Skip to main content

New disturbing TikTok trend is met with a harsh warning from veterinarians

With their adorable toe beans and cold, wet noses, it’s easy to see why dogs are so popular on social media. On TikTok alone, the hashtag #dog has over 188 billion views (yes, billion with a b). There are entire accounts belonging to entertaining pups, from Noodles the fortune-telling Pug to Bunny the “talking” Sheepadoodle.

As cute as it may all look on the surface, not all pet videos are innocent. A recent TikTok dog trend has owners unknowingly putting themselves, their dog, and their loved ones at risk. Despite warnings from veterinarians and canine professionals, these videos continue to surface both on and off the video-sharing app. Here’s what you need to know:

The newest TikTok dog trend

Voiceovers are nothing new in the TikTok world, but this new trend isn’t nearly as “fun” as it seems. In these videos, people are seen getting in someone’s face, pretending to confront them about “talking smack” while lip-synching to a popular audio clip. While it’s meant to be amusing, it may have the exact opposite effect now that people are using their dogs instead of another person for the videos.

Many of the videos, featuring both humans and canines, can be seen under the hashtag #talkingsmack. Other than the potentially humorous audio they are mouthing, the owners in the videos appear to yell in their dogs’ faces and make angry—evening threatening—arm gestures. At a quick glance, the videos look exactly like real (albeit dramatically overdone) confrontations, so it’s easy to understand why filming this video with your dog can lead to extreme stress and distrust on their end.

A black dog looks up and bares her teeth as a hand reaches down toward her

Why this TikTok dog trend is so dangerous

Whether an owner truly yells or simply mouths something in their dog’s face, that dog is likely to feel threatened. It’s not only possible for them to feel cornered with the lack of space between themselves and their owner, but they are also likely to feel confused by and afraid of their human’s intense body language. Sudden movements like head jerking and arm flailing are often seen with this trend.

Cat the Vet, a veterinarian and TikToker from the UK, posted a viral response to this trend on her own channel. In the background, you can see a woman mouthing the audio to her dog, who bares their teeth, licks their lips, and shows other signs of extreme stress.

“It is not big, it is not clever, it is not funny,” Cat warned in her video. “That dog is incredibly unhappy, it is going to bite you if you carry on like that, and I don’t care if it’s your dog and you trust it and think that it won’t, there are children on this app who will copy you and get bitten in the face because they thought it was cool because you did it. Please stop.”

Despite going viral, the woman who appears in the background of Cat’s video denies responsibility for encouraging dangerous behavior, telling Newsweek, “We posted a satire video, on a satire platform where the authorized users are 14 and over. Parents are responsible for their children’s use of electronics and what they watch.” Since speaking with Newsweek, their original video has been set to private and can no longer be viewed.

@cat_the_vet

PLEASE stop posting videos like this! Do you want to be responsible for a maimed child?! #notsafe #doNOTtrythisathome #catthevet

♬ original sound – Cat The Vet

Signs of stress in dogs

A quick scroll through many of the dangerous #talkingsmack videos with dogs reveals a wide range of canine reactions. Some pups, like the one in the background of Cat’s TikTok, are obviously unhappy while filming the video, while others appear not to be bothered. While some pets truly may not mind this treatment, they may also be reacting more subtly to the stressful situation.

Dog trainer Joe Nutkins spoke with Newsweek in the same article mentioned above about some of the signs of stress she saw in these videos. “The majority, if not all, of the videos that I have seen show dogs turning their head a little bit to one side. It might literally just be turning a couple of centimeters slightly to one side away from the owner,” she explains.

“Then they do what’s called ‘whale eye’ which is where the dog turns their head a little bit and then they actually turn their eyes the other way as far as they can. The idea is they show the whites of their eyes as much as possible, trying to indicate that they are not liking the situation.”

Nutkins also notes that many of the dogs in these videos pin their ears back against their head—another sign of stress. Most pups taking part in this trend “just don’t ‘look comfortable’” according to Nutkins, which makes her fear a more extreme reaction.

“One of the biggest risks is that you will force your dog to feel so threatened and so worried that they feel they’ve already given many signals and warnings to say ‘please don’t do this’ but they’re left with one last resort,” she notes. “That last resort is going to be to turn round and bite.”

TikTok is not worth losing your dog’s trust

Here’s the bottom line: a TikTok trend, no matter how funny, is not worth risking your safety and your dog’s trust. Filming a short video may turn into a long-term concern for everyone in your home should your pup feel threatened, especially by someone they love most. Besides, there are plenty of other trends to try!

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
How COVID-sniffing dogs from Bark are helping bring people back to the office
A beagle sniffing a bright yellow suitcase.

Whether you're still working from home, or you've already returned to the office, the pandemic has caused workplace chaos around the globe. But one company, Bark, a pet care brand based in New York, is taking a unique approach to getting employees back into the office: COVID-sniffing dogs. COVID-sniffing beagles, to be more precise. In October of 2021, the company announced its new pilot program, which would allow employees to return to the office, some for the first time in 18 long, isolating months. We'll dive into Bark's new program to uncover how it works, why Bark decided to use dogs, and where you can learn more. 

How dogs are paving the way for COVID detection
Partnering with the Florida International University's Detection Dog Program, dogs used in Bark's program were trained by BioScent, a company that specializes in training medical scent detection beagles. FIU's Detection Dog Program began in 1998. Dogs were initially trained to detect evidence in fire investigations, but training later included drugs, biological materials like mold, human scents, explosives, and even money. Now trained to detect COVID-19, a team of executives -- and sniffer dogs -- traveled to New York City for a demonstration. 
How do Beagles report COVID-19?
The test is simple as demonstrated by members of BioScent and FIU, who worked alongside Noel and Buddy, two of the program's COVID-sniffing dogs. Far less invasive than a nasal swab, the test works like this: The dogs walk past employees, and if someone is infected with COVID-19, the dogs sit down. (We're thrilled to report that, according to Noel and Buddy, none of Bark's employees at their New York City office were infected with the COVID-19 virus.) 

Read more
There’s a ‘Tinder for dogs’ that helps pups make new friends (Yes, really)
Two dogs playing.

Have you ever wished your dog had a playmate or walking buddy? That wish can come true when you create a profile for your pup on Pawmates: The Dog Meetup App. Described as “Tinder for dogs,” this free app offers a wonderful way to find the perfect friend for your pooch. The app was created in 2019 by Colin Jarvis-Gaum of Toronto when seeking a suitable playdate for Pal, his parents' older dog. According to an article by Andre J. Ellington in Newsweek, Pal has since passed away, but the app is still going strong, recently reaching 10,000 downloads.

Profiles on the app include photos, plus information on age, size, breed type, and personality traits. Pet parents can browse profiles in their local geographic area and modify settings to specify the types of dogs they believe would make the best friends for their animal companions. When a match is made users can set up a time to talk and meet in person. In addition to arranging doggy “dates,” the app offers a directory of pet businesses that can be searched by location.

Read more
Should you make New Year’s resolutions for your dog even though it sounds silly?
new years resolutions smiling red haired girl celebrating the year with her big

If you can make it to January 1st without hearing about someone’s New Year’s resolution, you are in the vast, vast minority. Even though most resolutions fade by the time February rolls around, they’re still a fun, easy way to set goals for the upcoming year. Even New Year’s resolutions for dogs can have an awesome impact on your furry friend’s health and happiness. When done right, a New Year’s resolution can become a habit (or a met goal) before you know it.
Here’s what to think about if you’re considering setting a New Year’s resolution for your dog.

A resolution helps you stay on top of your pet’s health
When deciding whether to set resolutions for your pet this New Year, take a moment to stop and think about why you may want to set a goal in the first place. Perhaps you’d like to help yourself keep up with your pup’s exercise routines, or maybe you’re looking for new ways to bond with your furry friend. Whatever the reason may be, setting a resolution or goal can help you take the first step toward recognizing what you want to accomplish.
Not only does it feel great to see your resolutions through, but doing so can actually benefit your health and your dog’s. For example, simply making the effort to walk together for 30 minutes every day can strengthen the cardiovascular system and boost weight loss and mental health for both of you. Not only that, but it keeps you accountable too—especially if you tell all your dog’s Instagram followers what your goal is for the New Year.
Keeping up with your goals is a great way to ensure that your dog’s needs are all met, too, even if you only set one resolution for your pooch this year. This can be a helpful strategy to get used to all kinds of lifestyle changes, especially if they’re necessary to improve the health of your four-legged friend. Besides—it never hurts to have a little fun while you’re at it!

Read more