendongshan/Shutterstock
A UK pet expert believes that dogs who have owners obsessed with their smartphones may suffer from depression more than dogs whose owners who don’t use their phones or tablets around them as much.
We say it all the time…our dogs are our children. (They are!) Yet, would we think it okay to sit around for hours and hours on our screens while our kids lounge idly by, with little-to-no interaction from us? (Don’t answer that or we’ll silently judge you.)
Veterinarian surgeon and founder of VetUK in Great Britain suggests that dogs get depressed their owners spend too much time on their screens, though, and may even act out to get attention from their humans. (Just like children are prone to do!) He says that it’s clear we as people are obsessed with our mobile devices, and that we are jeopardizing the relationships with have with our pets because we are so.
Booth also believes that humans spending too much time on their phones when they are around their pets damages the emotional bond they have with them, much like it would damage the bond with children. He says this has a more detrimental effect in dogs, though cats do want attention and affection–they just seem to be less bothered by the lack of attention they get from their people.
Booth said that canine depression was more likely when owners spent more time with their screens than with their pets, and that could also lead to behavior problems as well. If a human won’t play with or interact with his dog, the dog will be at a loss.
Booth says that dogs are pack animals and look to us, their humans, for leadership and companionship–as well as for a nurturing relationship. When we are too engrossed in our phones, our dogs feel neglected and lack the feedback and interaction they crave. Booth says that dogs are hard-wired through evolution to please us, and that’s hard for them to do when we’re too stuck in our screens to even notice they’re around.
So in this age of everyone’s nose in a screen, experts suggest turning it off and getting out to throw your dog a ball. Neither of you will regret it!
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!