The Best Documentaries about Pets and Animals that Will Make You Watch Them All In One Go

Jan. 8, 2024


In a world where pets often become as cherished as family members, a unique genre of documentaries and docuseries has emerged to celebrate these beloved animals. From the cuddly and commonplace to the exotic and extraordinary, these films delve into the lives of pets that brighten our daily existence. They not only showcase the joy and companionship pets bring into our lives but also explore the deeper bonds that form between humans and their animal counterparts. This article highlights some of the most touching and insightful documentaries that center around our furry, feathered, and even scaly friends.

These documentaries provide more than just heartwarming tales of animal companionship. They offer a window into the complex emotional, psychological, and sometimes even therapeutic relationships between humans and their pets. Covering a wide range of topics from the day-to-day joys of pet ownership to the challenges and unique lifestyles of exotic pet enthusiasts, these films shed light on the diverse ways in which animals enrich our lives. They also touch on important themes such as animal welfare, conservation, and the ethical responsibilities of pet ownership.

Through these documentaries, we gain insights into the profound impact pets have on our lives. They challenge us to think about the depth of our relationships with our animal companions and how these relationships shape our emotions, behaviors, and perspectives. These films remind us of the unspoken pact of loyalty and love we share with our pets and the irreplaceable role they play in our lives.


Top 10 Documentaries on Pets and Animals: 



Cats in Japan: "Hokkaido 2"

small cat

This chapter of the series "Cats in Japan", experiences the resilience and beauty of Hokkaido's wildlife as they emerge from winter's grip to embrace the warmth and vitality of summer in Northern Japan. Set in the stunning landscapes of Hokkaido in Northern Japan, this documentary explores the vibrant yet challenging life of the region's wildlife during the transition from the harsh winter to the welcoming summer. As August arrives, it reveals a multitude of powerful animals, each showcasing its unique adaptation and survival strategies. The film captures the essence of these creatures' lives, highlighting their resilience and strength in navigating the seasonal extremes of this captivating natural environment.



a white cat and a long-haired bearded man

Set in Istanbul, this documentary focuses on the city's thousands of free-roaming cats, revered by residents for centuries. It offers a charming look at the individual personalities of these cats and their relationships with the people who care for them.


Australian Mammals

two kangaroos

This riveting documentary, delves into the remarkable world of Australian mammals, from the unique egg-laying monotremes to the diverse array of marsupials. This documentary offers an intimate view into their natural habitats, examining their behaviors, interactions with the environment, and intricate breeding patterns. With the vast spectrum ranging from rat-sized creatures to towering 2-meter kangaroos, the film's breathtaking close-ups bring these enchanting creatures to the forefront, offering viewers a front-row seat to nature's wonders Down Under.


The Hidden Lives of Pets

a man and a rabbit

This captivating docuseries explores the hidden lives of pets when their owners are away. Using innovative filming techniques, it provides an entertaining and insightful look into the private lives of our beloved animals.



a turtle

In an unexpected twist of fate, the Wolf family's long-neglected pet turtle, Snowy, finds a glimmer of hope after enduring 25 years in a cold, forgotten basement. This heartwarming documentary follows Snowy's remarkable journey towards a better life, aided by a diverse and caring team: a compassionate veterinarian, an insightful animal psychic, a dedicated scientist, and the affable Uncle Larry, who becomes Snowy's caretaker. The film captures Snowy's transformation from a disregarded pet to a cherished companion, highlighting the unexpected bonds that form and the profound impact of kindness and attention on an animal's wellbeing. It's a tale of redemption and the power of second chances, not only for Snowy but for everyone involved in this moving adventure.



two dogs and astronaut

This heartwarming series showcases six stories of incredible bonds between dogs and their human companions around the world, highlighting the loyalty, love, and sometimes the life-saving capabilities of these canine friends.


North Paws - A Dog-u-mentary!

wolf path running in the snow

In the heartwarming documentary set in Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories, viewers are introduced to a critical and challenging situation faced by animal rescue organizations. Yellowknife serves as a hub for dogs rescued from various adverse conditions across the northern regions. With a constant influx of dogs and inadequate facilities to accommodate them, the local SPCA and other animal welfare groups find themselves stretched to their limits. The film poignantly captures the struggles and efforts of these organizations as they tirelessly work to provide care, shelter, and a chance at a better life for these vulnerable canines. It's a story of compassion, resilience, and the unyielding dedication of those who stand on the frontline of animal rescue in one of the most remote and challenging environments in Canada.


The Elephant in the Living Room

A young lion and a man hairy-beard

Directed by Michael Webber, this eye-opening documentary takes an in-depth look at the controversial practice of raising exotic animals as pets in the United States. The film follows the stories of two men on opposite sides of this heated issue: Tim Harrison, a police officer whose work involves rescuing exotic animals from suburban homes, and Terry Brumfield, a big-hearted man who lovingly raises two African lions in his backyard. "The Elephant in the Living Room" presents a balanced view of the exotic pet phenomenon, highlighting the dangers these animals can pose to their owners and the public, as well as the deep emotional bonds that can form between humans and these majestic creatures.


Considering the ends

 young girl shaving a sheep

In this thought-provoking documentary, filmmaker Elsa Maury delves into the complex and controversial issue of livestock slaughter, a topic reignited in public discourse through the widespread circulation of graphic footage from within slaughterhouses. Driven by personal, historical, and cultural motivations, Maury's project confronts the harsh realities of meat consumption, challenging the notion that it is a harmless or innocent practice. Recognizing the power of visual storytelling, she feels a strong need to provide alternative perspectives and narratives. The film aims to broaden the conversation, offering different viewpoints that provoke reflection on the ethical and moral implications of our dietary choices. It's a documentary that not only exposes uncomfortable truths but also invites viewers to engage in a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the relationship between humans and the animals we consume.


Project Nim

A man with mostashe driving with a monkey in his arms

This gripping documentary, directed by James Marsh, tells the story of Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee who became the subject of a groundbreaking animal language acquisition experiment in the 1970s. Raised and nurtured like a human child, Nim learns sign language and develops close relationships with his caretakers. However, as he grows older and stronger, the realities of keeping a wild animal as a pet become increasingly challenging. "Project Nim" explores the ethical implications of such experiments and the complex relationship between humans and exotic animals, providing a poignant look at the life of one extraordinary chimpanzee caught between two worlds.


These documentaries and docuseries serve as beautiful tributes to the animals that share our lives, teaching us about empathy, understanding, and the unbreakable bonds we form with our non-human family members. In the words of Anatole France, remind us, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." Let these films awaken a deeper appreciation for the pets and animals that bring joy, companionship, and love into our lives.


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