Maybe consider an ottoman instead?

Over the weekend, a 93-year-old English woman called police, worried because she couldn’t find her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Toby. 

Authorities found him under her recliner, stuck but unharmed. While the story has a happy ending and perhaps seems a little humorous, be warned: Recliners can be dangerous to your cats and dogs—so much so that you might want to reconsider getting one if you have pets in the house. 

Some examples: Last month, a 9-month-old puppy in New York was caught in a reclining loveseat, a situation serious enough to require rescue from the local fire department. Or you have this video of a deploying footrest batting a small pup backward (watcher beware). Then you have the more serious cases where recliners either injure or kill pets who’ve been inside or near them. 

So, while it’s awesome to flip the game on and put your feet up, make sure you’re doing it safely, says Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, RBT, and Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor. 

dog on recliner with kids
Credit: Ulrika / Getty

Using Your Recliner Near Your Pet

Before you sit down, locate your pets, Bergeland says. Make sure they’re not near your reclining chair or couch as you sit down—especially if you plan to swing the footrest up. If you’re going to rock back and forth in the chair, again make sure your pets aren’t nearby or are under close supervision. 

When it’s time to get up from the chair, check underneath and inside the chair before you leave, Bergeland says. Another option: Get up and leave the room and call your pets to you. Then you can go back in and close up the chair. 

This isn’t just for small dogs and cats, too, Bergeland says. Bigger dogs can get their legs and tails caught. However, if you have a small pet, it might be best to move the recliner elsewhere or to not use it for a while. 

Bergeland says she isn’t aware of any “pet-safe” recliners available. May we suggest a regular chair with an ottoman?