Cats and Dogs
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How does a phone look to a dog?

Ever Wondered If Your Dog Actually Understands a FaceTime Call? 3 Vets Explain

Pretty woman at home

My sister recently brought home her first puppy, and while she’s excited, she wants to make sure the whole family feels connected to the puppy. Her kids are going off to college soon and she wanted to know if they can still interact with their dog when they’re away. So she wondered: Can dogs understand phone or video calls?

I’m no stranger to trying to have phone and FaceTime chats with my dog when I’m away. When I’m out of town for work, I often ask my husband to let my dog hear or see me on the phone. I’m not all that sure she quite understands, although sometimes she does perk up her ears and I swear she seems a little excited. POPSUGAR spoke to several vets to determine if we’re wasting our time trying to FaceTime our pets.


Can Dogs Understand Phone or Video Calls?

There’s no hard evidence for sure, but it usually depends on the dog, experts say. «Each dog is different, and while some dogs may react to hearing their owner’s voice or seeing their face through a device, other dogs might not show any interest at all,» Heidi Cooley, DVM, a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital, told POPSUGAR. «If you’re missing your dog while away from home, it can’t hurt to have someone who is with them put your voice on speaker phone or hold up a video call to see if you get a reaction. If anything, it can help you feel closer to your dog until you’re reunited.»

Typically, dogs are more likely to understand phone calls and not so much video calls, added Zay Satchu, DVM, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer at Bond Vet. «Video calls are often lost in translation to the dog world due to their poor vision of small and up close objects. The brightness of the screen, combined with the small size, makes the image hard to focus on for them, and it is likely very distorted. However, they usually can pick up on the sound of their owner’s voice.»

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Understands a Phone or Video Call?

Signs that your dog might recognize your face or voice can include head tilting, ear perks, tail wagging, whining or barking. «Body language that shows alertness can indicate that they are hearing you through the phone,» Dr. Satchu said. «You can try giving a well-known command, but this is often a poor indicator because they are smart enough to know you aren’t present to reinforce the behavior — aka no treats for being a good boy.»

Dr. Cooley adds that if your dog doesn’t react at all to your voice or face on the phone, «Don’t take it personal. They are probably one of the many dogs that don’t respond to faces or voices on phones or tablets.»

Are There Benefits to Talking to Your Dog When You’re Away?

Besides increasing the bonding for the humans involved, pets can be comforted by the sound of their pet parent’s voice. «I’ve seen some dogs react positively to familiar voices or sounds,» says Paul M. Cunningham, DVM, senior clinician, emergency service, at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Michigan. «I’ve specifically seen this with boarding or hospitalized pets who get to hear their owner’s voice on the phone — they perk up, wag their tail, and generally seem more attentive.»

Could There Be Any Downsides to Calling or Video Chatting Your Dog?

Perhaps. Though many dogs may be comforted by the sound of their family’s voice, others may feel more anxious afterward. «For the nervous dog with a history of separation anxiety, hearing a familiar voice could potentially worsen their anxiety,» says Dr. Cunningham.

«I’ve witnessed this type of dog become frantic, looking for the owner of the disembodied voice,» he told POPSUGAR. «What was meant to be a loving act has actually had negative effects. I have never witnessed a dog responding — for better or worse — to just to the picture or video of an owner.»

Should Pet Parents Try Digitally Connecting With Their Dog?

Dr. Satchu recommends you think about how your dog normally feels when you’re gone. «Is he the couch potato, snooze-all-day type — or is he the pace-around-until-you-return type? This may help give you an idea of whether or not hearing your voice while you are not around is a good thing for them.»

How does a phone look to a dog?

Animal Control Unit
Connecticut Department of Agriculture
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 702, Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: (860) 713-2506 Fax: (860) 713-2515 Email:

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Animal Control Unit is responsible for the investigation of property damage, injury and nuisance caused by dogs. The Unit is charged with the enforcement of laws pertaining to the licensing and control of dogs, the licensing and inspection of pet facilities and rabies control. State Animal Control investigates animal cruelty complaints and frequently assists Municipal Animal Control Officers investigating animal cruelty within their jurisdictions. The Unit also operates a large animal rehabilitation center which holds and rehabilitates evidence animals in on-going cruelty prosecutions. It also supports and educates the public and local or municipal animal control officials in enforcement of Connecticut dog law and behavior.

Inquiries for adoption can be directed to, or 860-713-2506. Our “Officer of the Day” that monitors that email account and phone line, will route the request to the appropriate SACO. Or visit the link below to learn more about the Second Chance Animal Adoption Program.

Dog Licensing, Dog Health and Control of Dogs

Dog owners should be aware of the nine items listed below about dog ownership in Connecticut:

  1. Dogs six months of age or older must be licensed.
    You can download a Dog License Application (in Spanish) * or Dog License Application (in English) *. *NOTE:This application must be mailed to your Town Clerk , with fees and required documents, not to our agency.
  2. Unit staff assist municipal animal control officers and local officials through training and counseling in dog licensing and licensing enforcement procedures.
  3. All dogs three months of age or older and must be vaccinated against rabies and rabies vaccinations must be kept current. Unit staff takes an active role enforcing the Connecticut Rabies Laws by investigating, documenting and reporting to the Department of Public Health positive rabies contacts with humans.
  4. No dog under 8 weeks of age may be sold or imported into the state without its dam.
  5. Dogs imported into the state that are over 3 months of age and staying more than 30 days must be accompanied by a health certificate and a current rabies vaccination certificate.
  6. Dogs imported into the state between the age of 8 weeks and 3 months and staying more than 30 days must be accompanied by a health certificate.
  7. All dogs must be under control and must not be allowed to run at large.
  8. It is illegal to transport a dog in the back of a pick-up truck unless the dog is secured in a cage, container or otherwise secured.
  9. Breeders of two or more litters of dogs per year must apply for a “town kennel license”.

Property Damage, Injury and Nuisance – Dogs

Connecticut dog owners are responsible for their dogs. Read three items listed below about damage and injury:

  1. Dogs are personal property and owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog.
  2. Claims of alleged damage by dogs to livestock, poultry or other animals for the purposes of reimbursement are investigated, assessed and appraised by Unit staff.
  3. Quarantines of dogs associated with bites (human or dog on dog) or disease outbreak are established and enforced where required and necessary.

Rabies Control

The Bureau staff works with state and local authorities in dealing with rabid and suspect rabid animals, verify rabies vaccination status for dogs and cats, and provide transportation and handling of specimens for testing. You can get current Connecticut rabies statistics here. Most of these cases involved wildlife such as raccoons and skunks, however, many cases involved domestic animals such as dogs, cats, cows and horses. For further information regarding rabies, please visit the Department of Agriculture’s Rabies Manual and Department of Public Health’s, Rabies Information page.

Licensing, Inspection of Pet Facilities

The following list of four duties are performed by Connecticut State Animal Control Unit staff:

  1. Inspection of municipal dog pounds.
  2. Technical advice regarding plans and construction of municipal-owned dog shelters and boarding kennels discussed and reviewed in order to ensure conformance with regulations and is responsible for regular inspections of the same.
  3. Inspection of pet shops, commercial kennels (including «dog daycare facilities»), animal shelters, grooming facilities, mobile grooming vehicles and dog training facilities.
  4. Unit staff is responsible for investigating complaints on «town kennel licensees,» defined as breeders of two or more litters of dogs per year.

CT State Animal Control Officer inspecting kennel

Animal Cruelty

The Animal Control Unit investigates animal neglect and animal cruelty complaints involving domestic animals. This can include illegal animal fighting and animal hoarding. If sufficient evidence pursuant to Section 53-247 of the Connecticut General Statutes is gathered. Unit staff prepare a request for a search warrant. Complaints regarding animal neglect or animal cruelty can be made to local animal control officers or the State Animal Control Unit.

Large Animal Rehabilitation Center

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Regulatory Services’ Animal Control Unit, is charged (Connecticut General Statutes Sections 22-329, 22-329a) with the prevention of cruelty to and seizure of abused animals. In response to this charge, in 2002, the Department of Agriculture constructed a large animal rehabilitation facility designed to hold horses or other large animals that have been seized in cases of substantiated charges of animal cruelty. For further information about this facility, visit Second Chance Large Animal Rehabilitation Facility, or contact the Animal Control Unit at (860) 713-2506.

Attention Municipalities and Town Clerks:

The updated Dog Fund calculation worksheet located below will expedite and assist in accurately completing your report. There are three separate spreadsheets within this worksheet: town clerk, town dog fund report, and interest and penalty.

Municipal Animal Control Officer Monthly Report

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