Movies About Pets: Film Versus Reality

Movies About Pets: Film Versus Reality

Movies About Pets: Film Versus Reality. By Frankie Wallace.

About 85 million families in the U.S. have a pet of some kind. It might be a dog, cat, fish, hamster, or parrot. Pets are often considered to be a part of the family. In fact, 66% of pet owners opt to give their dogs human names. So, it’s no wonder Hollywood has cashed in for years by featuring domesticated animals in movies. From classics like Lassie to animated takes like The Secret Life of Pets, the big screen hasn’t shied away from tugging at people’s heartstrings and funny bones alike when using pets in movies. 

Just as some movies tend to romanticize things like relationships and romance, families, babies, and even action, pets on film can often feel a little less realistic than they do in everyday life. 



So, how are movies about pets different from reality? What should you be focusing on with your own pets, and how does real life compare to the movies? 

The Benefits of Owning a Pet

One thing most movies get right when it comes to pet ownership is how much of a loyal companion a dog, cat, or any domesticated animal can be. Some of the most popular movies that show the companionship between a pet and their owner(s) include: 

The bond between pets and their owners is something many people can relate to. In the movies, seeing that kind of bond can be extremely sentimental and make you feel a variety of emotions. But, owning a pet is actually more beneficial to your mental and physical health than just having a healthy bond. 

Owning a pet can go a long way when it comes to preventative health. If you’re trying to take active steps to stay healthy and you’re working with a nurse or other healthcare professional to determine what you can do, get some information about how a pet might be a “prescription” for certain physical and mental health issues. Pets can reduce stress and anxiety levels, boost your mood and energy, and encourage you to be more active and get more exercise each day. So, if you find yourself tearing up over the bond between a pet and their owner in movies, it could be due to the fact that your own pet has done more for you than you may even realize. 

Real-Life Dangers

Many times, the plot surrounding pets in movies dives into some kind of dangerous situation. If you’ve ever seen the 1993 movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, you know all about the dangers and drama of dogs and cats on film! Most of the time, however, the dangers we see pets face on screen are more dramatic than the ones most domestic animals face on a regular basis. 

Let’s be honest, how often is your dog going to go head-to-head with a bear (hopefully never!)? 

Instead, some of the daily risks and dangers animals face at home include things like eating something they shouldn’t. For example, dogs can’t eat certain ‘human’ foods without the risk of getting incredibly sick, including some fruits and veggies like: 

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Currants

Other healthy fruits and veggies like bananas, apples, and carrots are great for your dogs and can be a part of their healthy, balanced diets. 

Household cleaners, poisons, and even things like small pieces of toys or clothes can also be harmful to dogs at home. Keeping your home well maintained, clean, and keeping things out of reach of your pets can help to keep them safe from these everyday dangers. By keeping your pets safe from these harmful foods and products, you’ll be less likely to make frequent trips to the vet! Any pet owner knows that it can get expensive quickly unless you invest in pet insurance. Additionally, no one wants to see their four-legged friend sick or in pain. Be diligent about the things you allow your pet to eat or get into.

The Lighter Side of Pet Ownership

Some of the best movies about pets show how funny, curious, and heartwarming they can really be. Even documentaries like Through a Dog’s Eyes, about the training of service dogs from puppyhood, can lift anyone’s spirits. 

While movies can sometimes take the comedy to extremes with pets, there are many things they get right. Who hasn’t looked on in horror while their dog shakes off mud in the house, like in the 1992 movie Beethoven? And, we’ve all seen movies where something as simple as giving a dog a bath can be a comedic performance on its own. 

Yes, movies can take things a little too far in those comedic scenes, but if you’ve ever given your own dog (or cat!) a bath, you know it’s not always easy and can lead to some laughs and even a little bit of frustration. Of course, the movies also don’t show the hairy, clogged drain that can typically become a problem after giving your furry friend a bath, and they certainly don’t offer ways to block the drain so it doesn’t get clogged in the first place

Movies about pets definitely show glimpses of reality. But, they’re designed to make us laugh, cry, or sit on the edge of our seats. While they may not always be entirely realistic, there are certainly ways in which pet owners can relate to some of the things the fur babies on-screen are dealing with or causing their owners to go through. 


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